Tuesday, May 31, 2011

When Food Is the Enemy

Alright, I'll admit it: food has always been my drug-of-choice when I think I need a pick-me-pick. And if you're trying to lose weight, a little excess (aka "cheating"), on occasion, isn't such a bad thing.

But if you're a diabetic, it can be dangerous. Or deadly.

I'm one of the many Type 2 diabetics in this country. We don't have to shoot up insulin -- that's a "privilege" normally reserved for the Type I folks. We make insulin, but for various reasons, we're "insulin-resistant" -- meaning, the insulin doesn't work as well as it should. Being overweight is one of those reasons -- as I understand it, the fat around our cells literally gets in the way of the insulin, which is needed to get the sugars into our cells. (That's why we're supposed to get our weight down and keep it down).

Well, last night I cheated. The Wiffee came home from her sister's around dinnertime and wasn't hungry yet. So I snacked on a little leftover macaroni salad. And a bite-sized Snickers bar. Then The Wiffee got hungry and Carls Jr hamburgers sounded good.

Now -- one each of any of the fastfood burgers has my maximum number of carbohydrates for one of the three major meals: around 45 grams of carbs. But my snack had carbs too, and I ate it thinking The Wiffee might not get hungry for anouther two hours, when it would have been OK to eat again.

But nope! I went right over to get the burgers -- three of them -- and we split one of them. That probably put me up to around 66g of carbs, plus the macaroni salad and the candy bar. Then we had dessert -- a bowl of ice cream. I'm already had too many carbs, and now I added even more. Bad mistake for a dude like me.

First came the headache. Even before I was diagnosed with diabetes, I would often get bad headaches if I ate too many Christmas goodies. Untreatable headaches. Very painful headaches. And I sure got one last night. And it went downhill from there.

Briefly: nausea. Profuse sweating and feeling like I was burning up. And on the verge of passing out.

I should have tested my blood sugar while all of this was going on. But I wasn't up to it. But I did check it when I was feeling a bit better, and you know what? It wasn't that high. It was only a few points higher than what it normally is before having breakfast after I wake up in the morning.

I suspect my blood sugar was too high, and then dropped quickly. I crashed.

In the end, I'm still alive and functional this morning, although I still feel a little drained. And icky from all that sweating last night.

Food feels like a friend, and most of the time it is. But sometimes food is the enemy. It's an unregulated drug. I believe in "all things things in moderation," but I'm not moderate enough about food. It tastes too good, especially when chocolate is involved!

Even Confucius advised against making food too tasty, less we're tempted to eat too much of it.

Ahem, bro!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Relief Is in Sight!!!

The end of my teaching time is only about two weeks away! If only I can survive that long!

If you don't remember, I've been teaching at a local community college since mid-January: microbiology, zoology and a lab for basic biology. (The first two each have lectures and labs). Teaching, especially putting together lectures for zoology, has been my life this year. As art was the only thing I did before, zoology is all I've been doing in 2011. Unfortunately, the textbook publisher provided very little instructional support, and I've had to put it together as fast as I could, doubtlessly not the best quality.

One of the bureaucratic obstacles I and other P/T instructors have to deal with is: decisions about who is teaching what and when are made at the last minute. That's fine if the lesson plan is already put together, but when I'm asked to teach a subject that's totally new to me and with very little time to put it together, it ends up making me look bad.

Why? Because the students get to evaluate their instructors every couple of years. But if some of the comments are bad, students continue to evaluate the instructor every time the course is taught, until the reports come back entirely positive.

I can see that this is a setup for failure. And I've come to realize I may have to say "No" to teaching requests in order to stay out of those situations, as well as to save myself from the overwhelming task of trying to stay ahead of my students.

All of this to say: I'm beginning to miss doing art again.

Now, don't get me wrong. I'm grateful to have a job when so many others don't. The hourly pay rate is better than any other job I've ever had. We still don't have medical insurance -- my wife always had that with her employers, but she lost her job last November and hasn't been able to find anything since then.

And frankly, I keep getting reports about how bad the art shows have been this year. If the economy really is getting better, it's still a long LONG ways from SoCal. In addition, I've been so busy with teaching, I feel I never had the chance to get over being burned out from art. I still need a break. Badly.

Soon enough. When the college is out in late May, I plan on taking two weeks for doing...nothing! And evaluating what I need to do and where I need to go. Teaching has been bringing in the $$$, but I feel like I can't depend on it for more than a semester at a time. All my eggs are in one basket, and it ain't a very stable one.

As usual, I have to do lots of thinking and planning to do. I haven't got it all figured out yet. But first, I have to finish out the term. Take a do-nothing vacation. Then paint and, maybe, re-work course materials for next fall or spring semesters, in case they need/want me to teach again.

Or I'll try to develop a Plan B. Would that be art? I wonder...