April 12, 2012

Does Your Blood Glucose Testing Work?

This is a continuation of some of the recent discussions within our group with members from the second group present. We have been discussing testing rather intensely and getting mixed signals from those on oral medications. Finally, we started asking questions of them, when they were testing, and why. It seemed like we were talking to ourselves.

Allen did realize what was happening and started asking questions without saying it was for them. They politely listened and excused themselves early. Sue then asked to talk about testing for her brothers Ben and Barry who are both on insulin. Before we started, Ben said thank you to Tim. He stated that the day we had met was a very low period for him and now that he was getting his diabetes under better management, he was feeling better, more positive, and with Barry now living with him we could stop worrying about him.

We did discuss the level of his vision and he said it was not as bad as first thought, but he was going to have to get and keep his A1c much lower to save it. All of us present expressed our concern saying that we have been researching and talking about depression since Tim was the only one that really knew what to do. Ben stated that was one reason he was listening to his sister about how much we cared and that she had given us every reason to make life miserable for her, but we had not retaliated. Instead, we had done everything to make sure she got the knowledge she needed.

Even Allen expressed his thanks for our support and for trying to talk to the others, but he felt that they may still be in denial and for the present, we were not going to change their minds. Ben agreed and started asking questions about the insulin. Since I am on the same insulins and obtain mine through the VA, I told him that as soon as he got an appointment to let me know so that I could talk to him before the appointment.

We covered a lot about testing and the importance of keeping blood glucose levels down. We also talked about reducing his carbohydrates even though he was not overweight, insulin would make food more available to the cells and he could gain weight. He said that he and his brother were starting an exercise regimen and trying to walk several miles each day, weather permitting. Barry had a treadmill that they would be using especially during bad weather and would be looking for another piece of equipment over the summer.

Then we got into this blog by David Spero. Since Tim had a laptop, we pulled it up and covered it very carefully. Ben and Barry were both surprised when we pulled up the site for the calculator for converting A1c to average blood glucose. They both wanted to see their most recent A1c converted average blood glucose levels. Surprises all around and Ben said it was no surprise now why his doctor converted him to insulin. Barry said this even made his A1c more meaningful.

Ben asked if it might be possible once he learned what his food was actually doing to his blood glucose levels and he was managing his levels better if it would be possible to get off insulin. All of us agreed that it could be a goal, but with his sight problem, he may want to consider remaining on insulin. We all explained why we would stay on insulin and he said we have given him a lot to think about and he was glad that his brother and sister were with him. We kidded him about some of the insulin myths and he agreed that was what drove his question.

I asked him if he had a computer and Barry spoke up and said he did. He gave us his email address and asked that we include him in our lists. Tim said he would send him one that evening and include the rest of our emails, my blog site, our telephone numbers, and several other sites we used to get him started. Even Ben was now more interested and asked how long it would take him to become computer literate. We asked if he could obtain a computer and he said that should not be a problem and asked several questions about what he should consider. After some more conversation, Sue said she needed to get home and we broke up for the evening and I promised to talk more with Ben and Barry.

In a few days, Ben has seen what he wants and knew of the business I took him to and the owner and his family. After seeing one set up with a monitor that would greatly assist him, he ordered a computer and would purchased the monitor of his choice. Barry said he has been surprised about the sites provided him and did not realize all the information existed about diabetes. Ben says he now understands why Allen wanted to be a member of our group and expressed his desire to belong as well. I told him that it should not be a problem, but that they should ask at our next get-together.

Barry commented that in the few days since our meeting he has learned more than he had learned the five years since diagnosis. He said he thought he was doing well to have the A1c's he was obtaining, but he now understood why and how lucky he was on his own. He even commented about how lucky it was to have a family that now understood about diabetes even if they did not want to have diabetes. He explained that his doctor had started him on insulin and that he felt lucky that even happened.

Then he surprised me when he asked why we were so open about our diabetes. He said where he lived before, he only knew one other person with diabetes and he was a type 1 and seldom talked about diabetes. He then stated that in the week of being here he has met two others from the group that Ben had been in and seven of our group. I said there were eight of us, but that Brenda had not been at the last few meetings. She is the sixth of our group to be on insulin and only Allen and Sue were not.

Tim stated that one of the reasons we were open to discussion was because we had found each other quite by accident and in the process decided to meet somewhat informally. We did not want the formality of a support group and liked the idea of not needing to attend if we had other obligations. We all had computers and enjoyed reading and researching and discussing what we found either via email or telephone. We all felt the format of our friendship was getting together and clarifying something we may have misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Ben then stated that only Allen had held the group together and that the rest, including himself, had not been all that interested. They were just good friends that had diabetes. I said that could have been the reason Allen wanted to be part of our group since he wanted to learn more. Ben agreed and said he now needed to learn more and was looking forward to learning about the computer and being able to do some reading. He admitted he would not being doing the level of research that several of our group was into, but he said that reading over his brother's shoulder was interesting and he was learning.

I commented that it was good to have new people asking questions because this helped us review old topics for us and incorporate new material. Plus with others asking questions, this would keep us on our toes and remembering to not let new articles and blogs get by-passed because we thought we knew it. This was why we had used the recent blog by David Spero as it had some points that were good review for us as well.

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