By: Joe Klemann
Forty Years Old and Leaking Like a Sieve – When I turned forty, my body began to break down like an old used car.
Right now, for instance, I’m working through a kidney disease called “something something the kidney makes too much protein.” The medical term is much longer and uses letters not yet approved for use in the English alphabet. In short, my kidneys are spraying out protein like a garden hose that’s been run over by a lawn edger. The kidneys are two oversizedlima beans in the lower back that are like a truck stop before hazardous waste leaves the body interstate. Mine are releasing too much freight without the proper paperwork.
The Trouble With Steroids
Highly trained medical people discovered this after I had a record high blood pressure in 2005. My doctor has the numbers framed over his desk because he feels proud to have rescued such a sorry case. My treatment was to begin taking very high doses of prednisone, a steroid.Unfortunately, this was not the sort of steroid that turns people into all-time batting champions. Instead, it made me gain weight, kept me up for days, and caused me to watch “Gilmore Girls” on a regular basis.
Even worse, the steroids brought to the surface a borderline diabetic condition. To be frank, they shot my blood sugar numbers into a low elliptical orbit. While making a trip to the state of Kentucky, I noticed that I was drinking a lot of water. By a lot, I mean more than my daily coff ee intake(Mathematicians are still working on this total in a secluded laboratory in the Swiss Alps.) It goes without saying that I was using the facilities at an equally alarming rate. Because we are a one-stall family with four members, it made for some pressure-fi lled evenings.
Worst of all, when I got back home, my eyesight went blurry. I couldn’t read the daily comics or see anybody more than six inches away. Bumping into people is tolerable, but dang; I couldn’t read “Blondie.” Not seeing properly and having to use the restroom every ten minutes was a recipe for disaster, so it looked like time to get a blood test.
Pit Stop in the Hospital
Results showed a rather high blood sugar, somewhere around 630. While this might be a good three game bowling average for me, it’s not so hot when it comes to a diabetic prognosis, and I was rushed to intensive care. The entire scene there reminded me of a pit stop on the Nascar circuit, but to my chagrin, I couldn’t burn tires and speed away.I just lay there with my hood up and spark plug wires exposed.
My blood sugar bounced around like Tigger in the Thousand Acre Wood for the fi rst few days, but eventually, it (the blood sugar, not Tigger) decided enough was enough, and settled down. The next day came the dietitian. She was followed shortly by the shot-giver and blood-checker, who taught me to be a man when I took a shot.
Sure, I cried the fi rst time, but I figure that most people have a lingering fear of sticking a needle into their arm. The medical term is “ouchthathurtsphobia.” I did administer the injection, eventually. Some day I might even try it in the stomach. However, I have this fear that I will hit a pocket of trapped gas and blow out my pancreas, and maybe part of a wall.
The new diet took some getting used to. While I was in the hospital, Burger King came out with the triple whopper. It was advertised approximately every 57.7 seconds. Being on 60 milligrams of prednisone and a very restricted diet, I would have gladly taken the entire hospital staff hostage by waving a fi lled bedpan until my sandwich arrived. Fortunately, I became distracted by the ads for the all-you-can-eat shrimp at Red Lobster.
Shooting For Control
So here I am three weeks later, in the comfort of home, starting to enjoy a four-shot-a-day, six times testing lifestyle. So far, I have only had a
few days when my sugar dropped really low and I had to intervene with candy. I tried to cheat and stuff a triple whopper between two pieces of candy, but my wife wasn’t convinced.
I expect to behave myself and make a successful life of it, even with this diabetes thing. For one, my wife will kill me if I don’t. And she will use really rusty needles to do it.