One of the things we often discuss in the Diabetes Online Community is finding ways to extend our reach offline so that the support we feel can help people who can't or don't use the Internet. My experiences with Simonpalooza have given me some thoughts about this.
See, to the best of my knowledge, nobody was enticed to come to Simonpalooza by promises of 'support'. I don't think anybody crossed the country -- or the globe -- for 'support'. instead, people came to meet friends, to laugh and to share stories, to gently tease each other and to eat barbecue. Yet, most if not all attendees left feeling a tremendous amount of support. The support happened, but it was the result of the stories,teasing, and barbecue rather than the reason for it.
To me, 'support groups' suggest uncomfortable gatherings in musty church basements or sterile hospital meeting rooms. I've attended support groups that were genuinely meaningful, but more that were pretty pointless. Support groups are probably worth doing, or at least trying, for many organizations. But I'm thinking, as we as the DOC seek to extend our reach into our non-virtual communities, it might be more effective to focus on getting people together socially than trying to form support groups. Once people start forming relationships, they're more likely to find ways to better meet their joint needs.
A few weeks ago, I started noticing a little bit of pain in my left ear. I shrugged it off, figuring that I'd just gotten a little over-enthusiastic cleaning out my ears with a cotton swab. (Kids, people smarter than Uncle Bob know that cotton swabs are not to be used to clean out ears. Uncle Bob doesn't know what they ARE for, however.)
Around the same time, I also noticed that my blood glucose numbers were misbehaving. High fasting readings and crazy stupid reactions to even modest amounts of carbohydrates. I was getting a little scared.
Because real life isn't as easy as a blog post, it took me several days to consider a connection between the ear and the BGs. I went to an urgent care clinic and was diagnosed with an outer ear infection. Later that morning, I picked up the prescribed ear drops. Within. A few days, the modest amount of pain I had experienced was gone.
There are interrelationships between diabetes and the other things that go on in our bodies. Because I usually test reasonably regularly, and increase testing when something seems odd, I caught my ear infection before it became more serious. Because I'm aware that infections can cause wonky BGs, I took the possibility of an ear infection seriously when it occurred to me. On th other hand, diabetes can make us more prone to infections, so there may have been a relationship that way, too.
One way or another, everything about our health is connected.
(PS: Yes, I'm still here.)
(Originally posted to diabetesdaily.com)