MR. DIABETES® WAKE UP AND WALK® TOUR
UPDATE -December, 2007
LOCATION: McDonough, Georgia
TOTAL MILES: 8932.3
I hope everyone enjoyed their Holiday(s): Hannukah; Kwansa; Christmas; and New Years. Here, in Georgia, they went by quietly. Except, the weather has been a bit “not nice” – mostly rainy, cold, raw. Although, there were a few pretty nice days thrown in that served to remind me that I am in the South. Up North, the white stuff was a very real presence. So, I can only complain to a point…………..
Russ & Shirley Barriger, my Tour Managers, went back home to Michigan and their farm, where they celebrated the Holidays with family and friends. They left on the 15th in a downpour and the only reason it stopped raining (on their drive home) was because it turned to snow when they got far enough north.
They report that all is well on their home front, including all annual physicals. That’s a good idea for everyone to do, get regular medical checkups.
So, THE WALK™ has been on hold since December 15 and we don’t expect to begin, again, until January 10th, or so, when Russ & Shirley return. Then, except for a couple of planned “work related” breaks, we plan to go without breaks until THE WALK™ is completed in December, 2008 in Madeira Beach, Florida where THE WALK™ began December 1, 2000 (Including the 450 mile “Trial Walk” through Florida). Yep, that’s THIS year!! I don’t want to get too far ahead of myself, though, because there are still about 1400 miles yet to walk and lots happening between now and then. And, of course, it’s the journey itself that’s the real reward.
Before we broke on December 15th there were a couple of nasty reminders of how dangerous it can be out here. There are, of course, incidents which occur every day that serve as reminders – traffic, animals and more. But, every once in a while there comes a moment that goes well beyond those, and coming into Atlanta was one such time:
The walking conditions coming into Atlanta did not improve much, at all, as they usually do when walking into cities. The weather had been cold and windy most of my “walking days”. But, the road and sidewalks have proved to be quite risky. On this particular occasion I narrowly missed being run down by a semi, as I approached Atlanta’s downtown.
I was walking with my Tour Manager, Shirley Barriger, this day. She usually walks with me when I approach cities; she carries the camcorder to record city activity. Otherwise, lately, she’s been back in the campground working with the film documentation aspects. Her husband, Russ, is always with me, as he is driving the Support Vehicle and doing a whole bunch of other WALK related chores.
Anyway, the narrow sidewalk on which we were walking ended for about 30 yards. So, that meant I had to compete with traffic until I reached the next stretch of sidewalk. The traffic was heavy and unceasing. Shirley had already reached the next section of sidewalk, but I hadn’t. I checked the oncoming traffic and it looked like I had a big enough break so that I could make a dash past the “non-sidewalk” section. I saw the semi in the distance and was confident I could make it. And, I almost did. Just as the truck was bearing down on me I was reaching safety. EXCEPT, as I scrambled off the road I stepped on an entire ground layer of acorns, slipped and went down right at the road’s edge. The truck came within inches, went over some debris (fallen branches) that I had fallen on and, so, I didn’t fully escape the indirect effect. Interestingly, Shirley had the camera going and captured a good part of this encounter on film. That’s not always the case when these situations happen because, when they do occur, they happen fast.
But, another testament to my martial arts training – grace under pressure. Although, I wasn’t very graceful when falling face-down to the ground. But, that said, I did slap out and avoided injury.
Another situation occurred several days later. This served as a reminder that diabetics must ALWAYS check their feet …………
It was a beautiful day for walking and the walking conditions were okay; not great, but okay. I had some sidewalk for a while, lots of roadway without shoulders and always debris to be careful about. But, because of a need to get back to the campground to work on a video for the UBBT (Ultimate Black Belt Test) we ended the day’s walking a bit early. We needed to do this in a proper lighting – one more of the many talents Russ has; he does weddings and Bar Mitzvas, too. Although, he’s not crazy about doing weddings.
Anyway, when I got back to the campground and was changing into my gi (martial arts clothing) and shoes, I noticed that the sock on my right foot was drenched in blood. The sock had a big hole in it and so did my foot. Naturally, I took the time to dress the wound, as I have encountered foot “issues” a number of times and know what to do. But, this was a whole lot more serious than minor cuts, although, not serious enough to visit an emergency ward. That said, if I wasn’t accustomed to the frequent foot injuries and the impeccable care and attention I give my feet several times EVERY day, I would have been to the emergency ward IMMEDIATELY!! So, this is one of those times: DO AS I SAY, NOT AS I DO. And, on top of that, I have had a Tetnus Shot. After all, my feet are my tools.
What had happened was that I had stepped on a sliver of metal (not a nail, which has happened before) and it penetrated through the bottom of my shoe. And because I have limited feeling in my feet and legs I didn’t feel it at all, as I continued to walk on it for however long.
This is a common issue with diabetics – foot injuries that go unnoticed. And because of these foot injuries which go untreated many turn into amputations. Amputations from diabetes related causes amount to approximately 100,000 every year. That is a major reason why diabetics MUST learn how to examine their feet EVERY SINGLE DAY, and do it many times each day. Just because you don’t feel the injury doesn’t mean it’s any less serious.
As for the rest of my time off, I’ve been catching up on the never ending mountain of paperwork generated by THE WALK™ and DDF. I also took care of a broken front tooth that needed attention and got a cleaning, as well. I hadn’t had a cleaning since August, 2007 – 4 months ago. It’s a good idea for diabetics to get regular dental checkups, as we are more prone to dental problems. (And don’t forget to get regular eye exams for the same reason.) I was lucky to find a wonderful dentist: Sacred Dental Associates - 4362 North Henry Blvd. - Stockbridge, GA. - 770.474.9202. Agatha Nwizu, DDS. This dentist is a real “artiste”. Not only did she repair the broken tooth so that you can’t tell it was ever a problem, but she put up with my “directions” as I endured the cleaning process.
Afterwards, we had a fun photo moment where I got pictures of me with this all female office: Valerie at the front desk, and dental assistants Ashley and Donna. And, of course, Dr. Nwizu. They made my visit a lot of fun. Now, that’s saying a lot for a visit to a dental office.
Okay, that’s it for this UPDATE. We have a New Year to look forward to and lots of good things to accomplish. We will continue to build on all the wonderful accomplishments of 2007 and the years leading up to now. For those of you (44 million) in the position of “caregiver” do yourselves a favor and check out our Defeat Diabetes® CareGiverHelper program. It’s located on every one of our approximately 3000 pages of our website: www.DefeatDiabetes.org
It was in development for 1 ½ years and it works beautifully!!! And it’s FREE!!!!!!
If you wish to advertise your products/services on our website, or be a Sponsor please go to our Products & Services tab at the top of all website pages to learn about our prices and policies.
Also, when at the website, I urge you to make a donation to help us to continue to help you. Even if I haven’t asked you personally, we need your help to get some other worthwhile programs launched, as well as keeping other programs ongoing, like our KIDD™ Project, MADDCAP™ Project, THE WALK™, the DDF website - which is an incredible diabetes information resource second to none, and others.
If you are diabetic, or know someone who is, I guarantee you all are benefitting from what Defeat Diabetes Foundation is doing in the areas of early identification and prevention. That is where this fight will be won. If you are holding out and waiting for a cure – FORGET IT!!!! IT IS NOT COMING FOR 20-30 YEARS, if THEN!!!!!! We know how to prevent Type 2 diabetes up to 95% of the time.
1 in every 3 children born after the year 2000 is expected to develop diabetes in their lifetime!!! That is SCARY!!! 54 million Americans are already pre-diabetic and means they will get diabetes in the next 10-15 years UNLESS……………… YES, we can prevent it in up to 95% of ALL those cases. But, it takes support from YOU to do it. The government isn’t doing it, the pharmaceutical companies aren’t doing it, other diabetes organizations aren’t doing it. Defeat Diabetes Foundation IS doing it.
But, we need your HELP to broaden the programs that will get it done. Get involved with DDF. PLEASE HELP!!!! If you designate a program for your support 100% of that donation (less bank processing fees if you use a Major Credit Card) will go to that program. Defeat Diabetes Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit charity, which allows for your donation to be tax deductible. Donate to Defeat Diabetes Foundation with our GroundSpring.com secure online donation form. You may donate to any of our programs with either Visa, Master Card or American Express. Click here to donate now!
Remember, What’s worse than finding out you have diabetes? …….. NOT finding out!!!!