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Laura Ingalls and Diabetes: What the Hec!

Laura Ingalls and diabetes

When Laura Ingalls ninja kicked me in the diabetes

I’ve been sick the past few days.  I have tried my very best to be productive, but I’ve degraded to a limp vegetable on the bed with the remote in my hand (the only part of me able to move).

Not even the cutest jammies can conceal my creature-like transformation, so I hide in my room to avoid petrifying people with fear.  I also worry someone might cut off my head, stick it in a bag, and use it as a weapon on Black Fridays.

While fulfilling my early morning quest of staring the the TV, I came across a Little House on the Prairie marathon.  No matter how sick I am, I still appreciate that Pa Ingalls suffered from the same affliction as Captain Kirk–an apparent shirt hypersensitivity.  I swear, that helped open up my lungs a little.

I had the unfortunate fortune to catch the episode where Mary’s baby dies in a fire.  I realized the show was pretty harsh on Mary and decided to risk an upright position to surf the net and see how much of her misfortune was true and how much of it was writers who found pleasure in seeing a blind girl suffer.  (p.s. in the next episode she was held hostage by three escaped prisoners)

While looking at Wikipedia articles on the fam, I saw that Laura, Carrie, and baby Grace all died from type 2 diabetes complications.  I hadn’t heard that before.  Exhausted from sitting, I lay on my bed hypnotized by the spinning ceiling fan.  I’m so lucky, I thought.  So lucky to have modern knowledge, technology, and gadgets.  Too bad the Ingalls girls lived in a time where so little was known about diabetes.

As I reveled in my modern age superiority, I wondered how old they were when they died.  Early 30′s?  Did they live through their 40′s?  I’m 45 and feel my age.

I don’t have big diabetes complications but I have more leg cramps at night than normal.  My blood pressure is slowly creeping up.  I wondered if they ever made it to 45.

Another net surf revealed their ages when they died:

Laura Ingalls Wilder lived until 90.  Sickly Carrie made it to 75. Baby Grace lived to 64.

Ummm.  My superiority faded.  Laura Ingalls and diabetes kind of slapped me in the face.

Would I be here at 45 if I didn’t have modern medicine and knowledge?  I was diagnosed in my mid 20′s and I was in really sorry shape at that time.  Oral diabetes medication and steroids brought me back  from a nightmare.  Would I have been able to conceive a child and have my son? Probably not.

The reality is….they were actually in a better time in some ways.

Today we are getting diagnosed with diabetes at younger and younger ages.  I am thankful for modern medicines, knowledge, and regimens….but I have to admit I have a conspiracy streak in me and I think we may be overdoing the meds and the carbs today along with eating foods the Ingalls farm girls might not even recognize as food.  We may have too much confidence that a pill can fix everything.  Many of us pop a pill and go on with our days without much more thought.

So while laying on my bed and deciding to embark on a quest to flip over, blow my nose, and re-situate my body pillow, I decided when I feel better I will re-evaluate what I’m doing and try to have more of my control come from diet and exercise and to test my blood sugar more often.

I have had type 2 diabetes for over 20 years.  I’m at the point where I need to rely more on diet and exercise because my pancreas is pooped after all these years.  My options are insulin or a strict lifestyle.

If you are reading this and are barely starting on this diabetic road or nearing the border, I encourage you to be good to your body and educate yourself.  Baby your pancreas.  Take it easy with carbs.  Then when you are my age, you may have better options to choose from.

PS:  Don’t get me wrong, I do NOT come from the camp that we bring type 2 diabetes upon ourselves.  I do believe we are predisposed to have our hormones work against us.  The only defense against that is knowledge and education which is the real advantage of our times.




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