My dad was diagnosed with diabetes very early in his life when he went for his army physical. He never mentioned it to anyone because he never noticed any symptoms and didn't have any problems. He ate pie, cookies and even ice cream for breakfast some days! It wasn't until he was into his 70s when he started taking medication to control it. He was only on insulin the last year of his life.
At that point here are the top six issues he encountered:
1. Kidney trouble. This I'd say was the most inconvenient. His kidneys became weak and he didn't get much warning to get to the bathroom. Although he wore incontinence pads, he quit going to church and like going anywhere for long. He wanted to be close to a bathroom. I'm amazed he was able to go to his doctor appointments without a problem because we always spent several hours waiting there. Often, Gerard and I would invite him to come to the zoo with us because we thought the fresh air would do him good and I knew he liked animals so. I told him we could push him around in one of the wheelchairs they have for rental at the zoo and we wouldn't stay long. We'd just do one area and leave but he didn't want to chance it. He never was adventurous, always on the cautious side but it would have been a nice outing. I wish we could have convinced him to come.
2. Finding a finger to give enough blood. I was so proud of dad for being able to give himself his insulin shots. It took him a long time to fuss with it because of his poor eyesight and arthritic fingers, but he was determined to manage on his own! He didn't want anyone coming in to help him and certainly didn't want to go into assisted living. He did manage on his own, but it was very difficult for him. Some days he couldn't get enough blood for his sugar test out of the finger he poked and would have to poke another one.
3. Seeing where his veins were so he didn't poke it. His other problem with giving himself the insulin shots was not to hit a vein. He couldn't always tell exactly where they were but God must have been helping him because he always managed to do it all right.
4. Eating the same time each day. This seems easy enough, but not if you fall asleep during the day for various lengths of time. While dad was on Toprol it would make him very drowsy and he couldn't help falling asleep for extended periods during the day. Sometimes he'd sleep until 7:30 p.m., 8:30 p.m. and even later on occasion. Then he'd be having supper late into the evening those days. Timers or alarm clocks wouldn't work to wake him up because he wouldn't hear them. He always was a sound sleeper and with his hearing loss, he just had to pay attention to the clock to know what time it was. The Mornings were the same way. He generally would get up anywhere between 3:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. so his breakfast time also varied. He'd try to stay on schedule, but if he didn't, his attitude was oh well.
5. Special big clompy shoes. He also had to wear special shoes that were very clunky to keep his feet well protected. I found some at a special store nearby that he was just thrilled with!
6. Very weak legs, poor balance. Near the end of his life, Harry's legs became very weak. Usually, he would move them around a little first to get the circulation going before he tried to stand up. Some days, he even quit using his walker and just pushed himself around in a wheelchair. That's when I knew his legs were really bad.
For a related article on how to enjoy hiking with diabetes, see:
Hiking With Diabetes at Outdoor Recreation Activities.blogspot.com