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Sunday, March 01, 2009

Blizzard Prep Sunday

The Chief is in GA - he spent nearly two days ducking tornadoes. I am in the NE, and I have spent the day running around doing blizzard prep. I remember from being a kid that the power would sometimes be out for a couple of days. That means no heat except the fireplace, and no water, because this is pump water.

So I have filled everything with water, brought in firewood, etc. Put out food for the animals and birds.

I am going out to salt driveways next, then I'm going to take a shower and give myself medicine while the power is on.

It might not happen, but the winds are supposed to pick up after the wet snow has already accumulated on the trees and lines and then frozen on, so I think power outages are very likely. There's already a lot of snow on the lines.

If that happens, I won't have internet for a few days. Therefore, if the blog goes blank for a few days, it does not mean I am dead or dying, or even hiding under the bed due to the exceptionally daunting policy decisions. Think of me cuddled with two dogs before a roaring fire, sipping some delicious coffee, enjoying myself and anticipating next weekend, because the Chief and I are supposed to be meeting at the pass next Saturday. We have been exchanging love emails quite often over the last few weeks.

One of the reasons I am so high on life right now is that the Chief had his cardio workup done this January. He had the works, including the stress test with the blood flow test. They inject an isotope in there, and then they can see what is happening in real time to circulation and the heart. The results were way better than anyone expected. The doctor literally hopped around with excitement when he got them.

They took his BP up to 200 without trouble, the heart showed no areas of impaired circulation, his overall stress levels were 101% of normal, and, most significantly, the heart did not balloon. The original scans before the Chief became Chief Metalheart were so bad that it looked like the beginnings of congestive heart failure. But no, now he has pretty normal function, and provided he behaves, his health should actually improve over the next few years.

The reason I haven't written about this before is that every time I think of it I start to cry from pure joy. My prayers have been answered.

So naturally, I shipped the Chief off to GA the day after we got the great news, with firm orders to go golfing every day and to WALK. Which he likes to do, and he promised to do. He mentioned to me the other day that he has gone so far as to eat salads for dinner, so he has got the general concept.

He had been feeling a bit tired, but the other tests showed that he has marginal thyroid problems. He was (wisely) not pushing too hard on the exercise before we got the results of this test. Well, now we know. He can exercise more without fear, because the tiredness he feels is not due to circulatory problems.

And - lest anyone feel sorry for me because of the diabetic dog - here's the best part:

The dog now looks magnificent. This dog has always had sugar problems, but they were never identified before, because he swings low each morning. Every time they tested him his blood sugar was normal, even last September. This dog was always really ill - he nearly died as a puppy, and he has had major problems right along. We've been nursing him along ever since he was a pup. I cannot describe what we've been through with the dog, although I never regretted it, and I always felt like I got more from him than I gave. It is very possible that the dog's own problems gave him more of an intuitive understanding of my own, and made him into the incredibly useful dog he is to me. I always felt like he was my lucky dog, and I am so glad that now he gets to have a happier life. I was prepared to lose him this year, because his quality of life was getting rapidly worse.

I have been nagging the Chief about diet, exercise and sugar because with his genes, Type II diabetes is almost a certainty in later years without steps to prevent it. The Chief felt I was being more than a bit unreasonable about this, because his blood tests don't show diabetes. However, the Chief has watched our dog struggle for all these years (the dog is seven and a bit now), and when he heard what the problem had been, the Chief suddenly understood why I was telling him that he had to change his eating habits even though the tests don't show that he has diabetes. The dog's didn't either. The real test is to fast, test, then eat and test the blood sugar levels in sequence for hours, to see if the response is normal or not. And with less severe diabetes, the response to a reasonable meal will be quite different than to a meal loaded with carbs or to a sugary snack. In the early stages, the sugar canl zoom up or stay in normal ranges depending on what a person eats.

So now the Chief has agreed to let me do this testing for him (after all, I've already got the equipment). And the Chief isn't going to back down, because when the Chief gets here, he is going to get a wildly exuberant welcome from a leaping, prancing, running, bounding, utterly joyous dog who looks like a young pup again.

This is the second answer to my prayers for the Chief. There is no one who wouldn't look at this resurrected dog and comprehend how insidious diabetes can be, and the very damaging overall effects it has to the body even at lower levels. So now I think the Chief will make the needed changes (a lot of which he has already done).

I am a very lucky woman, and I know it.

Thank you for sharing good news.
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