A Beer-y Good Story

Beer-y   “Very,” or “Beer-y,” good?
 Well, in such things perspective matters, So we shall see, but as with all things in life it’s the adventure.
  My readers may notice fewer Brew Biz columns, and fewer Beer Judge columns in the future. The reason is simple: I was diagnosed as diabetic recently, not so recently, and somewhere in the middle.
  Huh?
  Let’s just say that with today’s health care system communication royally sucks sometimes. And this started long before the much ranted about “Obamacare.” With business money crunchers hovering over doctors I’ve noticed way too many less than desirable changes over the years. Getting rid of result lines via the phone, severely limiting access to your doc, limiting how much time one can spend with your GP… all just a few symptoms. The real problem with the mislabeled Obamacare is it’s still the same old bad actors reluctantly giving, often denying. Should be called “corporate care 2.0.”
 Yes, this started long before 2 years ago when I found open sores on my feet. But let’s start there. Open sores? Oh, I knew what that might mean. My father had diabetes. The results after my visit? Well we had to fight 2 months to get them with the health providers shutting down old lines of access: not mentioning they didn’t want nurses or doctors “wasting” time on a results line, or phone calls or… Then never telling us when a new: net-based, way to communicate with patients was opened. Not telling us even when an important, health-crucial, message got caught in that perpetual, off and on, (intentionally?) communications pit from hell. But the result was “diabetic.” 2 months latter, retest, “No you’re not diabetic, your numbers just tend to run a little high.”
  Two years latter suddenly I’m on metformin, something I should have started in March (or maybe almost two years ago… how much damage did I do?) but patient communication being the mess it (intentionally?) is this message wasn’t discovered until June. My eye doc sent me a message and I wondered, “Gee, I didn’t even know they could send messages, wonder if my primary has sent me any messages?” There, from 2 months ago, was a message I really needed to know about, but never knew arrived. One might want to inform a patient such a message arrived in an inbox, or that that inbox even exists.
  But… the delay probably saved Cigna a few buckaroos. All this is nothing new… messages never passed on, voicemail that “disappears,” locked doors so you can’t even ask a nurse a brief question. Ask the desk to pass on a message and next time you have an appointment they tell you they never got it. Yup: that was our experience.
  So how does this relate to beer? Problem is metformin reacts to alcohol, well, in a dangerous way. Drink too much and your oxygen is replaced in your bloodstream to the point of, well you won’t have much of a need for oxygen anymore. Hey, why bother with all this breathing nonsense, eh? Been such a bother all these years. Like Bernie I can drink plenty of beer after that if someone can force it down my throat, or what’s left of it. Ignore the smell, the circling pack of wolves and the vultures.
 Is that true? Yes, of corpse!
  So I’m going to abandon all beer, right?
  What do you think?
  No, here’s the plan: I’m going 90% no beer at all. 99.9% of that beer will be consumed in competitions. About two tiny sips per entry and the rest aroma etc. Dump and move on. Pace myself. Oh, and I’ll do far fewer competitions. The rest will be limited sipping from my wife’s glass in the same fashion.
  I have worked too damn herd to just throw it all away.
  Hopefully I can lose weight and that might lessen the problem. However I have back issues, and other issues, that make exercise tough, and I have my grandmother’s body. Those who take after her side of the family are big boned and naturally heavy. Weight loss tough, being obese a breeze: almost natural. In the 80s and early 90s I went down to the perfect weight and I ended up with hypoglycemia. I would pass out easily, I felt ill all the time and I ate damn near nothing. It was the only way to keep it off.
 Simply put, I suspect my constitution wasn’t designed that way, genetically.
  One must note here: weight, or even poor diet, does not cause diabetes. But it sure as hell is aggravated by it. And my diet was far better than my father’s. I’ve never been a carb-o-holic and I dropped sugar out of 99.9% of my diet in the 80s. Yes, I read packages and know there are many forms. My father was a corn syrup exec.
  I know the dangers here. My father didn’t take care of his diabetes, went into that semi coma diabetics are prone to. He rolled over on a furnace that had been shooting flames one morning. He melted into a sleeping bag that had to be surgically removed. Dad lived 3 months: 3rd degree burns 90% of his body. When he finally began to heal they started to take him apart because the diabetes combined with the burns, and I’m sure the stress, turned his limbs black.
  I know…
  I dare call this, “A Beer-y Good Story??????”
  But it is …because it can be. It’s a challenge. Unlike my father I intend to solve this as much as possible, one way or another, and I don’t just mean diabetes. I am a homebrewer, after all. What about a beer safer for diabetics? Nothing would be “safe,” I know, but low alcohol, low to no carbs, plenty of hops, spices, tons of flavor and… a quandary, a conundrum: how do I get great mouthfeel?
  I am intrigued.
  I am inspired.
  We shall see.

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A Beer-y Good Story is a column by Ken Carman: BJCP judge, author of several columns an beer and Inspection, on social, political and religious issues first published in 1972. A Beer-y Good Story goes where beer reviews don’t: history and perception of a brand being reviewed, as well as personal anecdotes.
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Ken Carman and Cartenual Productions
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