Jogging and Diabetes

By PicodeGallo Latest Reply 2012-08-18 12:58:07 -0500
Started 2012-08-11 22:09:48 -0500

I care for someone with diabetes who loves to jog. Due to his age I do like to be present whenever he does any physical activities. I would hate for something to happen and I am not right there to help. He is nearing 75 and is in pretty good physical shape. I am only 28 and while I am in good physical shape I am not able to jog with him because I am a smoker.

So for the past few months I have just told him that jogging doesnt mix well with diabetes and that has helped keep him put. But this sort of backfires because he then starts to go through the cabinets and usually ends up eating whatever goodies I bought for the week.

I guess I am kind of stuck. The urge for him to go jogging has subsided even though I told him that with his diabetes he will probably be arrested by HHS if they catch him jogging. I also remind him that he is an organ donor and if he damages any of the good organs by jogging that HHS will not only arrest him but his wife will surely be put to death.

The only logical and mutually beneficial solution I can conjure up is, as a responsible caretaker, is to have him take up another hobby other than jogging. I figure he could probably take up smoking; not like my habit of jsut smoking cigarettes but rather one that is more involved and covers all the tobacco products i.e. cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookah smoking, et al.

Is there anyone else here that is a caretaker of someone with diabetes that has dealt with anything like this that can offer any suggestions?

Thanks in advance

Raymond Gaepenes (Used my nickname pico de gallo for profile)

PS- How frequently do diabetes patients develop tourette syndrome? Recently my grandfather seems to be swearing an awful lot

12 replies

jsimms435 2012-08-12 11:47:43 -0500 Report

I am wondering why you would mislead this man and stop him from jogging. I jog 3-4 times a week and it has really helped me get my blood sugars under control. As long as he checks his blood sugar before and after the runs and knows his own body well enough to know what exercise does there should not be a problem.
So you excuse your not being able to exercise because your a smoker. Maybe you should stop smoking so when you get that old you will be able to jog instead of being 6 feet under the ground

jayabee52 2012-08-11 23:00:24 -0500 Report

Howdy Raymond! WELCOME to DiabeticConnect!

I am 60 and have been a Certified Nurse Aide for about 10 yrs in Home health. That was before I had 3 TIAs ("ministokes") and I had to give it up because it was not safe tranferring my patients due to inability to balance properly. I wish I could jog! I am doing good to even walk with my cane.

I am wondering why your grand father's jogging concerns you?

I'd like to understand why.

If you haven't thought about it, perhaps you should investigate why. (I am guessing your grandfather and the person whom you caretake).

Regarding Tourettes syndrome here is a multi page article from Mayo clinic which deals with Tourettes: find it here ~

From reading the article it is unclear whether your grandfather's symptoms are truly Tourettes, as it usually something which starts in childhood and diminishes as the sufferer gets older.

A couple of suggested alternatives brought up in the article: It might be medication induced verbal tics, or a lack of dopamine or seratonin in the brain.

Or he just might be irked that you are jerking him around about the HHS.

Blessings to you and yours!

James Baker

PicodeGallo 2012-08-12 00:14:47 -0500 Report

Hey James,

First off let me just say that I am sorry that you are not able to jog due to the TIA's but I am glad that you are still able to walk and most of all I thank the almighty god that you are such a great example of the spirit of a survivor

I know my initial post sounds sort of odd so I am glad that you started to ask all the right questions. Let me take them one at a time:

1) My grandfathers jogging concerns me for a few reasons. First I am a little scared to let him be out of my sight for even a few minutes. I am afraid he will get hurt as equally as I am concerned he will get himself into trouble. It seems that as soon as he is left alone he is either trying to fight someone, hanging out in the "adult" book stores, stopping off at the bar, etc. And that is when he is on foot…that is precisely why he cant be allowed to drive. I also dont know what the effects of strenous exercise could be on a person with diabetes. And because the diet needs to be monitored I also am concerned that he will take off down the street, and possibly cut through the grounds of the middle school and go to the sweets shop he loves. naturally I would be out at the bars and the porno shops looking for him while he would be stuffing himself full of lethal goodies. So the sarcasm about HHS in the ploy to get him to stop jogging was only because he would end up at the craziest places.

2) Thanks for the Mayo Clinic link. I found it very helpful. I think once my grandfather learned what tourettes was he used that as an excuse to jsut swear all the time. When I tell him he sounds like a sailor his reply is "because I am one" referring to his time in the Navy. And hes right and thats a great response.

It just seems that when he gets bored around the house he jsut wants to breakout in any direction he can. I originally thought the jogging was a good idea until we saw the results. I was thinking about maybe boxing/sparring with him. He is always making the threat "im going to kick your ass" so maybe I will give him the opportunity to do that. Of course I will have to humor him and let him knock me down but maybe if we go for a few minutes it will tire him out and he will get it out of his mind that he needs to do some type of vigourous exercise.

All that I know now is that he seems to want to do physical things, wants to drink heavily, and left to his own devices will most likely end up at the adult bookstore in the old strip mall on his jogging route. Caroltoo had a great suggestion and said that maybe I could follow him in the car. And she said that sometimes a physical presence helps to keep certain persons' behaviour in check and if he starts to go off course when jogging I could sort of use the car to either nudge him or sort of "herd" him like a sheep into going the right way. Or to avoid that all together I could probably use the carrot on a stick trick and maybe just have the bottle of whiskey in the back window and have him follow me. But I cant drive by the bar or the adult bookstire because then he will jsut stop in there. Thats the hardest part because the only way out of his neighborhood by car has to pass right by both of them before you get to any other roads. Right now the only solution I have for avoiding that distraction is to actually have him in the car blindfolded and I will just tell him that theres a big surprise coming up. And it will be a big surprise when we pull over and he has to get out of the car and chase the whiskey down.

Jccandals 2012-08-12 06:20:17 -0500 Report

Ok, my take is, he is 75, how about driving him to his mag shop ( porn one) and you just sit outside, take him to the park to run and you can sit on a bench and enjoy your ciggie, and then take him to a sweet shop and alow him to pick out either a few chocolates or some sugar free ones. Compromise with the guy.

Caroltoo 2012-08-11 22:46:49 -0500 Report

He may have some residual effects from his stroke. Is there a way you can get him by car to the area where you feel it is safer for him to jog? If not, perhaps if you were with him and on the road side of him (between him and cars), you could use your physical presence to help guide him to the safe side of the road. Doesn't sound like he responds too well to logic, so try this more tactile approach to guiding him.

My husband, as I said in my p.m., has Alzheimer's. Can't reason too much on many days, but I find non-verbal ways to guide him and to reassure him when he is frustrated or afraid. Your guy may realize he is loosing some of his mental acuity and he could be afraid and acting out in the anger stage of the grief process. If so, be reassuring, comforting, stable, patient, and encouraging.

Anything you can do that will make him feel better about himself will pay you big benefits in terms of your success with him as a caregiver. Trust does have to be earned, though, so it may take a while.

PicodeGallo 2012-08-11 23:21:47 -0500 Report

I try to get him into the car and take him to this park that we have nearby with a jogging/biking trail. Sometimes he flat out refuses and sometimes he fools me. Last time he just said "forget it, Im not going to go for a run. I have whiskey here and dont need to run around and stop in at the bar."

But then once I went up stairs he took the pint of whiskey that he had and went jogging towards the bar. I saw from the upstairs window the way he was going so I figured I would just drive to the bar and go get him. But he wasnt there. rather we found him in an "adult" bookstore giving the owner a quote on installing drywall.

I always thought he had very slight dementia just because of the questions he would ask. he would say things like "Wheres our mother?" and when I asked him "who do you mean? my mother or your mother?" He would sort of correct it but make it seem like I had been the one mistaken by saying "The one who takes care of everything around here." But he would say it sort of sarcastically as if I was the confused one. Very clever. But I must say that those incidents are few and far between. However, it does seem to be getting a little worse. Last week he called the police to report a "burgarly" and when the police arrived he wanted to know why they came all that way and didnt bring him the hamburger he wanted. So I think you may be right as well on the possibility that he may be realizing that he is starting to lose his faculties and is acting out. Im sure I would do the same because how does one even begin to address that or come to terms with it?

Being supportive seems to help even when there are "in the moment" episodes. Sometimes jsut being encouraging, no matter how crazy I think I sound, does help to stop or slow down some behaviour. Like when we found him at the "adult" bookstore. Even though he said he was there giving the owner a drywall quote he wouldn't leave until I bought him something. (he accused me of taking his wallet and hiding it and because of that I would have to use my money to buy whatever he wanted). So I bought him the magazine that he had in his hand (I wont say the title here and its not important) but later when we got back he said "you know, its a good thing we got that smut away from that chap, if we didnt it couldve ended up in the hands of some kids, so I will give it a good hiding space where it will never see the light of day". And I told him that was a great idea and I would help him to hide it. That seemed to change his whole attitude and get him back on to his normal day.

I even try to encourage him and be supportive of his drinking. Not in the sense that I hi-five him for doing shots of whiskey but rather than drinking during the day I just tell him to keep track in his head all the shots he wouldve done during the day and save them up for after dinner when he is on the exercise bike. And that seems to be working well too

Caroltoo 2012-08-12 00:40:30 -0500 Report

This sounds like you have more of a challenge than it sounded like in your discussion presentation. Yes, there are many things you are saying here that sound like dementia. Dementia can also be caused by alcohol and by strokes of any size; Alzheimer's is just the form of dementia that we hear about the most.

You might see if there is a Dementia Support Group in your community which could be a source of support for YOU. This sounds like it would be very challenging for you since he is as physically active as he is. His mobility complicates your ability to caregive. When you first made the comment about jogging, it sounded like more of an isolated incident. The scope you are describing is helpful as it really paints a different picture.

The physical, kinetic interventions I suggested work even when the mind is not clear or in the moment. Our bodies speak a language other than words and sometimes we can communicate important things that way, that we could not say in a words that can be understood.

You asked about exercise and diabetes. Exercise is one of the quickest ways to bring down our blood glucose levels, so it is hejpful, but there are other ways to do that. It sounds, as you have described this more, that the safety issues may be a bigger issue for you/him than the need for exercise. Add alcohol to this mix and you do have a huge challenge.

Caroltoo 2012-08-11 22:17:06 -0500 Report

Walking is one of the best exercises for any of us, diabetic or not. Don't discourage him from doing things that improve his health unless there are other issues to consider that you haven't mentioned. From the perspective of a healthy 68 year old who also jogs, I'd encourage him instead of discouraging him.

Maybe you could get him to slow down to a fast walk, while you build up your speed until you can join him. Cigarettes do reduce your ability to breathe deeply while being active so that may be an issue for you.

When you first wrote, you sounded rather flippant and I wasn't sure if you were serious or not. As I've read the rest of these exchanges, I realize you are. It sounds like you may be using humor to cover your pain and concern for your grandfather. You have a tough job here. I wish you the best.

PicodeGallo 2012-08-11 22:34:40 -0500 Report

maybe youre right, I dont need to smoke all the time and I can ditch the cigs while we are walking. That would reduce my habit by (depending on the length of the walk/jog) at least 3 cigarettes per day.

One other problem with the jogging is that when he starts out he thinks his road (because its narrow) is a pedestrian walkway. He had a small stroke about 7 years ago. Luckily he recovered one hundred percent physically but I think there were still some underlying issues mentally; the doctor seems to think he recovered 98% (but seriously how can you pin it down to a number like that? What is the two percent that is not there?) But for the first part of his jog he spends a lot of time yelling at the cars driving down his road (again he thinks the road is a pedestrian walkway)

But once he gets off his road he is ok. He jogs right to the bar (about 1 mile away) and will just stay there for a few hours. there are a bunch of over vets there so they all have a good time. So I really dont have a problem with him doing whatever he wants to do. Just so long as he doesnt get 1) runover, 2) in a fight with a commuter for yelling at them for driving on his "walkway", and 3) doesnt use my debit card again to pay for a half days worth of drinking without me getting a little buzz going too.

Anyway, Im just new to this whole caretaker thing and I do appreciate the feedback and help.

Carol1950 2012-08-12 13:40:27 -0500 Report

Have you ever heard that "you can’t teach an old dog new tricks" It sounds as though you grand-dad is trying to show you that he's not losing it, and that he is still control. He is not a child, (although he can act like one) and needs his dignity. Is he really not competent, or is that just your view? Was that medically confirmed?
Your smoking is a bad habit, and you know it. (So does he) How can you expect him to comply with good advice, if you don't apply it to your own life? I suggest you both agree to sacrifice something, in exchange for something else less damaging to you both. What is this sitting in the car? Become involved. How about a walk together in the park with a stop at the candy store (No-sugar candy tastes good) in exchange for cutting back on cigs and alcohol? You might learn something. By the way I have had a stroke as well and I am doing fine now as long as I do not get too tired.