Things I Learned Today

Today is a learning day.  Maybe it’s the phase of the moon, or the muffin I ate for breakfast.  Who knows?  Perhaps I’ve been preparing for this day, even though I didn’t do so consciously.

I met my new endocrinologist/diabetologist today.  I will refer to her as Dr. T.

Now, over the course of the weeks I stayed with Mom, I lost a bit of control — eating foods that I knew would cause spikes, eating second helpings of almost everything, including, at times, dessert.  I felt a little concern when my morning BG stayed between 300 and 500 near the end there.  I did so well with my exercise and diet before, but I love my mother’s cooking, and I also cooked some myself.  Most of all, we usually laughed our way through dinner, either after reading the newspaper or hearing news on TV.  I finally understand what “Laugh so I don’t cry,” means.

Or else, we talked about our lives — I took copious notes at the time, as i expect to write a biography about Mom.  About midway through my stay,, I tried to sign up for a physics class online, and found that I need a lot of algebra I didn’t get in high school, or didn’t remember.  So, I looked at several different websites, and chose IXL.com, where I am now engaged in what they call eighth-grade algebra.

Now, when I reached the eighth grade, we still called math class Math Class.  I never thought about algebra until 9th grade, and then I didn’t really learn so well.  I could race through homework problems in study hall, and disregard algebra the rest of the time.  I participated in Band, Chorus, Theater, and a few other commitments, including the Portland Junior Symphony, (of which I am still quite proud, obviously!)  I never expected to need algebra for any job I’d take, and I was completely un-involved with any more science than bare minimum biology and chemistry.  Over all, I believe this is a clear picture of my attitude toward math in hight school.

So here I am, wanting to study quantum mechanics with no math to speak of.  I am not at the level of needing a calculator for every  equation into which I run, but I do occasionally count on my fingers — just being honest.  I hit a wall shortly after I started, with square roots.  Mom was a Math major in Colby College, and she was and is a terrific practical math teacher.  She helped me overcome the square-root problem, and later helped drill me in two-step variable equations and multi-step equations as well.  I enjoy the IXL.com website, which provides correct answers, and good support for   I am absolutely hooked on this stuff, and I find myself really digging the whole math thing — this was a smart idea.

So this morning, for the first time, I ended up with a 91 on the worksheet — I must be learning something there.

More importantly, my appointment with my new doctor went far better than I expected, given the numbers i was presenting for the last few weeks.  She was not a harridan, which is the best thing — I respond very badly to someone lecturing me about what a bad girl I am.  In fact, she is a lovely woman, a little younger than me, who listened to me, saw that I knew what I did wrong, and how to fix it.  We made a couple of adjustments, she asked me about kidneys and heart and skin, (she never came right out and said she didn’t believe in Morgellans Syndrome,  which was a far better approach than my other doctors.)  We talked about neuropathy, retinopathy, and all of the little details involved in keeping diabetes in balance.  She showed me where various doctors have diagnosed me as bipolar — I was depressed for 35 years, and now I feel better.  What is up with that?  She also listed the Morgellans favorites — delusional parisitosis, folliculitis, neurodermatitis, the aforementioned bi polar disorder, and anxiety/depression.  She said she didn’t know about the skin stuff, but delusions of bugs under my skin happen only when I get short on sleep seemed not quite accurate.  In addition, neurodermatitis, which is just medical jargon for “she’s crazy, and all these things are in her head — thanks my primary care doctor.

Anyway, I didn’t try to fudge or duck under my numbers.  I told the whole truth, which is not easy for me with my fear of doctors.  I also told her that I intend to show big improvement three months from now, based on my experience of a couple of months ago.  I know I function better as a balanced human being when I follow my little plan — similar foods everyday, only rare snacks, more fruit and fewer cookies, more protein and less fat.  I know now to prepare for Mom’s next knee surgery recovery more carefully than I did for this.

So, those are a couple of things I learned today:  solving multi-step equations, and the value of honest discussion with this particular doctor, and perhaps others.  Not bad for a holiday, if I do say so myself.

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