Calling all diabetics . . .

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Thanks to all those who helped on my most recent Q while working on my latest story idea. This is another one. I've perused several websites, and I've had one friend (now deceased) who had diabetes. Also my late cat Arizona developed it at age 14, and I gave him his insulin shots and monitored his food intake for almost two years. One of my lead characters is diabetic, age 55, with an injured leg that requires him to use a cane. It's important to the plot in that, at one point, he will be separated from his insulin supply. If you have diabetes, what is your daily routine? What is this "monitoring" and "coding" I see on TV ads? I'm presuming my character would need at least one injection a day, but would two be necessary depending on the severity? As I understand it, injuries like a broken leg are much more dangerous -- my late friend also had leg issues. And what symptoms does a diabetic display as time goes by after a missed injection? Thanks!
 
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I am 64 years old. I am a diabetic and have been for 20 years this November. I get up at 6:45 AM. I take a urine test looking for the possibility of ketones. I take a blood test with a device called a glucometer. I use a spring loaded device, that looks like a ball point pen, to propel a lancet into a finger. The blood drop is then applied to a test strip in the glucometer. Every time I get a new tube of test strips, I have to code the meter to match the code on the test strips to get an accurate reading. This is called monitoring. According to the blood test reading, I then take an insulin injection in units to match the information from the reading. My doctor has told me how much insulin to take according to the blood reading. I also take a morning pill for diabetes, a pill for blood pressure, a pill for enzyme levels, a pill for heart, and a pill that helps the insulin injection work. I then eat my breakfast according to blood reading and medications taken. I must eat my breakfast no later than 7:15 AM or it will throw my artificial schedule off enough to cause problems. A typical breakfast would be artificial eggs such as egg beaters, a sausage or bacon made of soybeans, a slice of tomato, and a cup of coffee. At 12:45 PM, I take the tests again. I take an insulin injection and only one pill according to the test results. I must eat my lunch no later than 1:15 PM. A typical lunch would be a salad with lots of greens such as green onions, spinach, mustard greens, collard greens, lettuce, vinegar and a little soy oil. I spice the salad up with soy bacon bits or soy sausage. I do it all again at 6:45 PM. I take the insulin injection according to the test, a pill to help the insulin work, a pill for diabetes(helps absorb sugars) a pill for enzymes, and pill for circulation. My supper would be baked or broiled meat,(my wife makes a diabetic meat loaf that is out of this world) green vegetables,(steamed green beans, steamed asparagus, steamed cabbage, green peppers, jalapeno peppers, and such) onions, garlic, and a 4 ounce glass of extra dry white wine. I have to drink dry white wine for supper if I eat any flesh, fish, foul, or meat. It lowers my blood sugar an average of 14 points and greatly helps digestion. I hate dry white wine. For treats, I can have one bottle of either Miller Lite, Busch Light, Natural Light, or Rock Green Light. At 10:00 PM, I take another injection of overnight insulin calculated by my doctor. It is the same each night. If my blood sugar goes low, I become completely disoriented. I would not know who my wife was, what a car is, the difference between sitting and standing as examples. If I were to be without insulin, I would begin to have difficulty seeing clearly, I would be extremely tired, I would have an uncontrolled thirst, I would eventually pass out, then go into a coma. I plan on going fishing tomorrow. I will have to take my lunch and my supper with me, and of course insulin and other medications. I will also have to take something, like life savers candy, because the increase/difference in activity could cause my blood sugar to go low and I would need to bring it up again quickly, less I reach the point I do not know that I cannot walk on water(not a joke) I must especially avoid potatoes(about 90% conversion to carbohydrates/sugar) any grain served in any way(no bread, cake, doughnuts, cereals, no oats for breakfast). No oranges and very little, if any, other fruits.. Oranges are so high in convertible carbs that orange juice is one of the emergency treatments for low blood sugar. Much of my fish, foul, meat is grilled out on the deck. Even in winter, our grill gets used. I have to be very careful not to injure myself as diabetics heal slowly or not at all. A foot injury could be critical or even lethal. Having said all of this, I enjoy working on my vehicles and tractors, I love yard work and have way more of a lawn tractor than I really need, I fish a lot, I rode a motorcycle, long trips, until by back gave out in May, 2007, I design and tye my own trout flies, I am a ham radio operator, I have a distinguished master rating with 6 different firearms. I shot in archery competition up until July of 2007. Now I just shoot to amuse muself. I taught my grandchildren fishing, archery, and sport shooting. I have a 11 year old with a master rate and a 9 year old with an expert rate. I am careful, but not fearful. I am very active with the Church. I teach adult catechism, youth(14-17 year old) catechism, I am youth director, and safety director. When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I was rather shocked and very confused. I asked my doctor if this was going to kill me. He said possibly, but not likely. There was always the chance I would wreck my motorcycle, fall over a waterfall on a trout stream, shoot myself, or die of old age. I have narrowed it down to falling over the waterfall or old age ;\)
 

Benzadmiral

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Frank, Thanks! That's exactly the sort of thing I need to know. It'll be revealed bit by bit as I go along; the narrator is a young woman to whom all this is new, or nearly so. I read somewhere on the 'Net that the officious thugs of the Transportation Safety Admin. have questioned people carrying their insulin supply onto planes. Have you heard of that, or did it ever happen to you?
 
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When I was insulin dependent, I was very good at micro-managing my sugar. It was sorta like process control. The meds were all passive and about as useful as vitamins are for a heavy smoker who works in a smelter. If I knew I was going out for a family outing ..where perhaps a distinctive beer and fancy dessert would be included, I was able to adjust the dual insulin dose to compensate. I had a perfect A1C number. This was ended when they came out with one shot insulin (Lantis). A hot fudge sundae could not be compensated for ..even with increased dosage. \:\( Many diabetics can be insulin free if they're on the Atkins diet. Solid 85 blood sugar readings. It just gets boring or expensive to eat mostly proteins and fats. Once I found a method of being insulin free, it removed one fear factor in terms of dependency on "systems". Rat meat (Rattah - Demolition Man ) should provide the needed protein ..squirrel too.
 
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Many diabetics can be insulin free if they're on the Atkins diet. Solid 85 blood sugar readings. It just gets boring or expensive to eat mostly proteins and fats. Once I found a method of being insulin free, it removed one fear factor in terms of dependency on "systems". Rat meat (Rattah - Demolition Man ) should provide the needed protein ..squirrel too. So just out of curiosity, are you doing the Atkins thing or have you found another method (rat meat) that enables you to be insulin free?
 
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 Originally Posted By: levi
Many diabetics can be insulin free if they're on the Atkins diet. Solid 85 blood sugar readings. It just gets boring or expensive to eat mostly proteins and fats. Once I found a method of being insulin free, it removed one fear factor in terms of dependency on "systems". Rat meat (Rattah - Demolition Man ) should provide the needed protein ..squirrel too. So just out of curiosity, are you doing the Atkins thing or have you found another method (rat meat) that enables you to be insulin free?
No, now I suffer the diet tap dancing that you have to do if you want to be insulin free. Once off of insulin, my new doctor (same group - the Pulmonary guy got too busy - longer story) is reluctant to put me back on it. She wants to pencil whip a bunch of expensive oral meds that allow little difference in lifestyle and are marginally effective (compared to insulin which is very cheap in comparison). What's odd is that when obesity triggers the onset of diabetes, getting lighter doesn't seem to restore your normalcy. I always had a perfect 100 reading (using my mothers glucometer) before becoming diabetic. My son does too. Others that I performed spot checks on (out of curiosity) would vary +/- (usually+) a decent amount. I'm 75lbs lighter from when it was discovered. One has to know oneself. I'm not into jumping through too many hoops. I need to have the remedy has to be effective and done in a manner that requires the least effort. That is, it must have some productivity quotient to it. I'm not going to take (up to) 5 or 6 oral meds AND micro-manage my diet all to hold some fragile sugar balance when ONE shot can dispose of most of the toil.
 
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