Note To Self: Just Breathe

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The absolute worst time to have an anxiety panic attack is while you are sitting in a chair with a needle mere millimeters from the vein it is about to puncture. How do I know this? I know this from first hand experience this morning. But, before I get into that and what happened next, y’all might need to catch up a bit by reading “An Attack Of Aichmophobia” which was written by me on 19 December 2013 and can explain a little more why I was having blood drawn in the first place. The blood was to serve a two fold purpose, one to do my Hemoglobin A1C panel for diabetic medication prescription renewals and also to see if I had anything weird going on which might explain me really freaking out around needles. I know, made no sense to me either. Why stick someone with a needle that has been freaking out about being stuck with needles here lately. Needless to say, the blood could not be drawn as requested because I threatened to stick the needle where the sun don’t shine to the technician. I ended up back in my doctor’s office where I was introduced to Klonopin or at least the doctor thought he was introducing us for the first time. I’m real aware of this drug as it is one of the drugs my son takes to try to “control” episodes he has because of being bipolar. I have tried to use some humor in the last post because it has been my way of dealing with the fact that I’m pretty fucking scared at this point in my life. I mean, ask yourself, how can a diabetic get away from sharp objects?

Meanwhile, while sitting in the doctor’s chair, figiting and sweating like a whore in a Catholic confessional, the doctor went over my “symptoms” and any known allergies. By this point I’m agitated, I want to go home, I want to get the hell away from all of this to sort it out. The doctor offered me a small pill and a small sip of water in a very small paper cup. He said to take it so we could continue our conversation. So, I complied, I took the pill. Within a few minutes my mind was clearing up, my focus was coming back, and it seemed like I just might be coming back to my senses. A quick check of my pulse, my blood pressure, and a tiny flashlight in my eye revealed to the doctor that my anxiety attack has come to it’s conclusion. Wow, now that was impressive, it worked almost as well as the calming effects my wife’s cold hands have when she places them on my neck when comforting me. He went on to explain that what I had just taken was 2mg of Klonopin. Within a few minutes I was back in the lab chair with a needle in my arm drawing blood and I could really care less. The only thing I could think of is where is my pain, where is my fear, am I dead. I’m a very firm believer that fear and pain are two very basic elements that ensure our safety and remind us that we are indeed still alive. I felt neither but I did feel scared. I imagine how my son must feel, what must be going on inside his brain as he watches what happens around him. Does it have the same effect on him.

That is that. A short walk down the hallway to meet my wife in her office. After seeing she was in there alone I walked thru the door, closing it behind me, where I sat down in one of the chairs at the front of her desk, all I wanted to do is just breathe. She made no comments about what had happened. If I know her the way I think I know her then nothing will ever be said. She did mention that she would pick up my new prescription on her way home with all the instructions. I leaned in to give her a kiss, not saying a word, and I left. I got into my car and found myself going to work. I have spoken to her since because she called to check up on me. She tried to explain that from now on I will need to take this medication prior to testing and prior injecting until I feel it is all under control like it once was. Will it ever get back under control? Will it ever be the same again? Have I lost what I thought I had control of just days before? I have come to the point that I really have grown to dislike this whole diabetes thing. Seems everyone has a way to kick it’s ass. I wish I could find my way to kick diabetes square in the ass and right out the door. Is this the part when someone tells me that we reap what we sew? Unfortunately I can’t go back in time, nor do I want to either, tomorrow is another day, to be dealt with like any other day I suppose. I just need to remember to breathe.

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An Attack Of Aichmophobia

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An attack of aichmophobia is not something a diabetic ever wants to have. I have a real healthy fear and appreciation of needles because as much as I hate them I know I need them day to day. For those of y’all who didn’t already know that I’m diabetic then this will be a little peek into my personal life for you. Before this morning I have never suffered from any kind of needle anxiety since I first found out I was diabetic. In the beginning I told my wife she will just let me die in peace because I will NOT be jabbing needles into my body on purpose. Fuck needles! Now, I still feel the same way, but I also know that needles are that necessary evil bitch that must exist in my personal life. So, I was forced to suck up my dislikes for needles, grow a pair of nuts, and suck it up because this is the way it was going be. Fine. Whatever. Let’s rock this bitch.

This morning at o’ darkthirty I went to test my glucose level, something I do everyday, three times a day, and I was on the verge of blacking out. I had my very first anxiety attack ever in my life and this was not the fucking time for it to happen. It is not a good time when you are millimeters away from your fingertip with an extremely sharp object. First came the tunnel vision, then the instant cold sweat, the shakes, and then finally I felt myself blacking out so I just sat down on the kitchen floor so it wouldn’t be such a terrible impact to the floor. As I sat there, hunched over, looking at my lancet on the floor beside me, I realized that I needed to put some distance between me and it. But I couldn’t move, I was frozen, I was stuck with this extremely sharp object inches away from my skin. Fuck! Here we go again, it was a good thing I was already on the floor.

I guess it was a good thing that something hit the floor real hard and broke because it woke my daughter who came to see what it was. She, in turn, goes to get my wife after seeing that I was too coherent about my surroundings. I felt the coolness of my wife’s hands on the back of my neck, I could hear she was talking to me, but I don’t know what she was saying. After a few minutes I did understand it when she told my daughter to get her phone so she could call 911. I told her not to call, just bring me some water and I will be fine sitting there for a bit. After about 15 minutes everything seemed to go back to normal with the exception of the big headache I had. My wife and I talked about it while I was getting dressed as she explained to me that I still needed my shot. She has never, and I mean never when I say never, given me a shot before but says she will if I need her to. She collected my testing bag and tested my sugar to get my dosage right. I looked away after showing her where to inject me and she did it for me. In a way, for a reason unknown to me, I felt a bit embarrassed because I couldn’t do it for myself.

I have thought about this damn thing all day and still can’t figure out what happened. Yes, I hate fucking needles with absolute passion and will do almost anything to avoid being in their presence. However, I had kicked that little thing in the ass I thought. Maybe I fell off the wagon. Maybe my defenses were down because I have been working as many overtime hours as I have regular hours the last month. Maybe I was just tired. I will know the answer later tonight when it comes time to inject again. I just hope it is a different answer than this morning. I spoke with my doctor and he said that maybe it was a one time nerves type thing. He also said that if it continues that he will be forced to put me on anxiety medication. I don’t see that happening personally.

USDA Is Playing Secret Santa

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While the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) sounded a lot like Scrooge this year by threatening to cut nutrition assistance for low income women and children, it was behaving like a secret Santa to special interests spreading good cheer and taxpayer dollars through the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. Here are more than a few other examples how the program spent $50 million to ring in the holidays early in 2013.

Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Clause. And the Virginia Christmas Tree Growers Association is one of the six projects involving Christmas trees that was funded. These included shearing, marketing and promoting Christmas trees. The program also supported at least five ornamental plant initiatives, including a project to “to increase consumers’ awareness and preference for Florida-grown ornamental plants by investigating determinants of consumer purchasing behavior such as personal health and wellness benefits and environmental and economic benefits and by developing contextually relevant marketing strategies to increase plant sales” and another to support seminars on ornamental plants at the South Carolina Nursery and Landscape Association conference.

Visions of Sugar plums Dancing in Their Heads. The Specialty Crop Block Grant Program had a sweet tooth for sugar producers this year and gave the plum growers reason to dance. The California Dried Plum Board received taxpayer dollars “to enhance the market for” prunes in Japan and South Korea. Funding was provided for “developing and implementing a comprehensive social media marketing campaign” for the Vermont Maple Sugar Makers’ Association, “organizing and promoting a Maple Weekend including a recipe contest, tours of sugarhouses, restaurant participation, and promotional activities” with the Massachusetts Maple Producers Association, and partnering with the Michigan Maple Syrup Association “to increase the profitability of Michigan maple syrup producers by developing planting stock for new sugar bushes with a higher sap sugar”.

Global Santa Tracker. Just like Santa with his bag full of toys, the USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant Program traveled around the world this year spreading joy, with more than ten grants paying for international junkets. These included conducting the “USA Pear Road Show” in China, sending representatives from the Oklahoma Pecan Growers Association to international tradeshows, bringing wine connoisseurs from China to Washington state, supporting the participation of Puerto Rican coffee producers in the Specialty Coffee Association of Europe trade shows, hosting seminars on “cooking with pistachios and prunes” in Japan and South Korea, putting on “meetings, product showcases, trade tastings, and educational seminars” for Oregon producers in Asia, facilitating a bean grower field day in Mexico, supporting attendance at domestic and international trade shows for Michigan groups and companies, and assisting with a “trade development mission” to Vietnam, the Philippines and Hong Kong.

Holiday Wine and Spirits. Santa may enjoy a glass of milk with cookies to get him through a busy evening of delivering holiday gifts and cheer, but the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program showed a preference for wine. The program funded 35 wine related projects this year. These included creating two smart phone apps to help “navigate to the next winery,” promoting wine trails and sales, improving wine tasting room satisfaction, and developing a West Virginia wine trail publication, and hosting a Wine Pavilion at the South Dakota State Fair.

Making a List and Checking It Twice. When making a list of duplicative government programs, the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program is sure to be on it at least twice since it mirrors in many ways at least two other USDA programs, the Market Access Program and Value Added Producer Grants. While not all of the projects funded by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program were wasteful, nearly all were eligible for funding from other federal programs making the program unnecessary. The largest proportion of grants was provided for marketing and promotion, such as social media for strawberries and a YouTube video about the proper handling of watermelons.

The Partridge in a Pear Tree: The “USA Pear Road Show,” promoting pears as far away as China, was one of the two pear related projects funded this year by the Specialty Crop Block Grant Program. While a flight to China was included, no partridge was actually involved in either project.

Information found for this “Your Tax Dollars @ Work” post was done by using a Google search. Information compiled from multiple public websites & media outlets.

Scorpion Sting’s Crown Royal Devil Cookies

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A while back I had this recipe which I was fortunate enough to have found in my e-mail. I posted the recipe with the statement that I was going to attempt them. Now, get this clear, I don’t bake, it’s not really my thing. But, with the aid of my 17 y/o daughter who does bake, I think we came up with a good cookie. Although, we made a few minor modifications to the recipe. If you are going to choose to redo this recipe then the choice is up to you if you do it my way or the way listed. Have both, my treat, do what you will. First, I must mention, my cookies did not turn out as advertised on the recipe, but that’s how they turned out in real life.

My list of ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (use real butter!)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Nesquik cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 2 whole eggs (xlrg)
  • 3/4 cup Crown Royal Black
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp table salt
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (sifted)
  • 1 tsp melted Dartmoor Devil white chocolate

Preheat oven to 375F. Mix the melted butter. cocoa powder, sugar, and melted white chocolate. On the low-speed, add one whole egg at a time. Add the almond extract. mix in the Crown Royal. Add in the flour, baking soda, and the salt until it all combined and a smooth texture. Make 15 equally sized balls, roll them up in your hand. Place them on a cookie sheet lined with tin foil equally spaced apart. Bake for 13 minutes. Cool on rack and then enjoy. We didn’t wait as you can see. For those of y’all unaware of what the Dartmoor Devil White Chocolate is just do a search on my blog for information. Here’s a hint, it’s made with the Bhut Jolkia pepper. The original recipe is below.

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Waking Up

Originally Posted 18 Febuary 2013
Early last week my wife noticed I was not awake, in fact I had overslept about 30 minutes before she decided to wake me up. She thought I was sick, she said I was pale in color, cold skin, but covered in my own sweat. After a few minutes, she realized I was unresponsive to any degree. Soon enough she was able to get me awake for the most part. I told her my chest was on fire, I had extreme chest pains and a severe headache. While I sat on the edge of my bed she got my sugar meter and pricked my finger. My count was 43. She mentioned I was hypoglycemic (insulin shock) while she helped me get dressed. We were going to the emergency room. Her assumption was correct, although I slept thru the beginning of it. The doctor told her if she had not noticed me when she did that I very well might have died in my sleep. I don’t recall most of this, I was pretty out of it to say the least. By the end of the 2nd day I became responsive to the medication, taken out of the I.C.U., and put in a regular room to be monitored. The following morning I was released as if nothing ever happened.I went back to work the following day since the doctor had released me to do so. That afternoon I began to experience the same symptoms so I called my wife. She came and got me and we went to the emergency room once again, where I was admitted once again, and I started the whole process all over. But this time, after allot of blood test, a reason was determined to why this was happening. In simple terms, for some reason my blood pressure medication was interacting adversely with my diabetes medication. The funny thing is that I have been taking everything the same way for a long time now and never had anything like this happen. So why now. Nobody seems to know. So, my blood pressure medication, the one that has been working beautifully for the past 8 years, has been changed. I will just have to see how that actually works now. I am not a big fan of change, especially when something isn’t broken. So, hopefully the new “plan” works with grand success because I really hate hospitals.

Pretty much everything I have written here today was told and/or explained to me as I don’t remember much about being in the hospital either time. I do know that I am in no hurry to go back. On the flipside of that, I am very glad my wife knows what she knows because without her quick response that morning who knows what would have happened. Even though she stayed the nights with me, she had to go to work during the days, but checked on me when time permitted. Unfortunately they would not let my kids in to see me in the I.C.U. for a variety of reasons. Which is good, I doubt seriously I was in any condition I wanted them to see me in. In the end, I look at it like this, it obviously was not my time to go. I never thought that having diabetes would be so challenging. Proof that doing the right thing doesn’t always have the right results.

My son expressed his happiness that I didn’t die. This cut me to my very core. I answered with humor as I didn’t exactly know how to answer him. I explained that I will die one day and so far this was a good day because it didn’t happen today. Its hard to say who is more afraid, he or I. For the last 2 nights he has slept on the floor on my side of the bed to help “keep an eye on me”. It brings tears to my eyes knowing that my son worries about his dear old man the way he does. Whereas my wife and daughters “ignore” the situation and as my daughters explained, “it can’t happen to our dad so there isn’t anything to be worried about”. How can a dad reply to that other than I told them I love y’all too.

Routine Blood Tests Highlight Scary Secrets

Originally Posted 01 Febuary 2012
Recently, a few weeks ago I needed a refill on my blood pressure medication. I have been taking the same one for 8 years, it works so beautifully it is almost impossible to put it into words. Let us just say it works. Anyway, in order to re-new my prescription I needed to have blood work done to make sure it isn’t screwing up my kidneys. For the record, I haven’t had blood drawn since early 2008, so I was a bit overdue.How did it turn out? Good news, my liver is great. Bad news, I am being informed that my blood sugar levels are so high that I should be admitted to the hospital for treatment and observation. Um, yeah, that’s not happening. I am not a fan of hospitals at all, they are truly the one thing I fear most in life. Well, besides needles. So, I re-visited my doctor and he gave me the run down. It looks bad, real bad. I am having to make some severe lifestyle changes. The good news is that if I do what I am told, check my blood sugar 20 times a day, eat right, start excercising, take my shots twice a day, take my pills twice a day, that maybe, just maybe, I might get it under control in the next year and live to tell about it. I was given a 20% chance of success if I follow all the guidelines. 20%? Not great odds if you ask me. But, what do I know anyway.

I thought I knew plenty. I thought I would live my life my way and that was the way it was going to be. Fried foods, pasta every night, Mountain Dew all day right after a Amp for a swift kick in the ass first thing in the morning, rare red meat, no veggies, eat what I want, drink what I want, and smoke what I want and die after I was an old man. Oops. Gotcha. Now I have to maintain because there is no reversing the effects it has already taken on my body. I always could dismiss things by giving it another cause. Come to find out, they were the early warning signs of diabetes. Signs? What signs? Well, lets see. Like having to pee every couple of hours 24 hours a day. Thought it was the HCT in my blood pressure medication working overtime. HCT removes excess fluids from your body so you don’t get swollen joints, hands, and feet. Being run down all day even after having about 900 mg of caffeine in my body each day and not being wired. Having a sore that won’t heal after months of having it. Constant dry mouth even though I drink 2 to 3 gallons of water a day. Mood issues for no reason, come and go like a light switch. Constant numbness and tingling in my feet and hands all day and all night. Here I thought I was getting older. Here I thought my pains were from breaking most of the bones in my body more than once. But, I am no doctor. And, apparently WebMD is full of shit.

The actual shock is gone now, I think depression is here. It is not overwhelming, as one might think, because it has given me time to reflect on the past and give deep thought to my future. I don’t want to become a statistic, not yet. I will lick this thing we call diabetes, one way or another. As I read back over this passage I realized that other than my wife and kids no one else knows. I guess it is still that way because y’all only know me by a name and not personally. It did feel good to talk to myself while I wrote this entry because it has all been thoughts bouncing around in my head for the last couple of weeks. I suppose I will mention this all again in the future after I figure out where things are going and how I plan on getting there. Thanks for lending an ear and listening to my story.