Category: Personal

7.7 A1C for My Diaversary

7.7 A1C for My Diaversary

This may get long winded, so bear with me.

Today I had an appointment with my endocrinologist. I was a little worried about my A1C because the holidays are evil. Wow. I mean it. I cannot have carbohydrates without taking insulin; yet every gift basket, box of candy, and tin of cookies that gets sent to the office has food that requires insulin. Snaking is my weakness. The idea of taking insulin for one little, bitty, teeny, weeny cookie is absurd. One? That’s just it; it never is just one. It is one every time I pass the table. That adds up. This is my life every holiday. But, despite my lack of control and my worry, my A1C was 7.7. And the crowd goes wild-ish. My last A1C was 8.0 and the one before that was 8.4 and before that I was playing with the nines for more than four years. That’s still not between 4 and 6. It’s an improvement. It may be a minor victory, but it is still a victory.

Tonight is also the night were a bunch of people dealing with diabetes get together for a TweetChat.  I found this out last week. Though it was difficult to keep up, I learn a lot, and it is nice to talk with others who are going through the same sort of things I am. Using http://tweetchat.com/room/dsma a bunch of us get together on Wednesday evenings at 9PM EST, have some conversation, and answer some fun questions. Or in my case, learn new acronyms. My two acronyms for the day are CDE and MDI.  CDE is Certified Diabetes Educator and MDI is Multiple Daily Injections. I think the next page on The Frizbian is going to be a lexicon for PWDs. Dork.

Christmas tree with gifts

Also this week, is my diaversary (diabetes aniversary). That’s right; tomorrow will officially be six years of diabetes fun and adventures.  That is six years of stabbing myself day-in and day-out in order to process sugar the way the body is supposed to “naturally”. Hopefully that artificial pancreas is on its way.

I received my Veterans Affairs medical benefits card in the mail this week.  Hopefully, I will be able to use that to get some discounts on the prescriptions and may be a pump or CGM. I want the toys. I am tired of having MDI. Having MDI? Being MDI?  I don’t know. I just learned the acronym today. We’ll work on grammer later.

Finally, for now anyway, my sister decided that this year, since she doesn’t have a job, she is going to play Santa Claus and sent us a box full of goodies. She should have saved her money, rented a sled, and came over for Christmas instead. But it does make our Christmas tree look more Christmasy. I can’t believe the spell check let you get away with that.

How Low Can You Go?

How Low Can You Go?

I woke up the other morning to my wife trying to poke me in the finger.  That’s got to be the first time she has tried to poke you.  Apparently, my blood sugar was a little low. Yeah.  I would call that low.  I didn’t really know what she was doing.  The only part I was really understanding was the part where she was holding my finger with the intent to make me bleed. It would have helped if there was a shred of sugar left in his brain. So I started pulling my fingers away, one at a time. That made her happy. Eventually, Mamma was able to fight the blood out of me and she found a beautiful number 32 on  my meter.  The next thing I know, Mamma is trying to feed me pineapple juice. That was funny. That was not funny.  I couldn’t remember how to swallow. I’m going to leave that one alone. We fought over who was going to hold the glass. He won that fight. Of all the fights to win. The pineapple juice started coming out my nose, and I started trying to argue with her while my mouth was still full of pineapple juice.  Should have swallowed.  At which point, she started yelling at me.  She wanted me to get up and eat something.

This is the part where I tell you that it is not only the person with diabetes that is affected by diabetes.  I don’t always notice how it affects my family, but it really does. My wife was worried about me. I was too stupid to know it. All I knew is my wife was yelling at me.  That was really all I knew.  I couldn’t figure out how to stand up.  That pissed her off.  Yeah it did.  But he made up for it by falling down the stairs.  Stairs are hard when you have no sugar.  Everything is harder without sugar.  When I finally reached downstairs, I began walking in circles.  It is a very common circle for me when I am low.  I start in the kitchen because that is where the food is, but then I remember that I need a bowl to put my cereal in.  The bowls are in the dinning room.  So he goes to the dinning room.  And I can never remember why I am there so I just keep going in the direction I was already heading until I remember that I am supposed to eat something and then I am back in the kitchen.  Eventually, I noticed that my laptop was sitting in the place where my bowl was going to  have to be in order to put cereal in it.  I picked it up and started to put it away in the living room.

The night before, I had brought home a stack of greeting cards that The Time Keeper had given the girls.  Tata, seeing me walk into the living room, asks me what the greeting card she is holding says.  Mamma then walks down the stairs and sees me holding my laptop and reading to Tata. That’s not what she told him to do.  She started yelling at me to get something to eat again.  My response was, “Do I look dead to you."  Ha! Brilliant!  Yeah.  Not my best line.  I put the computer down.  Finally managed to get a bowl and cereal together with milk and started eating.  The pineapple juice finally started to kick in as well.  I know it did because I was able to think while I was eating my cereal.  Mamma didn’t speak to me again before I rushed out the door to work.  It may have been the last thing he said. Yeah.

On a more serious note.  Ah, come on!  It is very difficult, when the blood sugar is that low, to have any logical thought at all, but I realize that is is also very difficult on the woman trying to save me from a coma.  Everything is much funnier later.  In fact, we had a good laugh telling that story, both to each other as we explained our actions later and to some good friends of ours.  Looking back it was pretty funny from an outside perspective. Yeah it was.  But neither of us were laughing at the time.  Trust me.  I was laughing.  Us being my wife and I; not the worthless organ that if it had been doing its job would have prevented the whole situation all together.  Ouch.

Roller Coaster Days

Roller Coaster Days

Today was one of the worst roller coaster days I have ever had. I had heard the rumors about the Contour USB not giving the proper readings. I realize there will be some fluctuation, but today was ridiculous and I still feel sick because of it. The day started pretty normally. I checked by blood, took my insulin, ate my breakfast, and went to work. After a few hours, I started to feel low, so I ate two bags of trail mix.  That’s a bit much.  Then, I went to take insulin for the 300 grams of carbohydrates I just ate.  I had forgotten to make sure I had enough insulin with me before I left this morning and discovered that I only had 8 units.  At 1 unit per 15 grams, I almost had enough.  Yeah right.  I drove home to get more insulin.  After returning to the office with my full pen, I checked my sugar level again.  The number 400 with the message “High blood sugar” is what showed on the little screen.  I took a little insulin to adjust.  Within the hour, I was feeling hypoglycemic again.  I tested my blood and the meter told me I was at 38.  This was getting out of control.  I ate a can of ravioli, some Twizzlers, and drank some orange juice.  My blood sugar raised to 66.  Waited for some more digestion and my blood sugar was down in the 40s.  At this point, I know something is wrong, but I my head is spinning too much for me to have a clue as to what it could be.  I began testing all of the fingers on my right hand.  The numbers were between 38 and 107.  Awesome range.  How much insulin do you take for that?  I went home to find my other meters.  I needed to get a test result that made sense. 

When I got home, I tried a new test.  I put one hole in my finger, and tested my blood with 3 different meters getting between 78 and 80 every time.  Then, using the same hole in my finger, I tested my blood sugar with my Contour USB and received 66, 85, 113, and 40.  Maybe you should take the average.  I thought for sure the meter was guessing.

The damage was already done.  I have spent the rest of my day feeling sick to my stomach and weak.  My Contour USB, went straight to the trash.  I go back to the endocrinologist in December.  I will getting my prescription for One Touch strips will be renewed.  I’m going back to my old reliable meter.  I liked the programming and the fancy USB functionality, but randomly generated test results are not something I can live with.

Getting Involved

Getting Involved

One of the things I am not very good at, but wish I was, is getting involved with diabetes. He means other than the daily injections.  Today’s blog post is going to be how you can help me help others like me.

For starters, I want a new pancreas! Ouch. The artificial pancreas is the most revolutionary advance in treating type 1 diabetes since insulin.  He stole that sentence from the JDRF. This morning I signed a petition to the FDA to get some movement in getting me an artificial pancreas.  Your new pancreas won’t help your blog. You can sign it to.  Click here to help me get a new pancreas.

Also, November is world diabetes month.  Actually, I think November 14th is world diabetes day, but one day isn’t enough and we decided to take over the month.  To help raise awareness, I’m going to try and remember to participate in Blue Fridays.  I may need someone to remind me.  To learn more, go here or watch this:
[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d4jha40fok8&w=300&h=182]
There was also apparently a walk yesterday.  I’m not sure what I have to do to get on the mailing list for these things, but I had to work anyway.  Visit diabetes.org to see what is going on in your area.

I think that’s all for now.  Help me help us!

Beauty Rest

Beauty Rest

Squishy isn’t exactly known for her ability to sleep through the night.  Some nights she sleeps; Mamma and I wake up because we expect to.  Most nights she gets up at least once.  The last few nights have been worse than normal.  She has fevers up to 104 degrees Fahrenheit.  When I have a fever, I can’t do anything but sleep.  When Squishy has a fever, she prefers to share the pain with everyone around her.  I can image it comes from a place of confusion.  Something is obviously wrong, but a great lack of understanding puts her in a very foul mood.  I hadn’t noticed.  I do not function properly without sleep.  Not even close.  Just typing right now is very tiring, and I’m strongly thinking about calling it quits for the night.

Without adequate sleep, I do not move at my normal pace in the morning. What is this morning you speak of?  I woke up at the right time, but I was late to leave, and we were out of cereal so I didn’t eat breakfast.  I also forgot my insulin and meter on the kitchen counter.  To top it all off, I forgot to make my lunch.  Maybe it would be easier to make a list of things you remembered.  At around 1:00 and after about 5 cups of coffee, my body just started shutting down.  I could feel my blood sugar getting low, so I ate some sugar.  Some sugar?  You made Hansel and Gretal look like health nuts.  I didn’t know exactly how low because I couldn’t test.  I expected the sugar to take affect in about 15 minutes.  At around 1:30, I was still a little loopy, I didn’t feel like my blood sugar had gone up at all, and my coworkers started to worry.  It was time to go.  I couldn’t really get control of my blood sugar without my meter.

The drive home was exciting.  And I was thinking more like terrifying, horrible, frightening, worse than death, abandon all hope here, or just screaming like a girl.  There is nothing better than swerving through traffic while sliding in and out of consciousness.  His sarcasm is a defense mechanism to hide his true feelings of shear terror.  It was one of the scariest roller coasters I have ever been on.  I remember staring out the windshield with my eyes wide open thinking, “Why is that orange barrel driving towards me?” Turns out I had that backwards.  At least when you are falling asleep behind the wheel you have your eyes closed.  When your blood sugar is low, you just wonder why you are seeing the things you are seeing.  It was like I was completely aware of what my surroundings were, just not how they were going to affect me. Click here for examples.

When I finally reached the house, I plopped down in the lazy boy in the den and almost fell asleep immediately.  Mamma was on the couch playing with her laptop.  She said she had just put Squishy to bed.  Like clock work, Squishy started screaming as soon as if the period at the end of Mamma’s sentence was her cue.  I went up stars, took squishy out of the crib, and we laid down in my bed together.  Within seconds we were both in dreamland.

Mamma woke us up and Squishy’s fever started coming down.  I just put her to bed and she has had a normal temperature for about 5 hours with no medicine or cold washcloths.  I have been feeling gradually worse since I woke up.  I know I slept, but I don’t feel like I have slept.  It is like the battery charger for my body is no longer working.  I plug myself in, go to sleep, and when I wake up the battery power is lower.  I think it may just be my subconscious way of worrying about Squishy which is not letting my body sleep properly.  I hope that’s what it is anyway.  For now, both girls are in bed, and the couch and I have an overdue date.  Good night world.

P.S. If your blood sugar is low, driving may not be the best idea.  Ya think?

In Your Free Time

In Your Free Time

I have a wife who is going to school full time, a child in the first grade, a child still in diapers, a cat who is always starving to death, and two frogs that are easily forgotten.  When I started this blog, it was right after I earned my master’s degree and right before Beth started school.  I thought I would have free time to keep the world updated on what it is like to be father/husband with diabetes.  Plus, I wanted to be able to get some humor out this disease, as there is not a whole lot of humor in diabetes, with the remarks of my lazy pancreas.  No applause necessary.  I have since discovered that free time is not a luxury I have.  I need to get a schedule going because there is so much to say and so little time to type it out in the little text editor.  I could help.  Really?  Really.  Good.  Produce some insulin.

And it is not like my diabetes stopped and I have had nothing to say.  Oh no.  My pancreas is still just as worthless as a screen door on a submarine.  The problem is that my daily routine is go to work, come home, watch kids, and sleep.  That really is it.  In between those events, I try to remember to do things like eat, check my blood sugar, take insulin, use the restroom.  Usually, I forget to each lunch, I’m doing the pee-pee dance before I remember to go the restroom, I can smell my blood sugar before I remember to take my insulin, and I can feel the earth spinning before I remember to check my blood sugar.  By the time I get to typing in the blog, I am half asleep and taking a little extra insulin because my blood sugar should not be 180, but I couldn’t resist the ice cream sandwich.  The ice cream sandwich?  I quit because you resist food.  I had to be a mathlete just to produce the appropriate amount of insulin.

Tonight, we went to Old Country Buffet.  The words “all you can eat” are like music to my ears.  I am 100% prepared to stay up all night adjusting my blood sugar to enjoy eating as much as I want of many different dishes.  That’s what I am doing tonight.  I ate french fries, tacos, fried fish, fried chicken, ice cream, mashed potatoes, corn, corn dogs, steak, cookies, and cheese cake.  That should be a couple of units of Novalog.  Eesh.  I can’t help it.  Food loves me.  I just wish I had a pancreas to accommodate my desire to eat food.  If Wal-Mart ever has a sale on pancreases, I am totally getting a new one.  What? No sentimental value? None.

Well, I do believe that is the end of tonight’s rant.  Hopefully, I will remember to rant more often.  Fingers crossed.

Things to try on vacation

Things to try on vacation

I went on vacation.  That’s right, I left my office and ignored my email (mostly) for almost 2 weeks.  It was wonderful.  I plan to do it again sometime.

Right before I left, I had my quarterly checkup with the endocrinologist.  He says my A1C is now down to 8.0.  Could be better.  Has been worse.  He also suggested that I may want to increase my Lantus dosage to help bring my A1C down.  I raised that up to 27 units and my blood sugars have been a fluctuating just has horribly as normal, but in a better range.

I have also realized that PWD (an abbreviation I have often used to mean password) can also be used to say person with diabetes.  Some people with diabetes prefer this to the term diabetic.  For some, this is a big deal.  For me, it is not.  Personally, I don’t care, but you will find that I will start using PWD whenever I would have said diabetic as people like me do care and I care for people like me.  He has to care.  This is a blog.

If you are a PWD, there is something you should know about going to Europe from the U.S.  If you take a daily dose of a long lasting insulin, like Lantus, at the same time every day; that 5 hour time difference that we call the Atlantic Ocean is going to have an affect on your blood sugar for the first couple of days.  You end up taking two shots in a less than 24 hour period and your body plays a little catch up. I didn’t notice any change.  You haven’t noticed any change since 2005.  Alternatively, if you are a PWD traveling from the U.S. to Europe and you take a daily dose of long lasting insulin at the same time every day; that 5 hour time difference that we call the Atlantic Ocean is going to have an affect on your blood sugar for the first couple of days.  You end up waiting over 24 hours between two shots.  You could always account for the time difference and just adjust the time you take your insulin while on vacation.  And you could always start producing insulin.

I had a little trouble with low and high blood sugar while on vacation.  High because it is difficult to carry all my diabetes stuff in my speedo and low because I wasn’t getting up and eating breakfast at my regularly scheduled time.  That and I needed to back off a bit on my rapid insulin as I was taking more of my daily insulin.

Other than having diabetes, vacation was awesome.  We went to Italy to see Beth’s family.  Granted we didn’t see as much of Beth’s family as we would have liked, but we had a good time anyway.  We spent most of the vacation in Duna Verde near the beach.  Really we spent most of the vacation on the beach or in the ocean.  It was awesome.  I got a tan and apparently, I am now sexy.  Even more surprising was that I was not sexy prior to the suntan.  I’m not surprised.

Tata discovered an important lesson on vacation about digging in sand.  In case you were not aware, digging in sand is often difficult due to the fact that sand has a tendency to fill the hole back in rather quickly with even the slightest tremor.  This is especially important when you dig a hole under some playground equipment and then stick your head in the hole.  If you move your head, the sand will quickly refill the hole trapping you under the equipment with sand in your mouth.  Sand in your mouth makes it very difficult to scream for help and breathe.  That little incident is getting added to multiple lists including:

  • things Tata will never hear the end of
  • ways to give Papa a heart attack
  • Papa’s lastest nightmare additions
  • ways to scare your father to death
  • interesting methods for suicide
  • things that can cause your father to have a panic attack
  • how to make your father dig for your life
  • things not to teach your baby sister
  • thank God Mamma wasn’t there or she would have killed you herself

Tata seemed to be very accident prone for the entire vacation.  She also had a run-in with a water slide that she lost.  There was a short slide that one was supposed to sit down on. Tata decided to lay down to get some better speed and when entering a curve in the slide, her lower body curved and her upper body did a different maneuver more like a slingshot.  Her face struck the slide, especially that part of the face that sticks out, and she ended up with a very painful nose bleed.  Based on the amount of blood, most of the people in the pool thought she had been attacked by a shark and everyone was trying to escape with their lives. Thankfully he isn’t prone to exaggeration.

All-in-all it was a great vacation.  We have a couple of stories that we will tell for years to come and a couple that I have already forgotten.  I can’t wait to do it again next year.

Diabetes at the BBQ

Diabetes at the BBQ

Last weekend was the company BBQ.  This is the second annual BBQ.  Last year, I discovered that I like volleyball.  This year I was smiling for two days from the high of playing the sport and was sad when everyone else decided not to play anymore.

The annual picnic is always a blast.  Everyone gets together and talks about life instead of work.  All of us desk jockeys get up and throw frisbees and softballs.  The kids have a water balloon fight. The kids? The adults helped.  The adults had to help, the balloons bounced. The balloons bounced.  I had one bounce off my head, one bounced off my neck, and one bounced off my chest.  When they pop, you get wet.  When they bounce, you get hurt. Wimp. 

As much as I love the annual picnic, it is one of the hardest moments in my life as a diabetic.  I thought you liked food and talking. The issue with being a diabetic at the company picnic is that hotdog buns, potato salad, chips, and beer are all made of carbohydrates.  As a diabetic that means I either walk around with my insulin pin sticking out of stomach, remember to shoot up right before I eat anything, or forget that I am diabetic for the day. So what did you do.  I took option number 4.  I ate very little and checked my sugar every hour.  Every hour until the end of the day.

Then it happened.  There were only a few us left.  We cleaned up the trash and put everything away.  The garbage went into the trunk of my car.  I placed my phone and glucometer on the roof.  We all sat around chit-chatting a bit more, and I forgot what I had done.  The boss borrowed my keys to take the trash to a dump and once the car was out of sight, I remembered where I had placed my phone and my glucometer.  Great timing.  When the car returned, I could see something was on top of it, but only one something.  I walked to the car and found the the leather case on my phone had allowed the phone to stick to the roof in the heat.  Apparently the cloth case on my glucometer had allowed it to slide right off the top.  I looked down the road and saw something laying on the side of the road in the distance.  It looked as though it may have just fallen on the side of the road and everything would be okay.  That doesn’t make sense though.  The car was moving straight; the glucometer was on the roof; the glucometer would have fallen off the back. Which means… Which means, in order for me to see it on the side of the road, something had to have put it there.

Apparently, in a battle between a motor vehicle and a glucometer… …the glucometer doesn’t stand a chance.  The glucometer gets replaced.  Now I have a new glucometer. Ah, the adventurous life a diabetic.

A Bit of Whining

A Bit of Whining

It’s been a while I know.  I hadn’t noticed.  The routine we have is both difficult physically and emotionally.  It is hard and I miss Mamma more than she realizes, but I am proud of her.  I am proud of her for furthering her eduction.  I am proud of her being one of the best in her class.  I am proud of her finally making friends in a strange country.  It isn’t easy, but I am proud of her.

Adding to stress and aggravation of our normal routine, work has been a lot busier than normal.  The Time Keeper tells me that I am scheduled until July and not everything we do is on our schedules.  There is not enough time in the day to get everything done that I need to, and that includes the extra five seconds for the glucometer to decide how high my blood sugar is or the hour for lunch to ensure that there is sugar to check.  The more stressful things become the more I let my diabetes control slide.  Not he ever had that much control to begin with.  I keep thinking about the pumps on the CGMs and wondering if that would help.

Sometimes, everything is just so overwhelming.  I try to remember to pay attention to all the good things in life.  “Count your blessing; not your curses,” is something I often tell people.  Sometimes it is very hard to count the blessings when the curses are burning your eyes out of their sockets.  A touch dramatic, I think.  When will there be a cure?

 

Happy Easter!  Your prescriptions will arrive in 3 days.

Happy Easter! Your prescriptions will arrive in 3 days.

You know how much I love health insurance? You know liars go to hell?  I received a letter stating that I would have to purchase one of my insulins through the mail from now on or I would have to pay for it out of pocket and it would be applied to my out of network deductible and not to the one I really use.  They gave you an alternative though.  Yeah; soft of.  I can go back to using Humalog Vials and syringes instead of Novolog pens.  Please, I don’t have enough to deal with.  Let’s have the insurance company decide which medicines I need.  Whatever happened to doctors making those kinds of decisions with patients?  That’s just a bit of background annoyance.

The real kicker is my own stupidity.  Isn’t it always.  Because I have no desire to start carrying around vials and syringes, I had my doctor send all of my prescriptions to the mail order pharmacy of my insurance companies choice.  It was awesome.  I received a phone call 2 days later asking me for my credit card information so that they could mail me my prescriptions.  Still working on paying my deductible so I sort of expected that.  Due to the savings I get when using the mail order pharmacy, the total cost was only $1,800.  HOLY…  After about 5 minutes of me trying to find the words to appropriately say the sentence in my head, I found out that this wonderful discounted price was due to the fact that my prescriptions are for 3 months.  I didn’t have this problem at CVS because they would give me a month at time.  I asked if I could get a month at time.  The mail order pharmacy of my insurance companies choice does not split up prescriptions.  They will, however, allow me to pay over a 3 month period for a small service fee of $75 or $25 a month.  Whoa!

So today, I have no strips and according to the website of the mail order pharmacy that my insurance company chose for me, my strips will be arriving on the 27th.  I tried to go to the pharmacy last night to pay out of pocket, but it closed at 6 o’clock and I arrived at 7.  So I tried again this morning and it opens at 10. Why didn’t you look at today’s hours when you were there last night?  I haven’t tested my blood since 7AM yesterday.  Anyone want to take a guess at how good I am at guessing my own blood sugar?