By: Scott M. King
To have my own mother come down with diabetes was quite of a shock. It is a big issue for me because my life is already dedicated to helping people with diabetes get a fair shake, and this is such a switch. I was diagnosed with diabetes when I was 17, and it was my mom that cared for me and brought information into our home. Now I have the chance to impact her life in much the same way.
She lives in Hawaii and I talk to her often. About six months ago, mom started complaining that she was so tired she couldn’t get off the sofa. She was depressed and sometimes she slept all day. She got worse-she was sick, lethargic, had tingly feet and blurry vision. I was worried for her health and I also feared that she had diabetes.
I mailed her a blood glucose meter as a gift and she started testing right a way. Her blood glucose readings were 160 mg/dl fasting in the morning, and 360 mg/dl one hour after meals. I called her doctor to discuss my mother’s care.
He didn’t know she had diabetes-he was only measuring her fasting blood glucose. He told me not to worry, that “All overweight people like your mother have high blood sugar.” I had to be forceful and insist that he treat her diabetes. I went over mom’s extremely high blood sugar levels, and pointed out how poorly she feels when her levels are over 350 mg/dl.
Though he resisted, he did listen to my plea to take some action. He scheduled a glucose tolerance test because he didn’t believe mom’s meter readings. I told him about a diabetes conference I had just attended where “bolus only therapy” was discussed as a new option available for people with Type 2 diabetes.
Mom’s blood glucose shot way up during the tolerance test-reaching 340 mg/dl. Her doctor then wrote a prescription for Regular insulin and syringes. He prescribed a sliding scale for pre-meal injections depending on what she is going to eat and her before meal blood sugar level.
Her dose has stabilized at 10 units of Regular before each meal and her readings are now 115 mg/dl fasting and 150 mg/dl after meals. Since starting on insulin just two months ago, her life has been completely renewed. She’s now doing great and has a lot more energy. She just flew here to visit the whole family for two weeks.
Mom and I went out to lunch, put our twin meters on the table and smiled at each other. I showed her how I shoot through my jeans and she showed me how organized she keeps her kit. For 18 years she has been concerned about my diabetes. Now I am concerned about hers. The tables have turned and we have something new to share.