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Death Knocked on My Door

Updated on September 17, 2011

Death has knocked on my door several times. In most cases it was unexpected. Only once did I expect the visit and almost opened the door wide to let it enter. That’s a time I no longer care to recall.

Death knocked on my door about ten years ago and it could possibly be knocking on the door of someone you know if not your own door for the very same or similar reason.

At the time it was about a ninety minute drive from the house I was renting to my parents’ house and as a small and close family I often spent my days off visiting with them. Most of the drive was a pleasant ride through twisting and winding mountain roads and no, my visit with death had nothing to do with a traffic accident…please, allow me to continue…

It was on one of the winding mountain roads that I suddenly found it difficult to focus on the small white lines that bordered the two lane road. It was a solid white line close to the front of my car but as I looked further ahead on the road I was traveling it seemed to fork or split into two directions. Of course, I passed it off as the result of just being tired after all I had worked all day before leaving my house.

Sometime after returning to my little lakeside rental house I became extremely thirsty and could not stand being without a cold drink. I had purchased several two liter bottles of coke and stood in my kitchen finishing off each bottle completely attempting to quench that thirsty feeling. Soft drinks gone I’d pull out the scotch and do the same. At work I would see someone carrying a soda around and want to take it from them and drink it, too. I mean why get the drink it if they were just going to carry it around?  I was thirsty…thirstier than I have ever been in my life.

Let me stop here and give you just a little information about my lifestyle at the time. Living alone in nice cabin on an area lake was wonderful. I had no responsibilities to anyone or anything other than myself. Though I was working a job that entailed long hours I still had time to come home and enjoy a few drinks sitting on my deck overlooking the water watching the boats as they passed. My job was a high pressure sales job and I started drinking about a fifth of scotch each evening. It wasn’t a big deal as I had grown up in a home where having cocktails when the clock struck five was the norm. So, think the death’s visit had something to do with my heavy drinking? Maybe…but not directly.

My eyesight became blurred one day at work and after calling a vision center was advised to see my regular doctor for a checkup. I made the appointment. One of the first things Doc did was give me a vision test…you know the one where you put your hand over one eye and read the chart on the back of the door at the end of the hallway. I could barely see the chart.

A few blood tests later, Doc asked me, “Can you meet me at the hospital this afternoon?”

It was my day off so that wasn’t going to be a problem. I think we were supposed to meet there for some more testing sometime around three. To kill time I stopped for lunch at my favorite steak house and had a great lunch then headed towards the hospital driving in a pouring down rainstorm. I guzzled a couple of cokes before going in and close to three went to the front desk.

The lady immediately got on the phone and minutes later a nurse came towards me with a wheel chair saying, “We’ve been expecting you.”

I was dumbfounded by the sight of a wheel chair and proclaimed it would not be necessary. It was hospital policy I was informed. They wheeled me to a semi-private room and had me strip and put on one of those gowns that tie in the back. I wondered just what kind of tests the doctor had ordered.

In the next hour or so several different medical types came and went. I was given several pills, shots and was stabbed several times while they tried to hook me to an IV. Eventually, a nurse came in and started to tell me how to fill a syringe, how and where to inject the milky white fluid and then proceeded to give me one of the shots as an example. I was told it was Insulin and that I would have to take the shots twice a day.

“Insulin? Isn’t that used for Diabetes?” I wanted to ask but the nurse had left the room. No one in my family had ever had the disease and frankly I didn’t know much about it. At that moment I was scared and thought my life was over. Not because I might have Diabetes, but because I would have to be put on a bland and limited diet and have to check my blood sugar all the time and take Insulin shots. I feared losing one or more legs and having to use a wheel chair all the time.

Death wasn’t knocking on my door because I was a Diabetic. It was there because of my lifestyle. Test results revealed my blood sugar upon arriving at the hospital was just under 1000 and I had driven there! I learned much later that a level in the 700 range often resulted in blacking out. My cholesterol levels hovered around 1000 and get this…my triglyceride levels were over 10,000!   I didn’t know what all the numbers and results meant but it wasn’t good. They told me I was knocking on death’s door not the other way around.

It’s been almost a decade and guess what? Diabetes isn’t all that bad. It can be if you don’t change your lifestyle, though. A few years later I quit drinking. Not because it was the right thing to do, but I just decided it didn’t do anything for me. Having topped out at 330 pounds I started a Diabetic diet which isn’t anything more than a healthy diet. I still enjoy a candy bar once in a while or a piece of cake…just not as big a piece. And I exercise on a regular basis. Currently my exercise of choice is swimming but bicycling is a good alternative. My weight has gone from 330 to 265 resulting in the need for less Insulin as well as less pain in my knees. I sleep better. I have more energy. Diabetes was probably the best thing that could have happened to me and would keep Death at bay for just a little bit longer.


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