Thanksgiving Dinner Becomes Lesson for New Diabetic

Just Joyce
By Just Joyce Latest Reply 2014-12-01 15:59:16 -0600
Started 2014-11-28 11:37:52 -0600

Yesterday dinner was at my cousins. We had tons of food and all kinds of desserts. We have a large family and we always eat Buffet style. After Grace was said, I was sitting in the kitchen when I noticed my cousins brother in law standing with a plate and the pure look of panic on his face. A woman who is a friend asked him what was wrong. He said he was diagnosed with diabetes last week and had no idea what to eat. She said oh, diabetes is a head game doctors play with people. I think the heads of two of my cousins spun because they are both RN's and could not believe the woman said this. I was totally speechless.

With 50 people in line waiting to eat we told him to come sit with us. The two RN's told him what diabetes was and how it effects the body. He started taking notes on his phone. They explained the importance of testing, exercise and eating properly. They also told him they were not diabetic educators and that he really should take a class from a reputable educator.

His last A1C reading was 12 and he woke up and his blood sugar was 210 that morning. He said he ate two boiled eggs and coffee for breakfast He brought water and protein bars to eat on the road. I asked him to go test again and then I would help him prepare his dinner. He came back and said his blood sugar was 180.

We got in in line and I told him if you want mashed potatoes you can't have mac and cheese, dressing, or candied yams and no roll. So he got a teaspoon of mashed potatoes, Green Beans, Kale, Ham, turkey, half of a candied yam, and a teaspoon dressing with a teaspoon of gravy.

He sat down and ate, got up and got more turkey, a load of green beans. I told him to check his sugar two hours later and his blood sugar was 192. Three hours later he asked about dessert. I told him to check and his blood sugar was down to 160. I didn't noticed that he had went out and walked with some of the kids and tossed a football around with some of my cousins neighbors kids. He wanted a piece of sweet potato pie so I cut him a 1 inch slice.

He said the one thing about Thanksgiving is being thankful. He said he was very thankful for meeting all of us. I had not seen him in 20 years and he had never met my two cousins who are RN's one lives in Georgia and the other is here. He said we didn't have to take time away from what we were doing in helping to get everyone fed to sit down and talk to him. I said that is what family is all about, helping each other.

The woman listened to what we told him and she said she always thought diabetes was in the persons head fed to them by a doctor. I asked and she said she had never been tested. My cousin asked for my kit and tested her and she was 245. She said by rights I can take you to an emergency room but you really need to make an appointment with your doctor. She said both her parents were diabetics but she never believed them. I think she does now.

The one thing we all told the man was to listen to his doctor, not to take advice from people like her who knows nothing about diabetes. He said he works for the VA and is going for Diabetes Education Classes the first week of December and he has an appointment with a dietitian Monday morning. He said he started a food journal and has written down questions to ask during class. He is also going on a Supermarket tour on Wednesday, the supermarket where he lives has them and he has talked to the pharmacist at the VA about all of his medications and how they will interact with each other. I went and got a can of veggies and told him how to read labels and one of the RN's told him about good and bad carbs. He left very prepared to start his journey as a diabetic. Had we not noticed him standing there floundering, he would more than likely eaten a lot of the wrong things.

One never knows who will cross their paths and how that person may or may not help them. You also don't know who will help you if you don't ask. I asked him if people know he was a diabetic. He said he is a former drug addict and had been in recovery for 10 years. Everyone knew he was an addict so why hide being diabetic. As he said, Life is always good and an adventure.

38 replies

Dr Gary
Dr GaryCA 2014-12-01 15:59:16 -0600 Report

Joyce, this is a great story. You really were this guy's guardian angel. And the story about testing the disbeliever's blood sugar and seeing those dramatic results is really amazing. You might have saved her life. Thanks a lot for sharing this!

valentine lady
valentine lady 2014-12-01 07:04:28 -0600 Report

Hi Joyce, you were there for your cousin and I'm sure he'll always remember you for that. I'm proud of you, but the truth is you did what you do best.

msann 2014-11-30 10:34:50 -0600 Report

so glad you were there to help him could have been life changing disaster for him may god bless you!!!

BB42 2014-11-30 07:50:11 -0600 Report

He should be thankful! You and the RNs embodied the spirit of Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is always difficult.I almost blew up at my family for saying "Oh, a little stuffing wont hurt". A lot of well meaning people don't realize what a constant battle TyType 2 is

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-30 13:55:02 -0600 Report

BB, I never look at diabetes as being a battle or Thanksgiving as being difficult. If you think this about both, they will become what you think they are.

It took months to get to the point where I can eat just about anything I want to eat with moderation. It was not difficult nor was it a battle. I wasn't hard at all because I was determined to get to that point.

He was thankful. Our family helps each other. I know people who are RN's who wouldn't lift a finger to help anyone if they are not getting paid for it. I had the same problem with food police, I put them in their place. I said if you spent time enjoying your meal, you would not have time to be concerned with mine.

I ate a teaspoon of stuffing and a teaspoon of mashed potatoes. Depending on what your blood sugar numbers were prior to eating, what you were eating and the amount, odds are it would not have hurt you.

We had roughly 50 people in my cousins house and we helped her set up the buffet, after I ate, I was busy refilling the buffet and washing pots and pans for her. I was going from room to room talking to people, my blood sugar did not spike until I ate a slice of Sweet Potato Cheesecake. I didn't care that I spiked because I knew that I would be back on track Friday.

Thanksgiving is a time to enjoy with family and friends. I am thankful that I spent time with family. What I ate wasn't that important, my blood sugar spiking wasn't important. Sitting and talking to my 80 year old aunt who is the only living aunt I have was much more important. To me it is only food and not all that important. I do hope you had a fun day.

tabby9146 2014-11-29 09:34:59 -0600 Report

wow! that was great Joyce, that you were there, and that he was there and he listened. He may have avoided a hospital visit that day!! I can't get over what the woman said about diabetes. You'd think that no one would actually believe that!! that was shocking to me. I get all the myths and people thinking it isn't really serious, but that comment takes the cake!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-29 17:30:40 -0600 Report

Tabby there us nothing people can say that is going to really shock me. I looked at her and ignored her.

You can educate the ignorant but not even duct tape can fix stupid.

lilleyheidi 2014-11-29 03:14:59 -0600 Report

What a wonderful story Joyce, something to be truly thankful for, being in the right place at the right time, to share your knowledge. I'm sure he was truly grateful to have you and the two RN's to help walk him through this especially through the buffet table, that is a daunting task the first time. I sure wish I had had someone like you around in the early days to help me. Thanks for sharing. HUGS, Heidi

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-29 07:19:37 -0600 Report

Lilley, I was in shock when I was informed. It was National Night Out. I went to a community event. Our community relations police Sgt took one look at me and gave me a big hug. A friend asked what was wrong and I told him. He said "so you have diabetes, what are you going to do about it?"" That was the slap I needed. Sarge would not let me go home. We got in his police car and went to every event. My friend got me something to eat and I managed to feel better.

I became self supporting and self motivating. I don't rely on or depend on anyone to help me. I use my computer and do research. My diabetes is mine I am responsible for it.

My cousin had talked to his doctor and on his own used his computer to help him take care of himself. He just didn't know what to eat. My two cousins filled in the blanks for him.

I don't mind helping people. Look at how far you have come and how far you can go. Don't dwell on being diabetic or it will become a burden. Live life and have fun doing it. Hugs to you toi.

Ilovecarbs 2014-11-28 18:54:57 -0600 Report

We all need referred to someone, by our doctor, who can help us understand our newly diagnosed diabetic disease. Sounds like his doctor, same as mine, sent him on his way with diagnosis only. Heck, I was told by phone that my lab work showed I now have diabetes, and was asked if I wanted medication. I said no, but after educating myself a little and taking blood glucose readings on my own, I called for medication. Never once has my doctor's office called to ask how I'm doing.

This gentleman was blessed with meeting, and talking to, these nurses. I don't understand how our doctors can ignore our educational needs about this serious disease called Diabetes.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 19:24:44 -0600 Report

His doctor gave him information and put him on medication the same day. Since doctors are not nutritionist so he didn't really know what to eat. Our cousins explained things and answered questions about diabetes. He is now better prepared to meet with the nutritionist and his diabetic class. He had done some research but it wasn't making sense.

My doctor did the same thing. The doctor I have now is the same way. He sends me a letter with lab results. And explanations. I call him if I have questions. I have an open line of communication with my doctor. My doctor does not ignore my educational needs and will answer any question I have.

Since I have now signed up with the hospitals website, I can now sign in and get lab results, and I can view x-rays. I am on the phone with him if I have questions. I can sit in his office and use my phone so we can discuss lab results and review my medications. Doctors respond better to patients who are better educated and play a role in their health care.

NewSong53 2014-11-28 17:05:08 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing that, Joyce. I know that feeling of panic. Too often I cave. I'm sure what you shared that day changed two lives. I think at the next holiday gathering I will just eat the spoonful of this or that and sliver of pie or whatever — and then go for a little walk if it's possible. It is so hard to say "no" when someone goes out of their way to prepare a special meal. Lucikly, most of us have friends who understand. Hope your Thanksgiving was wonderful!! I am truly thankful for this group.

tabby9146 2014-11-29 09:37:11 -0600 Report

too often lately I have caved too, but I did not on Thanksgiving and have not since. trying to do better. for years it was not too hard at least most of the time, only in the very begnning, but for me, as time went on, I seemd to cave in more often. But then when I do, I just exercise even more.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 17:57:11 -0600 Report

NEW the best thing to do is not to cave in. You have to be stronger than the person offering the food. I don't have a problem with saying no.

Several years ago we were invited to Thanksgiving dinner. I could not eat any veggies because it was green bean casserole and green beans with almonds. No dressing because it had chestnuts. I was so hungry when I left there that I ate ham, kale, sweet potatoes and my no sugar added apple pie. Now when we go to dinner my friend leaves a little dressing and green beans without nuts and she bakes me a sweet potato with cinnamon. I never asked her to do that just for me. She said she realized I was hungry and felt bad because I couldn't eat a good dinner.
One of my cousins made
Red Velvet cake, another made Lemon Bars and a Strawberry cake with sliced Strawberries and a large ice cream cake wit crushed Butterfiinger candy and there was a an Oreo's Pudding layered with whip cream. Prior to beung duabetic i would have tried the Oreo pudding, Red Velvet and Ice Cream cake. All of it was homemade. People to try it. My response was no can do, I am diabetic. I did try half a teaspoon of ice cream cake.

Just say no if they are family and friends thy should understand. I did spike but it wasn't bad and I am back on track today. Hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

tabby9146 2014-11-29 09:39:42 -0600 Report

sometimes I do that. like a church function for example, we eat lunch once a month together and there are all kinds of great goodies, and the desserts are my weakness at times and there are many to choose from. So sometimes I pass on getting two things and just get one, other times I have a very very small portion of two to four, like a half of a small brownie, and a tablespoon or two of something my daughter might have on her plate, and that is enough lots of times.

tabby9146 2014-11-29 09:39:26 -0600 Report

sometimes I do that. like a church function for example, we eat lunch once a month together and there are all kinds of great goodies, and the desserts are my weakness at times and there are many to choose from. So sometimes I pass on getting two things and just get one, other times I have a very very small portion of two to four, like a half of a small brownie, and a tablespoon or two of something my daughter might have on her plate, and that is enough lots of times.

jayabee52 2014-11-28 15:44:21 -0600 Report

Wow Joyce what a neat account of being in the right time and place to make a difference! I wish you'd reconsider your plans to leave DC!


tabby9146 2014-11-29 09:41:02 -0600 Report

what…leave? NO! Joyce you can't leave. :-(

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-29 17:40:39 -0600 Report

Tabby, I got an email from DC saying I belittled someone. I went back today and I now know who did it because the same word is in her email. Life is short. I don't have time for small minded, people who personalize everything because they want attention and get mad when they don't get the attention they seek. Yet this person asked me to befriend them. When I didn't give this person, the knife went in my dday karma is going to be at this persons door and it won't be good karma.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 16:35:37 -0600 Report

James he said the day he was diagnosed he researched healthy foods to eat. He went home and gave his neighbors kids, chips, cookies, candy and gave another neighbor several cases of soda. He went and bought fresh and frozen veggies, several cases of water, chicken and seafood. He will do great.

I don't know James can't deal with people reporting people because they didn't hear what they wanted to hear.

Glucerna 2014-11-28 14:41:57 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing this story Joyce. I'm sure that hundreds of people around the country, recently diagnosed with diabetes felt like your cousin. I'm betting that many of them didn't have the knowledge of family members to help them through the day. I love your cousin's positive attitude about diabetes. ~Lynn @Glucerna

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 16:23:47 -0600 Report

Lynn he was in the military and came out drug addicted. He came through that storm and was talking to vets at the VA and lucked into a job.

I think people in recovery for drug and alcohol addiction who are willing to stay straight can turn their lives around and do a lot of positive things. He learned that food is not the enemy. He can still eat things he enjoyed in moderation.

TsalagiLenape 2014-11-28 13:21:23 -0600 Report

Omgosh what a wonderful story of how great of being in the right place at the right time which the two RN's and yourself was. Just reading this alone makes me wanting to conquer and control my diabetes especially since I want some weight off as well as quitting smoking in due time. Thank you Happy Eat Turkey Day Belatedly Hugs

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 13:31:01 -0600 Report

Hey TsalagiLanape I have not seen you in a long time. Glad you are well. One of my cousins worked for the CDC for about 5 years after graduating from college. I think she may have her MS now. The other graduated about 3 years ago but has worked in nursing all her life.

You can get control it takes determination. My doctor would not let me work on quitting smoking and getting my diabetes under control at the same time. I now plan to start my Chantrix December 1st. My goal is to stop smoking by Christmas.

This poor guy looked so hopeless. I think he was afraid to eat after we talked to him and I helped him he really did relax and enjoy himself. The thing is he said he beat his drug addiction. He has a good job, just bought a house and was happy to spend time with his brother who has had Parkinson's for about 10 years. They were all so patient with him because of his speech problem and we all helped him. He was so happy to see all but two of his brothers together and smiled the biggest smile when they took a picture of all of them and their one sister. Having a portion of the family together was so much fun yesterday.

Type1Lou 2014-11-28 13:15:12 -0600 Report

How fortunate he was to have people like you who care and are willing to share what you know. Truly, a Thanksgiving gesture Joyce!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 13:32:22 -0600 Report

Lou sometimes all people need is confidence that there is someone willing to help in their time of need. I don't think he would have said a word if he hadn't been asked what was wrong. Body language can say more than words and his body language was screaming. He had fun with all of us.

RebDee 2014-11-28 12:52:35 -0600 Report

Thanks for sharing your story, Joyce. I had planned to cook the turkey dinner with yam casserole, cranberry pineapple relish, broccoli and pumpkin pie. However, my friends did not want me to work so hard (and I knew that if all that food was there, I would have had seconds, plus too much leftovers) so we decided to go to Black Angus Restaurant where they had a fantastic turkey dinner. I didn't have soup or salad (lettuce has no nutritional value). The dinner consisted of turkey, mashed potatoes, a baked yam, stuffing, broccoli and cranberry sauce plus a squaw bread roll. I did not eat any mashed potatoes, gave the turkey breast to my friend who gave me her dark turkey meat, had one bite of the bread, one spoonful of pumpkin pie, took half of everything else home for tonight's dinner. I ate slowly, and finished at the same time as everyone else who cleaned their plates. I was satiated and satisfied and enjoyed both the food and the company. I knew it could be done and I did it!!!! Happy Thanksgiving to all.

haoleboy 2014-11-28 13:18:31 -0600 Report

"lettuce has no nutritional value"
Romaine Lettuce:
Lettuce contains fiber and cellulose. Besides filling you up, fiber improves your digestion
Lettuce’s vitamin C and beta-carotene work together to prevent the oxidation of cholesterol.
Romaine lettuce’s calories are 20 percent protein
Lettuce has an average glycemic index of 15, but because it has so few calories, its glycemic load is considered zero
The minerals in lettuce help remove toxins and keep your acid/alkaline balance in order.


RebDee 2014-11-28 14:00:01 -0600 Report

Good to know about lettuce. But, my surgeon says no lettuce, more protein, little carbs in order to lose weight.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-11-28 13:13:51 -0600 Report

I don't eat salad unless it is too hot to cook. I am cooking my Thanksgiving dinner for home today. I have the same things except I am not making mashed potatoes unless my sister wants them.

I don't mind having the leftovers, keeps me from having to cook. I also did a ham. I won't have to cook for at least a week because I freeze left overs. or make a casserole and freeze it. I cook a turkey breast because we won't ever get through a whole 10lb turkey. If I buy a whole turkey I have them cut it in half. I will go for seconds if it is meat and cranberry sauce. Otherwise I don't.

Yesterday, my cousin had so much food she had restaurant take out containers. No one is allowed to leave without one. The only thing that was not left over was the fried crabs in gravy. I must say they were delicious.

I can't stand pumpkin pie but I did have sweet potato cheesecake. I spiked but did not care. I am back on track today and blood sugar is great. I don't worry about spiking on Thanksgiving because it is only one day and I get right back on track. I knew the cheesecake was going to spike me but I had to have it. Glad you enjoyed your dinner and your day.

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