Thirty days

I realized last night, as I finished my first vial of Lantus, that it’s been a month since I got out of the hospital. I’ll admit, it seems a lot longer, and I will also admit that I am frustrated to report that, even a month later, I am still recovering from those events.

That I am epically impatient is both well known and an understatement, but the fact is I can’t help but wonder if some of the things I’m experiencing now are in some way permanent or caused by some yet to be diagnosed condition. It’s always bad to borrow trouble, and I’m told I need to be patient, but I can’t help but think about the negatives.

That said, today it will be 60 degrees outside, which means a walk or even two. That’s not a bad way to celebrate a month out, even if it is with misgivings.

DLH

Grocery rambling

When you’re trying to rebuild your stamina, every little bit helps, and so it has become a thing that going to the grocery is part of my weekly undertaking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m also there to buy groceries, but the extra steps and just being out help me improve from one week to the next.

The take away? Don’t underestimate the little stuff when pursuing your fitness goals. It all adds up if you keep at it.

DLH

Natural motion

One of the ways I am increasing my daily activity is by using a concept called natural movement exercises. You can research the internet on the topic, but basically put, the process involves repeated sets of transitional actions like getting up from laying on the floor, standing up from a chair, and the like.

You might think these would be easy exercises and wonder what the point is, but if you’re at all out of shape, you’re likely to discover they’re not easy at all and are going to be the first step toward fixing the problem.

I have started a routine wherein I do about five minutes of these exercises every hour (I use a timer on my phone to keep me honest). My goto exercises are getting up from a laying position on the floor, crouching and standing, and walking up and down my stairs. The number of repetitions I do varies depending on my stamina at the time.

I can already tell the difference in the fact I am doing them in two particular ways: first, I am more mentally alert that I would otherwise be, and second, my back does not hurt as much as it normally does.

Granted, these kinds of exercises are not a replacement for dedicated exercise like walking, but throughout the course of the day, they help teach my body to be more active and, therefore, to use energy better. In the long run, especially as I am more able to do other kinds of exercise, these activities will help promote overall health.

DLH

Abnormal weather can mean a new normal

I have to admit that I am looking forward to the weather coming at the end of this week and next week, even if it as abnormal for this time of year and represents what will likely be an early spring and hot, dry summer. Selfishly, warmer, dryer weather means better chances to get outside and walk, and that’s something I really need to do.

The weather also has me thinking about my garden and the springtime activities on the farm. We have a lot of work to do this year, and the earlier we get started, the better.

What kind of things does the arrival of spring make you think about?

DLH

A pain in the…

One of the things I had never considered about having a chronic condition like diabetes is that it is painful, not as much in the sense that the condition itself is painful, but in the sense that the treatment is.

I’ve already learned the lesson of ignoring it–or perhaps enduring it–but at least three times a day, I have to prick or stab myself to check my blood sugar or administer insulin. The fact is these events hurt, not a lot, but still, and I find that pain has an accumulative effect on one’s outlook on life. Now I understand a little better why the people with chronic illness act the way they do.

And it’s not just a matter of physical pain either. There’s further the metaphorical pain of paying for medication, the mental┬ápain of having to be disciplined with diet and exercise even when you don’t want to, and the emotional pain of having to deal with the fact I’m sick with something that is, to a great degree, my fault.

This isn’t a troll for sympathy or a depressive mea culpa. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement this sucks and a warning to everyone who is not this way to avoid it if at all possible. This is preventable pain, but it takes some work and dedication to make sure it doesn’t happen to you. Because, the fact is, this is a pain in all the wrong places, and I don’t recommend it.

DLH

Moving bull

No really, we moved the bull we share with another farm back to ours today. This is the first significant work I’ve done on the farm since I got out of the hospital. With the much appreciated help of friends, it was a smooth load, but I am amazed at how tired I am after what is usually just a short excursion.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get any pictures because I was working, but that’s the price of self employment, I suppose.

DLH

Rambling and repetition

When trying to write a daily weblog, it’s easy to fall into a pattern of repetition, especially when the subject is narrow like I’ve imagined the subject for this blog to be. So I wonder, what do other people want to hear about?

It’s often hard to get other people to respond to that sort of a question because they feel embarrassed about their answers, don’t think others will listen to them, or don’t feel like they have the time. Yet, I think that sharing those kinds of thoughts with each other helps us see the world more clearly and can help make each of our own rambling road less repetitious.

So, what do you want to hear about? Tell me in the comments.

DLH

Breaking in new jeans

As I mentioned previously, one of the side effects of my illness was a dramatic loss of weight. I dropped more than thirty pounds in a month and a half, meaning that most of my clothes simply don’t fit anymore.

That inevitably led to one of my all time least favorite activities, emergency clothes shopping for jeans that don’t fit like clown pants. Much to my surprise, I’ve dropped from a 44 to a 40, and even more to my surprise, I discovered in these new pants that the shape of my body has changed from what it used to be.

Now I’m doing one of my other all time least favorite activities, breaking in new jeans. I hate the way new denim feels, the way it fits, and in the case of my new pants, the way it carries on me as a result of my thinner legs, less substantial buttocks, and slimmer waist.

Most people would be thrilled to be down so much weight, and don’t get me wrong, I’m glad I’m not as heavy, but can’t we find a better way to do new jeans?

DLH

Listen to your…

Perhaps I can’t speak for everyone, but I suspect that most of us have people in our lives who, for all sorts of reasons, constantly look out for our wellbeings even if we are not. It turns out I have several people who fill that role in various capacities, and I am learning that their support, advice, criticisms, and warnings are some of the most valuable tools I have available.

It’s often easy to ignore someone else’s advice when we become convinced we already know what we’re doing, can’t change our circumstances, or have stopped trying. It is at those moments those other people become most valuable to us because they won’t back down from pushing us even as we might resist what they have to say.

My advice now is to listen to them. I am not saying we always have to do what they have to say, but we should at least give them a fair hearing. Consider the advice they’re offering. And even if you say no, we need to be certain of the reasons why.

I think we will all find we’re better off if we heed their advice. It’s often the case those closest to us can see things about us we cannot. And, if my own experience is any guide, more often than not, they’re right. We would be mistaken to ignore that kind of help.

So, we should listen to the ones sometimes telling us things we don’t want to hear. They may be the most important words anyone speaks to us, and will help us avoid hurt down the road.

DLH

Keep your blood sugar in check. Seriously

One of the more disconcerting experiences I’ve had in this journey so far is moments when my blood sugar has been out of check due to various factors ranging from the unknown to my own stupid behavior.

Now that I am on medication and insulin to regulate things, I can tell almost immediately when things go out of whack. When things get too low, I get weak and shaky quick, and when things get too high, I get bone-crushingly tired to the point I have to lay down or I’m going to just sleep where I am.

Unfortunately, this is a new normal for me, but one that has specific and enduring ramifications for anyone trying to be healthy. My own body’s reaction may be extreme, but you may recognize the symptoms in how your own body reacts to food and activity. Those reactions aren’t normal and I implore you to consider them carefully to avoid having to go what I have gone through.

I will be the first to acknowledge that better eating–the real key to blood sugar management and to avoiding a whole host of chronic illnesses–is time consuming, expensive, and sometimes downright boring. It is also one of the best choices you will ever make.

If I may be so bold, consider the following as a minimum: stop drinking sugared beverages of any kind and stop eating refined sugars. That change alone will pay dividends you can’t imagine. If you want to go beyond that, read food labels compulsively (there are plenty of websites out there that will help you learn to understand what’s making you sick) and eat vegetables like it’s your religion. If you want to go all the way, only eat food that you know who grew it. I promise. It will make a difference.

It will be worth it if you do. You don’t have to learn the hard lesson I have.

DLH