What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
EDITOR’S NOTE: This post marks my return to the blog-o-sphere; obviously this reveals the health issue which necessitated the hiatus in the first place. To make a long story short, this all started with a Saturday in June with a non-descript trip into a “big box” store which turned into “big hurry” trip to the nearest Emergency Room.
The paperwork listed the cause as “severe hypertensive crisis secondary to hyperglycemia,” which is just a string of Latin root words which translate to “met the $6,000 deductible in one fell swoop.”
Despite that, you can rest assured that a man who had a blood pressure reading high enough to make him look like one of those “squeeze toys” and keeps his new diabetic supplies in an old candy box clearly has not lost his sense of humor.
If you need more proof, here’s six hard-earned pearls of wisdom. Not only are they true…they’re fucking hilarious.
1) Opinions Are Like Assholes: Everybody Has One
From the jump, finding out you have diabetes, severe hypertension, and other potentially lethal issues means you need to tell the people around you. Facing that flashed into my head a conversation between two of my all time favorite comedians, Patrice O’Neal and Nick DiPaolo.
If you’re my age, you might remember when legendary gambler Jimmy the Greek lost his job with CBS Sports for basically saying the under slavery, blacks were deliberately bred based on genetic characteristics. It was answer to a question about why blacks tend to be better athletes. As impolitic as his statement was, he was 100% factually correct.
The fact is that in America, slaves were expensive. Breeding was cheaper than buying, especially after the importing of slaves was outlawed in 1820. The problem was that breeding from within a contained community…be they American slaves or European royalty…led to the propagation of hereditary conditions.
That’s why I feel you, Patrice. Although you left us at 41, I’m in the same boat in my mid 50s. Even though you weren’t really my “brother,” we’re still linked genetically by the slave ships that brought our ancestors here and the subsequent generations of selected breeding.
You can give me all the “woke” crap about the “inequalities” in the American health care system, but if you’re being intellectually honest, you have no choice but to admit there’s at least the possibility the pre-disposition to diabetes, hypertension, and so many other maladies which run rampant in the black community today has something to do with that genetic manipulation from 200 years ago.
Shit, I’ve even got handguns…
Now, let’s shift the conversation to the general population. If you had to guess, what would you say is the first thing you learn once you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes?
Before you answer, I’m not talking about the essential stuff, like making sure the funding on your Health Savings Account is up-to-date or the basic operation of your new (insert glucose monitoring device here). No…what you learn is that diabetes is so common in America that every single person from sea to shining fucking sea either has it, or has a (insert blood relative here) who does (or did).
That means is every one of those people is nothing but a fountain of pseudo-information. To make a long story short, this means once you tell people you are a diabetic, everybody and their blood relatives have opinions on how to deal with it.
That leads us to…
2) If It’s On The Internet, It Has To Be True
There’s an old saying wondering whether art imitates life or vice versa. One really could say the same thing about life and the internet. The same assholes who fill your ear with their not-worth-a-shit opinions are the same who scribble their screed in that electronic wasteland which has insidiously become part of all our lives…much like diabetes has to mine.
That means there’s a shitload of “French Model”-level mis-information floating around out there as so much binary flotsam and jetsam. Doing a web search for information regarding a diabetic diet rapidly becomes an exercise in discovering the proximity of conflicting information measured in mouse clicks.
There’s nearly no better example than the sweet potato. Beside being the dietary staple of cerebrally-limited mammals like the opposum and southerners, for diabetics this tuber is simultaneously a dietary savior endorsed by Jesus Christ himself or the glycemic equivalent of taking a shotgun blast directly to the pancreas.
Now, if you’re in my shoes, this sort of information is obviously critical. Nobody wants to go out being found face down in a plate full of the wrong thing. Hell, dropping dead into a heaping helping of anything is wrong. Granted, getting dead for any reason is bad; it’s even worse when what has you knocking on heaven’s door in the first place is decades of just such decisions. However, short of shaking off this mortal coil, there can be some literally shitty repercussions (see the next point) from the dietary choices now being forced upon you…especially when they are made with information of dubious quality.
3) The Word For Today: “Explosive“
Finding out the the sweet, neighborly Mr. Rogers told people to go fuck themselves…well, that news would qualify as “explosive.” Fuck that. I’m about to tell you what “explosive” really is.
Thanks to the way insurance companies dictate the course of medical treatment in this country, any diagnosis of a chronic condition means engaging in a “hop-scotch”-style progression in terms of finding an effective course of dealing with said condition.
Don’t get me wrong; when I’m not sticking my fingers for the sake of my new testing regimen, my “real” job is reviewing insurance claims. That means I not only know how this game gets played, I have an underlying understanding of needing cost-effective courses of treatment.
Having said that, let me clue you as to a very unholy alliance which comes into play here. The whole reason why Point #2 exists is every doctor on earth will sing the Aria at the beginning of the “diabetic hop-scotch” game about the importance of diet. They will even offer you the idea that your new diagnosis of diabetes can possibly be controlled through diet and exercise alone.
What they don’t tell you is the people who can accomplish that are the diabetic versions of the chupacabra; not because they are predatory blood-suckers…in reality, they simply do not exist.
In other words, your first few days as a member of “Team Diabetes” will involve a fun combination of the attempt to control your new diagnosis with diet with the information you’ve found which seems to be the most correct. Since sugars is the root of the problem the “low-carb” option seems obvious. What might not seem so apparent is that a diet high in fiber will also prove invaluable in controlling your blood sugar levels.
Now, if you aren’t used to a eating a lot of fiber-rich foods, the first few days are a going to be a bit of a “transition.” In other words, stuff is going to start coming out our your ass with the frequency of a Manhattan subway at rush hour. And like a subway, there won’t be a dependable schedule. You’ll understand this the first time you are shocked awake at 3 a.m. by a colonic sense of impending doom and it’s result which resembles a bowl-filling relief map of the Bahamas.
But like the late-night commercials say…just wait…there’s more! Don’t forget that you’re going to get prescriptions as part of this adventure. I won’t mention the name of one of the most popular, because I’m not into free advertising. But when discussing medications for diabetes, particularly their side-effects, if your doctor and/or pharmacist mention the term “G.I. upset” or anything like it, take that as a “DEFCON 1 Imminent Nuclear-Attack Red Alert.”
If the high-fiber diet already has your ass feeling like a subway tunnel, many popular diabetes medications are going to accelerate both the speed and frequency of those those trains…and they will be leaving the tunnel with a propulsive force more suited to a space shuttle launch than a subway car full of cubicle inhabitants.
4) The “Internet Stalker-azzi“
Anybody who has an instaFaceWitter account knows exactly what I’m taking about here. Those who believe the myth of “anonymous” web browsing still likely know it, but still cling to their denial. Whether you admit it or not, we all have those instances where something you looked up on the web suddenly became the subject of ads clogging your timeline.
In the J-Dub house, there’s some classic examples of this. A while back, Mrs. J-Dub worked for a major hotel chain. This company has so many franchises we wondered if there was a country on earth which didn’t have one. The gambler in me took a bet on Mongolia.
I lost…in more ways than one. Not only did I cough up a set of bragging rights to the wife, but to this fucking day, I get emails from one of those discount trip planning sites wondering if I’m still thinking about a vacation in the “Wyoming” of East Asia.
Another thing the web knows about me is I have a modest collection of basses. As with any collector, the size of the collection doesn’t matter. Despite what they collect, all collectors have “favorites.” I’m no different; I have a “power trio” of favorites.
There’s an old-school Washburn AB-20 hollow-body It’s has a warm, rich tone, but it’s also acoustic. That mean I can give it a loose tune and bang out some early Violent Femmes should the mood strike me.
Next to that is a jet-black 1977 Rickenbacker 4001, which I bought from a guy in Miami because I’d seen one in the hands of three of my favorite four-stringers; Paul McCartney, Geddy Lee, and Lemmy Kilmister.
Finally there’s the one with the best story (for another time)…a 2000 Fender P-Bass that was personally autographed and handed to me by Sting.
But one thing I’ve always wanted to add to the collection is a Hofner “Beatle” bass. Now, if you’re familiar, you know those “violin-bodies” don’t come cheap. Even a newly-made replica can cost more than many people’s house payment…especially if they live in Wyoming But thanks to the web, anytime there’s one for sale pretty much anywhere on earth, I know about it.
That was just the “preview of coming attractions” for the “stalker-azzi” power of the web.. Once I started researching diabetic diets, I could barely turn on my computer, my phone, or any other internet-connected device without getting bombarded with ads for (insert quasi-legitimate program here). I can’t even set the temperature on my “smart” thermostat in my house without it telling me about some Keto/Paleo/Low-Carb bullshit.
The upside to all this: I discovered the average Mongolian grill (without the rice) is very diabetic-friendly.
5) The “Unobtrusive” Obtrusive Wife
Speaking of Mrs. J-Dub, well…here’s somebody who not only won the “Mongolia” bet, but has now found a new pastime in playing the over/under on my blood sugar level. I don’t know for sure if she’s actually dropping dimes on my diabetes, but it would explain the level to which she hovers on the number.
It would also explain her new found interest in the pure communism that is the lie of “no/low-carb” pasta. Sure, one could try to tell me she’s interested in keeping me alive, but where’s the quality in a life spent eating noodles that taste like boiled hair? You could try to tell me she means well, but she acts like she got a “futures” bet on how long I’ve got.
Wait…that’s exactly what she has. It’s called “term life insurance,” which was purchased before anybody knew I have blood with the consistency and chemical construct of Karo syrup. See, she’s bet on a football game where she has a play on the over/under and the point spread.
No matter what, the team she bet on to win by a touchdown is ahead by 40 points with two minutes to go. She’s already got a nice inheritance coming from various investments, retirement accounts, and the safe containing the funding for the J-Dub Gambling Challenge (among other things). But if I cash out before the end date on the term life insurance, she doubles down. Then the Widow J-Dub and Surprise the Cat will live out their days sipping Sazeracs from the poolside bar near their new permanent luxury suite on the roof of the Hotel Monteleone in New Orleans.
Some say love is eternal, but it’s not nearly as valuable as compound interest,
6) The Doctor With The Funny Name*
If I were to Say Anything about the last three months, it would be it’s been One Crazy Summer. Getting a new diagnosis and meeting a new doctor is never easy, but you have to play along because nobody is ever Better Off Dead… Like any new relationship, getting to know your new doctor is not an exercise in Hot Pursuit. Rather, it’s about having a little Class while still showing your True Colors.
I’ll never forget the first time I went to his office. It was all the way on the other side of town, well past City Hall. It was a bad-weather day, it took Sixteen Candles to see through the Shadows and Fog. But once I got there, at least it wasn’t too busy; there were only Eight Men Out in the waiting room. Once I got inside, it was a typical doctor’s office; on the wall there was a Map of the Human Heart.
Going to the doctor is never cheap, but in this case it certainly wasn’t Money for Nothing. Finding out you have diabetes is never easy, but it’s not as bad as taking a lot of Bullets Over Broadway from Grosse Pointe Blank range. Hopefully, he will get me on The Road To Wellville. Even though I had to resist the urge to make a lot of stupid jokes over the fact my new doctor shares his name with a Hollywood figure who has a significant IMDB page, I am glad he is there to Stand By Me.
You guessed it. My doctor’s name is Bob Roberts.
* For those of you who might be slow on the uptake, all jokes should be explained here.
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