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Sunday, March 13, 2011

Finally

I do believe it's finally spring. A soaking rain yesterday dissolved nearly all the snow that had stacked up during the past few weeks. Still a chill in the air, and today was intermittently sunny and partly cloudy, with some breezes. I had a chance today to check some of the wind damage: large- and medium-sized willow branches littered the front yard. A sign out on the county road marking the telephone right of way had blown loose from its metal post and lay in the borrow ditch, one nut resting on the sign, the other nut and the bolts nowhere to be seen. I found a couple of license tag bolts in the garage and put the sign back up.

The ground was mostly marshy, though the grass is coming up on the trails created by the loggers last spring. There are some small red flowers, though no buttercups yet. And, there's mullein everywhere. Kerry's been using a weed puller to attack the mullein infestation, but there are years of work ahead.

The meadow up from first hill was dry, as was the slope down from the gravel road. I bungeed the chainsaw to the front rack of the ATV and headed to the meadow to cut down about seven small pines that dotted the flat. I also wanted to clean up the partially-consumed burn piles from fall and haul the wood up to a consolidated burn pile where the road switches back from north to south. Took about five trips, and I'm not quite done. Following my diabetes coach's instructions, I dialed back the basal rate on my insulin pump to 50 percent, and ate about 12-15 grams of carbohydrates every 30 minutes. When I got back down, my blood glucose level was 88. Right in the sweet spot.

While I was loading wood from the meadow into the trailer, one of the neighbor kids rode up on his horse. Carlos lives about three properties north, and we'd often see him riding along. His parents are friends of ours, members of our neighborhood association. Kerry had offered his parents that he could ride on our 66 acres. Mom and dad had brought him up right. He'd stopped at the house and asked Kerry if he could ride our trails, and she, of course, said "yes." And, so, he stopped to talk with me as well before heading up toward the barn, from east of which several good trails fan out. He was dressed in casual cowboy style, boots, vest, cowboy hat with a stampede strap. For a while, last year, his parents had made him wear a lacrosse helmet after his horse bucked him off and returned home without him. Carlos had sustained a broken arm, but with dad working at the hospital in Coeur d'Alene, he got good care. No helmet now. As I was unloading wood from the trailer to the burn pile, I saw him walking his horse down along the lower spring and toward the peony beds. Later, I saw him galloping back toward the barn; maybe the stampede strap helped, but the Stetson stayed firmly in place. The horse seemed to have a smooth gait, and Carlos had a good seat. Kerry said it was nice seeing a neighbor's kid on the land. It was.

A long two hours, and the nap afterward was welcome. A short nap, though. I had to take Blue's blood glucose level at 4, and it was an astonishing reading of 168, much lower than the upper 200s and lower three hundreds. That must have been an outlier, as his 8 p.m. reading was 322. I'll call the numbers in to the vet tomorrow; I suspect she'll increase Blue's insulin from the current 2 units, twice a day. He's taking his shots like a brave little cat soldier, though he's not fond of the ear pricks necessary to measure his blood glucose.

This week? The first of two administrative hearings with my health insurance company to try to resolve a billing dispute from back in July. That should be interesting.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Diabetes Times 2

Well, it's official, our 14 year-old part-Siamese cat, Blue, is diabetic. I know it's not a contagious condition, but what the hell? Now, I've been diabetic since the end of July, when my surgeon removed my bleeding, tumorous pancreas. Yesterday, we took Blue to the vet for some tests. He's been lethargic, drinking a lot of water and urinating frequently. Kerry thought it might be the result of Mirolax, which the vet suggested to help with his constipation. After looking up Blue's symptoms on the Internet (a great electronic encyclopedia of everything), Kerry concluded he was diabetic, and asked me to take his blood sugar. I used my old meter and test strips (I'm on a pump now), and sure enough, it was nearly 400 MG/dl at one point.

So, we hustled him into the vet yesterday, and the results came back today. Not only is he diabetic, but also he has a basal cell carcinoma on a back toe (we'll have that removed when the diabetes is under control. So, he's on Hill's M/D wet food ($31 for a case of 24 cans), and tonight I start giving him Lantus, 2 units twice a day.

By coincidence, I went to see my endocrinologist today, and after explaining about Blue, he gave me a sample bottle of Lantus; I already have a boxful of syringes I don't need since going on the pump. So, we'll try this for a month. Our vet thinks it's possible that he'll be OK by then and not need continuing insulin. We'll see. Poor Kerry, having to take care of two diabetics in the family.

Anyway, I'm doing fine. My A1C is down to 6.8, my blood pressure is down to 117 over 79, and I'm feeling great. Once the snow and rain stop, I'll be back out cutting wood. And once he's feeling better, Blue will be back taking walks with us.