Count Those BlessingsCommentary • fitness • ISSUE 40•27 • Jul 7, 2004 By Jean Teasdale – A Room Of Jean's Own Whew! Boy, Jeanketeers, having Type 2 diabetes is no picnic. (Pun definitely intended!) To a person who believes in living life to the fullest and treating herself well, diabetes' constraints can be painful, to say the least. I always figured diabetics just took medication to regulate their insulin levels, but nope. I have to eat a diet lower in fat and calories, get regular exercise, and, most yucko of all, test my blood-sugar levels before meals by pricking my finger and taking a reading of the blood on a glucometer. A real bummer when you're dying to dig into your yummy (not!) salad. Also, I have to check my feet every day. (Don't ask.) It's a real bummer, too, especially since I have a little trouble with the reach. (I don't even wear shoes with laces!) I realize that I have two ways of looking at my situation. I could choose to see my diabetes as an awful, debilitating setback, or I could see it as an opportunity to gain a new lease on life. I'm not really willing to choose either. After all, diabetes is controllable, and you can actually get away with a lot. It's a big myth that you can't ever eat sugar, and it's not like I have to be chained to a treadmill all day. My father has diabetes, and the last time he was in town to visit, he put away an entire rib-eye steak. He sure as heck doesn't let guilt or sensibility drag him down. (By the way, my dad looks just like that old-fashioned cartoon of Santa Claus. He actually gets a lot of side work playing Santa during the holidays. I wish he had looked more like Santa when I was young! Back then, he looked like Sebastian Cabot, and the neighborhood kids were terrified of him.) Instead of being super-negative, or restlessly seeking wellness, I opt to recognize what's been good about my life up to now. Isn't that the healthiest option? I believe in counting my blessings. I made a list, and right now, I'm up to 27. That's a lot for anyone, I'm willing to bet! I don't have the space to list them all, so I'll give you a small sampling. First, I'm really glad I live in the United States. The other day, I had to buy a little tube of glue to patch together a china cup I broke, so I drove to the hardware store on Thisbe Avenue. This might not seem extraordinary to you, but think about it. I could just go to the hardware store and pick up a tube of glue. Or I could've gone to the Pamida, or the Kmart, or a convenience store. There are so many places to get glue. And, since there are tons of places to buy it, that also means there are tons of tubes of glue. In fact, there are probably so many tubes of glue that the supply outstrips the demand, and they have to throw tubes out because they get old or dry or whatever. That's amazing! That, and freedom of expression, are why I'm so glad I live in the U.S. I'm also thankful for my kitties, Priscilla and Garfield. They really enhance my life, and I'm sure they lower my blood pressure. I've still got diabetes anyway, but I wouldn't trade their companionship for a supermodel's body. I've never been in a tornado. The windshield of my old car got dinged by hail once, but that's it. There should be a law that makes it illegal to complain unless you've been through a tornado. I still get thrilled when I recall getting interviewed on WLTY's PM Magazine in 1982 for being part of a stripe on the living American flag during a July 4 parade. Just being part of the flag was fun enough, but how often does someone get an opportunity to appear on television? I'm thankful that the city finally widened West Slocum Road, ending nearly a year of construction and providing more turnoff lanes onto Thisbe Avenue. I'm proud that my hands are not all bony and veiny. They're very smooth and plump in a nice way. I don't like bones showing on people. I'm grateful for Hubby Rick. Surprised? Well, as much as I get on his case sometimes, I'm glad I don't have to go through life alone. We're like two peas in a pod. Well, make that one pea in a pod, since Rick spends all his time at Tacky's Tavern when he's not working. I just meant I'm not utterly alone. Actually, being alone can be a blessing, too. And I'm real grateful that cuteness was discovered. For me, if anything makes life bearable, it's things that are saucer-eyed, squeaky-voiced, and just good old-fashioned baby-ish. I consider cuteness one of the crowning hallmarks of civilization, because it helps people forget that there's violence and depravity in the world. To those who think cute things are dumb, I ask this: Would you have ever, of your own volition, come up with the idea of a mouthless kitten wearing a hair-bow? Maybe it's you who's dumb. I thank God for the birds that come to my birdfeeder, and how pretty the clouds are when light rays filter through them. I like the feel of ballpoint pens against notebook paper. Laughter. Scented candles. WGGG-FM, home of the oldies. The coolness of a tile floor against your cheek. You know, stores stock a lot of cotton balls, too. It's not just glue. There's so much cotton. It can't all be coming from the American South. Maybe other countries grow it, too. Then you have to consider all the cotton they use for clothing and textiles. I remember what I said about not complaining unless you've been in a tornado, but I hate having to cut down on chocolate. I don't get it. Chocolate is good for you. It helps your mood. Medical studies have proven this, so why can't diabetics have it? Jeanketeers, I'm feeling a little lightheaded. The nurse told me that's an effect of diabetes. It's like there's little fireworks going off in front of my eyes. I'd better lay down and collect my thoughts. In the meantime, count your own blessings. Maybe we can compare notes. We could have a great big Blessing-Off, and the winner gets to come down with diabetes! Great idea, huh? I'll be in the bathroom.