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Blood Sugar Test Results
About nine or ten years ago, my kitchen phone rang loudly at about 8:30 p.m. I was startled to hear my doctor’s voice on the line at that time of the night. I had just seen him the day before for a checkup.
It turned out he had just gotten my blood test results. My blood sugar was at 792 mg/dl. A normal blood sugar count is between 70 and 99 mg/dl. Diagnosis: I had Type 2 Diabetes.
My immediate reaction was fear, then thankfulness that it was ‘only’ Type 2. I could probably fix this, I thought. It was like diabetes lite, in my mind.
The doctor sort of reinforced these thoughts, telling me I wasn’t in any immediate danger. I needed to lose weight, of course. Exercise and a strict diet would get it done.
I asked him about hypoglycemia, since I needed to diet and he was putting me on Metformin®. I was afraid my blood sugar might get so low that I would be very ill. He dismissed my concerns, telling me that low blood sugar would always be the least of my concerns. Also, Metformin® does not cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).
It’s not like I had Type 1 diabetes. I just needed to buckle down and lose weight. Everything would be fine.
The years passed quickly, the way they always seem to do. There were marital issues that led to a horrible divorce a few years ago. More health problems developed and old ones worsened. Medicines were changed or added. I got older.
I never did lose the weight I should have. I took my medicines and just moved on with life, fighting the immediate battles. I decided that I would take up the weight-loss battle when life was easier. Easier times still haven’t arrived.
Missing a Meal
In early April of this year, things changed. I had a checkup appointment at two o’clock in the afternoon on the other side of town. My daughter called and offered to drive me, since I dislike making that drive on the freeways.
I ate a light breakfast and stepped onto the treadmill, a new habit I was trying to build. I got showered and dressed and sat down to work until my daughter came to get me.
We had planned to stop for lunch before the appointment. Unfortunately, a situation came up at her job and she was late picking me up. We decided to slide through a drive-through for sandwiches instead.
A few minutes later, we found ourselves sitting in a traffic snarl only a few miles from the doctor’s office. We realized we had to head straight to the office in order to get there anywhere close to on time.
The Unexplained Late Policy
We didn’t actually make it on time, though. By the time I was standing at the receptionist desk, it was ten minutes after two. The receptionist simply told me to have a seat in the crowded waiting room. No mention was made of their late policy.
I sat down and stared at the reading material I had brought. I believe I napped off and on. I felt fatigued and morose. I tried to shake off the feeling, knowing that I was probably a bit hungry. I would see the doctor and we would go to lunch. Problem solved.
Well, it didn’t work the way I thought it would. My daughter was head down in her laptop, trying to make up for the fact that she wasn’t in her office. I just sat there, feeling depressed and tired. I never did feel any hunger pangs.
What Is Happening to Me?
Due to the office’s stern late patient policy, I was not ushered back to see the doctor until 4:30 p.m. I felt lost in a dark place. I couldn’t track what was being said. I remember giggling at some point. I tried earnestly to tell someone that this couldn’t be hypoglycemia. And I don’t remember much of anything else until the next day.
It was, in fact, several days before I figured out what had happened.
I crawled out of my pit of denial and realized that diabetes is truly a serious illness, no matter whether it is Type 1 or Type 2.
I was in a doctor’s office. My daughter, who definitely loves me, was there with me. All of those people — the receptionists, the nurse who took my vitals, and even the doctor who knew I had diabetes – not one of them caught onto the fact that I was in trouble. Neither did I.
Taking Control of My Health
It was time for me to don my mature lady undies and take control of my own health. I took three big steps toward keeping myself well.
I set alarms on my smartphone for every three hours, with a message telling me to eat a bit of food each time. My daughter had done this for me earlier in the year and I had turned them off, because they were irritating. Oops.
I ordered a medical alert bracelet to tell me and anyone who might want to help me that I had health problems to watch for. I’d never felt this purchase to be necessary. Surely, I would be able to tell someone if I was hungry! Except I never truly realized that was the problem. I never felt hungry. I needed somebody to tell me that I was getting dangerously hungry.
And although exercise is still kind of difficult due to other problems, I have revamped my diet and, so far, I’ve lost about thirty pounds.
The alarms are irritating. I don’t like wearing bracelets. Eating mindfully is less fun than munching on whatever food I want. However, it all beats that horrible dark place I was in that day.
Take it seriously, folks. Type 2 diabetes is a real illness. It is not something to sneer at others about. It is not something to ignore. Take the steps necessary to stay as healthy as possible. No one cares about your life and your health as much as you do.