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Kirby: Turns out, what you don't know CAN hurt you

Published April 19, 2017 9:23 pm
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2017, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

I have hurt myself a lot in the six-plus decades I've been alive. I'm not complaining, mind you. About half the injuries were worth the pain just for the experience that caused them. Some were not.

Among my regrets are the times I provoked my youngest brother into stabbing me in the leg, blowing myself up while getting rid of some old black powder, holding Dalene Freeman's hand after her brothers warned me not to, and when I tried stitching up my own knee.

It normally doesn't take long to regret an injury. Deep regret sets in immediately after the screaming and writhing end, or right after you regain consciousness.

I've actually regretted an injury before it even occurred. I was only halfway to the water before I lamented accepting a challenge to cliff-jump at Lake Powell.

Some injuries take time to make themselves known enough to regret. Lung cancer comes to mind. So do sexually transmitted diseases, bankruptcy, marriage and plastic surgery gone hideously awry.

Last month, I began experiencing symptoms of potential regret — aching joints, unquenchable thirst, fuzzy vision and nonstop peeing.

Since all of these are also the hallmarks of narrowly surviving a massive, memory-erasing explosion, I called Sonny.

Me • "Did we do something really loud that might be of interest to Homeland Security?"

Him • "What? I've been drunk in New Orleans. I have no idea what you've been doing."

I went to see my doctor. Because of a change in godless insurance providers, I had to switch physicians from Gregory "Don't Do That Anymore" Daynes to Brian Ely.

Since Brian doesn't know me as well as Doc Daynes, he didn't immediately feel my head for unusual lumps or alarming depressions. He simply ordered some tests. A nurse came in, stabbed me and left with some blood.

When she came back and whispered to Doc Ely, he winced. The news wasn't good. "Your A1C level is 10.6," he said.

Since I had no idea what that even meant, I said, "Cool. That's pretty good for an old guy. Right? It is. Right?"

It wasn't.

I have advanced Type 2 diabetes. My glucose level was 286, which, as Doc Ely professionally explained, meant my blood could be used for snow cone syrup.

I could see him looking at me like I was mostly already dead, which he said I would be if I didn't stop hurting myself by being a ravenous coach potato.

He hooked me up with a nutritionist, a pharmacist, a dozen more appointments, and 2,000 milligrams of Metformin, which manifests every bit as pleasant as a tequila hangover.

I've since learned that all the foods I love — potatoes, rice, bread and more — are bad for me, while those that make me yak into a garbage can — broccoli, kale, Brussels sprouts — are good for me.

That was then. A month later, I'm still alive, down 14 pounds, and my latest glucose reading was 109.

As long as I do what Doc Ely and my wife tell me, I'll be healthy enough to really hurt myself doing something with Sonny this summer.

Robert Kirby can be reached at rkirby@sltrib.com or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.






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