Friday, February 29, 2008

Barium, barium (TMI). Close eyes if squeamish!

Fasted (mostly clear fluids, except for a 1/2 c "smoothie" (fruit drink) in the morning and in the afternoon and evening 1 c beef broth with 1/2 VGo (veg juice). Drank 1.5 l water from 1o am to 4 pm. (Can't skip diabetes meds.) At 4 pm took liquid laxative as prescribed. Drank another 1.5 l water. At 7 pm took the 2 laxative pills as prescribed. Stopped all intake at 10 pm. Had gas and poops all night.

At 8 am took prescribed laxative suppository (burny burny). Arrived at clinic at 9:45 am for test. Was admitted one hour later. One tech stayed with me and helped a lot. Dr. said the laxatives (3 different ones!) hadn't worked too well. Submitted to very invasive and uncomfortable test. Left and had nice lunch in quiet restaurant.

Got to 'hood about 2 pm. Checked in to 'hood thrift shop and looked around for a bit, then felt a bit urgent need to go. Got home 2 minutes later (ran all the way; better to run home than make mess in retail store). Undressed in tub. Threw out jeans, socks, underwear, washcloth, due to urgency. Not the best day evar, as they say.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

"old therapy" not

"TORONTO, ON -- August 23, 1999 -- GlucoNorm® (repaglinide), the first in a new class of oral anti-diabetic agents for Type 2 diabetes, has received regulatory clearance from the Therapeutic Products Programme of Health Canada."

Hmm. My then-GP told me it had been available for about 60 years. I have never googled it until today. OK, now I'm pissed. I'm starting my apple cider vinegar regimen tonight, it makes just as much sense.

Finally---medical evidence that diabetes intervention doesn't work!

Just kidding. "The major environmental factors that increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, presumably in the setting of genetic risk, are overnutrition and a sedentary lifestyle, with consequent overweight and obesity." This is part of a Medscape article that describes the difficulty in medical control of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). It's pretty arcane in that it is written for medical professionals, but educated laypersons can get the gist. What your GP and endo usually recommend or prescribe doesn't work, long term. What does work is continuing education, which boosts motivation to follow the regimen. Dat's all, folks.

You need to register for this site but you get regular e-mail updates when new articles are published: Lots of articles are pretty interesting, and most if not all of it is free. It's not as bland or uninformative as the Canadian Diabetes Association web site (ugh!). I'm not even gonna reference it. "See your doctor, see your doctor." Yeah, sure.

For people living with diabetes, Joslin ( is better. Lots more articles and research.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

my current favourite authors

One of my qualifications for mystery/legal/police procedure fiction authors is their re-readability. I traded a whole bunch of Dennis Lehane and George Pelecanos novels because, while I enjoyed them the first time and admired the writing immensely, I found them too hard-boiled, hard-timed, hard-assed to keep on my shelves.

Here are some writers whose volumes I will keep:

  • Lee Child -- the Jack Reacher series. Hot, violent, well-written, sexy; otherwise indescribable. Here's a durable quote, between Reacher and a femme fatale who has set him up for a beating: "I don't mind the sight of blood," she said. "I'm sure you don't," Reacher said. "One week in four, it makes you feel mighty relieved."
  • Peter Abrahams -- all his stuff so far, even one I bought by mistake for "young adult" readers (heroine is 13--the Echo Falls stuff, praised by the prolific Stephen King himself).
  • Michael Gruber -- he wrote most of the Butch Karp legal suspense novels, and you can tell by the change in authorship in the later versions when he left off (he and Tanenbaum are first cousins). I don't know who does Robert K. Tanenbaum's ghost writing these days but it's not in the same class at all. Gruber's 3 Jimmy Paz novels and his subsequent The Book of Air were compelling. And I have nearly preordered his latest. Will soon commit.
  • Ed McBain -- I have avoided his oeuvre for many years, don't know why. He's erudite and intelligent. But I have read only one of his non-Matthew Hope novels and skipped about 3 pages of the denouement of one; the other was a non-Matthew Hope, non-87th Precinct called Doors, and I have yet to read any of the police/detective novels. Hey, I've just started, OK??
  • Dorothy L. Sayers -- long dead. But she's the best and original, after the dry Wilkie Collins and insufferable Edgar Allan Poe. And I like that she taught herself medieval Italian to support a thesis.
  • Nelson Demille -- John Corey should be a movie hero by now. You'll love this guy. And all his other guys.
  • Thomas Perry -- another potential movie guy. Why can't Jane Whitefield, The Butcher's Boy, or Chinese Gordon be heroes?

I'm going by the stacks on my dresser, before I move them to their semi-permanent places in the "library."

Sunday, February 24, 2008

mothers and computers

When Mom told me she wanted to get a computer, I laughed. Then I thought, that's really BRAVE of her -- she knows almost nothing about Interwebs and stuff. But she'd been to an Internet class at the local library, and people had been sending her their e-mail address, which she couldn't use -- and she ABSOLUTELY HATES not "being in the know" about stuff. For example, being without a computer or a local bookstore or even the local library, she needed (not just WANTED) to learn about human dreaming and possible interpretations, for her self-esteem. You see, she'd registered for a "dream weekend" sponsored by the local church (United) and several pastors and lay persons. She enjoyed it a lot, and I was surprised to learn that both sexes and ages from 20 to 70s attended. But what she learned from dream interpretation was nil. She also asked me if I knew what a "boog" was. Turns out to be "blog" for which I won't give her THIS location! Once, before a long drive, she wanted to hear Paul Simon's "Rhythm of the Saints" CD. So we listened to it on the road. When I asked if she liked it, she said, "Oh, if people ask me if I've heard it, now I can say I have."

She's pretty deaf (not DEF), for which I've scolded and pleaded with her to get her hearing aids updated (progressive hearing loss runs in the family, AUGH!) And, at age 75 (76 this May) she doesn't think of herself as elderly...

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Making lists

I like to make lists; some are things I want to do within a certain time frame ("this weekend"). Others are ones I want to accomplish ("upholster dining room chairs; put together wood-and-iron bench"). My best thing is to list what I've already done along with items I want to do ("handwash, other items to drycleaner; coin wraps to bank; cats to vet"). It feels comforting.

I also use a multitude of blank books to make these lists (gardening, cleaning, projects, editors' association, diabetes issues/challenges, sundry expenses, decorating ideas and plans). I'm glad I have a house to hold them all...

Catch-up with items and more...

My two youngest fools (Fiasco T. Peabrain and Handsome Stranger) were packed into the carrier this morning and driven to the vet for their annual checkup. Since all my four cats are indoor items, my vet agreed to restrict their shots to rabies (3 years' duration) only. We had a nasty story about puppies at a "flea market," sold to unsuspecting owners, that died from rabies this year. Anyone who touched them had to get rabies shots. The mother of the pups died from rabies last year after a fight with a rabid skunk. Gee, and they couldn't guess?

I refused to sort out Peabo and/or Handsome poopies from the five litterboxes to bring in samples, but they (the poopies) don't deviate from the norm. But the kittens (so termed to distinguish them from the older girls, who USED to be the "kittens") both have gingivitis, which I could see from the reddish lines on their gums. It's only about 950 CAD to to treat them both in the next month... AUGH! Both the boys are just under 10 lbs, quadruple their weight from their initial visits. All the cats eat only Medi-Cal preventive formula.

Earth Hour (March 29, 2008, 8-9 pm) is gaining ground in this city (Toronto) and around the world. I can't do much more than I usually do (power bars off, compact fluorescent bulbs everywhere possible, cold-water washes and limited electric clothes drying).

The Toronto Star suggests not using the car for a week. Two years ago I didn't use my car for two months, so the parking brake froze. I had to call a cab to get me, a box of used books, and my laundry to where I wanted to go. The taxi driver told me how to fix it for free (take off the wheel covers and bang a two-by-four with a hammer against the rims). I already take public transit nearly every day (and get a good tax deduction for buying a TTC monthly pass).

Google's adsense is making some money for me, but maybe not this year ($1.17 so far).

Monday, February 18, 2008

It's snowing in Toronto. Again.

It's not heavy snow---yet. And my wonderful neighbour Rh and her son Ri helped me dig my car out of its snowy tomb on the cross street this afternoon. It took about half an hour, and I skoffed a parking space on my own street that someone else dug out, only about 100 m from my house. The city of Toronto has promised to actually remove the snow from blocked side streets off the main intersections. On Saturday there were two police cruisers and two ambulances parked right in front of my house. The EMTs and officers were wandering around saying, "This is CRAZY." They didn't seem to be attending anyone. But there's one lane only, due to the snow, and one cruiser and the EMT's SUV had to back down the street to turn around.

There's a church at the end of the street too, that has very limited parking and a large congregation, and a Value Village at the top that people visit regularly and who refuse to pay for parking, so sometimes all the spots on the street are taken up by non-residents.

TMI: I had a bad dream about my colon exam (barium enema). I think I'm mostly scared of the laxatives. I booked two vacation days to deal with preparing for all that stuff, and another to attend a level 2 DM education clinic. Augh! I also need an opthalmologist exam (takes up half the work day) and a talk with the endocrinologist. And I need more folic acid and unsaturated fats in my diet according to; also to reduce my resting heart rate... OOOOHHHHMMMMM.

Vinyasa flow yoga: Attended only my second class on Thursday. It was difficult. Last week I intended to go after my physio-rehab appointment but forgot my equipment and clothes. Needed? Not necessarily. But I was wearing jeans. Not stretchy enough.

Diabetes Education: Not to criticize the older folks (of which I am rapidly progressing to be one) but the last level 1 diabetes education clinic I attended that was booked by my doctor (for about 15 minutes) was peopled by elderly (average age 70) patients who didn't really understand what DM is about. "Well, if I can take a medicine to fix the high blood PRESSURE can't I take one to fix the high blood SUGAR?" Well, yes, you can---if you also get some exercise and stop eating all the sugary crap. Eyes, feet, kidneys---all failing. (I'm on that path if I don't get it together.) But I walked out after those 15 minutes -- I need MORE! I was the youngest person there by at least 20 years and I had been Dx'd at least 9 years. So I need someone to do my thinking for me.

Cats: My two youngest fools (Fiasco T. Peabrain and Handsome Stranger) are booked for their "wellness" exams next Saturday. They're the feral or near-feral kits I picked up off the street in late 2006. Since they don't go outside or interact with street cats, I don't want them to have vaccinations, but it's hard to argue with the vet. I'm cheap, that's why. If I adopt the hoary old guy that lives on/under my front porch they'all ALL need vaccinations.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

BG Mecca! for some unknown reason...

Fasting blood glucose was 5.5/100 this morning, for some reason. Not much exercise yesterday. I took a good hit of NPH insulin before bed, after a good breakfast in the a.m., then noshing on Chinese treats a co-worker brought in, a light lunch, then a binge on fresh fruit (melons, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi) left over from a corporate meeting, plus two cookies and three mini-cinnamon buns. Then I had some pecans and other nuts instead of dinner.

One of my frailties is eating too much in the evening and before bed on a regular basis. So I need to eat earlier and get busier in the evenings.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

That goddamn steam iron

I got the non-wanted Tobi (oops. Should fix that) handy steam iron on Wednesday, and put it together on Friday afternoon. I did try to cancel the order, from less than one minute after I accidentally submitted until several days later by e-mail (for which they promised responses within 72 hours) and by telephone. Here's the last e-mail I got:

Dear Karen Black, Your order xxx from Tobi has been shipped! Shipping date 2008-01-28 Box Number 1: Tracking Number xxx You are receiving this email as a receipt of purchase from Tobi. This is a one-time notification in regards to this purchase only: you will not be receiving any further emails from us >

Well, it was a bitch to put together. I should probably have turned the lights up. Or read the instructions in sequence. Or drunk less wine. However. I do not have any actual blisters from hot steam on my hands, and I did get nearly all of my blouses and linens ironed on the night I used it. And, yes, I did have to get out the iron and board to touch up collars and hems and button bands. It does work well enough in smoothing out your basic laundry wrinkles, but I will need practice in fine-tuning those details. Maybe I can give lessons in time. I will charge a lot.

I used a half-container of steam to soften kitty poop stains on a couple of pieces of furniture, and I have to say that the subsequent upholstery shampoo treatments did work better than usual. And I believe they do smell less bad.

Doctors' visits (to them, not to me)

My annual physical was Friday. I'm menopausal, diabetic, trying to reduce my meds and gain muscle weight, watch my cholesterol, get fitter (first by walking daily for 30 minutes, taking a yoga class for 2 hours a week, then by playing badminton, and once I get stronger and more flexible practicing Karate). My blood sugars are BADDDDD, but if I am disciplined with diet and exercise and meds on schedule I can get them down (so why don't I). And my blood pressure, outside the doctor's office, is 11o/70 (this is good, by the way).

Also, I'm as weak as a kitten (except I can't scratch the hell out of the furniture). Since my doctor now knows that my maternal grandmother died of intestinal cancer I now have to get a small-bowel screen as well as a colonoscopy. And my physio wants me to get an Xray on my right knee to be sure I just have a slight inflammation and not incipient osteoarthritis.

I found a $10 bill on the sidewalk this weekend! Hoo-Rah! I make a good living and don't have any debt but mortgage, but I'm not ashamed to bend down and pick up a penny or nickel.

Please define the following terms: Backer rod. Contact cement. Water control valve. Staple. I have not been able to get a hardware store person to send me to the right department using any of these terms. Are they really strange?

Dark rye bread: I had some in a restaurant on Friday for a late breakfast following my fast and appointments and exercise. It was yummy. So I had some again this morning. It's very dark bread (black-coffee dark) and I had it with fruit salad and two scrambled eggs. Until I googled Dark Rye Bread recipes I would never have guessed that cocoa powder might be an ingredient---from a tablespoon to a quarter cup, depending on the recipe.

Glucosamine-Chondroitin-MSM: I found a liquid on sale. It's tangerine flavoured and very yummy, which persuades me to keep taking it three times a day for the 60 days it needs to be effective in reducing joint deterioration.

Black cohosh: One source says it's contra-indicated for diabetes. Another source says it's a hypoglycemic. Since it seems to promote periods I don't take it (I want to stop having menstrual periods). But who the hell knows for sure!? Anyway, I have a beautiful mature black cohosh plant growing in my back yard. It's a native North American species (you can get one at