Boy, Do I Feel Old!


My grandson graduated high school this week. And unlike me at his age, it seems he has his future all planned out: he’s going to school to become a certified diesel mechanic, a trade for which I’m sure there will be great continuing demand.

I wish I had had my life together at his age, because at mine—72 years as of this writing—I still haven’t decided what I want to be when I grow up. Although I’ve heard a rumor lately that if you haven’t grown up by the time you’re 60, you don’t have to.

But that’s not what I want to talk about today, no matter how proud I am of Zack. No, I’ve come to ask you all a question, the answer to which I recently discovered. OK, so maybe not recently; more like a few months ago. But I’ve tried it, and it works. So I thought I’d pass it on to you.

Here’s the question: Do you know the difference between hunger and thirst?

I stumbled across a study on the National Institutes of Health website that stated:

Although hunger and thirst serve some parallel purposes, sharp distinctions are also present with health implications. Of particular note are the observations that thirst ratings are higher and more stable over the day compared to hunger and thirst may be more motivating to drink than hunger is to eat. [Mates, 1]

I won’t go into the details, but if you’re interested, I’ve posted the link to the study above.

Intrigued, I decided to conduct my own unofficial experiment: over the course of several weeks, whenever I felt hungry, I drank a glass of something. Since I’m insulin-dependent, the something  was either plain water or sugar-free lemonade mix. Sometimes I would alternate with either tea or coffee, but always with unsweetened creamer and non-caloric sugar substitute.

The result? My weight, which had slowly been increasing, stayed the same because I wasn’t as hungry as I had been. Drinking liquids frequently satisfied what I previously had thought was  hunger, thus enabling me to go longer between cravings for food.

If you have a problem with cravings between meals, take a look at the study. If it makes sense to you, I strongly urge you to give it a try—after consulting your healthcare provider, of course.

Richard D. Mattes, MPH, PhD, RD

Keeping Track: Logging Your Data

I’m a Type 2 insulin-dependent diabetic. As such, it’s important to keep track of my blood glucose levels (BGL). It’s not quite as critical as it is for someone with Type 1, but it’s still important.

Florin Uscatu has come up with a simple-to-use diabetes logging app that can improve our lives with diabetes.



Some of the app’s features are:

  • The ability to browse your data online and offline
  • New entries are synced automagically to the cloud
  • Simple-to-understand stats and graphs that make your progress noticeable (like the one above).
  • There’s an option to share your data with your health care team. Send your data in CSV format so your physician can filter and sort the data any way she pleases.
  • Finally, it integrates with the Apple Health app.

Best of all? It’s free! I’ve been using it since the end of December, and it’s the best app of its kind that I’ve yet to find.

Surgery Sucks!

Especially hand surgery. It makes it hard to type, ya know? And I had surgery last week to release my trigger finger. Two fingers, actually. So I’ve been doing physical therapy since the beginning of the week. I guess it’s working; I mean I’m able to type again, albeit very slowly

And the best part? Once my hand is back in working order, I’ll get to do it for the other hand as well.

Which is why, once again, I’m toying with the idea of changing the name of the blog. Insulin And Marijuana for a couple of reasons:

  1. It’s legal in New York State, where I live.
  2. Yes, I do inhale.
  3. But best of all, it takes care of my aches and pains. My remaining trigger finger (on the left hand) gives me a good deal of pain—which marijuana reduces far better than acetaminophen or ibuprofen—neither of which I can take safely because of kidney problems. It also works wonders on my migraines as well.
  4. It also helps me sleep at night.
  5. Finally, it fits right in with my general philosophy of life:


Besides, in the winter I go through more marijuana than I do iced tea!

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Diabetes Is A Confusing Disease

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Ever since I started on insulin last March, I’d been thinking that it also marked my “graduation” from Type 1 to Type 2 Diabetes. Last week I discovered I was wrong.

True Type 1 is when the pancreas never made insulin to begin with

According to Medical News Today, “It is not possible for type 2 diabetes to turn into type 1 diabetes. However, a person who originally receives a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes may still get a separate diagnosis of type 1 at a later date. Type 2 diabetes is the most common type, so a doctor might initially suspect that an adult with diabetes has type 2.”

So I apologize for any inconvenience I’ve caused. I guess I’d better put a disclaimer on my site: “I’m not a doctor, but I play one on the internet.”

That would go right above the next disclaimer:

“I’m not a gynecologist, but I’d be happy to take a look.”

Regardless, I stand by the post at the top of the page. I believe that ideally, insulin should be free. Failing that, it should be sold at cost. In fact, any medicine that is necessary to sustain life should be free. Hell, Jeff Bezos could probably finance the whole thing with just the interest he gets on an hour’s earnings alone.

It’s almost the end of October. It was 39° yesterday morning when I got up at 7:30. Today, counties to the east of my home in Rochester, NY, are preparing for a rather nasty Nor’easter. Half of California looks as if it’s about to slide into the ocean, and Oregon and Washington are preparing for heavy storms. And just the other day, my local library put up a sign saying,


And yet evangelicals around the world are still worried about what other people—whose business is of no concern to anyone but themselves—do with their genitals.

My Apple Watch

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If you’re of my generation, do you remember when your family got your first microwave? And do you remember what a luxury it was? Now you probably think nothing of it. It’s no longer new and exciting. Indeed, most new houses come with one built right in the kitchen.

That’s what my Apple Watch was at first—a luxury. Yet here I am, less than two weeks since purchasing it, and it’s no longer the luxury it was two weeks ago. I won’t go so far as to claim it’s a necessity, but it comes close.

Here’s What I Use It For

  • Tracking my Blood Glucose Levels (BGL)
  • Monitoring my exercise: it reminds me every hour to get up and walk around for at least a minute
  • It reminds me 4 times a day  to just stop whatever I’m doing and simply breathe for a minute. I can change how often I want a reminder, as well as the length of time I breathe
  • It monitors my Blood Oxygen levels, as expressed by a percentage
  • It’s slow going, but if I need to, I can send texts

I like taking close-up pictures of flowers. I can put my iPhone on a tripod, set my focus and aperture and then, to keep the camera steady, I can use my Watch to trigger the shot remotely.

I’m still finding more uses for it every day.

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My Diagnosis Was A Complete Shock

Do you know what Diabetic Keto Acidosis (DKA) is? The Mayo Clinic describes it like this:

Diabetic ketoacidosis is a serious complication of diabetes that occurs when your body produces high levels of blood acids called ketones.

The condition develops when your body can’t produce enough insulin. Insulin normally plays a key role in helping sugar (glucose) — a major source of energy for your muscles and other tissues — enter your cells. Without enough insulin, your body begins to break down fat as fuel. This process produces a buildup of acids in the bloodstream called ketones, eventually leading to diabetic ketoacidosis if untreated.

I had been diagnosed with Type II diabetes some 10 years previously and had been treating it with diet, medication, and exercise. But a misunderstanding with my Primary Care Physician (PCP) led me to stop checking my Blood Glucose Levels (BGL). So when I was admitted to hospital for an unrelated infection, we discovered that my blood sugars were all out of whack. This led to me remaining in hospital for about a week while we managed to get my BGL within normal limits.

The result was my diagnosis of Type I Insulin-Dependent Diabetes, and a drastic change to my life.

And Now For Something Completely Different

Here’s something I like when my BGL allows: a cup of dark-roast coffee (Green Mountain Dark Magic is my current favorite), a packet of Swiss Miss White Chocolate mix, and a splash of French Vanilla creamer. And if my BGL doesn’t allow? That’s just the thing: both the Swiss Miss and the creamer come in sugar-free versions, so my BGL always allows!

Stay tuned for my next post, where I recommend a couple of diabetes-related mobile phone apps. Until then, I’m