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Monitored

Today I'm linking up with Brenda at BYG Adventures where the word we are Pondering this week is "monitor".

In my family the word monitor means just one thing, the thing you see pictured up there... a blood glucose monitor.  My daughter's been using one since she was twelve; my niece started at seven.  My father was in his 70's when one became a part of his daily life. I have many friends, co-workers and other loved ones that use them too.  They are all diabetic, either Type I or Type II, and that handy little device up there tells them the level of glucose (sugar) in their blood. 

Keeping blood glucose levels within near-normal range makes all the difference, not only in the quality of their lives but the length of their lives as well.  Blood sugar too low can result in insulin shock that will ultimately lead to  death.  Blood sugar too high can cause a host of physical problems... like blindness, kidney failure, and decreased circulation in extremities which can lead to amputation. Very high blood glucose levels lead to diabetic coma that could also result in death.  Serious business -  scary stuff. 

Blood sugar can usually be controlled by medication (either oral or injection), diet, exercise, adequate sleep, and stress control. Frequent monitoring, often more than once a day, helps diabetics keep their blood sugar levels in a safe range.  That all sounds simple enough, but in reality it's a lifetime of vigilance... testing, medicating, regulating what you eat and when, and always being prepared for unexpected incidences of low blood sugar or high blood sugar.  Being diabetic means knowing that if you cheat on your diet, and because your human you sometimes will, that you will pay for that indiscretion by having a reaction or just plain feeling crappy.  This doesn't leave a lot of room for living off the cuff.

When you have a family member or close friend that is diabetic you learn to know the indications that they are experiencing low blood sugar or high blood sugar.  You can tell by the way they look and they way they act.  This means that you are always observant, trying to avoid potentially dangerous and life-threatening situations.  It also means being able to keep your composure during diabetic reactions... knowing what to do and what not to do, and when you need to call for medical assistance.

I've been through it all with my daughter, the lows, the highs, the fears, the tears, the embarrassment, the hospitalizations, the depression, the frustration, and the anger at having your entire life revolve around the number on that little monitor up there.

Over 8% of the U.S. population has been diagnosed as diabetic, and millions more suffer from it but are not yet diagnosed.  One would think that they could find a cure, but despite massive amounts of research and nation-wide annual funding campaigns, that's not going to happen anytime soon.  Why? Diabetic medical care, medications, and supplies comprise a billion dollar industry, and they are not willing to go down without a fight.  For those of us who have loved ones living with diabetes, that is a harsh reality that really stinks.
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Head on over to Brenda's place and see what others are Pondering today!


11 comments:

  1. Great post... I think that diabetes, like most other life time illnesses can be handle to still allow a decent quality of life.
    Thanks for pondering with me!

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    1. Definitely yes, Brenda, life has to go on, you just learn to monitor...monitor...monitor. Diabetic care and food options are much better than they used to be too:-) Even then, it can throw curves, my niece is having serious eye issues, yet she is under 40 and maintains good diabetic control. It's a challenge for sure, and that is true for all chronic illness. I count my blessings for sure.

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  2. My mother used the blood glucose monitor every day, too.
    She was very careful about what she ate, and she went for a walk after supper every day, even in the snowstorms.
    I hope that some conscientious scientists will discover a cure, and make it available for everyone soon.

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    1. You know the life of a diabetic very well then, Romi. It is awesome that your mom tried hard to stay healthy and keep those blood sugars under control! Diabetes is one of those "hidden" diseases where no one on the outside realizes anything is wrong or how hard it can be some days, especially if you are young. My niece at 38 is having serious vision problems related to her diabetes, yet she has always maintained good blood sugar control. It breaks my heart for her, life is sometimes unfair. I join you in hoping that a cure will soon be found!

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  3. With type 2, the best treatment is prevention, of course. You are right that finding a cure won't be easy.

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    1. That's true, Mimi, we all need to take better care of ourselves. I believe that the cure is out there, and I hope and pray that one day it's time will come. What a difference it could make for so many people!

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  4. I was surprised when my recent flu also led to a conversation with a doctor who told me that my type 2 diabetes is reversible. Though grounded in science, it's not a common thing to hear. If your diabetes isn't out of control or past a certain point, proper diet and exercise can reverse things. But there is no money in that. There are no testing strips or prescriptions, no need to remove your socks and shoes at every doctors check up if you can be cured.

    It is a scary disease and while I've mostly treated it as a joke so far, that has much more to do with the doom and gloom of the medical community than it does with the disease itself. If it can't be cured, I'm not as motivated to fight. With these new revelations, I'm taking it more seriously.

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    1. I've been told that's true Frank. Though one has to be very dedicated to reverse the progress before it passes the point of no return, the payoff would be amazing... like being around to corrupt Mr. Monkey's grandkids some day! :-)

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  5. I was diabetic through 2 of my pregnancies and every day centered around that kind of monitor. It was really hard being pregnant, having all those cravings.... and being on an incredibly strictly controlled diet. No chocolate, ice cream or skittles for me! But when I am not pregnant, I am fine.
    but I kinda got used to the diet after doing it twice for 9 months, so I actually don't stray very far. Which is good because I do know I am at risk for Type II later on now.

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    1. That would be so hard with pregnancy cravings, but of course delivering healthy babies made it worth it, and it sounds like it's paid off in the long run for you too!

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  6. On a positive note, obviously, diabetics are blessed with the testing and alert technology that is available to them now. In years gone by the only testing available was for keytones in urine and by the time they appeared you were already running way too high. Lives are longer and healthier thanks to frequent testing, so I'm not complaining about the monitors, only wishing there was no reason for them to be!

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)