And then... DIABETES!?!

Right in the middle of buying a house, getting married within a month, weight loss surgery for me, leasing a new Kenworth big truck for him, my fiancé goes for his annual physical and his blood sugar is very high. Because he is 400 miles from home, he finds a local clinic where he waits 4 hours to be seen and is then given a prescription for Metformin and told to get a glucose meter and all the corresponding apparatus and 1 (literally) scribbled piece of paper telling him how to eat. From what we know now, we guess that he will not be allowed back to work until his blood sugar is under control. I drove down from Ohio as soon as I got his call.

Great. We can do this. But how in the hell do we get there from here? We are currently very overwhelmed. Where do we start?

Call the doctor back and ask for an appointment with a certified dietician who works with diabetics. You need more than a scribbled piece of paper telling you how to eat. You need an expert who will look at exactly what your SO’s bloodwork looks like, and who will ask him about how his day is structured, and what he likes to eat, and build a diet tailored to his needs.

I have been following what is more or less a diabetic diet for several months to keep hypoglycemia under control. It’s not that hard when it is tailored to to you.

He won’t be able to eat dessert-type foods much, but there are a few things he will be able to have occasionally, and this is a good time to be needing artificial sweeteners, because there are so many to choose from. After historically hating them, I get along well with Splenda.

My only experience with diabetes involves a relative who refused to watch his diet, wouldn’t exercise, wouldn’t take his meds, and within a fairly short time, he was hospitalized for all sorts of problems. Even after all that, he’s either in total denial, or he’s a total moron, because he still won’t follow doctor’s orders.

So all I can advise is not to do what my idiot relative has been doing. Consult with and listen to professionals. Ignore people who think they know better than doctors and dieticians - herbs and incense won’t help.

And next time, don’t try to buy a house, lease a truck, have surgery, and get married all at the same time… :wink: Good luck to you, and try not to stress out too much.

Get educated, and put what you’ve learned into practice as soon as possible. What he does now will have irreversible effects in his (and your) future. I became diabetic more than 20 years ago and waited too long to make significant lifestyle changes. I’m paying the price now.

What does he do that he can’t work until his bloodsugar is under control? Was he having problems at work related to sugar highs and lows?

I’m guessing due to the " leasing a new Kenworth big truck for him", that he’s a truck driver. And as such, he has to keep a CDL and get a DOT physical (probably what this was), which (I don’t recall for sure) probably disallows uncontrolled diabetes.

Plenty of threads on Diabetes on this board. Do a search, get some “anecdotal information” :wink: from those of us who have it.

Does he have health insurance? Have him contact his insurance provider to see what his benefits are for diabetes classes, seeing a Registered Dietician, and if he has a disease management/coaching program as part of his benefits. These are typically online or telephone programs where he can talk with a nurse over the phone on an ongoing basis who can help him with the basics and make sure he’s on track. I work for one of these programs with one of the largest insurance companies (I’m an RN and a Certified Diabetes Educator) and the better ones really can provide a lot of support. They absolutely DO NOT replace him seeing a doctor and an RD in person and they aren’t meant to, but they do provide that extra bit of information and support that can make a big difference. I help folks like him every day, including a fair number of truckers.

A bit of an update. We are headed back to Ohio and have an appointment with our family doctor tomorrow.

That makes sense. I merged “buying a house” and “leasing a truck” in to one activity - moving.

I second checking your insurance coverage for diabetes education. Even after being a diabetic for ~10 years, I found it helpful after I went to insulin.

Once he’s controlled, he will still be able to drive as long as he doesn’t have to inject insulin. That’s when I no longer could maintain my CDL (I never drove a big truck, just a two ton delivery van). Still, I find that my control is much better with the injections.

One of the things he’ll have to look at when he’s on the road is where he sources his meals. Even fast food places usually have something that’s diabetic friendly anymore, but portions and eating out of boredom can be an issue. My ex-BIL used to keep a cooler in the truck with veggies that could be eaten out of hand to help with that part of it.

Exercise is another thing that makes a difference. I know that I can “get away” with a few more carbs on gym nights or times when I’m moving around a lot.

If you have more questions, I’ll try to answer them, either in the thread or by PM.

It is pretty much about lowering carbs and increasing exercise. Eating fake sugar can be as high in carbs as real sugar and doesn’t taste as good. Stress can also be factor as can eating too little. It is usually better to eat very small meals several times a day instead of 3 big meals as it keeps the sugar from getting too low or too high. The body store glucose and will release it if it thinks you aren’t eating.

Keep a couple of packets of jelly handy, they are about 15 grams of sugar and if he shows symptoms of low blood sugar, feed him a packet of jelly and wait 15 minutes to see if he improves. Diabetes Education | Joslin Diabetes Center

Even if his glucose isn’t low, a false low needs to be treated just like a real low (according to my Nurse educator) ie if his blood sugar has been say 400 and it drops to 300, he might feel shaky and other symptoms until his body is used to this new low.

another think I found out, if his cells are insulin resistant, he can have just eaten and can feel hungry.

spiking blood sugar is bad as well eg he eats a big starchy meal, blood sugar goes way up, more insulin is released, blood sugar goes way down, making him really hungry. rise and repeat.

I have found hard candy and brushing my teeth help with wanting to eat which is a big problem for me.

I hope he is able to get this under control.

I keep the little Dove Dark Chocolate minis handy. Dark chocolate is a lot better for you than most of the candy I see others keeping in stock.

As said upthread, there is plenty of information on this site. I will just briefly summarize my experience which is that losing 80 lb, taking 500g of metformin twice a day and continuing my walking at least 4 miles every day, my blood sugar is back into the normal range and, in the opinion of my DIL, a GP, maybe even too low. (But weight loss is a side-effect of metformin, so I am reluctant to give it up.) Good luck!

Chocolate is unlikely to be available if I need a blood sugar boost. Little packets of jelly, are nigh on indestructible and unlikely to be consumed otherwise. :slight_smile:

One test shouldn’t diagnose you as a diabetic. The doctor should make you take early morning and 2 hours after your big meal blood tests for X amount of days and record the results before making a determination.

Define very high. What test did they do? Mild to moderate diabetes can usually be controlled with oral meds and lifestyle changes. More severe may require insulin or bariatric surgery.

If he is normally not diabetic in his annual physical, it would be odd for him to suddenly become severely diabetic the next year. Was the test done wrong? If they thought they were doing a fasting test but he ate beforehand then the reading will be wrong.

His number was over 300 in the beginning. Since we’ve seen the doctor and he started his meds, it’s down under 200 and dropping. Our doctor is awesome. He also scheduled us with the nurse practitioner for a longer session of diabetes education. It has all been very helpful.

I am encouraged with his progress so far and his optimistic attitude. Because he’s home for two weeks, we’ve moved up our wedding date and will be getting married next Sunday. Now we just have to figure out where! :eek::smiley:

Chocolate has drawbacks that other sources of glucose do not. It doesn’t raise your BG as quickly as other options and it doesn’t do well if it ends up in a warm environment.

A better option is Skittles or Starburst candy or glucose tabs. 15 Skittles, 4 Starburst, or 4 glucose tabs = approximately 15 grams of carbs, and work very fast.

admehar’s point about a low blood sugar treatment’s likelihood of being consumed when it shouldn’t is a good one. Never thought of jelly packets, good idea.

It can be tough to get physician approval for his CDL. Even if his condition is under control and allowable some doctors can be hesitant to sign off. I hope he’s in good enough shape that he can resume driving and finds a doctor to say so. Your family doctor may be the best approach. Best of luck with this, it’s a stressful enough situation for both of you already, buying a house, moving, getting married are enough to stress to deal with already.