The Happy List
I can still remember that July day, riding to the hospital in the back of the family DeSoto sedan. I remember the family vacation leading up to it, the excessive thirst and urination I didn’t realize, as a fifth grader, was any cause for concern. That was almost 60 years ago.
Technology and treatments for diabetes have changed drastically over the past six decades. It takes time to be able to look back and realize how far we’ve come.
I am now retired, but I’ve led a very active and adventurous life. I got to thinking about how many complications and treatments I’ve had, and it got to be a very long list. It also sounded very depressing, though I am anything but depressed. I thought about all the things that make me happy, healthy, and eager to get on with life.
If you’re dealing with diabetes, or a loved one is, know that there is hope for great things as time goes by. In my case, I want to share my list of good things:
- I can walk my dog 3/4 mile around the neighborhood, with custom shoes and a walking stick.
- My kidneys are stable.
- I sleep well for nine hours a night.
- I function well at a 10,500-foot altitude—and after a quadruple heart bypass.
- I can ride my bicycle for 10 to 12 miles.
- I can watch TV and drive without my glasses, thanks to implanted lenses.
- My A1C has remained below 7 percent since I began using an insulin pump.
- I can use the stairs to my basement woodshop.
- I can still enjoy spicy food and coffee.
- I don’t need hearing aids to have conversations or listen to music.
- I don’t have nerve pain with my peripheral neuropathy.
- After 48 years, I am still married to a spouse who understands and supports my diabetes regimen.
- I can mow my yard and use the grass trimmer.
- I can fly to Australia (32 hours on airplanes) to visit my son and his family.
- None of my children or grandchildren has shown symptoms of diabetes.
- My body mass index is less than 27.
- I’ve reduced my weight by 8 percent over the past year.
I hope everyone dealing with diabetes can realize that there is a great light at the end of the diabetic tunnel.
Russ Slaughter was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in 1957, when doctors predicted he’d live to age 50. He just celebrated his 70th birthday. He’s a retired self-described computer nerd who spends his time doing woodworking, reading, dog walking, and solving Sudoku puzzles.
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