Tuesday, June 5, 2012
Diabetes, Extremes and Extremities
I remember that when I was diagnosed with Diabetes in 1997, I didn't get a lot of education. "Test your blood sugar every morning before you eat and take one of these pills every day and come see me in 3 months". Well, really. How big a deal could this be? Things coasted along all right for a while. Poke my finger. Take a pill. Once in a while I would hit a low blood sugar, get that anxious feeling, and overdose on candy bars. But things floated along on an even keel. Then, during an off-site car sale, I dehydrated, wound up in the ER getting IVs for fluid, and got an appointment with an endocrinologist. Dr. Dana Clarke. An amazing doctor who said "Test your blood sugar every morning before you eat and take one of these pills every day and come see me in 3 months" is NOT how you treat diabetes. It's how you let diabetes win the battle. So I went to the pharmacy and picked up my bottle of insulin, box of syringes, alcohol swabs, and suddenly, diabetes was kind of a big deal.
Fast forward a few years. I've learned that diabetes is a roller coaster. Sometimes it's a fun ride because things are normal. Well, as normal as things can be when you take 3-5 shots per day. And take a handful of pills. And other times the ride is scary, because your blood sugar number is unexplainable high. Or low. Maybe you can figure out the change in numbers because of what you ate. Or didn't eat. Or maybe a med was missed. And sometimes there just isn't a reason. It just happens.
One of my problems I'm dealing with is that I've always worked on my feet. I started out mowing lawns. Then hauling hay. Then working in a restaurant through high school. And once I was out of college, I started selling cars. Always on my feet. Developing huge callouses. And in 2009, one of those callouses turned into an open ulcer. Of course, thanks to my friend diabetes, I had already developed neuropathy in my feet. The ulcer was there, but I couldn't feel it. The result? One missing toe.
So I moved to Oregon the first of April. An expired apartment lease and long tired of working with uninspiring management, it was time for a change. And time to get on with my life, which included a fast evaporating amount of time spent with my kids. Or I guess I should say a lack of time spent with my kids. Their choice, not mine. Suddenly, I wasn't figuring in to their lives anymore.
I knew I would miss my kids. I was already missing them, and only living 7 miles away. So I go on my first job interview. Hired! However, no longer working on the Internet, which I've done for 12 years. No, I'm going full time, on the asphalt, wearing out the dogs. Something I was mentally prepared for. But apparently, not physically. My feet just could not take it. Two weeks in, and I'm seeing a podiatrist. Who sidelines me for a couple of weeks to see how the feet heal. And then, I'm on a 4-6 week hiatus from work. The feet are healing. Just slowly. Cabin fever set in long ago. And with no income, things are beyond tough. That's the tough part of starting a new job. No disability insurance.
So once the doc releases me to work, my job will be waiting. The concern is whether my feet will hold up to it. Will I be able to work full time? Part time? Change professions? How many new careers can you start at my age that doesn't require a lot of foot work? Time will tell. For now, I'm playing Mr. Mom and doing stuff around the house. But staying off my feet for the most part. As usual, I'm back on that roller coaster ride known as diabetes. And sometimes, it just sucks!