Friday, August 8, 2008

Stress and Blood Sugar

She is 71 years old, a diabetic patient of mine for last 3 years. She is on 3 types of tablets to control her blood sugar. She checks her blood sugar regularly and keeps all her appointments with me, but her blood sugar fluctuates wildly. One month it will be 185mg post meal and the next month it will be 360.
She always look depressed. She never smiles at me. All my efforts to bring a smile on her gloomy face are always wasted.
She always come with her son, but she is not living with him. She lives alone in a big house with a house maid. Her son lives in the same town a few kms away.

I was curious about her fluctuating sugars. Her diet seems to be same. Her sleep is always good as she is taking a sedative. Level of activity is also the same. Then why the fluctuation?
Slowly, I realised there is a pattern to the fluctuation. She has 2 daughters. They stay some distance away in a different town. Once every 2 months she go to one of her daughter's place and stay there for 2 weeks. If she was tested immediately after her return from such a trip the blood sugars were near normal. When she stays alone, her blood sugar rises up.

Actually, she had realised it before me. She never wanted me to advise her to stay with her children.

When I asked her, 'why don't you stay with your children' her reply was immediate. 'Why can't they stay with me? At least my son should stay with me.I was brought up in an aristocratic family. I believe in staying in my own house built by my late husband. I cant go and live in my son's house'.
The son sheepishly smile all the time [I thought he must be thinking the same thing.Why should I live in a house built by my Dad?].
What can I say to this adamant lady? After a few minutes, I told her 'your children may also be like you,fiercely independent. So, better not to complain'. I suggested a longer stay at her daughter's place and then bid her goodbye.

Independence at old age if not stressful to your mind is good, but if it affects your health adversely then you should rethink.


Beena said...

hi doc,
its not easy for old people to leave the home where they stayed for a long a movie-manassinakkare... though the lady(KPSC Lalitha) goes 'happily ' to US, she's not very happy about it.

Charakan said...

Yes, true but then they should try to be contented living alone