No man is an island: Surviving requires support
Since I last typed out an article, my therapy dog, Bella, and I participated in the United Airlines Fantasy Flight for terminally and critically ill children and their families. The dogs in attendance were petted, hugged, and posed for photos on that special night. The children loved the dogs. Those kids are fighting to survive. I pray that they overcome their diagnoses and that they beat the odds.
Since I composed my last article I went shopping with a dear friend, Betty, who is dealing with diabetes. Managing her blood sugars within a normal range increases her chances of survival. Betty confided to me that her blood sugar readings have not been stable.
She said, “If I feel faint and start to pass out, know that my blood sugars are to blame.”
Betty’s survival depends on handling more than just what she eats. Taking the right type and amount of medication is very vital to a normal blood sugar range. Knowing how much and how intense activity is to be performed also gauges blood sugars.
Stress can affect blood sugars. Being emotionally or physically sick can cause blood sugars to be elevated.
Betty had to park the car in the back parking lot of the shopping mall. We walked briskly because of the chilly rain. She was huffing and puffing by the time we opened the department store door.
Since she is a very independent lady, I respected her judgment and believed her when she said that she felt fine. We proceeded to shop.
Betty’s survival depended on my reading the cues of her low blood sugar. She became confused and could not think clearly. I watched her hands start to shake. Sweat beaded up on her forehead. She became irritated when I asked if she needed help. Still Betty declared that she was OK. When I asked her when she ate last, she could not remember. I was her survival link, but she was my ride home.
Luckily there was a food court nearby and I guided her to a seat while I ordered for us. I bought her a cookie and a cup of decaf tea; I put one sugar packet in it. Betty nearly swallowed the chocolate chip cookie whole. After a few sips of tea, she began to feel better. We shared a huge piece of pizza and sat for nearly an hour. Before long, Betty was laughing and chatting as if nothing had happened.
Survival is a basic instinct. The terminally ill want to survive to see another Christmas. People with diabetes want to survive to live a healthy life.
We all need support. John Donne said it best: “No man is an island …”
Bobbie Randall is a certified diabetes educator, registered, licensed dietitian. She supervises a diabetes self-management training program at Dunlap Community Hospital, Orrville. Contact her at email@example.com or 330–684-4776.