I haven’t posted much personal commentary here before, but this irks me. I got a call from a nurse from my insurance company tonight. They call every few months to check up on me because I have diabetes. Every time, I end up debating whether my low carb lifestyle is good for me. Tonight was no exception.
The nurse had a checklist of things to ask me and wasn’t happy when I volunteered info that jumped ahead in her survey. She thought I was bragging when I mentioned that I weigh 123 lbs at the moment. I told her, no, I wasn’t bragging; I had actually gained a few lbs since December and would like to take them back off. Yes, I’m short enough at 5′ 3 1/2" that I’m not too thin. Imagine! A type 2 who isn’t obese!
I don’t think she could imagine it; I must be bragging about my rare accomplishment. While I have worked hard to lose 60 lbs and keep them off, I don’t think it’s that rare; there are a lot of thin (and thinning!) type 2s out here! And a whole lot more who haven’t been diagnosed yet because they don’t fit the type 2 profile. But that’s another topic…
The nurse asked the usual questions about whether I smoke or drink (I don’t). If I had a flu shot this year (I did) or a pneumonia shot (I didn’t). I got the usual lecture about pneumonia (I told her the shot is on my to-do list). Things went downhill from there…
Nurse: Do you ever feel shaky, weak, or light-headed?
Me: Yes, but not from my BGLs (I have other health issues that cause me to feel weak, etc.). I’m not going hypo.
Nurse: What about hyper?
Me: No, my BGLs are under 100.
Nurse: You mean your highs aren’t over 100?
Me: Well, once in awhile they go over slightly if I eat something in a restaurant that had more carbs than I thought.
Nurse: But otherwise they are under 100?
Me: Yes; they’re mostly in the 70s and 80s. I’ve had a few in the upper 60s.
Nurse: That’s too low! You ARE going hypo!
Me: No, I’m not. I don’t have any hypo symptoms at those levels.
Nurse: Well, my mother went hypo and didn’t know it. We could tell because she got red spots on her cheeks and looked like a clown.
Me: I don’t get red spots and I feel fine even with BGLs in the 60s. I’m not going hypo; I’m not worried.
Nurse: You should be worried! It’s not good for you to be so low! Too low means death!
Me: Non-diabetics frequently run in the 60s. I’M NOT GOING TOO LOW!
Nurse: Okay, let’s move on. Do you read our newsletter? Is it helpful for you?
Me: I’m not sure which one is yours; I get many different newsletters. Yours doesn’t promote eating too many carbs like the ADA does, does it?
Nurse: No, it doesn’t say to eat too many carbs.
Me: Maybe it’s okay then; I really don’t remember. I eat low carb to control my BGLs. My last A1c was 4.9.
Nurse: That’s wonderful! (Pause…) Well, maybe that’s too low…
Me: It’s not too low. A truly normal A1c is around 4.6 and I’m still above that. I try to stay under 5.
Nurse: Are you eating enough carbs?
Me: I’m eating enough to not go hypo. I get most of my carbs from nonstarchy veggies; they’re full of nutrients.
Nurse: You don’t want too much fat and protein; you’ll harm your liver and kidneys.
Me: I’m not hurting my liver or kidneys; they have been tested and they’re fine.
Nurse: Or your cholesterol levels. You don’t want heart disease.
Me: My triglycerides were 60 on my last test; my HDLs were about that, too. My total cholesterol was under 200.
Nurse: Oh. That’s good. Let me read this to you (I don’t remember the exact wording): Diabetics need to take things like glucose-controlling meds, statins, aspirin, and ACE inhibitors to avoid diabetic complications. Let’s go over your meds.
Me: I’ll make it easy; I don’t take any. I stopped taking metformin, statins, and aspirin a year and a half ago.
Nurse: You don’t take anything?
Me: Well, I take supplements, including cinnamon.
Nurse: We count over-the-counter things as meds, too. (Was she determined to check a box that says I take meds?) Do you have an emergency plan in place if something goes wrong? What if you do go hypo?
Me: I test my BGLs 5x per day so I know what they are doing. If they do ever go too low, I’ll eat something. If I have a problem, I’ll see my doctor; if I have a serious problem, I will have someone drive me to the ER or call 911. My husband and son know First Aid and CPR…
And so it went. I get tired of being told I’m hurting myself. I’m doing fine, thank you! I know what to do and I’m doing it. I have been my own science experiment for many years now and I stay on top of my BGLs so I know what they’re doing.
It would really be nice to be commended for controlling my diabetes well instead of being told I’m hurting myself. Or, as my endo told me when I saw him last, that it won’t do any good and I’ll get worse and worse anyway. No wonder so many diabetics don’t even try!
If you wonder where I get my info about hypo levels, normal BGLs, etc, check out Dr. Bernstein’s book and/or website. Jenny’s website (Blood Sugar 101) and book have that info, too. Yes, dear friends, you, too, can argue with health care "professionals!" ;+)