Part-3 of my diabetes life for 50 years about the past.

Johnben or JB.
By Johnben or JB. Latest Reply 2011-01-15 23:01:03 -0600
Started 2011-01-11 17:50:33 -0600

Part-3 of my 50-years of diabetes type-1.

Well now. Part-3 already! I used to really prepare for these postings but now, I just sit down and try to remember what did happen at different point in my stories. Not as good as before because it is easy to skip things this way.

We came from the hospital and Johanna my wife of 60 years now at that time received a paper thin booklet with the values of different foods. This was all the advice we received about diabetes in 1960. She was 28 years young then and suddenly she was faced with the unknown called a diabetic husband. Our education about diabetes was limited to "no sugar in your tea." She had a very difficult time to cook the right foods. There were no groups to advice us on what to do about diabetes like you have now. In fact the idea of having a computer was totally foreign to most people. I don't remember computers being offered for sale.

Now the fun started… Testing, this was the way we had to test for blood sugar. Yes, really! We had a little test tube standing upright in which I had to put 5 drops of urine and 10 drops of water with a dropper. In that we had to drop a tablet called "clinetest" coming from a roll I believe like a roll of candies, maybe in a box. It was not advisible to put them in your mouth for it would burn out your mouth and your stomach. Pure chemicals showing 4 colors, yellow the worst and blue good with two colors in between. The result was indicated by the color that would be created by the burning of the tablet in the mix in the test tube. This result would tell you where you were with the sugar in your blood about four hours ago! Big help right? Not so! I used to state that doing it that way was like driving your car by looking in the rear view mirror. My doctor Leibel said to me, "When in doubt, assume that you are low and eat something to bring you back up. Safety first! Yellow results of the test would indicate 4-plus. ( One to four plus.)

This was the highest sugar content in your blood. That could be even worst when the liquid in yellow turned into what seemed like cement. Most of the time I showed yellow on my tests, which was of course very unhealthy. I just loved mocha cakes with lovely icing on top ( with that heavenly coffee taste) and of course my doctor had told me when you feel strange, eat! So eating mocha cake was ordered by the doctor, right? I had to, to stay alive! Never found a better excuse than that but it wasn't right of course. Gradually I became a bit wiser. The yellow got to me and I really tried to get control, which was almost impossible to do as you saw.

I will continue next time (if you like me to) with the needle business.

John, JB, JOHNBEN. all of us!

7 replies

toni the niner
toni the niner 2011-01-15 23:01:03 -0600 Report


thank you so much for sharing a blast from your past - you are wise elder in our type one diabetic community! i am grateful to you for reminding me how lucky I am to have an insulin pump, a meter that reads my bg's in 5 seconds, food and water. thank you so being strong and brave AND thank you for surving this condition. i often wonder how i'm going to survive as an elder with this disease, but, i don't need to worry so much now - i've lived with it for 20 years (since i was nine) and each day has been a gift (yes, even those days that are full of reactions, anxiety attacks, and roller coaster bg's). :-) - I look forward to learning more from you about our Diabetic history - you (and your wife) should write a book!

many thanks,


CaliKo 2011-01-12 09:44:54 -0600 Report

Yes, please don't stop. I don't think even NASA had computers back then… or if they did, it would have taken up a large room. Wait, what year does your story begin? NASA was formed in 1958 … Congrats on the 60 years, my parents celebrate 65 years together in May. Looking forward to the next installment. We're lucky we have access to so much information and communities such as this one.

re1ndeer 2011-01-11 18:51:06 -0600 Report

Thanks for posting part 3. I seem to be re-living your story with you. My father had to do the same except he had strips that he had to put in his urine and match them to the colors on the box.
Can't wait till you continue with your story, this very interesting.

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