Sunday, April 24, 2011

A Few Words on Health

I'm in The Dungeon on a very rainy Sunday afternoon. Easter Sunday. He is risen! This is our fourth day of rain, with two more expected. Mostly it's been moderate rain. It was heavy on Thursday evening, but since then just wave after wave of light to moderate rain. The creeks are all full, with some out of their banks. Just taking a minute to write about my health before I get to my main writing.

On March 1 I went to the doctor for my quarterly appointment. The results were not good. My fasting blood sugar was up, as was my A1C (the long-term measure of blood sugar). He had told be to begin testing myself for blood sugar three months before that, but I had never done so. So on March 1, with very bad lab results, he put me on Lantus, a slow acting insulin given with a shot. That would be along with the two pills I already take for Type 2 diabetes.

This did not make me particularly happy. I went home with the Lantus samples he gave me, but didn't go right out and fill the prescription for the works. Lynda was in OKC with the kids, helping with Ezra's birth that morning. I wanted her around before I started shooting up, just in case I had an adverse reaction to it. Plus, I had no idea if I could really give myself a shot. I finally got the stuff for testing my blood sugar, but had a lot of trouble getting blood out of my fingers. It turned out I was missing the small apparatus that one uses to launch the lancet that pricks the finger that gives the blood that goes on the test strip that feeds the meter that measures the blood sugar and makes a display. Finally, on March 31, I had the contraption and all I needed to measure blood sugar and take my shots. The evening I had my first reading: 399.

Ouch. That was high. That week I was still at the very busy point, working late, not taking proper lunch hours or getting any exercise. My weight was beginning to go down some more, my body having finally passed through a weight set point. That was about the only good news for my health. But that high reading was like a light going off. That and the fact that, by measuring blood sugar several times a day, I was going to have knowledge of what my eating was doing to my body. April 1 I began a new regimen. Chips—gone, and not just for lent. Diet soda, which I think somehow feeds the carb beast—gone. Bread—gone. Other carbs, not just sugary things but any type of carb I could think of—gone. Exercise—increased.

This I have done. The next evening my sugar was still high at 379. I began taking Lantus, just two units at first, intending to step it up until I got down to the 100-140 range. To my surprise, the shot was easy and painless. That needle is so thin that I didn't feel it at all. I assume it's working, and some of the good stuff is getting through the needle and into my flabby tummy. The next evening it was down to 279, and I upped the dose to four units.

[Lost a bunch of this; not really wanting to have to re-create it.]
I'll give the short version. By the beginning of last week my Lantus dose, my blood sugar, and my weight had all "converged" at better numbers. Almost all my blood sugar readings are now between 100 and 140, with many of them 100-120. I had one reading below 100, prompting me to lower my Lantus dose from 10 to 9. My weight is down to 245, the lowest it's been in 10 years. My blood pressure, as measured at those stations at Wal-Mart, was 87/59 a week ago. I began cutting my blood pressure pills in half, and yesterday it was 110/61. I'm hoping to be off that completely in a month.

Meanwhile my energy level is up. On Saturdays I normally take an old saw and work on cutting up a tree that fell. Normally I can get one piece cut (7 to 8 inch diameter oak) before my arms give out. Last Saturday I was able to cut two pieces with no problem, and could have done more I think. I'm walking 20 minutes at lunch after eating, and almost that much evenings after supper. I think walking after eating is doing more for me than walking before.

Today my mother-in-law took us out to eat after church. This is the first time I've eaten out since my March 31 awakening. Chinese buffet. I ate too much, but the selections I ate were better than I normally do. No potatoes or heavily breaded items. Lots of vegetables, not much fried rice. It will be interesting to see where my blood sugar is before supper.

All of which is of little interest to my loyal blog readers, but I'm writing it anyway. My next doctor appointment is on May 24th. I'm actually looking forward to it. I'll probably post something here, saying what his expression was like to see a reformed, transformed patient.


Poppy White-Herrin said...

Actually, it does interest me. I can't remember if I've told you this or not, but I am a medical transcriptionist and for the past several months I have been transcribing for a female nurse practitioner who gives diabetes I'm familiar with the drugs, treatments and dietary changes involved with diabetes. Yes, the drugs help, of course, but she tries to emphasize the diet and exercise part because the more your body can do for itself, the less you will need medication. Good luck with it, Dave. Here's to you being in good health.

David A. Todd said...

Thanks, Poppy. I've been taking some extra readings now and then, about two or three hours after eating, to see what that does to my blood sugar. Also, had suppers the last two night that had more carbs than I've eaten for almost four weeks. The sugar spike wasn't as high as I expected it to be. Nor has it been in the 3 hours after eating tests. Overall, it's good news.