Williams column: The diagnosis: Type II Diabetes

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 30, 2011

Not long ago, I sang at a funeral, and during the homily, the minister said of the deceased: ěHe lived a long life, but these bodies of ours werenít meant for eternity; they eventually wear out.î I had a regular medical check-up later that week. If I lived close to Salisbury, and if Dr. Frank B. Marsh were still alive and practicing, I would have gone to him ( my mother always swore by him, trying to follow his every advice), or I would have gone to the good man who took over Dr. Marshís practice years ago, that ěgood manísî first name being ěMyronî.
At my exam, both my blood pressure and heart rate were elevated, so an electrocardiogram was suggested, with the reason of ěmy age,î being given (I mentally re-referenced the ministerís homily on the ěimpermanence of all things physicalî).
The nurse was young, attractive, and I thought of inquiring about her opinion of old men, but since my vitals were already elevated, I felt that the conservation of my energy was paramount. My triglycerides were also found to be high (isnít having an abundance of three things better than having just an average amount of one)?
I was given a cup and instructed to enter a small room, and that after making my ědeposit,î I would see a little door on the wall. I was to open the door, place that cup, with its ědepositedî contents on a shelf therein, then close the door, after which my cup would be retrieved by a nurse through another door on the outside.
Before entering that room, I encountered a somewhat ěswollenî lady, exiting it. Inside, and a few minutes later, with my ěreadiedî cup, I opened the little door and saw her cup remaining, with her somewhat similarly ědepositedî contents. Without placing my cup, I immediately closed the door, as would a true gentleman who had accidentally intruded upon the privacy of a lady.
After hearing the outer door open, then close, I set my cup, all alone, within that space. Not just gentlemanly sentiment, but the possibility of a mix-up motivated me. Already worried, I did not wish to hear that I could go full- term without bed rest, but that the Caesarian had not yet been ruled out.
The doctor asked if I had a blood pressure-check machine at home. I replied, ěyes, but unused,î afterward thinking of the time that my mother was dieting, and had purchased a case of the old weight-loss drink, ěMetrecal.î After putting it in the refrigerator, she forgot about it, inspiring my father to say: ěMetrecal is a wonderful product; you just put it in the refrigerator, leave it there, and you automatically lose weight!î
The diagnosis of Type II Diabetes was made, after which, the image of the actor Wilford Brimley appeared in my mind, pronouncing that diseaseís name in his particular fashion. I thought of how boring the opposite of a low carbohydrate existence would be: a life of cake, pie, and candy, minus vegetables and meat! I started to inquire about an occasional drink, but decided not to, fearing that it would have looked badly for my first question, post-diagnosis, to have been: ěHow does all of this go with wine?î The pharmacist, however, did say that an occasional drink would be OK.
I thought about the ěgood ole days ě as a youth, watching Shock Theater, consuming a whole box of malted milk balls with a glass of milk. That should have made me sick then, and thinking about it now does.
I really didnít intend to write about diabetes on a holiday devoted to ěcandy, candy, candyî (borrowing from a famous striped cat); it just turned out that way.
Seriously, I have now joined the millions of Americans who have been diagnosed with diabetes, and am attempting to slow its progression through a regimen of medication, diet, and excersize. I always try to be a sweet, good-natured, old man, but lately, Iím a little sweeter than I should be.