Friday, August 15, 2014

Don’t Let the Pricks Get You Down

“My wife has a big mouth and told my doctor.”  As a result, my farrier* explained, the doctor tested his blood glucose levels with an HbA1C test.  It was 8.8, not bad for someone doing nothing to control it, but raising the possibility of future complications.  (For most people without diabetes, the HbA1C, an average measure of the levels of your blood glucose over the last three months, would be less than 6.  For an adult with diabetes, doctors recommend working towards under 7 and for tight control, between 6 and 7.)

He was in denial.  His mother has Type 1 Diabetes.  About ten years ago, he started having symptoms but couldn’t stand the thought of pricking his fingers.  This man, stepped on while shoeing horses, likely other injuries due to the physical nature of his job, could not prick his fingers to draw blood.  “You don’t understand,” he said, “my fingers are so callused from work I have to use the highest setting.” He mimicked holding the lancet a foot from his finger. "Man, you have to hold the lance a little closer," I laughed, "not come at yourself like a knife stabbing."  My son, I told him, pricks his fingers upwards of ten or twelve times a day.  He’s twelve.  The farrier giggled.  (Yes, this big brute of a guy's laugh sounds like a giggle.)

He didn’t know if he has Type 1 or 2 or a variation in between.  At least five variations of diabetes are described.  Greatly overweight but with a family history, it could easily be either.  Working hard physical labor with horses, insulin caused him to go low and he almost passed out once so he quit worrying about diabetes.  “I can’t do shots.”

After telling him how easy the pump is, how insulin delivery can be suspended, and how the insertion is automatic, (“I could do that”), William’s pump insertion failed last night and the needle failed to retract, causing pain.  We had to do it again.  Don’t tell the farrier!

I’m hoping that our experiences can in some way help me to help other people.  As he climbed up into his old rusted truck, I told him I expected an update by the next trimming.  

Now, if I can get the horse dentist to understand that my horse's stall is NOT "the little boys' room" aka a porta-potty.....

*For you non-horsey people, a farrier trims horse hooves about every six weeks, so we see each other regularly.  They also shoe horses, but my horses go "barefoot".

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