LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, August 31, 2009

One Tin Soldier

One for all and all for one… no wait. That’s the Three Musketeers.

High-ho Silver, Away! No. That’s the Lone Ranger.

Stealing from the rich to give to the poor is Robin Hood.

One ring to bind them is Tolkien.

The meek inheriting the earth is Jesus.

I can’t recall for the life of me what Medieval Knights say, and my internet is down today, effectively severing my knowledge umbilical cord.

Why Knights? Well, Knights in shining armor are my latest tactic to teach diabetes self management skills, and the idea was inspired by a heart attack. Read on.

When I was writing the first draft of the Tiger book my overworked little brain came up with an analogy for Appendix B, which lists the non-glucose lowering medications that D-folk should take as standard of care. In case you forgot, or can’t be bothered to take them, they are:

ACE to shield your kidneys.

Statin for cholesterol, whether you need it (yet) or not.

Metformin for protecting your large veins and arties; this is a somewhat new discovery.

And a baby aspirin for heart attack prevention insurance.

All generics. Heavy pill burnout, but low impact on the wallet.

I think what triggered my mind to cook up the Knight was the way we always say that ACE inhibitors “shield” your kidneys. Who carries shields? Well, Knights, of course. That got me thinking about a medieval knight ridding off to slay the dragon diabetes with his sword of diabetes meds, and his protective meds making up the various parts of his armor.

My editors red-penned me; saying basically, look, you’ve been talking tigers for the entire book. You can’t throw Knights at the readers in the last pages.

OK, point taken. The Knight had to ride off into the sunset. Until our Director of Nursing had her heart attack.

Now for years this wonderful but suborn woman has told me she knows her cholesterol is too high.

There’s a pill for that, I’d always respond.

“Yes, I know but _____________.” Fill in the blank anyway you want. People always make excuses for not taking pills to help with things that they cannot see or feel. If high cholesterol hurt they’d be kicking in our doors a midnight to get statins.

Even our Medical Director had given up in despair. “I just can’t get your diabetics on board with statins,” he told me last year. That lead to us getting an in-house lipid machine. I thought if I could show patients, during a office visit, what their cholesterol was I might be able to get some buy in. It works to get folks to start, but the dropout rate is pretty high. I knew I needed to get my patients to “buy in” on an emotional level.

Then other stuff got in the way until..

… our Director of Nursing had her heart attack at the nurse’s station, standing next to our Medical Director, about 12 feet from the door of our Emergency Room. That’s where I want to have my heart attack too.

Needless to say, she got great care, was stabilized and in our ambulance before she knew what was going on, and went from our ambulance straight to the heart cath lab at the regional medical center without even being taken off our gurney. Thank God she’s doing great, and I’m guessing our next discussion of statins will go better.

But I can’t give all my patients heart attacks, not that I didn’t think about it. Don’t you think a heart attack simulator would be a great tool?

But after all of this, I got to thinking about my banished Knight again. OK, so Knights and Tigers don’t really work together, but that doesn’t mean I couldn’t use the Knight at the clinic.

So on my way to Albuquerque, where I was too teach a class, I stopped at Target and bought a child’s suit of armor. On the back of the breast plate, stamped into the plastic it says “CAUTION! This simulated protective device offers no protection! (Made in China).” So I can’t use it for motorcycle jousting.

A second stop at Michaels for wood letters and two cans of spray paint and I had:

And before you all spam me, yes I know that the sword and armor look much more Roman than medieval, but we really aren’t after historical accuracy here and I’m on a tight budget.

My plan is to tell my patients, OK, you’re now a medieval Knight, dispatched by your King to slay the Dragon Diabetes. Here’s your sword. Anything else you need? Did I mention that the dragon is 90 feet long from the tip of his nose to the tip of his tail, has razor sharp 12 inch teeth and breathes fire?

What? Some armor would be nice?

Well, while we’re on the subject of armor…

I think this just might work. Hmmmm…. and just maybe I’ll turn it into a book…


Blogger Crystal said...

Glad to hear she is going well.

I'd like a sword and shields please, thanks. ;-)

8:42 AM  
Blogger Zazzy said...

I really like your armour! A group of us back in the days of msn chat talked about being warriors battling the diabetes dragon. Which led to one of my favorite quotations. "It does not do to leave a live dragon out of your calculations, if you live near him." ~Tolkein

9:59 AM  
Blogger Jonah said...

You really think that indiscriminate prophylactic use of all of those things is a good idea?

I am not taking any of those medications. I'm normotensive, underweight, hypocholesterolic (if that's the right word)- my total cholestorol's double digits, and already plenty bruised.
My doctors and I have talked about the aspirin and ACE inhibitor and as far as I know they both agree with me that those would be bad ideas. The ACE inhibitor we are sort of keeping on the table; if my blood pressure goes up I'll use one.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

I love this visual Wil!

9:10 AM  

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