Saturday, June 02, 2007

Helpful Hints for Diabetics

Several months ago I got a case of the diabetes. It was a simple mistake, really. I was tired of filling up on beer so quickly (and I certainly wasn’t going to start drinking chardonnay like some kind of fruitcup), so I decided I needed some more room in my guts for beer storage. After looking through some old Carcass CD booklets for anatomical diagrams of the human viscera, I felt confident enough to do some remodeling; sort of like This Old House with blood and a few kidneys.

So, with a scalpel I bought off of this guy that sells drugs out of a boat parked in his driveway, I did a nice job removing this large organ that looks like a retarded corn cob. I thought, “Fuck, anything that looks this stupid can’t be worth a damn, and it’s taking up space that could be used to hold Old English. Precious Old English.” Had I been in a better state of mind, a state of mind of someone who wasn’t drunk and in the middle of removing his own ugly organs with a scalpel probably crawling with hepatitis, I would have realized I was taking out my pancreas. And if I had been in that better state of mind and actually knew what the hell a pancreas was for, well, I probably would have left it alone. Nobody’s perfect, right?

The next thing I know, I’m waking up in the hospital to a team of doctors slapping me around like a newborn that owed them money. I was pretty groggy, but I remember the conversation going something like this:

Me: What the hell, dude?
Doc 1: You stupid, stupid ass!
Me: Stupid? Me? Fuck you! I’ve turned myself into the perfect beer-drinking machine God never had the stones to create Himself!
Doc 2: Cripes! More of this shit. Hit him again, doctor.
Doc 1: You dumbshit! I’ll slap that triumphant-mad-scientist complex right out of you!
Me: Quit slapping me, you quack!
Doc 1: I’ll slap you all I like, asshole!
Me: Can you at least punch me? I hate getting slapped!
Doc 2: Sorry. Doctors are only trained to slap. Punching, kicking, and Muay Thai elbows are out of the question. Besides, in your condition, any trauma could kill you.
Me: Then why is this fuckhead slapping me?
Doc 1: Because you’re a goddamned idiot! That’s why!
Me: What … what the fuck? Sweet mother of Buddha butt-fucked upside down! There’s a tube in my dick! There’s a tube in my….

Er … that’s enough of that. (Editor’s Note: Tube = catheter.) Anyway, after I was sedated and the doctors finished uploading the video of them kicking my ass to YouTube, they explained that the pancreas, no matter how silly it looks, is necessary to live. Further, they explained it took them several hours of intense surgery to put it back and save my life.

Doc 2: Congratulations, moron. You’re alive. And you’ve won the hospital’s “Stupidest Patient of the Month” contest.
Me: Really? Who came in second?
Doc 2: That would be Timbo. He cut off his own penis with a Sonic Blade.
Me: And I’m still the stupidest patient here?
Doc 2: Yes. Timbo’s crazy and thought the devil lived in his pants. That’s why he cut off his penis. You, on the other hand, are just a moron. Also, Timbo got bonus smart points for using the Sonic Blade. It doesn’t slice, it sonically separates, you know.
Me: Well how the fuck do you like that?

After nearly a month of painful recovery and physical therapy (I had to learn to walk in hospital socks), I was almost ready to get out of the hospital. Because of the damage done to my pancreas, I was now a diabetic and had to attend a class on taking care of myself before I could be released. The class consisted of a short, cross-eyed lady sticking syringes into a Nerf ball and talking about glucose.

I wasn’t paying a lot of attention, but as I understand it, the pancreas sends out magic waves that regulate the levels of sugar, or glucose, in your blood. If the pancreas stops functioning properly, blood-glucose levels get out of balance like a clubfooted tightrope walker with an ear infection. If glucose levels get too low, you get all shaky and pass out until you eat some raisins; if glucose levels get too high, you have to shoot some insulin before they cut off your foot. Something like that, anyway. It was hard to pay attention—I really, really wanted to play with that Nerf ball.

Now, I’m not a very nice guy. In fact, I’m a real prick. But, since I’m lucky to be alive, I figured I’d do something nice for a change. I’ve decided to post a few things I’ve learned while living with diabetes. Perhaps someone new to the disease will read it and benefit from it. It might help someone—or even save someone’s life. Besides, this creepy night nurse that looked like the girl from Audition said if I didn’t write this, she’d find me when I felt completely safe, stick needles in my eyes, and garrote-saw my arms and legs off.

Check Your Blood Often
You’ll need to check your blood several times a day to be sure your glucose levels are balanced. The life of a diabetic is a life of constant chemistry. Thankfully, for those of us who never got the hang of diagramming Bohr Models in science class, modern devices make the blood-testing process very simple if not completely idiot proof.

Pictured below is the blood-testing device I was given when I left the hospital.
This technologically advanced device is used to draw a blood sample, the blood sample is read into the device via the testing strip, and then the device gives you a number that indicates your blood-glucose level. Your doctor will give you a chart, or sliding scale, that tells you what numbers are indicative of normal, low, and high blood-glucose levels. For example, my chart reads:

90 and below: Eat something with sugar in it, stupid.
100-150: Right on target. You’re doing pretty well for an imbecile.
151-200: You need four units of insulin. Try to avoid poking yourself in the eye.
230-300: What? Did you eat candy for lunch or something? Six units of insulin, Willy Wonka.
301 and up: You are so losing a foot if you don’t take eight units of insulin.

Obviously, the importance of maintaining proper blood-glucose levels cannot be overstated. If the levels remain high for a number of successive tests, you might need to go to the hospital. I suggest you take some sort of weapon with you to discourage the doctors from sawing off your feet. I don’t know why the feet are in constant jeopardy when you have diabetes, but I suspect the doctors have some kind of bet going where the M.D. that saws off the most feet gets a helicopter ride through the Grand Canyon or something.

Maintain a Healthy Diet
I’m on a low-carb, low-sugar, low-fat diet. This makes eating foods I used to enjoy nearly impossible; however, your new diet is based on the severity of your case of diabetes and how sadistic your doctor feels that day. My daily diet consists of the following:

Breakfast: Three cornflakes, a teaspoon of soy milk, and a white watermelon seed.
Lunch: A quarter-sized ham cube, one boiled broccoli stem sprinkled with no more than five sesame seeds, and as much water as I can drink in seven seconds.
Dinner: One natural hotdog casing wrapped in a lettuce leaf, two un-popped popcorn kernels, and a cup of any Asian tea that looks like urine and smells like a dirty bong.
Pre-Bedtime Snack: As much low-fat cottage cheese as I can balance on a low-fat goldfish cracker.

As I mentioned before, diets vary from person to person. One example of a diabetes-friendly diet I was given in the diabetes class consisted of a bucket of yogurt for breakfast; a piece of beef, chicken, or pork the size of a deck of playing cards for lunch; a toddler-sized pile of fish bellies and apple cores for dinner; and a tofu brick shaped like a Toyota Scion for a pre-bedtime snack. Whatever diet the doctor assigns you, be sure to stick with it. I once ate a chicken strip for lunch and a dietician showed up and kicked me in the stomach until I threw up.

Exercise Every Day
Regular exercise helps distribute glucose evenly throughout your system. Tae Bo is for Nancy-Marys who wanted to be butch Broadway dancers, and jogging is for perverted old men that like to get away with wearing short-shorts in public. I suggest taking brisk walks and karate-kicking any neighborhood pets that look at you funny.

Be Smart with Your Syringes
The typical syringe used for insulin injections is very small and meant to be used only once. Even if health insurance helps cover the cost of all the needles you’ll need, using them once and throwing them away is a waste. I generally use my syringes until the needles are so warped they look like the peyos on a Chasidic Jew. One man’s money-saving tip is another man’s dangerous misuse of medical waste, I always say. If you’re too fancy to reuse your needles, you might as well sell them on the cheap to the local junkies. You may not get much for them, but every little bit helps these days. And, hey, at least you know the next time Pinchy the one-toothed smackhead shoots up, thanks to your moderately clean syringe, he won’t be getting AIDS.

Wear a Medical Necklace/Bracelet
These fashion accessories are not only perfect for any occasion, they also serve a very important purpose. They come with a wallet card you fill out with the specifics of your condition. If you’re ever in a really severe car accident or just pass out somewhere, the paramedics will know your health is fucked up and coddle your sorry ass accordingly.

Here is a typical medical alert necklace:
They’re usually perfect for engraving as well. Here is my engraved medical alert necklace: I learned my lesson, you lab coat-wearing bastards.

See Your Doctor Regularly
It’s important to see your doctor often when you’re a diabetic. Regular checkups and fancy blood tests are necessary to ensure you haven’t been fucking yourself up too severely. These checkups are usually quick and non-invasive (except for the blood test).

Some people, however, have what are called “floating veins” or, in my case, “ninja veins” (see picture of one of my veins below).
These veins move around a lot and are very difficult for the nurses to draw blood from. The first time I had blood drawn, the nurse had to work the needle back and forth like a coked-up caveman performing liposuction during an earthquake to finally spear the vein. My arm was so bruised from that shit, it looked like I had been trading shots of heroin with Courtney Love in a Seattle dumpster.

If you have this condition, many hospitals are very accommodating and will give you plenty of alternatives to the standard blood-drawing method. The hospital I go to even let me invent a new way to give blood for testing. We affectionately refer to it as the Oath Method: I slice the palm of my hand with a sweet knife (like Kevin Costner did in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves), and then, with clenched fist, I bleed into a bucket I pretend is the grave of my ruthlessly murdered father. I’m currently kicking around an idea that involves a room full of broken glass, a slip ‘n’ slide, and a running start.

There you have it, folks. Doctors often say that diabetes treatment isn’t a science, and the best results come from careful trial and error. Hopefully, my experiences will help other new diabetics out there achieve stability without nearly so many errors. If not, at least I did my part and don’t have to worry about that scary nurse anymore.


jungle jane said...

My god you are a little sissy, Morbid. I can think of nothing more gay than topping up your hormone levels every few hours with one of those dinky little girly needles. Get yourself a man-size needle and slam that shit straight into your heart like that chick on Pulp Fiction....

Erica AP said...

I'm so scared of getting diabetes. I love sugar in a way that only your heroin addicts could understand. Can I shoot sugar strait into veins? I think I might be in high heaven if so.

morbid misanthrope said...

jungle jane -- Sure, I could be a brute and just "slam" various chemicals into my heart, but, for once, I'm actually enjoying the quiet dignity of small insulin injections. I'm not a cartoon, you know. I can't do everything to excess--drinking gallons of whiskey a day and shooting chemicals into my eye with a baseball bat-sized needle.

Besides, I've been mixing various snake venoms in with my insulin, and I need a fine needle for that. I figured now was a good a time as any to become immune to all snake venoms at once.

erica ap -- You can shoot sugar into your veins, but it must be in liquid form. I suggest mainlining a simple syrup, which you can make by dissolving two parts sugar in one part boiling water. Let the mixture cool, of course, and you're all set.

I'm not encouraging this kind of behavior, mind you; that would be the devil's job.

Devil: "Shoot it between your toes!"

NewYorkMoments said...

Do the hospital socks have anything to do with cutting off your feet? Sounds like a fucking conspiracy to me.

Prunella Jones said...

That was very informative, Morbid. Coming from an Irish family with "drunk genes" I have many relative with the "beetus" and am familiar with the protocol. In fact I saved a kid's life the other day.

You see I do a lot of volunteer work with the YMCA. I teach a class on how to recognize and take care of turds in the pool for the Junior Floater Spotters of America. It's an important job as there is nothing worse than innocently swimming laps and coming eye to eye with the proof that the three year old kid in the shallow end really should have had on swim diapers. Anyway so there I was teaching my teenagers this important art when one of them fell in the pool and started going under. Everybody else thought he was drowning but I knew it must be a diabetic attack. I jumped in and shoved a piece of candy in his mouth. "Aren't you going to pull him out?" the other kids screamed. "NAh," he'll be fine in a minute," I said to reassure them. Well it must have been a pretty bad attack because he just kept laying there underwater till I finally grabbed him and slapped him on the back. But if it weren't for that candy the kid could have lost a toe.

Great post!

morbid misanthrope said...

newyorkmoments -- You could be right. There's a lot of weird shit going on in hospitals--the vampires having costume parties in the basement where they take you to x-ray your blood-swollen scrotum, for example. Sorry about that, I was heavily medicated ... very heavily.

prunella jones -- I had no idea you were such a humanitarian. You are truly doing the Lord's work, volunteering at the YMCA to do such an important job.

And it's a damn good thing you acted when you did. Sounds like that teen had a case of Type 17 Diabetes? It's an unusual type of diabetes that makes people pass out in swimming pools if they don't get a watermelon- or apple-flavored Jolly Rancher every 17 minutes (grape will work in a pinch).

It's common to young people with a history of pregnancies in their family. If the condition goes untreated, the victim will lose the ability to tell the difference between red and black licorice in blind taste tests. Madam, you're a hero. Congratulations.

neko said...

beware of little pricks in these hosiptals!!

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- And Korean doctors with afros that offer blood tests for five dollars. It turns out, if they're charging cash--especially only five bucks--they're probably not real doctors. I should have known something was strange about the guy when I noticed his hospital badge just said "Party Animal."

neko said...

i once saw an application form for medical school --

there was something about "must have foot fetish" relating to diabetic doctoring..

i wonder what they do with all the feet they cut off...

badgerbob said...

Did it hurt, when they stuck the tube in your dick?

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- I think some of the nurses have them bronzed and made into pieces for their various charm bracelets, some feet are probably sent to a museum or something, and the rest go to prisons. You know all those people in jail for cannibalism? Well, they have to eat something.

badgerbob -- Only slightly more than it hurt to cut out my own pancreas with a scalpel bought from a meth dealer.

Captain Smack said...

I want one of those medical alert necklaces. You could probably sell those on eBay. The FEED ME BLOOD phone was awesome, too.

I don't just look at the pictures, by the way.

morbid misanthrope said...

captain smack -- I find that the necklace does a pretty good job of keeping doctors away from the south pole. It doesn't work as well as exploding boxers, but I got sick of black powder burns below the waist.

Shit. It is a phone. They told me it was an Accu-Chek Compact Plus blood tester. I suppose the Nokia logo should have tipped me off. Great, my health insurance is rubbish, and I'm stuck with a talking, and possibly cursed, cellphone I've been pouring my blood into.

neko said...

i dont think i have ninja veins --

i have those so-tiny-and-miserable-the-nurses-can't-find-them-so-have-to-repeatedly-stab-around-in-my-arms/legs/neck-to-find-one veins.

not as much fun as you'd think.

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- If the needle is big enough, it'll draw blood no matter where they stick it. If you cut off the end of an aluminum baseball bat at an angle, it will make a fine syringe. It will never fail to draw proper amounts of blood, but it might accidentally take off a limb. It's a work in progress. When I get it working I’ll let you know.

neko said...

geez, morb, im not into pain the way you are..

maybe if they knocked me out with the baseball bat first, then stuck me with the needle..

but then -- if im knocked out, someone might fiddle with my genitals!!

sign me up for one of those bracelets!

[...i don't think the kind of person who fiddles with an unconscious person's genitals is the kind of person who would pay attention to a bracelet like that]

morbid misanthrope said...

neko -- I suppose it would be rather painful. I guess that's one of the things I'll have to try to fix before I apply for a patent.

You're right about the genital fiddling, of course. I guess it's never a good idea to put perverts on the honor system. I'll just have to equip the necklace/bracelet with weaponry of some kind.

Prunella Jones said...

Oh get over yourself. What, are your parts too good to be fiddled with? I used to spend every Friday night unconscious at a fraternity party and I treasure those somewhat blurred memories. It's how I met all of my boyfriends. Well, there and truck stops.

morbid misanthrope said...

prunella jones -- It's not that they're too good; in fact, due to all the kangaroo fights I took part in for quick cash a few weeks ago, they’re damaged goods. I'm simply a prude and don't go in for that sort of thing.

I crashed a frat party one time. Were you the girl passed out on the moving ceiling fan? If so, I hope you weren't injured too severely when the frat guys threw that big rock to knock you down.

BD said...

Kevin Costner got a tag?! Like that'll ever be used again...

morbid misanthrope said...

bd -- Well, I thought I'd help out the poor guy. He's still recovering from Waterworld.

Prunella Jones said...

Nah, that was my sorority sister Muffy. Thank you for asking. That rock hit her right between the eyes and caused some sort of frontal lobe damage. Afterwards she stopped going to frat parties and became very serious about school, spending all of her time at the library. The last I heard she was in med school, but I don't know for sure. I quit hanging out with her cause she got like sooo dull.

morbid misanthrope said...

prunella jones -- Thanks for the info. I kind of thought she would have ended up in a ditch somewhere--at least that's what she kept screaming while trying to drink vodka out of the fraternity's pet stuffed parrot.