The importance of warning signs when it comes to diabetes and other situations
March 2013 — The loud clicking noise behind me made me to turn around a little too quickly for a fearless hunter that was supposed to be in "stealth mode" as he hunted for wild hogs in a pine thicket. My brain told me that a rattle snake was making the noise, but my common sense told me that it must be a locust, since January is just too early for snakes to be out of hibernation. Neither my brain nor my common sense knew when locusts were active, but that didn't stop them from arguing with each other. While this dispute went on in my head, my eyes scanned the area for movement. I finally detected the source, and my brain won the argument. I had walked past a three to four foot diamondback rattlesnake, about fifteen feet off to my left, on the other side of a brush pile. It was after I got past him that he detected my body heat and then sounded his infamous alarm.
His rattling grew louder as I circled around him. I meant him no harm — I like and respect snakes, even the "bad ones." I just wanted to get some pictures of this reptile that makes grown men run away like little girls.
He was all coiled up and ready to convince me that he was the baddest belly-crawling predator I would meet in 2013. While I was not sure if he was just mad at my presence or ticked-off at having woke up in a warmer-than-normal January and not at a more appropriate time, like Easter, I was careful to maintain a respectful distance. I appreciated him warning me that he was nearby and that I would be in danger if I got too close to him. Sometimes they don't give a warning and just strike when you get too close.
Like most things in my life, I related this experience to my type 2 diabetes. Type 2 may give you warnings that it is present. I experienced this through frequent thirst and urination. My fasting blood sugar was around 200 when I was diagnosed. A friend didn't receive any warnings until he was suddenly going blind. His doctor checked his eyes, then tested his blood sugar, and found it to be over 400. Thankfully his vision returned once his blood sugar was lowered.
However, getting diagnosed with type 2 is not when you "get bit." This happens while you ignore the health risks of eating an unhealthy diet, living a sedentary life, etc. Undetected damage may be occurring to your body while it is waiting for you to get diagnosed. This includes damage to the blood vessels in your eyes and kidneys, damage to your heart and circulatory system, and damage to your nerves. The longer it takes for you to get your diabetes diagnosed and under control, the worse the bite.
And the consequences don't stop there. If you fail to keep your diabetes under control you can suffer further complications, like neuropathy, kidney failure, blindness, etc. If you have to make a choice, play with a rattle snake before playing with your diabetes. That's what I did. I tossed a small dead limb on him and he grew even more menacing. It was awesome! I then went home and checked my blood sugar.
Need to know the symptoms of various complications? Start here.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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I met a mother recently whose daughter was just recently diagnosed. They've been on the diabetes wagon for about 3 weeks. Mom seems alright, maybe a little overwhelmed and certainly looking tired. I had a meeting with her, set up by a local friend who reads my blog and knows my diabetes story. She thought I could be helpful in assisting with the navigation of diabetes territory. We sat at a table a local coffee shop. I sipped a water while mom got a black coffee. ...