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Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Power of the DOC

A friend at work came up to me the other day.  She had a worried expression on her usually serene face.  She pulled me aside to tell me that a six-year-old in her family had just been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes.

About a year ago, she wouldn’t have been able to approach me about diabetes.  I was in hiding.  I didn’t take my shots or test my blood in front of people.  I didn’t talk about my diabetes feelings, fears, or accomplishments.  When the few people that knew asked questions, I gave them a vague answer and found a reason to dodge the conversation.  

Thanks to the past few months with the DOC, this time was different.  Instead of dodging her, I told her how sorry I was to hear her news.  I shared some positive information about life with D.  I told her about the AMAZING unlimited support that is online.  To have had this community at my fingertips when I was diagnosed would’ve saved me from nearly sixteen years of loneliness, shame, and hopelessness.  I shared how we rally and uplift each other and how I visit this group every single day (even if it is just to read and comment on blogs) to stay strong and connected.   

I hope they seek out the Diabetes Online Community.  I hope that the mom of the newly diagnosed six-year-old becomes one of the awesome D-moms I “follow” online.  I seriously can’t put into words how meaningful my connections here have been.  Life with D has gotten so much better for me thanks to you all.    

Do I wish that there were more good things to say about D?  Like time off for good behavior?  Of course, but I suppose what we get is more time for good behavior...and as long as I have my D-peeps to help me through the bad days, I'll be okay. 

Friday, June 24, 2011

Today's Topic - When Has Diabetes Got You In the Door, VIP Treatment, etc?

Martin from Diabetically Speaking suggested a topic for today's posts: When has diabetes got you in the door, VIP treatment, etc.?  Diabetes hasn’t shown me too many perks, so I reaaaallly had to give this one some thought. 
Years ago, my doctor’s office would send diabetics that had been fasting to the front of the blood work line.  I know this isn’t quite as glam as getting ushered quickly into a new nightclub, but not having to wait forty-five minutes to have a blood draw while your sugars are falling and your stomach is growling is pretty cool!
However, this little perk is no more.  I show up as early as possible, but still get to wait forever.  Last time, I woke up with high blood sugar.  I wasn’t about to show up with a sugar like 300 to my A1C blood draw damn it.  I had worked SO hard to get my sugars down to have my best ever A1C, NOTHING was going to ruin it.  I’m stubborn like that. 
I injected before leaving the house.  WHAT?  HOW COULD YOU?  DIDN’T YOU KNOW THAT YOU WERE GOING TO HAVE TO WAIT YOU NITWIT!?!?  Yes, I knew I’d have to wait, thought I could just take the edge off of 300 a bit with a small shot.  Of course, since Murphy and I rarely ever get along, I ended up falling fast.  I sat in the waiting room with a pack of M&M’s in hand, waiting to get the blood draw.  I kept reminding the desk that I was going lower and the desk kept telling me I should eat or drink something and come back another day.
No effing way was I coming back another day!  I had fasted for hours and hours and my non-caffeinated ass was ready to have a meltdown.  Then it happened.  Forty-five minutes after I walked in – they called my name. 
The halleluiah choir sang in my head, the lab tech rocked her mad skills and as soon as the blood was out, I chugged M&M’s.  I then ran out to my car where a donut and coffee were waiting (there’s that music again!). 
The doc’s office scolded me for showing up with a blood sugar of 53.  They said they worried that I had some hypoglycemic unawareness!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Nope, I told them.  I was completely AWARE just how low I was and I downed M&M’s in your lab room.  Maybe now they’ll re-instate the D peeps first in line rule!!!  I know, I know, my behavior makes me cringe too. 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Which Emergency Comes First?!?!

Tornado sirens.  Not a good thing when you just barely finished dinner and are dealing with low blood sugar.  I didn’t eat nearly as much as I thought at dinner, so I figured I’d have some dessert to make up the carbs (I know – bad girl, just eat your starchy veggies already).  My lips were doing their tingly-numb thing (a weird low symptom I get) and my hands were shaky.  I was in that fog. 

Because of the fog, I had not yet gotten to the dessert part, when my son came running down the stairs hollering “the sirens, the sirens – Mom grab a dog”!  The sirens hadn’t even registered in my low blood sugar head at this point.  I was SO proud that he was on the ball about tornados because years ago I discovered both boys running around upstairs listening to music as the sirens wailed in the background.  I taught them after that to always heed the warning sirens, which meant grabbing both dogs and heading to the teeny-tiny downstairs bathroom. 

I was in slow motion thanks to hypo’s little tricks and so I was heading toward the bathroom when my son showed up ahead of me with an armful of Pomeranians (bless his heart, he had grabbed both of the squirmy pups and still beat me to the bathroom).  I grabbed a bag of mini donuts and a sack of potato chips (I know, ewww – what a combo) and met him there. 

Luckily the sirens stopped pretty quick, and just four of those mini donuts have 29 carbs so I was good to go in a short while, but geez – low blood sugar during a real emergency would have been just awesome.  Fun times with D.  I can see it now, “Hey mom, remember when your blood sugar crashed and we all could’ve died?”  Sweetie, thank goodness you are such a level headed smarty pants!  J   

Saturday, June 18, 2011

This Little Piggy Went to Market…to Buy a Gold Toe Ring

I’ve always had a thing for shoes.  I used to buy super high heels and limp home at the end of the day.  That’s attractive right???  Now, I look for comfy heels or flats.  Hooray cute flats!!!

At my last endocrinologist appt, she checked my feet.  She tested for sensitivity and scoped for cracks, wounds, anything out of the ordinary.  She told me how a small crack in the skin could lead to a serious infection.  She spoke about how I should wear socks all the time (Ugh – I go barefoot ALL THE TIME around the house).  She remarked that I was lucky because my feet are still young and moisturized.  Honestly though, this is not always the case.  Sometimes my feet are Sahara desert-y, not soft and supple-y.  Sometimes I worry if I brush against my husband in bed he’ll think we have a cheese grater under the covers.    

I take care of them of course.  I moisturize overnight and do my own toenails.  I won’t go near a nail salon for a pedicure for fear of what could happen there.  I checked out the Ped Egg because of the rave reviews a friend gave it – to my dismay the packaging said NOT to use if you are a diabetic.  I thought it was “so gentle it won’t burst a balloon”, what exactly are they afraid of?  How is it that it won’t damage a balloon, but can potentially shred a diabetic foot?  I bought one anyway and used it on my heels, and it did work for me, though I was careful not to go crazy.  I am not saying it is safe, only that I tried it and my foot didn’t fall off.  Your D-feet may vary, I am not a doctor.  I don’t play one on T.V., nor in the bedroom much to Hubs dismay.        

Years ago, I stepped on a piece of glass, and though I wasn’t seriously hurt, I was able to get an immediate doc appt simply by saying “I’m a diabetic”.  Moments prior, I had tried to snag an appt for a cough and they said “We have nothing available today, call back tomorrow”.  Seriously, they don’t mess around with diabetic feet.

I pamper my feet.  I wear toe and ankle jewelry often.  I paint my toenails year round, not just in the summer.  I think it’s because I know what can happen, because of the “what if’s” in the back of my mind.  I know I may not be able to get away with stupidly high heels or even cute flats someday and not just because I don’t want to limp home.  For now, I’ll enjoy how healthy they are.  I’m not taking these little piggies for granted. 

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Visiting a Loved One in Rehab

Last week, we visited a loved one in drug rehab.  For reasons other than the obvious, it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

We were told visitation was at 11:30.  When we rolled up we found out it was, in fact, at 12.  Okay, we’ll wait in the car – the car with broken air conditioning…awesome.  Hubs asked if I wanted to play Frisbee since we had time to kill, but I didn’t want my blood sugars to drop, plus it was almost 100 degrees outside and we were already panting.

I thought I was super smart leaving my insulin and meter at home since I didn’t want it sitting in the car with temps that rivaled Hades.  We were about fifteen minutes from home, and visitation was an hour (we thought) so I was sure we’d be home for lunch and my shot in no time.  My sugars were running low so I brought glucose tabs and a juice box.  Just before going in, I drank the juice.

They had no record of our loved one (!), so we sat waiting another twenty minutes.  When they brought him in, an employee told us we’d have to move tables for “the program”.  Um, what program???  Why the family education program that goes until 2:30 of course!  Visitation is then from 2:30 - 4:30.  You cannot arrive just for visitation.  You either stay for all or nothing.  We moved tables and I ended up in a broken chair with remnants of the residents’ lunch on the floor below me.  I begged Hubs not to let me pass out on that floor.  He’s a good D-Hub, he assured me he wouldn’t.

Our group project was to determine “who lived and who died” if six people were on a list for a heart transplant.  I found the project offensive for several reasons and became, let’s say – feisty.  Yep, I was feisty and ready to give the bird to the people that denied the heart transplant to the disabled nine-year-old, when the instructor called for break a little after 1:30.  Hubby said I was beginning to resemble a T-Rex (seems they are pretty feisty too) and that we had better get going. 

We explained to the instructor that with the “Nothing is to be brought in” policy – I had none of my medical supplies with me.  He responded that I could bring it in next time, but when I said – “So you’ll let me bring insulin and a syringe into the building?” he replied “Oh, you’ll have to keep it in the car and leave for your shot”.  I explained that insulin could not be left in a smoldering hot car.  He seemed puzzled.  Of course, I do see his point, medications – even prescription ones, can pose serious problems in a place like drug rehab.   

Feeling shaky, I chomped on glucose tabs most of the way home.  Generally my insulin, meter and tabs are on my person instead of banned from buildings.  I freak out not having my bag of medical tricks on me at all times.    

I felt bad leaving early.  We’d visited rehab before at another facility and it was always an hour.  I’m sure there are things I could learn from family education class, but with low blood sugar (and admittedly a smidge of PMS) I wouldn’t be learning anything.  It seemed likely they’d be learning about combative-low-blood-sugar-girl instead.  I’m glad we got to hug and talk to our loved one.  The visit was worth the inconvenience.   

I’m off to buy a car cooler. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

I Scream, You Scream...

A short time ago (Spring 2011), an article I wrote was published in Diabetic Living.  It featured my “coming to terms” with diabetes so-to-speak.  The article was shared around my workplace.  It was printed in color copies, emailed from person to person, and added to a couple of our e-newsletters.  Don’t get me wrong, that was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G, but some of the experience was not so great.  While people in command positions told me how much they admired me and how great it was to work with me (hooray!), members of the Diabetes Police that work there also saw the article.

When I was approached to create decorations for an upcoming ice cream social, I mentioned how nice it would be to see an individual at the social the next week.  She commented awkwardly “Oh well, I’m sure you won’t want to go, because well you know, I read the article in Diabetic Living – your diabetes”.  What I wanted to say – “It is ice cream lady, wild freaking horses couldn’t keep me away”.  Instead I said “Of course I’ll be there, I have type 1 diabetes and inject insulin.  I can eat ice cream”.  She responded with “I know a lot about diabetes, my father had it.  I know it’s not good for you”.  I wanted to come back with “Is ice cream good for you???”  Instead I said “I work closely with my doctor, as long as I compensate for the carbohydrates, I’ll be fine”.  There would be no convincing.  She said goodbye, surely thinking I was a ravenous, out of control ice cream addict.  So what did I do? 
Nothing, I did absolutely nothing.  I created the stupid decorations and stayed away from the social.  I didn’t want a public display of the perceived out-of-control cheater, cheater ice cream eater.  I didn’t want them to talk about me behind my back, I didn’t want them to say years from now if I ended up in the hospital “She had it coming you know, I saw her eat a bowl of Häagen-Dazs at the ice cream social”. 
I know I should have gone.  I should have stood my ground.  I was busy at work that day.  I was exhausted and too tired to deal with the “D” cops.  I feel like I CONSTANTLY deal with the “D” cops.  Regardless, it was a chance to educate the “D” police about our condition.  For not going, not speaking out that day, I am regretful.  It’s just – sometimes I get so tired of saying I CAN EAT THAT!  Sometimes I'd rather not scream for ice cream.