Prairie Doc: The Do-It-Yourself Disease

Prairie Doc: The Do-It-Yourself Disease

I’ve learned a lot from my patients over the years. Sometimes, the lessons are learned as I walk beside them through struggles, both medical and non-medical. Sometimes, the lessons are explicitly stated, words of wisdom that stick with me through the years, and change the way I understand illness, or life in general.

The first such lesson I remember was from a middle-aged woman who had been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes only a few years prior. She came to me with blood sugars that ran critically low in the middle of the night, but sky high during the day. The situation only worsened when she tried to adjust her insulin. Back in those days, our tools for managing diabetes were far more limited, and our insulin regimens far more rigid.

After we adjusted her dosing so that the peaks and valleys of her insulin effect were a better fit for her life, we started fine tuning the control of her blood sugar. We needed to balance her insulin, with her activity, with her food. This is when she said to me, “Diabetes is the original do-it-yourself disease.”

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