Saturday, September 22, 2012

This & That From The Canyon & Diabetes Support Group Meeting Notes

On Thursday, I went to the diabetes support group meeting to listen to a visiting podiatrist who talked about how to take care of our diabetic feet. He began by going over all the various foot problems that can develop in all of us, but are particularly difficult to deal with in people with diabetes. He also gave us some advice on how to best take care of our feet.

But the thing was, this doc wanted to scare us  straight! He said as much, then he followed through. First he provided some gruesome statistics: Every 6 seconds, someone gets a foot amputated somewhere in the world,  and diabetes is usually the culprit.  Plus this: There are two kinds of gangrene, wet and dry. Dry gangrene is not considered an emergency because the affected body part, say a toe, will eventually just break off! It’s the wet kind that will rush you in for emergency surgery. 

 The first bee I ever managed to capture with my point and shoot camera. I am happy!

But it didn’t end there, he proceeded to show us photos of every kind of diseased foot you could possibly imagine. There was a parade of fungi, corns, callouses, hammer toes, bunions, and gangrene. There was a diabetic foot that had stepped on a nail and it’s person had no knowledge of this, but walked around with the nail in his foot, only to be discovered by this doctor in a routine foot exam. There was a poor foot, whose person had walked barefoot to his mailbox, in the Tucson, Arizona summer, no less. I imagine on very  hot asphalt or concrete. That poor foot was severely burned. Neither of these two guys felt a thing due to diabetic nerve and other damage to their feet. 

I can still feel my feet so I don't pay too much attention to them. I never walk barefoot and I never wear open toed shoes or sandals. I fear injuring my feet too much. After this, I believe I will pay a bit more attention. The best advice he gave was for us to check our feet every day, use a mirror if you can't see your feet properly. If you have diabetes, you must see your doctor for any little thing that happens to your feet. Just to be safe. 

I was worried, but I was able to sleep without nightmare images of these terrible feet showing up in my dreams. For that I'm grateful!

A canyon update: First, the weather -- it's around 42 - 46F when I wake up at five a.m., so it's pleasant for a few hours. Just right for walking the dogs and working outside. But when the afternoon comes around, it gets hot again. I heard it may change by next week. I hope so. 

As you can see, the gray rabbit brush is in full bloom. Native Americans in this area made tea from the rabbit brush and used it for medicinal purposes. While pretty for a few weeks each fall, it's a fast spreading weed. Being busy with other things, we have let it get out of hand. Basically, you need some heavy machinery to remove the bushes, which we don't have right now. What we do have though is me! See below. 

Our other predominant plant here in the canyon, the juniper tree is bearing fruit. The juniper tree is a tree that looks like a bush and it has berries that are not berries at all, but cones, like tiny pine cones, covered in blue skin. Go figure! Coyotes and other wild animals will come and feast on these cones after they fall to the ground. Bears like them too and we once had a bear strip a juniper of a lot of branches, eat the berries, and throw the stripped branches under the tree. 

I have always wanted a field of my own and now I have this one, the near field in the picture. It's fenced, but not used for anything except for me to walk through, look at, or sit in. The rabbit brush has now spread into my field and I don't like it. So I have a new morning chore: Cutting back the rabbit brush. Too bad I'm doing it while it's flowering, thus spreading the seeds, but it can't be helped. They have to go. So far, I've cut back about 10 bushes and at last count I have another 13 to go in the field. It's slow going, these guys are big. They are sort of dried out at the bottom and break off easily, which is great.

I can only do about one bush a morning. Then I sit back, rest, and enjoy the soft desert wind as it wraps itself around me. I watch the marvelous little birds that have been around all summer long. Huge flocks of them fly up from the field to perch on the wires, then one of two drop off, and soon they all fly down into the field again, twittering all along. Peace comes over me. How could it not? 

Yesterday, as I opened the front door, I saw a huge plane flying over the canyon, very slowly and making a droning noise. At first I became concerned, what was it? Was it in trouble? Then I remembered the Endeavor, but I didn't know it was coming. They actually did a fly-over here, over our canyon! Then the plane turned, flew over Tehachapi, and on out over the San Joaquin valley to Sacramento and San Francisco before turning back to Los Angeles, where it will have a permanent home at the Science Center. It was wonderful that I just happened to see it and I'm still excited about it.

Have a great day everyone.


  1. i like your personal field. you fight rabbit brush like i fight mesquite trees - except i have to spray them with poison or they'll just regrow.

  2. Your photos are Wowing, the meeting notes are sobering, your field is just big enough, your reflections... delightful.

  3. Love the mountain view from your field, looks very peaceful and quiet.

  4. Vad fina bilder från ditt hem. Den gula busken var ju fin...
    Vi har höstrusk här idag. Det var lerduveskytte idag och det var inte så kul i hällande regn. Men nu är hösten här och det är vackra färger i naturen.

  5. Great photos AGAIN! I'm diabetic & I see my foot doctor monthly--Bud says it's like the doctor has me as an annuity!

  6. How fortunate you were to see the Eneavor flying over. That rabbit bush sure spreads we had them in the North too.
    Your talk makes me want to take a mirror and look at the bottom of my feet even if I don't have diabetes!!

  7. i love looking at your canyon and your field, and it is so peaceful even from here. the rabbit brush is beautiful and since i love weeds, i would let it go and grow. all this info is indeed scary. my mother had to wear shoes all the time, she lost the feeling in her feet for years, she could not feel a needle or a nail or any thing. daddy checked them every day. i have seen the horrors of losing the feet in the nursing home that i visit, there are many living there that have lost them and others that their legs/feet are black. so do be careful and check them often.

  8. I am glad you seen the Endeavor that is cool.
    Your feet stories scared me but it is important to know.
    You take care of yourself and do not work too hard enjoy that desert breeze. B

  9. Hi Inger! That information about feet was a bit scary! But I guess 'knowing the facts' really can help those who don't take it seriously, and should. My toes were twitching as I was reading!!
    I LOVE your 'field'! The yellow bush/shrub is very pretty but if it is invasive then you are smart to start getting rid of it as best you can.
    What a sight that plane must have been. Nothing like being there at the right time. Good to have you drop by today too! Always good to hear from you. You would love PEI, the home of 'Anne'!

  10. I recommend soaking your feet at the end of every day and cleansing them thoroughly. Those who can't feel the water should check the temp with their fingers or whatever body part can feel. I've seen a lot of foot amputations start with failure to clean the feet.


  11. That's scary stuff about feet, but a good warning.
    Congratulations on seeing the Endeavor! That's awesome!

  12. Hi Inger - thanks for alerting us to diabetic feet ... I've learnt a little about diabetes, since visiting hospitals so often - and seeing people with serious troubles.

    There's a young lad here - who's had one leg amputated, and is constantly watching his real foot and other leg - he desperately wants that one off too - he says it'll be so much easier for him.

    He had childhood diabetes ...

    It's a very nasty thing to have - well done you for looking after yourself so carefully ..

    The pictures of your desert canyon are just lovely - cheers Hilary

  13. Glad to hear that you take good care of yourself, sorry to had to endure the foot pictures!

  14. Dear Inger, my cousin died of the complications of diabetes. Her father, my uncle, was set to have one of his feet amputated when he died. She always was careful of her feet after that. She did lose one toe.
    So, I'm glad to learn that you are being--continually--cautious.

    Thank you for all the lovely photographs. I can just see you out there in a war of attrition with those invasive bushes. One a day sounds about right to me! Peace.

  15. I have heard that it is very important to care for your feet when you have diabetes so please be super careful. How great that you got to see Endeavor! Too bad you didn't get any pictures.


Thanks for leaving a comment.. ~~ Inger


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