The battery mishap that reminded me I’m only human

You know if you’ve read the post below that I am not exactly tech-savvy. Well what happened to me this morning is almost embarrassing to reveal, but what the heck. In the name of diabetes it may offer you some solace.

A month ago I cancelled an interview I was going to do with a patient, as I continue to collect all our stories of living with diabetes. I cancelled because my tape recorder didn’t work. Kaput! When I pressed the on button, nothing went on. I am reliant on it to record, and although there are 2 other recorders in the house, I don’t know how to use them.

I was disappointed I had to postpone the interview, and even worse, felt bad that someone had set aside time for me and I had to reschedule. Of course she was very kind and we rescheduled for four weeks later – after my husband would be back from Holland to fix the recorder or help me work one of the others in the house. You know I’ve heard of couples becoming co-dependent and in the past actually felt sorry for them. Yep, here I am.

So this morning I pulled out the recorder and showed my husband how when you press the power button nothing happens. Then I handed it to him. He began to look at it when he remarked, “It’s awfully light. Are you sure there are batteries in here?”

I lifted the battery cover to discover, to my dismay, there weren’t. He laughed like a hyena. His six foot, 128 pound frame shook from head to toe. I immediately pulled two batteries out of the drawer, put them in the recorder, and presto, it powered on. I’m sure what happened was the last time I used the recorder I pulled the battery cover off to take out the memory stick, took out the batteries as well that were likely running low, got distracted with any of a million things, came back to the recorder and forgetting I was going to change the batteries, closed the empty battery tray and put the recorder away.

I disclose my error, foolishness, absentmindedness, laugh-inducing mishap for one reason. Since life has become so increasingly fast, busy, frantic, chaotic, multi-task-demanding, haven’t we all noticed some lapses and spells of absent-mindedness? Now ponder: how are we expected to perfectly fulfill the multiple and constant requirements of good diabetes management? 

Just to name a few:

planning meals

counting carbs

taking your medicine, if on insulin calculating your dose before each meal and post meals for corrections

checking your blood sugar x times a day and deciding what to do about the numbers

deciding whether it’s safe to exercise, grab some glucose tabs or wait an hour

seeing your team of doctors

getting your lab work done

shopping for healthy food

preparing healthy meals

managing the tightrope between highs and lows

packing and carrying your supplies everywhere

always having fast acting carbohydrate on hand for a low

figuring out how to manage the time difference when you travel. I still haven’t cracked this one

explaining when people tell you you can’t eat something

explaining when people ask you to eat something they made just for you

hitting a rough spot, tough time, mysterious readings, burn-out and depression

knowing no one “gets it” who doesn’t have it

knowing it never lets up

knowing you have a responsibility each day to do your best, yet being human simple can’t always do it

wondering how that will impact your here and now and long term future

and on, and on, and on, day after day after day after day after week after month after year after year after year after decade after decade after decade.

Now tell me what we do every day isn’t miraculous. And I’ll tell you when you falter, it’s human nature, like forgetting to put the batteries in your recorder. 

When you notice you’re out of juice, just put your batteries back in, and turn the power button back on and let it be.

Designing healthy meals with the GoMeals app

UnknownGoMeals Application

I admit it – I use my ipad mostly to get and return emails when I’m on the road. But recently, while speaking in Bangor Maine, I saw a card on a vendor table for the GoMeals app by sanofi aventis. 

So I downloaded it. And I tried it. And I was impressed. It’s easy to use and has a ton of  information. To be exact, it stores a database of over 25,000 generic and brand food items and 20,000 restaurant menu foods. It even had my Trader Joe soup.  

GoMeals can help you create a meal, adding up your calories, carbs and fat grams as you place foods on your virtual plate. You can save your favorite meals, keep a food log and locate local restaurants. 

To get the app click here. Now if only it would do my laundry…

50 Diabetes Myths book now available in China

I couldn’t be more pleased, and more amused, to see that my book, 50 Diabetes Myths That Can Ruin Your Life and the 50 Diabetes Truths That Can Save It is now in Mandarin and available in China.

Quite shocking, actually, to hold a book in your hands that you not only can’t read, but can’t figure out if you’re actually holding correctly. 

While China is economically becoming “the new Japan,” part of its new wealth is also contributing to making it the country with the largest number of people with diabetes. 

According to the International Diabetes Federation 92.4 million adults in China have diabetes, superseding India’s ranking as fastest growing nation with diabetes, and it’s expected by 2030 there will be close to half a billion people in China with diabetes.

Well, all I can say is I hope a few people buy a book before they end up reproduced on the black market for a nickel a copy. 

Do check out the addition I insisted on – the ice cream cone on the cover 😉

My vacation pledge – next time

HollandLondon 2010-37It’s almost cliché to say wherever you go, diabetes goes with you. But don’t we all wish diabetes would go on a vacation when we do? A separate vacation.

Just back from 12 days in Holland and London, it was a wonderful trip. Not a spot of rain and lots of time with friends and family. 

But then there’s that uninvited, omnipresent diabetes. 

There’s a reason why they call the Netherlands, “bread country.” Or maybe it’s just me who calls it that. Bread is everywhere, at every meal. I also call it “potato country.” 

Broodjes, Dutch for sandwiches abound. As do quaint little bread bakeries. And fries are considered a vegetable. Often the only vegetable that arrives at your table. So just when I thought I’d figured out how many units of Apidra to dose for a broodje with smoked salmon, my early morning breakfast at the airport’s Deli France, my blood sugar was 264 two hours later. Welcome to Amsterdam.

Then, unfortunately, while staying with acquaintances, as my husband and I did in London, I erred on the side of politeness rather being direct about what foods I prefer to eat and not eat to keep my blood sugar better controlled. 

So for five smashingly beautiful days in London I spent some time smashing my head against my own reserve not wanting to make my hosts feel uncomfortable with my own imposed food restrictions. That meant drinking orange juice for breakfast which I never do. Eating cold breakfast cereal loaded with carbs which I never do. I couldn’t help myself on the second evening combing through a dinner salad and removing all the raisins. I realized what it looked like when my husband opened his mouth to explain dried fruit raises my blood sugar. That understood by my hosts unfortunately did not translate into apple-laced mashed potatoes did too. 

Then, two days in a row there was the spontaneous 3 PM and 4 PM outing to the park for an endurance walk. The first day, I covered it retroactively with glucose tablets. The second, I gave in to half a chocolate cupcake minutes before the announcement. By visit’s end, I was no longer sweating from the unexpected power-walks, but the frustration of not being able to control my food, my environment and my routine. Diabetes, go somewhere else on vacation!

Lest you think I had a crummy time, far from it. There were gorgeous strolls in Kew Gardens and historic towns just outside of London, including a drop-in at the local pub. There was the evening seeing Les Miserable and exiting with the theatre throng onto fantastic Piccadilly Circus. And there was the party my husband threw for his mentor of 30 years. 

But, I was reminded how invaluable my routine is to the numbers I like to see on my meter and how crushed I am when I can’t predict, a wit, what numbers will show up. 

So I realize I need to come clean next time. Bust through my own reserve not to offend my very gracious hosts and share with them what menu options make my life easier. And I pledge that next time I will do exactly that.  

Home now, I can’t tell you how divine it is, although you probably can guess, to fill my morning breakfast bowl with steel cut oats, peanut butter and no-fat plain yogurt and my lunch and dinner plate with crunchy green vegetables. And thank goodness my better blood sugar numbers, while on vacation in London, have come back to Brooklyn with me.

While others feel routine takes the “spice” out of life, for me it allows me to put it everywhere else in-between my meals.