Way back in 1997, not exactly a banner year for your humble scribe, I made note of some of the D words that seemed to dominate my thoughts of the moment: "Despondent, despairing, depressed — it sounds like the worst possible Cole Porter lyric."

Having shoved those terms into the background, I now find myself with a new D word, and this one is perhaps more of a threat:

By current definition, two fasting glucose measurements above 126 mg/dL or 7.0 mmol/l is considered diagnostic for diabetes mellitus.

Two measurements, four weeks apart: 291 and 255. There really doesn't seem to be a whole lot of doubt.

Some years ago, David Letterman took a cholesterol test on the air, and came up with a startling 265. The next night, he came up with a Top Ten list of things he planned to do about it. At the very top: "Use my wealth and power to pressure the A.M.A. to dangerously lower their standards."

I have neither power nor influence, so I'm going to have to make the appropriate adjustments. Fortunately, most of my other numbers are good to excellent, though this happy condition is due largely to having had bad numbers earlier and taking steps to improve them. I start out with decent blood pressure, cholesterol under control — the "good" stuff is a smidgen low, but the "bad" stuff is really low — triglycerides within spec, and no liver ailments or cardiac issues.

Still, this is scary stuff, and the likelihood that there's a genetic susceptibility — my brother has it, and it's done him all manner of harm — doesn't make me feel any better. On the other hand, just about every medical treatment I've had seems to have worked fairly well, which may be attributable to good fortune, or perhaps the astute choice of primary physicians. Diabetes is, of course, incurable; on the other hand, I got my death sentence the day I was born, so it's not like there's a hitherto-unexpected calamity in the making. And my track record versus the Grim Reaper is so far pretty darn good. (The scythe-wielding son of a bitch will get his way eventually, of course, but for now I spit in his eye, if he in fact has eyes.) This undeserved breeziness is due, I think, to the suspicion that my life is governed by the Almighty's puckish sense of humor, and He's not quite through yet: for instance, thirty years ago I wound up with the wrong woman at the right time, and today I'm wondering if the next step is the right woman at the wrong time. Not that I'm competing for Job's job or anything.

So I'm going to eat fewer Arby's potato cakes, cut back on a few other things, and take this in stride. I refuse to be despairing, despondent or depressed, as I was ten and a half years ago. Then again, David Letterman wound up having bypass surgery ten and a half years after he shot off his mouth, so perhaps I ought not to take it too lightly.

The Vent

#544
  8 August 2007

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