News from Shakes Manor

Iain hasn't been feeling well.

He didn't tell me, of course. And he didn't go to a doctor. That would be sensible. And, truth be told, neither one of us is very sensible about going to doctors when we're not feeling well. I've no room to lecture him when I once put myself into shock hiking 20 miles with a herniated disk, dismissing the telltale sciatica as "just a little leg pain." We're both sort of stupid that way.

Or we were, anyway.

Iain finally went to a doctor last week when he started feeling bad enough that it scared him. Tingling in his hands and feet. Light-headedness. He almost fainted at work.

Friday afternoon, we got the diagnosis. Diabetes. Or, as Iain has dubbed it: "Stinky diabetes." And not just a little bit of stinky diabetes, either. His blood sugar was 4x what it should be even in a diabetic. That tingling he felt was diabetic neuropathy—his body's way of telling him to stop with the beer and the pie if he doesn't want to lose his extremities. Scary stuff.

So it was Diabetes Weekend at Shakes Manor, as we alternately freaked out and thanked Maude he saw the doctor when he did and felt pensive and freaked out and did research and engaged in gallows humor and talked about how we felt about this whole thing. And freaked out.

Mostly, we just want to know what comes next—which will be clearer once he's had follow-up bloodwork that will help determine his course of treatment. The hope is that it will controllable with diet.

I'm already going Nurse Ratched on his ass, having banished, among other things, white bread, sweeties, and beer from the house.

"I can't imagine not drinking beer. It's such a part of who I am."

"Well, now making sure your legs don't get lopped off is part of who you are. And it's replaced the beer-drinking part."

"Stinky diabetes."

There is certainly more to be banished; a meeting with a diabetic nurse and nutritionist has been scheduled. The one thing I noticed looking over lists of low- and high-glycemic foods is that it's not quite as intuitive as I would have thought—some foods surprised me—so as the person who plans the meals and does (most of) the cooking, I'm going to have to pay a lot of attention to what I'm doing.

"You'll probably kill me for the insurance money."

"Not right away—but if you annoy me, you're getting soda and a cookie for dinner."

Millions of people live with diabetes, and, one day, it will be background noise, but right now, we feel consumed. Iain has a new and unexpected view of his life going forward—and his past looks a little different, too. Maybe it's not that strokes run in his family; maybe it's that undiagnosed diabetes does… He looks at the diagnosis and sees increased risks; I look at it and see the opportunity to decrease lots of risks because we know. We are, as ever, balance and complement.

And, thank Maude, good students. Because we've suddenly got a lot of homework. (If you know of good diabetes resources, please let us know in comments.)

One of my first assignments is ascertaining the glycemic index of vindaloo.

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