Checking Blood Sugar Levels

Sixty years ago, downtown Chicago was a destination for shopping, for the arts, and for business. It was a bustling town.

Marshall Field’s thirteen story building dominated the commercial area. Designed by Daniel Burnham and built in 1891-1892, it took up an entire city block bounded clockwise by State Street, Randolph Street, Wabash Avenue, and Washington Street. The interior featured a Louis Comfort Tiffany glass mosaic vaulted ceiling in the five-story balconied atrium in the southwest corner of the building.

At Christmas time, at the street level there were ornate decorated window displays including thirteen themed windows. Upstairs in the Walnut Room, a three-story decorated Christmas tree was the focal point of the room. Families would stand in long lines waiting to be seated at the tables under the tree.

Jean worked in an office in the Loop, not far from Marshall Field’s. Her job was to calculate tariffs for freight on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe lines. This was an important but difficult job because all the calculations were made using pencil and paper. Computers had not yet been universally adopted for business use.

During lunch hour, she would often go to Marshall Field’s just to browse. It was a way to get away from the office for a few minutes. She enjoyed looking at the store’s merchandise and feeling the excitement of the shoppers. Occasionally, she would buy a piece of costume jewelry for herself or a gift for a family member.

In 1957, Jean developed diabetes. For years, she continued to work. She managed her diabetes with diet and with injections of insulin. She died of kidney failure in 1986.

What is diabetes? According to the American Diabetic Association website,, “Diabetes is a disease that occurs in several different types, with the main factor the inability to produce enough insulin in the pancreas to handle the demands of the foods and sugars that enter the body.” There are three types of diabetes: Type 1, Type 2, and Gestational.

According to the American Diabetic Association website,, “Nearly 30 million battle diabetes and every 23 seconds someone new is diagnosed. Diabetes causes more deaths per year than breast cancer and AIDS combined.”

If you have a family member who needs private duty nursing, call American Home Health at (630) 236-3501. The agency can provide round-the-clock nursing care by Registered Nurses (RNs), Licensed Practical Nurses (LPNs), and Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs). Our service area covers fifteen counties in Northern Illinois including Cook, Lake, McHenry, Boone, Winnebago, Ogle, Lee, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, LaSalle, Grundy, Will, and Kankakee. American Home Health is licensed by the State of Illinois and accredited by the Joint Commission. For further information, go to or call (630) 236-3501.

—By Karen Centowski