September 3, 2016

A Meeting for September

On Tuesday, I received an email from Brenda announcing a meeting on Thursday evening, September 1. The agenda was almost identical to the one Tim and I had laid out on the previous Wednesday. Brenda did ask that I not publish a blog until after the meeting was history.

I had several others call to make sure I would be there and would not accept anything but yes I would be there. Because of those that called, I decided to go. When I arrived, I did get a shock. All 19 were there and several non-members. The five that had foot problems had made it, as did Allison, Suzanne, and Beverly.

Sue started the meeting and asked if anyone was opposed to dues. No one spoke. Next, Sue asked if anyone wanted more or less than the $15 that had been discussed. Several asked if more dues could be raised later in the year if it was needed. Sue said this was not under consideration at this time, but she did ask if there was approval for more next year if it was needed. Everyone agreed, but asked if we could have the vote when needed. No one opposed this.

Brenda now said that the funds would be used to pay speakers and said that the discussion had been for paying each speaker a specified amount. Now we need to have a discussion about this. Now there were several questions. Allison asked why and if this would create conflict between Suzanne and her. Suzanne said it should not as she was now employed full time working as an instructor at the university, and as such she would not have time for anything else. 

She continued that she was here only to see what the decision was about Bob. Beverly asked if this could be moved up as Suzanne had at least two and a half hour drive. A.J moved that this be accomplished and Jerry seconded this. Sue asked for a vote of the members and it was unanimous. Brenda said this is the reason Sue was in charge this evening and moved that Bob be a member of this group in good standing. Barry seconded and the vote was unanimous. Allen called for me to give a speech and I tried to wave him off, but Sue called on me.

I said that I was very surprised when Tim told me I was being asked out of the support group. I admitted that I must have gathered a few enemies and they were hiding behind Tim now. Allen spoke then and said he now understands why Tim said I was out as several of the newer members did not like my attitude about dietary supplements and felt it was none of my business. One had even said he could get a majority to vote me out if necessary.

A.J asked what is wrong with this. He said we don't agree that these people are right and we feel that Bob is right that doctors need to know about dietary supplements and what conflicts they can cause with prescription medications. This brought a round of applause and Beverly said this was what she wanted to hear and she said she felt this was what Allison wanted also. Allison agreed and said Beverly and she had agreed that we would accept the fee and asked me not to disclose it.

Suzanne thanked everyone and said she would stay in contact with Beverly and Bob, but she would not be available to any support group. With that, she asked to be excused and left.

Beverly said this could reduce the amount of dues necessary and as far as she was concerned, this would be the only group that she would speak to about diabetes. Allison said the same applied to her for nutrition. She said that Bob has told us that he would not prevent us from speaking to any group, but we want you to know that we will limit it to this group only.

I then asked to speak and said I don't want this and felt that the group led by Glen and Dr. Tom's group had not caused me any harm and if asked, you should speak to these groups. Allison said she had not thought of those groups and would consider them when asked. Beverly agreed with Allison and thanked me for reminding them of these two groups.

Then I suggested that the meeting move forward to have the dues approved for speaker fees. Sue then said we have another item that needs discussion and that is the membership of Tim if he asks to be in this group. I asked why this needs to be discussed now as he has not been invited to this meeting and is not here to defend himself – he is one of the original six and there may have been a reason for his actions. Allen spoke then and said yes, he may have been for trying to keep both sides together, but he failed at that and should not have taken the other side by saying what he did.

Part 1 of 2 parts

September 2, 2016

More Discussions with George

On Wednesday, I called George to let him know what I had found out. I told him that the doctor was married and from my contacts, I found out that she could probably immigrate under a medical program for doctors. The nurse was widowed about 30 months earlier and had not remarried, but was actively involved with a boy friend.

George said both claimed they were single and not involved with anyone. He said that both were not being honest with him and he did not like it. I said I received my information from relatives of my wife and they had nothing to gain by not telling the truth. George asked what to do now. I said to tell them that you know about the doctor's husband and the nurse's close boy friend. I said this tells me the reason that the nurse would not take you to her home.

George said this could be interesting after they realize that they had been found not telling the truth. I agreed and said it could be very interesting to see what the response was, or if they would even respond.

Then I told George that there were several other single women that I could get names, email addresses, addresses, and telephone numbers for if he was interested in contacting any of them. George said he would prefer waiting a few months and then he might be interested. He did ask me to obtain ages and possible pictures for later use. I said okay and he again asked why they would do this.

I said they are looking for a paid way to the United States and probably figured they had a live one and were going to take advantage of this. I said I knew many that used this way and shortly after getting married (the visa requires marriage within 30 days of arriving in the U.S.) and then they claim abuse. Often they can then get a divorce, stay in country, and become naturalized citizens. Then they petition for their husbands or husbands-to-be and bring them to the U.S.

I gave George two websites used by people bringing people to the U.S. I told him to read some of the stories told there and then if he was interested, to join and ask questions of his own. He thanked me and said he had plenty to do at present and would do some reading on the one website and then wait for answers to his emails. He thanked me for the information and hoped that he might not hear from the doctor after she found out that there might be a path for her to immigrate.

I gave George the name of the nurse's boy friend and told him to carefully avoid mentioning this until he received a reply and then to drop it on her if she claims not to have a boy friend. I said I would email him the correct spelling and the address of the home the two of them shared to use if necessary.

With that, we said good-bye and promised we would stay in contact.

September 1, 2016

Stop! Are You Wasting Test Strips?

This blog is about the ways we as diabetes patients take care of our test strips. We need to avoid wasting them as each test strip we waste costs us money. They are expensive so we do not need to waste them carelessly.

Yet, people waste test strips. Common errors include not storing test strips properly, handling them with wet fingers, and not waiting until the meter says the strip is ready to be used. I have seen people jam the test strips into the meter carelessly and bending test strips. These errors happen too frequently and that is wasting money. Yes, errors will happen, but a few precautions will save test strips and save your hard-earned money.

First, make sure that you store your test strips properly. The containers they come in are the proper container to keep them in. Do not transfer the strips between containers as this can damage some of them. If you are like me and have large fingers, the first few strips are often hard to remove from the container. I keep a plastic tweezers handy for getting out the first few. No, I did not say metal tweezers, as that would be a good way to damage the delicate strips. Check with your pharmacist for a plastic one, they are available, but may need to be ordered.

The original containers are made of special materials that help preserve the test strips and keep them dry. Keep the test strips in the original container and do not transfer them between containers. It is important to use the strip as soon as possible after removing it from the container. Close the container after removing the strip to use. Keep the container out of direct sunlight especially when taking strips out and do not expose the strip to direct sunlight. Please do not put a few test strips in a baggie or in your purse to carry them. The test strips are delicate and can be damaged beyond use.

Keep the container of test strips in a dry place. The bathroom or the kitchen is often the worse place to store your test strips. Please wash your hands with warm soapy water (as hot as you can tolerate) and dry carefully before handling test strips. Never use wet or damp hands or fingers to handle the strip container or for removing a strip from the container.

It is important to perform tests with the meter and strips as close to room temperature as possible to get accurate results. Do not freeze your strips or store them in extreme cold, as this will probably produce errors or false readings. This applies to extreme heat or direct sunlight. I have seen people store them on the car dash in direct sun and then they wonder why they get weird test results.

Now that I have explained proper storage, I will return to proper use of the test strips. When you are ready to test, always have your meter out and ready to insert the test strip carefully. Make sure the lancing device is ready to use. Push the test strip straight into the slot provided. Then use your lancing device to prick your finger and get an adequate amount of blood available. By this time, your meter should be ready to have the test strip receive the required amount of blood. Hold the meter with the test strip inserted properly and slide the strip at an approximate 10 to 20-degree angle that will allow the strip to wick sufficient blood to get an accurate reading and move it into the blood. Do not hold the meter and test strip at a 90-degree angle to the blood spot as you may shut off the wicking of your blood before it has enough for a reading. This will get you an error message.

Good luck and may your readings be good and not receiving error messages. The test strips are important and you need to make efficient use to prevent waste.

August 31, 2016

Diabetes Terms to Learn – Part 3

Part 3 of 3 parts

Obese: Refers to someone with a BMI of 30 or higher, who is carrying a large amount of excess body fat. Too much body fat may cause or worsen health problems, including type 2 diabetes.

Overweight: Refers to someone with a BMI of between 25 and 29.9, who is carrying excess body fat. Someone who is overweight has an increased risk of health problems such as type 2 diabetes.

Protein: A substance made up of amino acids that your body needs to function. You'll find protein in meat, poultry, fish, legumes, tofu, eggs, nuts, seeds, and dairy products. Meats don't contain carbohydrates, so they won't raise your blood glucose unless your meal plan becomes high protein and high fat. At that time, your body can convert about 50 percent of protein into glucose.
Sodium: A mineral found in salt. Getting too much -- as most Americans do -- can raise your blood pressure, and, in turn, raise your risk of heart attack and stroke. Since these problems are often tied to diabetes, it's important to watch your intake. Processed foods tend to be very high in sodium.

Starch: A type of carbohydrate found in grains, as well as in starchy vegetables such as peas, corn, beans, and potatoes. Just like sugar (another type of carbohydrate), starch can raise your blood glucose; so, it's important to pay attention to how much you're eating.

Strength training: Physical activity designed to build muscle strength or muscle mass. Some examples include lifting free weights, working with weight machines, and exercising with resistance bands. Also called resistance exercise, it can help make your body use insulin more effectively.

Sugar: A type of sweet-tasting carbohydrate. Includes glucose, fructose, and sucrose.

Sugar alcohols: A type of low-calorie sweetener that's often used in "diet" and "sugar-free" foods. These usually end in "-ol." Examples include erythritol, sorbitol, and xylitol. Foods containing these sweeteners may still have carbs and can increase blood glucose, so be sure to check the nutrition label. Sugar alcohols may cause stomach upset in some people.

Whole grains: Grains that have the entire grain kernel, including the nutrient-rich bran and germ. Refined grains (such as white bread), on the other hand, have had the bran and germ removed and contains only the starchy endosperm. Whole grains have more fiber than refined ones, so they're digested more slowly and won't cause your blood sugar to rise as fast. This needs to be watched carefully and many breads that claim to be whole grain

More terms can be found here, here, and here. David Mendosa's blog about terms can be found here. There are always terms that need to be learned and I will probably have more later.

August 30, 2016

Diabetes Terms to Learn – Part 2

Part 2 of 3 parts

Fat:  A nutrient you need for energy and other bodily functions. Although some fat is necessary, it's important not to overdo it. Try to pick healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated) over less healthy fats (saturated) and avoid this fat (trans).

Fiber:  A type of carbohydrate that the body can’t digest. It can’t be broken down into glucose.  You'll find it in fruit, vegetables, beans, whole grains, and nuts. High-fiber foods tend to be bulky and require extra chewing, so they may boost your weight loss efforts by helping you feel fuller longer. Fiber plays an important role in the digestive process and getting enough may also help improve your blood glucose levels.

Food journaling (meal tracking): The process of writing down or otherwise recording what you eat. Research has shown that keeping track of your food intake can help you lose weight.

Glucose tablets: Chewable glucose used by people with diabetes to raise their blood glucose quickly when it drops dangerously low (hypoglycemia). These products come in a variety of flavors and forms such as gels, liquids, and powders, as well. If you take a medication that makes you prone to this problem, your doctor may tell you to carry glucose tablets with you -- especially during exercise.

Hyperglycemia: An excess of glucose in the bloodstream (high blood glucose). People with high blood glucose (including those with type 2 diabetes) don't produce enough insulin, or their bodies have trouble using it.

Hypoglycemia: Blood glucose that is too low. It may cause shakiness, dizziness, confusion, or even fainting. This problem is more common in people with type 1 diabetes, but it can happen to those with type 2 as well -- especially if you take certain medications.

Insulin: A hormone produced by the pancreas that helps the body use glucose (sugar) for energy. People with type 2 diabetes either don't make enough insulin, or their bodies don't use it effectively.

Insulin resistance: This means that the body isn't properly using the insulin it produces. Getting regular exercise -- both aerobic exercise and strength training-- can help with this problem.

Meal plan (meal planning): Any strategy used to map out what you're going to eat. This term may refer to following a specific diet, or it may just indicate the process of thinking through what you plan to eat beforehand. This can become a weekly plan or for a longer period.

Metabolism: The process of converting food into the energy that allows your body to function. People who have a fast metabolism (metabolic rate) use up calories more quickly than those with slower metabolisms. One way you can increase your metabolism is by exercising.

Natural no-calorie sweeteners: Similar to artificial sweeteners, except these come from a natural source. Stevia (Truvia, PureVia, etc.) is considered a natural sweetener because it comes from the stevia plant.

August 29, 2016

Diabetes Terms to Learn – Part 1

Part 1 of 3 parts

These terms appeared in a WebMD article and while I don't agree with all their definitions, I will expose you to the terms and my definitions where needed.

Aerobic exercise: Any rhythmic physical activity that uses large muscle groups and causes the heart and lungs to work harder than when your body is at rest. Also called cardio exercise, it’s been proven to lower blood sugar levels.

Artificial sweeteners: Also called non-nutritive sweeteners, includes low-calorie or non-caloric sweeteners or sugar substitutes. These add a sweet flavor with fewer calories than table sugar, corn syrup, or fruit juice concentrates. Examples include aspartame (NutraSweet and Equal), sucralose (Splenda), acesulfame potassium, neotame, and saccharin (Sweet'N Low).

Blood sugar: Correctly called blood glucose, this is the sugar that's in your bloodstream. People with type 2 diabetes have too much blood glucose because insulin levels or actions aren’t working well.

Body mass index (BMI): A calculation based on your height and weight to categorize you as underweight, at a healthy weight, overweight, or obese. BMI gives an idea of what your risks of health problems are based on your weight. You can calculate yours here.

Carbohydrates (carbs): A primary source of food your body uses for energy. These include simple carbohydrates (such as honey, table sugar, and high-fructose corn syrup), as well as complex carbohydrates. Complex carbs include starches (such as rice and potatoes) and dietary fiber (found in fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains).

Carbohydrate counting: A meal-planning technique used by some people with diabetes. It involves tracking the grams of carbs in food to ensure that you don't eat more than a predetermined amount at a given meal.

Cholesterol: A waxy substance found in your blood. Your body naturally makes cholesterol, but it’s also found in foods that you eat (namely, animal products). Since diabetes and heart disease often go hand in hand, your doctor may want to keep closer tabs on your cholesterol levels. He or she will want to make sure that your LDL ("bad") cholesterol -- which can lead to heart disease -- is not too high, and that your HDL ("good") cholesterol -- which is protective -- is high enough.

Diabetes educator: Also called a certified diabetes educator (CDE), this is a specialist who counsels people with diabetes about how to care for their condition. Diabetes educators are often nurses, dietitians, doctors, or pharmacists.

Diabetes-friendly food: Any food that is healthy for someone with diabetes to have. Because there are no special foods that a person with diabetes must eat, pretty much any healthy food can qualify. Warning: Some packaged foods that aren't especially healthy may be labeled "diabetes-friendly," so always check nutrition labels and list of ingredients.

Dietitian: Also called a nutritionist by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and is an "expert" who is trained in the science of nutrition and advises others about healthy eating.  Most nutritionists are registered dietitians (RD or RDN); this credential means that someone has completed a higher level of training (bachelors degree and seldom more) and passed a registration exam.

Endocrinologist: A doctor who specializes in endocrine diseases -- including diabetes -- that are related to hormones (such as insulin).

August 28, 2016

Changes after Leaving Support Group

The Friday after leaving the support group, A.J called and asked what had happened. I asked what he was talking about and he said we received an email this afternoon saying you were out of the support group. I said yes, and I don't know who is in charge, but I will survive. A.J said he would not go along with this and wondered what to do.

Then he asked about my cousins and what would happen there. I said I hadn't thought about it, but I will let them decide what they want to do and I will not stand in their way. A.J asked if I would be starting a group, and I said maybe or join another group. A.J asked me please let him know so he could stay with me and Jerry would be with him on this.

A little later, Tom called and asked me what had happened. I said I have obviously made some enemies and have been invited out of the group. I told Tom that I wanted to let things blow over and see what happens before I get anxious. Tom said he would be talking to Beverly and she would contact Suzanne. I told Tom that I would not stand in their way of teaching to any group.

The phone was busy for the next few hours and I wondered what was happening. Then Brenda called and asked what I had done to be separated from the support group. She did not approve of what was happening and would be leaving the group and she would see what Allison thought. I told Brenda what I thought had happened and said I was just trying to figure out whom I had offended, but I would make the best of the situation.

I was surprised at the number of people that were with and not against me. I had a list of 19 people when the phone stopped ringing and really wondered what Tim was doing. The last few were people I had expected would be against me and I was a little surprised. Brenda had emailed me a list of 24 people that she found out were not in favor of my continued membership and said that we could get along without them as five of us were in the original six and the next group had joined by ones for the next two to three years.

At 10:00 PM, Suzanne called and said I know you stay up late. She said she had heard from Beverly and wanted to find out for herself. I explained what had happened and explained that about half the group did not want me as a member and the rest did. I said I am waiting for the dust to settle and see what the final numbers are. Suzanne asked if I had preferences as to what she did and I said I would not stop her from serving any group or individuals.

She indicated that Tim had sent her an email asking her to speak to the group in December and she would need to see what the others thought. She added that Beverly and Allison were the others.

I told her that my answer would be the same as I told her. I would not stop them
if they chose to have classes for them. She said that is good to know and now she could decide for herself, but still would talk to Beverly.

On Saturday, Brenda called again and said she had a place for our next meeting and would let everyone know in an email. She said that Sue was helping her and she would have the agenda for our meeting as part of the email. Brenda said that dues would be on the agenda and she liked the idea of paying for speakers outside of members of the group. She liked the idea of bringing in members in October and she was planning on Jason and her completing the program in November that had been postponed too many times, unless something else was decided.

I thanked her and asked for no surprises when it came to me as I wanted to see how things went and evaluate things for myself before I made up my mind on the final course of action for me. She agreed and asked that I be present at the meeting.