I finally decided to see a doctor about the post-sting swelling in my arm. I’m not a big fan of running to the doctor for every little thing, but when the red area spread past my elbow and my arm began to throb, I was convinced. So I left work early and went to a Vanderbilt-run clinic.
Conversations with the nurse before seeing a doctor are always fun:
“What medications do you take?”
“Did you say none?”
“Who’s your primary doctor?”
“I don’t have one.”
“Mr. Naughton, are you some kind of weirdo?”
Okay, she didn’t ask that last question, but I saw the look.
The doctor said the bright red patch is probably an allergic reaction to a sting, while the swollen (and expanding) red-pink area is definitely an infection. Apparently when nasty little insects sting us, they sometimes push bacteria into the wound.
“I don’t like taking antibiotics. What’s the danger of waiting this out?”
“The infection could move into your lymphatic system, and then the treatment will be a lot worse than taking pills. You don’t want to risk that.”
So it was off to a Walgreens for the antibiotic and a steroid cream. I had to wait awhile for the prescription to be filled, so I grabbed a copy of their free magazine for diabetics to read.
Ugh. No wonder people are confused. Most of the articles were written by the same two authors (a nurse and a nutritionist), and I’m not a fan of either one. Here’s a gem from an Ask The Expert column:
Why is diabetes so common today?
It’s true that diabetes is more common than it used to be. People are getting type 2 diabetes at younger ages, even children. No one really knows why, but part of the problem is that as a country we are heavier and less physically active than ever before.
Seriously? Diabetes is characterized by an inability to process carbohydrates … don’t you think perhaps the dramatic change in the number and quality of the carbohydrates we consume today has something to do with the sudden rise in diabetes? And how do you explain people like my father-in-law, a very physically active guy who became a type 2 diabetic without ever gaining weight or becoming fat?
Is it common to have mood swings?
Many people with diabetes say that as their blood glucose levels go up and down, so do their mood swings.
In that case, I’m thinking perhaps a diet that doesn’t cause glucose levels to go up and down would be a good idea.
To their credit, one of the articles suggests limiting between-meal snacks to foods that contain no more than 15 carbohydrates per serving. So they recognize (sort of) that diabetics shouldn’t be loading up on carbs.
Then the guaranteed-to-confuse advice shows up elsewhere. One article mentions that carbohydrate meals can raise your mood. Another promotes (of course) low-fat diets.
The recipe section includes meals with up to 38 carbohydrates per serving. Now, perhaps that’s not a major carb-overload for some diabetics out there, but the meal only provides 315 calories. I sincerely doubt many adults are satisfied with a 315-calorie dinner. It’s more likely that someone will follow the recipe, eat 600 calories’ worth, and end up consuming more like 70 carbohydrates in one sitting.
Naturally, a good number of the pages are full-sized ads for diabetes medications.
Here, folks, follow this nutrition advice. And when that doesn’t work, take these drugs.