Playing Doctor

Actually, playing with a doctor. I haven’t seen one in something over a year and a half — about the time I quit working at Target and lost my benefits (which I would have lost about three months later if I had stayed), but there are a few things that have come up that make it worth while to pay out-of-pocket for an office visit.

One of the things I know he’s going to want to talk about is my blood sugar levels. As it turns out, last week, before I made the appointment, I picked up one of the nifty new home A1C tests. For those not on top of diabetic stuff, this is a test to see how much of your hemoglobin has been impacted by glucose, which provides a good idea of what your average blood sugar has been over the past 4-6 months, and the “normal” range is 7% or lower. When I was first diagnosed, four years ago or so, it was at 9%, and I brought it down to something around 7 in a few months, but it’s been kinda up and down since then.

Anyhow, these little tests are cool because you can do them at home, they cost about $20 (much cheaper than an office visit, let alone paying the lab for the blood draw and their test), and they take a large (compared to what my glucometer takes) drop of blood (as opposed to a small vial of blood for the lab test). Oh, and it gives you results in 8 minutes, rather than waiting a day or so to get it through the lab. I did my first one about six weeks ago, and was planning on doing one every other month until I’m getting in the good range, and then every three to four months after that. Six weeks ago, it came in at 8.0% — not good, but not terrible. When I bought this one, the cashier asked if the tests worked, and mentioned that she was trying to get hers down to 7%, because her last one was 11% (she’s on an insulin pump now).

Today’s test, the one I’m taking to the doctor tomorrow morning, was 7.1%. Not the greatest reading I’ve had, and I do hope to bring it down some more, but there’s a really cool thing about getting this reading — I’ve been making changes to my lifestyle that have not been paranoid about my carb intake nor obsessive about exercise, and have managed to bring me this far. I’m at a level with both diet and exercise that I can sustain for a long time, and continue to make slow incremental progress on. The times I’ve brought it down before have used more extreme changes to diet and exercise that I’ve not been able to sustain (like the time I couldn’t stand to look at salad again for a period of months).

My marathon training is coming along well. For those still interested, you can sign up for another week at BellinghamFit. For those closer to Seattle, there is USA-Fit programs all over the place with their own startup times. It’s a surprisingly simple program for training yourself from whatever fitness level you are at (mostly, that you can walk, which I know excludes several folks reading this, sorry) to being able to complete a half or full marathon in six months. I’m mostly convinced that I want to actually run in the Seattle Marathon, which is the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and anybody who wants to be in Memorial Stadium when I finish would certainly be welcome. Just don’t expect me to be really early — I’m in the slowest pace group of those who are still running.

Anyhow, was really pleased with that A1C level and wanted to talk about it to somebody, and I picked y’all.

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