How To Hydrate 💦

Water is kind of a big deal. Humans are composed roughly of 60% water, which makes consuming it all the more important. I’ve touched on this in previous posts, namely Some Watered Down Information (Yes, I reference my own posts! Wanna make something’ of it?) But how we consume that water is almost as important as how much.

How much water you need to consume in a day depends on varying factors, including weight, age and certain medical conditions. But the agreed amount these days is to drink half your body weight in ounces. So for example, if you weigh 200 pounds, you should consume 100 ounces (or 2.84 litres) of water a day. That amount can increase, especially in the warmer months or if you’re physically active.

Now that we’ve covered that, what if you were to chug 3 litres of water within the first few hours of your day. Would you need to drink more later on, or have you reached your quota and you’re good to go? Believe it or not, chugging or sipping makes a difference.

According to an online article posted by ScienceABC, “When we have consumed more water than the body needs to operate, it responds by flushing out excess water to ensure that the correct amount stays within the body.” In other words, if you chug water in mass amounts, it may sate your thirst in the immediate moment, but you’ll urinate the excess and won’t hit your daily limit.

This is also confirmed in the article, where they say, “[…] any excess water in the body is flushed out through the urine, which is more likely to happen with gulping.” So if you gulp large amounts, your body will just get rid of the excess anyway. Gulping too much water, which in turns causes the excess to be urinated, will force the kidneys to expel necessary salts from the body along with it. The loss of these salts can cause fatigue, headaches and tissue swelling. It’s a condition called Hyponatremia.

Other problems with chugging or consuming too much water include upsetting the proper balance of electrolytes in the body and water intoxication. These can be accompanied by a number of symptoms including but not limited to fatigue, weakness, irritability and confusion. Seems like a bit of a pain in the ass, just for drinking too much water, eh?

So, the best practice in order to stay properly hydrated throughout the day without causing issues is to simply sip consistently. There is no “optimal” temperature; whatever temperature of water gets you to stay hydrated is ideal. For Diabetics especially, some of that excess consumption can happen when we have very high blood sugars, which cause increased thirst. This becomes a prime example of how the body will flush out excess water.

No matter what, be sure to keep a bottle of water with you at all times, especially during the summer months, and sip from it consistently in order to stay hydrated. Remember that your hydration needs will increase if you’re out in the summer heat and/or exercising. ☯

Summer Flowers Bring Golden Showers…

The sunny season is fast approaching, with less than a month before the calendar’s recognition of the first day of summer (although current Saskatchewan climate makes it feel like it’s already here). And with the increased temperature comes the necessity to stay hydrated and sip plenty of water and fluids throughout the day. A lot of us have that unfortunate period at the beginning of the summer when we attempt to continue pushing just as hard as we have been without upping our water intake (exhibit “A” would be the nausea and light-headedness I felt last week after a long bike run).

But if you’re hydrating properly and taking in lots of fluids, the inevitable result will be that you’ll hit the washroom often, as well. Depending on where you get your information, it isn’t necessarily abnormal to see a people urinating up to ten times a day. Obviously, there are a number of factors behind this and there is no “set” number for any specific person. Diet, exercise habits and your consumption of things like caffeine and/or alcohol.

Just shy of New Year’s, I published a post entitled What Goes In, Must Come Out in relation to the body’s waste and why it’s important to sneak a peak at what’s coming out of you and what the different colours and textures could mean. Not the most pleasant of subjects, and the average person considers it embarrassing and even taboo in some respects, to discuss any of it (even if everyone does it).

But there are a number of important and medically relevant reasons to keep an eye on what comes out of you, and urine is no exception. If you have Diabetes, the urine can be used to check and measure ketones. At the risk of becoming long-winded, since I’ve explained this in previous posts, the long and short of it is that if your body isn’t getting the glucose it needs it will break down fat tissues as a substitute. This substitute creates ketones, which can end up in the blood stream and cause a score of complications.

Ketones will usually spill out through the urine, which is a means of measuring them. These days there are actual meters you can use, which is a step up from the old days when I had to either dip a test strip into a container of urine or try my hand at aiming cleanly enough to shoot directly on the stick. But checking for ketones is only one important aspect. Colour and frequency are also important aspects and the subject of today’s post…

First, according to an article posted by the Mayo Clinic, urine is normally supposed to be pale yellow to deep amber. The colour is “the result of a pigment called urochrome and how diluted or concentrated the urine is.” The depth and shade of colour is attributed to how much water you consume and how hydrated you may be. Believe it or not, if your urine comes out completely clear, you’ve likely drank too much water and your body is flushing out the excess.

But the thing is that depending on your health, hydration, diet and medications, your urine can represent all the colours of the rainbow; and very few of them are good news. There are a few really good sources that explain what all these colours mean, and they all cover the same basic information. The best one I’ve found is from HealthLine.com:

  1. Clear: This is the one I mentioned above, where you’ve been drinking too much water. Although being hydrated is a good idea, too much water will flush out needed electrolytes. Doesn’t mean you should STOP, but tapering back on the amount you sip is ideal;
  2. Yellow: Ah, the old classic! Under ideal circumstances, this is the colour your urine should appear, but may have different shades of the colour depending on your hydration level. If you happen to have a lot of B-Vitamins in your bloodstream, like on days I get greedy and have two energy drinks instead of one (I know, bad me!) your urine can have an almost fluorescent yellow appearance;
  3. Red or Pink: Most people would see red and panic, thinking it’s blood. It’s not. remember the colour wheel you studied in like, first grade? You need yellow and magenta to make a red hue. So if you already have red, it shouldn’t be blood (unless your blood is pink, you Klingon!). Red or pink urine is normally because of foods but can also be the result of kidney stones or tumours;
  4. Orange: This could be due to dehydration, but can also be caused by issues with the bile duct or liver. Jaundice in adults can also cause orange urine;
  5. Blue or Green: Is this becoming surreal? How bad of a panic attack would you have if you looked down and saw blue fu&$in’ piss in the bowl? This is normally caused by dyes or food colouring, although certain bacterial infections can be the cause;
  6. Dark Brown: This one is normally due to dehydration, although certain foods and medications can cause it. In extreme cases, it can also indicate liver disease.

Like I said, all the colours of the rainbow! Yay! Don’t even get me started on the smell of your urine and whether it burns or stings. That’s a whole other thing! I consulted a few different medical websites, but they’re all of the same opinion. If you see swirls of blood in your urine, have a colour indicator of something potentially serious as explained above, or the discoloured urine is accompanied by fever, pain or vomiting, then it’s time to see a doctor.

Most of us go to the washroom, flush whatever’s in there and wash up (I hope) and leave. But there’s something to be said for keeping an eye on what your body is expelling. It can lead to early warnings and potentially avoid serious complications. Sometimes, colour will simply be off for simple reasons like dehydration or something you ate. In those cases, normal urine colour should return within two to three days. If it doesn’t, a visit to your doctor may be in the cards. ☯

Think About Why…🤔

In speaking with some associates lately, I was asked why I push so hard physically. At first, I didn’t understand the question. I’ve been Type-1 Diabetic since the age of 4. As a result of that, I’ve been physically active to the best of my ability since then. I’ve never really felt that I had a choice. I’ve taken my own health in hand for longer than I can remember. Being physically active is really all I’ve ever known. Much like being Type-1 Diabetic is all I’ve ever known…

In your own life, if you take the time to ask yourself why, you might be surprised at the answer you get. There really isn’t a “bad” answer; whether you choose to do it to get in shape, get healthier, lose weight or even to associate with others. Your reasons are your own and no one can tell you any different. But if you have Diabetes, the reasons can hit a little closer to home than working on your summer body, which thanks to 2020, my beach body has called in sick for the remainder of the year. But I digress…

I think it’s important, at least at SOME point on one’s journey, to ask yourself… why? Why do you push yourself, physically, emotionally, perhaps even spiritually, towards fitness goals that you may otherwise not be pursuing? Well, in my case the answer is pretty damn simple: I push so hard because I enjoy staying alive.

It’s a documented fact that people with Type-1 Diabetes have a shortened life expectancy of about 20 years. I’m not a great fan of those numbers. Being part of a family where the men live into their late 90’s, I can’t say that I’m pleased with the thought of that being shaved down to my 70’s, considering I’m more than halfway there! For that reason, if none other, I try to stay as physically active and fit as possible.

I think the prospect of staying alive is a pretty good reason to stay in good shape. I’ve enjoyed the benefit of having loads of fun, learning martial arts and meeting tons of people along the way. But staving off the effects of Diabetes is certainly the top priority. It’s always a bit morbid to think about one’s mortality, but for anyone who has dealt with Diabetes their entire life, I guarantee it’s always itching at the back of our minds. ☯

Bolt Out Of The Blue ⚡️

So, yesterday I wrote about a project I’m working on, where I will be trying to cycle longer and longer distances over the summer months. At the beginning of the warmer season, I started by hitting 10-kilometre and 20-kilometre milestones, and I’ve been increasing ever since. The details of how I intend to use this training are explained in yesterday’s post (I’ve Got A Plan…), so I won’t get into THAT again.

The truth is, that 40-kilometre trek was accomplished LAST Saturday, with the majority of my treks coming in at the 20 and 30-kilometre totals. The good news is that I’ve already broken a pretty decent milestone for this season, that which is to have cycled for over 500 kilometres!

I’m trying not to be TOO overexcited about this, since it really only takes a little over a dozen outings at 30k to reach this number, but I’ve never really tracked total mileage before and have certainly never pushed myself cardio-wise, as I’ve been doing lately.

But as fate would have it, life rarely cares about one’s plans. Last Tuesday, I left the house fully motivated and fully caffeinated, with the intentions of pushing to reach 50 kilometres. This only made sense as it would be the next milestone for me in my insane summer plans. I left the house early in the afternoon, and set out to get as lost as I could, considering I’m being tracked through GPS.

When I reached about 20 kilometres, I started feeling a consistent thumping, coming from the rear tire. I chanced running whatever may have been ahead of me long enough to watch the rear tire for a moment and noticed it was significantly below pressure. The thump I felt was the valve stem being pushed against the inner surface of the wheel due to low pressure.

I texted my wife to let her know what happened and walked the bicycle for about half a kilometre to local gas station in the hopes of re-inflating my tire. When I got there, I was dismayed to learn the the air compressor required money to activate. Did y’all know you had to pay for air? Because I sure as hell didn’t, and I had no cash on me.

I was lucky enough that one of the employees was kind enough to loan me a dollar so I wouldn’t be stranded. I re-inflated the rear tire and it seemed to be holding, so I continued on. I lost air pressure once again about two kilometres further from home. I had reached 22.24 kilometres. I threw in the towel and asked my wife to come pick me up, which required handling and loading two small children. My wife puts up with a lot of my shit…

I was pretty pissed off as this was the second time I had flattened a tire in recent months. But since it was the rear tire and has all the gears and parts included, I didn’t trust myself to remove it to replace the tube (especially since I royally f$&ked the brakes on my last bike doing it on the front tire). So it was decided that considering the various terrain I cycle on, I should go purchase a new mountain bike.

You wouldn’t think that buying a bike would be difficult, but finding one that wasn’t ridiculously high-priced and suited my size and needs proved to be more difficult than anticipated. I spent all day, last Wednesday, wandering among five different retail locations, with no luck. Yes, you read that right: FIVE! Some locations were out of stock, which it almost seems as though Regina is suddenly ga-ga for bikes, or some didn’t have a frame size to accommodate my height, or the cost was simply too high. A certain popular retail chain that uses a blue and yellow colour scheme only carried bikes that were $798, of all things! And their prices are usually better than most! Yes, I’m cheap!

I had a few more locations that I was able to check last Thursday, and thank the Light I was able to find one at a SportChek location, here in Regina. It had everything I was looking for: mountain bike, proper frame and wheel size, mountings for a water bottle and tire pump and the price was reasonable. Done deal! The staff helped by performing a pre-purchase checklist to ensure the gears, brake and tire inflation were all up to standard before I left the store.

The new ride, still naked without all the accessories.

So, having picked up this bike last Thursday, I strapped on my water bottle holder and travel bags and took a spin. The north-bound wind was strong enough that I almost turned back after 3 kilometres, but I stuck it out. Plus, the staff may have SAID they properly inflated the tires but they were slightly under pressure, which caused some drag and made the trek difficult. I had to stop at 30k, but I at least I broke her in!

So there you have it: the new beast I’ll use to kill myself slowly through long-distance cycling! I’ll admit that all the cycling I’ve been doing has made my legs feel better (an important aspect when you have Diabetes), have improved my blood sugars and make me tired enough to actually get SOME sleep at night, despite my current work situation. I’m looking forward to tweeting my ride further, and increasing the distance I travel in the weeks to come. Hopefully with less strong winds pushing against me. ☯

I’ve Got A Plan…🚲

So, if you’ve been following my blog for a while, you’re aware that I enjoy cycling. For the most part I’ve been doing it as a means of throwing a little cardio into my week, or getting fresh air as opposed to working out in my basement as I usually do. But as the warmer season has hit Saskatchewan and the world has basically ground to a halt, I’ve started to use my bike more and more.

My season started off pretty simply; a quick 10k here, a smooth 20k there… But as I’ve been going on further outings and pushing myself harder and further, I’ve been increasing the mileage I accumulate with every trip. About a week ago, I racked up 31 kilometres. I felt a tad on the hurty side the following day, but I pushed through and recovered nicely. Last Saturday, I achieved 40 kilometres in just about 2 hours.

And yes, that’s Van Halen I’m listening to!

When I got home, I’ll admit I was pretty exhausted. My legs hurt, I was sweaty as shit and all I wanted was a nap. But I overall, I felt damn good. It got me to thinking… I can keep pushing myself and going further and further as I train. It’s what I’ve been doing for years. Cycling is simply the newest fitness niche I’ve fallen into. But I’ve started to wonder how I can use this to potentially help others.

Since I’ve already reached 40 kilometres, why not 50? 60? 80? At 80 kilometres, I can reach Moose Jaw from Regina. I can also reach Strasbourg, where a couple of friends reside so that I have a familiar location to make a stop before returning home. Yay me! So how can I use this to benefit others, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked that question…

Since we’re just past mid-May, I can easily contribute the next two months to interval training in order to increase the amount of distance I can reach with every outing. My intention is to cycle several hundred kilometres, let’s say 200, at end of summer. That would put me safely within reach of Saskatoon from Regina. I want to reach out to Diabetes Canada, formerly known as the Canadian Diabetes Association, and obtain some assistance in turning my trek into a fundraising initiative in favour of my cycling.

If necessary, I intend to increase the distance. Hell, why not Portage La Prairie, Manitoba or Winnipeg? Go for the big 500 kilometres? As long as I’m willing to take breaks when necessary and keep my meals carb-rich as I travel, I’m confident I can make any distance I set my mind to. So why not leave a mark to better the world while I still can? Makes sense, right? What the hell else have I got to do at the moment?

Let me know, in the comments, what your thoughts are or if you believe I’m totally off my rocker. Doesn’t mean I won’t do it, but I’d appreciate everyone’s input… ☯

It Takes Two, Baby…🎶

Depending on what your motivation may be, working out by yourself can suck. Royally. On the other hand, certain activities that I train in, like meditation, learning a new karate form or burning off steam on a punching bag, can work quite well when I’m alone. But it stands to reason that having a partner when you break a sweat can have some measurable, noticeable and unexpected benefits.

When I first started the martial arts, I felt exposed. I’m sure some of you have been there; you walk into an environment where EVERYBODY knows more than you do. Potentially. So even though you happen to be standing at the back of the class, you feel like everyone’s eyes are on you, judging you, watching you excessively sweat and gasp for air as they go through the motions barely showing any effort… Nah? Just me? Whatever… let’s carry on…

According to an online article I found on NBC News of all places, working out in a group has the benefit of others’ healthy habits rubbing off on us. The article states that a 2016 study found that “overweight people tend to lose more weight if they spend time with their fit friends […]” Which can certainly make sense if all the time you spend with said “fit friends” happens to be at spin class, yoga, zumba, cycling and etc.

Certainly, there is a great deal to be said for the accountability factor, where it’s more difficult to skip the workout when it’s part of a pre-organized program with others. And you inevitably end up kicking your workouts into high gear in order to accommodate and keep up with others who are doing the same. The above-linked article touches on these aspects as well.

All of this can certainly be true of karate. After those first few classes, I found myself pushing hard to keep up with the other students. Karate is one of those “keep up or be left in the dust” environments where you’re totally free to move at your own pace, but eventually it just won’t be enough. But the camaraderie that develops once you start holding your own is particular. It’s one of the aspects I most enjoy within the dojo.

Ultimately, working out with a friend or loved one doesn’t just keep you accountable through fewer skipped workouts. It can also encourage you to try out new exercises or activities you may not have thought of and may encourage you to push harder in order to keep going. Surprisingly, you may even catch yourself working out for longer periods as you’ll discover something other than fitness. You’ll discover that working out with a partner is fun.

My wife and I occasionally enjoy some fitness circuits together. She’s a champ and is always a good sport, no matter what I throw at her. I enjoy it a great deal, because it not only helps her to stay fit and get the blood pumping, it also allows me to include her in an important aspect of my life. So working out with your spouse is very important. It doesn’t have to be an all-out sweat storm that flattens you for the next couple of days; I rather save those for my friends whose suffering I enjoy (looking at you, Jayden!).

In closing, working out with a partner can also ensure your safety. If you happen to be doing something like lifting heavy weights or hiking in a remote area, having someone with you can ensure that you’ll have immediate help should something go wrong, which can be an important aspect if you happen to have Diabetes and suffer a low at an inopportune time. Not to mention that a little healthy competition amongst friends or loved ones is never a bad thing. So get out there and challenge yourselves. The only limits are the ones we set ourselves. ☯

I Wash My Hands Of It…

Proper hygiene is significantly important, and has always been so even before the advent of everyone finally realizing to WASH THEIR HANDS!!!! Seriously though, good hygiene and cleaning habits are an important part to staying healthy, and can have a significant impact on your overall health and every day life.

For example, did you know that depending on they type and thickness of your toilet paper, it can take up to ten layers to stop fecal bacteria from passing through? Kind of makes you think twice about walking out before scrubbing the ‘ol paws, right? Don’t stress too hard over it; there’s already bacteria on the toilet paper BEFORE you use it anyway. Oh, wait… That’s all the more reason to WASH YOUR HANDS!!!

Good hand washing practices have been pushed for decades, and has in fact been explained as one of the top ways people can easily prevent the spread of germs, bacteria and disease. It’s unfortunate that it took a pandemic for people to lose their proverbial shit and start washing their hands more often, hoarding and slathering layers of sanitizer to boot. If you want my thoughts on hand sanitizer, you can read one my previous posts here: Cleaning? Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That…

Bearing in mind that you should be washing your hands properly and often, whether they’re dirty or not, what is the “proper” method? Well, according to the Centre For Disease Control, one should wash one’s hands for at least 20 seconds or more, using soap and fresh, running water. Close attention should be paid to ensure your scrub all areas of your hands, including between the fingers, back of the palms and under the nails.

The length of time depends on how dirty your hands may be, or what kind of filth they may have been exposed to. But once you’re done scrubbing, they need to be properly rinsed under fresh, running water. This is because soap will help to lift and remove filth, bacteria and germs from your hands, but then need to be rinsed off. Then, be sure to dry your hands properly as germs can be transferred easier on wet hands.

The article provides for both air drying or towel drying, and the jury is out on which one is optimal. Personally, I despise hand dryers in public restrooms as I’m not a fan of whatever bacteria ay be floating the washrooms being heated and blown across my flesh. But the jury is out on which method is optimal. The jury is still out on whether hot or cold water makes any measurable difference, but the reality is that hot water will at least help lift some of the germ-ridden oils from your hands that will remain if you use cold water. Additionally, some of the dirt-lifting properties of soap are deactivate by cold water.

Last but not least, remove rings and jewellery when washing. I once saw a television report where they coated the hands in a UV-sensitive chemical that would light up under a black light. They then had the person wash their hands and expose them to a black light. The hands were mostly clean, except for some spots he forgot to scrub. But when he removed his wedding band, a bright blue band of chemical was still present. The same applies to germs and bacteria.

Just to be clear, you’ll never eliminate 100% of bacteria. Nor should you want to. Your body needs some of that shit (pun fully intended). The biggest challenge I’m facing at the moment is trying to teach my 5-year old son the importance of hand washing. He’s of the opinion that if he doesn’t “touch himself” while using the washroom, he doesn’t need to wash his hands. He’s also terrible at understanding to scrub up when he comes inside from playing. Kids…

As usual, all of this can be easily applied to Diabetics, especially since we tend to be prone to infection and should try to keep clean as much as possible. This is especially important if you still use a traditional blood glucose monitor and prick your fingertips repeatedly throughout the day. You should wash your hands in hot, soapy water before and after testing. No matter the state of the world, everyone should be washing their hands often and properly. Not only for good hygiene and to protect yourself but because it also helps to protect others. ☯

Diabeetus

This year will mark thirty-seven of fighting my way along with Type-1 Diabetes. For the most part, I’ve been fortunate. But I would be lying if I said that I hadn’t made some significant mistakes along the way. Ignorance, lack of education and simply being too young to properly understand, has often put me in a tight spot, as far as proper Diabetes management.

These days, I generally enjoy a slightly shocked look from individuals to whom I reveal my condition. This is mostly because I don’t “fit” the assumed image of someone with Diabetes. I have all my digits and limbs, I’m not obese and I’m not cursed with a plethora of visible symptoms or side-effects for people to pick out and say, “Wow, he must have Diabetes.” (Cue the Wilford Brimley jokes, here!)

But it doesn’t mean that I haven’t been subjected to the typical questions and stereotypes that most people with Diabetes face at one point or another. I remember when Starbucks released their Unicorn Frappucino, back in 2017. Besides the ridiculous appearance of the drink, the carbohydrate count for it was astronomically excessive…

An example obtained from BeyondType1.org

BeyondType1.org posted a really good article about the drink when it came out. They display the above-included meme and some others, and goes on to explain how the internet basically lost its mind and started in on how sugar causes Diabetes. It. Does. Not. Period. But it sure doesn’t keep people from thinking it does and making fun of it. And 80 grams of total carbs? Whew, I feel my blood sugar rising just looking at that photo. I read a good joke while researching this post, about how the physical cup has less artificial ingredients than the drink does! But I digress…

The above is another meme I found. Seriously, poor Wilford Brimley! The man does one infomercial for Liberty Medical and the world’s been using his face as the butt-end of internet Diabetes jokes, ever since! But you can find memes like this aplenty, simply by searching “Diabetes memes” on Google. And the inaccuracy is astounding.

Consuming large amounts of sugar, having weight issues and a poor life style doesn’t CAUSE Diabetes! Some of those can certainly contribute to the onset of Type-2, but the jury’s out on even some of those aspects. I can guarantee that if you consume 29 candy bars, you’ll succumb to much different and immediate health concerns before Diabetes ever comes into the picture.

Although someone with Type-1 needs to focus on staying physically fit, eating well and minding their overall health, evidence to the contrary does not mean they have Diabetes. And seeing someone who has all of the above, physically fit, eating well and healthy, doesn’t mean that they do not. After all, even if you don’t see any casualties, it doesn’t mean the war isn’t happening. ☯

Time For “The Talk”

Having children is an experience all its own. Some good, some bad and some memorable, they make life interesting in ways that nothing else can. Most parents dread the day that they’ll need to have “the talk” with their kids. The “talk” referring mostly to the birds and the bees and where babies come from. With my oldest son Nathan, I’ve been fortunate enough that he’s been able to observe my wife’s pregnancy and his baby brother’s gestation through to his birth. So he’s very aware that babies grow in mommy’s tummy, although not what GOT him there. (One battle at a time, people!)

But the talk I’m referring to, is the one where Diabetes needs to be explained. For someone afflicted with Type-1 Diabetes, having children brings on its own batch of concerns and worries. For example, the prospect that your child may have Type-1, as well. I’ve been fortunate thus far that my oldest son, Nathan, is showing no signs of being diagnosed with Type-1 Diabetes. He certainly eats like he hasn’t got a care in the world!

But one of the issues I’ve had to face in recent years is explaining Diabetes and the reason behind it. I started pump therapy while Nathan was still an infant, so in the years that followed I had to start being mindful of his grubby little paws clawing at my tubing and grabbing at the pump. We’ve come to humorously refer to my pump as my “ouchie”, and Nathan has grown up understanding not to touch it under any circumstances and to be mindful not to sit/step or grab on or around it when we’re horsing around.

A few days ago I was behind my house doing some yard work. Nathan was playing contently in the dirt and it was a beautiful day. As luck (and bad timing) would have it, I started experiencing a low, right when I was in the middle of doing a task. I tested using my Freestyle Libre and sure enough, I was in the mid 3’s!

As is his norm, it took him less than five minutes to realize I had left the back yard and to seek me out in my home office. He immediately noticed that I was feasting on some jelly beans to treat my low. He asked if my blood sugar was low, to which I replied that it was. He asked me if he could have some jelly beans as well. Not wanting to have a five-year old Tasmanian Devil bouncing off the walls, I declined to let him partake… which pissed him off to no end!

He got upset and said it wasn’t “fair” that I got to eat candy whenever I wanted and he couldn’t (which is ironic as it’s pretty much the opposite). This is when it dawned on me that although he understands to be careful around my medical devices, he may not be inherently aware of why I have them. I decided that it was now time to explain why I wear a pump and exactly what Diabetes is.

I started by using Google to bring up a diagram of the human body with the pancreas highlighted. I explained that when someone eats, the pancreas works to control the amount of sugar in the blood (a bit on the simplistic side, but come on! He’s five!) If you have too little or too much sugar in the blood, the pancreas adjusts it for you. But my pancreas doesn’t function properly, so the pump does the job for my pancreas.

Since the pancreas is a natural part of one’s body, it knows how to adjust and balance things. Since my pump is a machine, sometimes mistakes are made, which is why I have to occasionally eat sugared foods to bring my blood sugar up. And jelly beans are usually the easiest and fastest way for me to do it. If I allowed Nathan to consume my jelly beans, I wouldn’t have them in the event that I suffered a low, which was why I couldn’t share them.

To my surprise, he took everything I told him pretty well. He even repeated some details back, which indicated his understanding. All in all, I was pretty happy and proud that he understood. We also briefly discussed that if he ever saw Daddy going to sleep suddenly or being unable to move, to run for Mommy right away for help. His attention and understanding were rewarded with the sharing of one jelly bean from my pile, which made him happy and sent back on his way.

It can be hard to give kids credit where credit is due. We assume that because of their young age, they may not necessarily understand. But allowing oneself to provide even a rudimentary explanation can take some of the anxiety and concern away, especially if your kids ever see you in the throws of a bad low or having to call for help. It won’t eliminate the worry of seeing a parent carted off in an ambulance, but explaining can at least stem some of it. If the sex talk turns out to be this easy for Nathan, I can breathe easy… Although somehow I doubt I’ll be THAT lucky! ☯

Sip Yourself To Sleep

Recently, I wrote about different types of tea in a post entitled “Let’s TEA Off”where I described the effects of some tea and the myth that some teas such as green tea, are caffeine free.  I had some misfortune in this area, as I foolishly consumed a cup of green tea late one evening, only to have it keep me awake through half the night.  I was NOT impressed!

I’m usually not one for endorsing specific brands and types, but I’ve come upon a blend of herbal tea that I’ve found not only delicious, but completely caffeine-free. Sometimes, it’s nice to enjoy a nice, hot cup of something in the evening while reading or watching a show. And since coffee and traditional teas are out of the question because of their stimulating effect, a natural caffeine-free herbal tea is the best alternative.

This is a can of loose-leafed cinnamon rooibos chai tea that my wife and I received as a gift from our friend Lavina, some time ago. I usually don’t partake of loose-leafed tea, since it requires an infuser of some sort and honestly, who has the time? But I’ve recently taken to using the infuser we do have and I have to say, this blend of tea has really sat well with me.

The cinnamon flavour is almost akin to chewing cinnamon gum, or having a shot of Fireball without the buzzing effect. As you can see from the photo, this particular can was obtained from DAVIDsTEA, which is a Canadian specialty tea store. They sell just about every kind of tea under the sun and stars, and often offer samples of specialty blends that they offer in-store. We have a location here in Regina and two in Saskatoon.

So if you’re looking for a warm, comforting drink in the evening, a steaming-hot cup of herbal tea is the way to go. ☯