Last November: Time to have Tobie and Kikko’s fur trimmed. Tobie is old, in his fourteenth year. Not too many haircuts left. He sleeps a lot. Sometimes the sleep is so intense that I sometimes believe that he is in a coma. He snores, or, it seems he snores. The Canadian Vet said his throat is collapsing, causing him to have a great deal of trouble breathing.
Dropped in on my Medico Veterinario for an appointment. I stepped off the street into his waiting area. There, by the doorway into his office-operating theatre, was a poster of a large bottle of pills with the name TS&G on it, and beneath it in black felt pen was inscribed my Medico Veterinario’s name as ‘authorized dealer’.
‘What’s that?” I asked.
“You are diabetic, non?”
“I have been using it, now, for six months. Blood sugar is now in normal range.”
“What does it do?”
“I don’t know how, but my sugars were maybe sometimes over 20. (Between four and eight are considered normal. Two hours after eating, ten is acknowledged as acceptable. On rising for the day readings can be anywhere – kind of telling the truth about how many carbohydrates you ate the previous day.) Since I have been taking TS&G my readings have come into normal range. On getting up. After eating. I am asking myself where does the sugar go. I have tested my urine and no sugar there. I had my insulin level checked. Normal. You want to try?”
The bottle sat on my kitchen table. Separate but in the mix of things that come on go on the table. I saw it many times every day, and asked myself if it were possible for this to work. In this modern world with pharmaceuticals researching and developing drugs and potions, could it be possible that someone accidentally discovered a herb that outperformed the drugs like glyburide (of which I only ever took one, because it coerced the pancreas into producing more insulin, and shortened its years of doing so. Leading to insulin injections.) I struggled with these concepts while the bottle sat like a stone Buddha on my table, reminding me constantly of the potential that resided within its confines. Yet, I knew my Medico Veterinario wouldn’t mislead me.
Tobie sneezes a great deal. Sometimes so violently that his gets nose bleeds. We put ice packs on his upper neck. Instead of daily nosebleeds, they become four or five days apart. Tobie doesn’t hear as well, anymore. Loud sharp noises don’t roust him like it used to.
It passed through my mind, that, perhaps, he had wished with such intensity that these capsules would perform, that for him, they did. Yet, I viewed the receptacle of the TS&G with a reverence or an awe.
Picking up my pets after their haircut, he asks me if I have taken it. I admitted it – that I had not.
“What are your fasting readings?”
“Between eleven and thirteen.”
“Try it. I need to know how it works for you, if it does. Maybe it only works for me. I am following a number of people who are on it. One was on insulin for twenty years. He was in hospital. Was in a diabetic episode caused by too much insulin injected. He had a sore on his foot. Open sore. The possibility of #gangrene very real. They were discussing amputating it. He came to see me. Against my advice, he stopped injecting insulin the day he started with TS&G. A month after that, he comes in. Shows me his wound on his foot. For the first time since the sore developed from a scratch, it had begun to heal. His sugars, he says popped up and down the first four days. Then they come down some every day, until now he is normal. He always followed the diabetic diet fairly closely.”
He also tells me that he found a tumor over Tobie’s left eye. He cannot say if it is benign or cancerous. He does indicate that tumors usually have tentacles that probe anywhere. My wife’s facial expression asks the question.
“I don’t know. Maybe weeks maybe months. Does he stroke it with his paw? It is a sign that it gives him pain.”
Yes, Tobie has pawed at it. Perhaps as many as three times in a day. His morning walk of three kilometres consists mainly of my carrying him. He simply stops walking, I pick him up.
“Does he eat well? When animals are ill they don’t eat well.”
Tobie has never been a great eater. In his early years I had to feed him manually, presenting him with each piece. Now he eats on his own, but often walks away from his plate without having touched it. Kikko devours the ‘left overs.”
“You will know when its time,” he says as we leave the clinic.
I believed him, but I had difficulty putting my money on the table. Was this a third party fable. A he-told-me-story passed on from one to another. When it was discovered that I was diabetic (and, most of my brothers and sister were diabetic) I had researched the hell out of it, and, with the test strips had performed my own experiments on foods, exercise, and a variety of vitamins, minerals, and drugs. I had always been cautious about my intake of carbohydrates, and exercising to keep my glucose levels down. I was becoming discouraged in the past year or so, because the strictness of my diet, and, the amount of exercise (swimming, fast walks, bicycling, yoga) I was doing were no longer able to keep the glucose numbers in the zone. Eventually, I would be injecting insulin. (It is understood that our bodies make sufficient amounts of insulin, but cellular resistance to its glucose controlling functions creates the high sugar levels.)
Still the bottle remained in its shrink wrap in plain view. More energy he had advised. Take it. Try it. Tell me.
Tobie’s cataracts give him some problem seeing. The Canadian Vet said that the cataracts were at a stage for a dog of his type at seven years old. Tobie is in his fourteenth year.
I recalled him saying that after taking it for about a week, the stool would become loose for a day or so. I was not afraid of that. What other dangerous possibilities lay undiscovered? He said he was following seventeen people who were taking it. He assured me that the substance did not dispose of all you could eat. Some continued semblance of carbohydrate control in the diet was necessary.
Like a small child faced with a heavy full jar of chocolate chip cookies, I took the shrink-wrap off of the bottle. Nobody will miss one pill. To be scientific about it, I took my glucose reading prior to taking it. Thirteen. Above the allowable. Swallowed the capsule, expecting the world to spin around, to turn my epidermal layer to huge fish scales. An hour later, without exercise but with a protein breakfast, another reading: nine.
Still afraid of it, I limited myself to one capsule in the morning. The bottle suggested two before each meal. I went on like this for over two weeks. Morning readings were in range of eleven. I increased the dosage to one for breakfast, and, two for each of lunch and supper. Readings improved. The bottle was empty.
I am not a spring chicken (seventy-two). Tobie, the older of the two dogs, was showing his age. Sleeping through most of the day, and, having to be coaxed into eating. Our daily walk had become a challenge. He requested to be carried for most of it. Sometimes, I felt he was in a coma, it was so difficult to wake him. And his breathing was laboured and difficult, almost always like a snore. He had even relinquished his fourteen year habit of spending a great deal of time on my knees.
As an early riser, I sat at the laptop with coffee at my right hand. My glucose levels were approaching fourteen. Must have been the lasagna I ate last night with desert. It was time. I swallowed two capsules of TS&G. An hour later the glucose level had descended to seven point six.
This stuff works I said to myself. From that time, in mid-December, to the present day I still take it. I have reduced the capsules to three per day, one per meal. It, along with regular diet and exercise, keeps me in the zone.
I opened a capsule and tasted the stuff. The worst tasting combination in history. Need to keep it in its capsule.
Shortly after I began taking it, I started Tobie on it. The changes in him were dramatic and visible to me the next day. A bounce in his trot on the walk, wandering here and there, sniffing the flowers like he done when he was younger. With the passing days, his urine no longer had a strong smelling odour. His attention to all manner of things, noises, my movements, whatever, was, as in his younger years, constant. His sleep was no longer comatose. Not once, since commencing his treatment did he stroke his tumor. He saw cats where Kikko hadn’t noticed them. His appetite improved so much, that one noon early on, he growled at me as I ate, telling me with his eyes that he wanted some. He was hungry. He eats like he has never eaten in his life. All that remains was his trouble breathing. It is less noticeable during the day, but each night, as he sleeps on my bed, the sound of each breath would lead a weaker being to give it up. All I know for sure is that the TS&G has given him an enviable quality of life in his last days.
As for me, all of this was overwhelming. I began to research the two plants whose sawdust was in the capsules. Next week.