Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Chocolate Dreams

Hershey's gift to me for messing up a Ebay/Wrappercash order:

(a 36 ct. box of Milk Chocolate-arrived DSL, cold pack, overnighted)

And this is what one will need (post chocolate):


I love chocolate, but it doesn't love me (at the present time).
When the gastro issues get sorted out, I think I'll throw a smore party.
(easy way to use them all up + get more wrapper points to bid on stuff)


Bizarre Medical Story of the Year:
(Do not read this story if you've an aversion to extremily graphic medical images!)

Back to this news story, it is, beyond a doubt, the most weird medical thing I've ever heard
of. Quite enough to give someone nightmares, or worse.
I've made the firm decision NOT to go into surgery..
Or oncology pediatrics. (I cry every time I read the Chicken Soup for the Soul books-how much help would I be to a little kid with cancer?)
Or obstetrics.
Everything else is fair game.

Last Monday, my youngest brother flew out to boot camp. (Marines) Initially, he was going to join
the Navy, but the Marine(s) won out in the end.
When he graduates (Nov.) from boot camp, he'll be changed. (for better or for worse) I just hope they don't send him to Iraq.

Sunday, I worked a 5 hr day, a definate first in the history of my employment with this company. Sat. was a full 8. (not a first, for a Sat.)
And I must be crazy, because this is retail. Not health, restraurunt, or any other (needed) service.
I volunteered for a Sunday. (yes, my supivisor was very taken aback)
But doubletime pay is a powerful motivator towards the common good. (they get the work done, I get the fat paycheck)
Vacation is a comin' though- so I figure I can make it a few more days.
The one bad thing about it- there were more supivisors running around then there were employees.. It made me nervous. (twice as much oppurtunity to be critiqued) One could almost believe they were normal people, it was a sweats n' tshirt day for everyone. Even the regional manager was there.
The Top Eight things that are helping me through this week:
1. Compazine
2. The Calander (check another day off)
3. The recent dry spell(I haven't had to mow for two weeks:-)
4. Mr. Pumpy (read Ode to the Pump) New pump, same love.
5. Ketostix, hard candies, case of Diet Coke, and cold icees.
6. Being terrifically overworked. (it helps)
7. Yahoo Games.
8. 2 days away from holiday FREEDOM!

On this one year anniversary(post Katrina), the stats are still very dismal. So many without basic electricity, homes, etc. And the mayor they've got, doesn't seem to mind spending money(vs getting it). Way to go, Mr. Nagin, that's really helping out the people of New Orleans.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


I haven’t felt very well lately, no doubt enhanced by my less-then-healthful- diet. People have a lot more get up and go when they eat properly, Twinkies and hamburgers just don’t cut it. I’ve been busy, stressed, and its taken its toll on the diabetes control(not checking as much as I usually do either.) Bg's aren't really high-they're just kinda middish blah.(150-mid 200's)
Swallowing the usual wad of post-breakfast pills(last week), they got stuck in my throat + wouldn’t go down. Tried water, diet coke, and food(to no avail). They weren’t large pills, but I’ve never had a problem swigging down 4 of them before..
The throat stayed raw for a day, and stuff still takes its sweet time on the way down.
Today I called Gastro(Center for Digestive Health-if you’d like the pc version), and got lucky. An appointment in 2 weeks(someone cancelled). I hope I live till then.

Gastro issue #2- Reoccurring right upper quadrant pain, nausea, occasional puking, lower shoulderblade pain.
Can someone say “gallstones?” I’d be surprised if it wasn’t that. (Hamburgers are probably catching up with me)

And, the eye. Stabbing pains in that part of the anatomy that dramatized my life last February.

Maybe its just the heat..
Or the phase of the moon.
Or the Daily Diabetes lotto check just bounced.
Rock on, September.
(I think I'll go to bed till then.)

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Master Race

In the movie Gattaca, the hero must prove himself in the brave, new, genetically pure age. Born with a heart defect + nearsightedness, he’s passed aside(while his brother rises to the top). The “Valids”are the master race, superior both physically and (supposidly) mentally. To fulfill his dream(s), he must assume the identity of a Valid, while shedding off all evidence of his real DNA.(fastidiously clean, that guy)
It’s a great movie- in the end, he gets it all. A dream (to outer space) fulfilled, beating his genetically superior brother, and winning the heart of the pretty girl.
There’s one part in that movie where he upsets the arm of the phlebotomist, pretends to howl in pain, bends his arm + slips a vial of other guy’s blood into the tubing hole when the phlebotomist turns around. (To avoid giving up his real blood) I’ve often wished I could do that. (I just need some hemoglobin a1c perfect blood!)
It all goes to prove physical superiority is not the most important thing. (Even in a new age of flawless genetical engineering) Its the strength of the human spirit that counts.

That being said, being a type 1 diabetic is much like being marked "Invalid."
So many rules and regulations...
-You can't be a truck driver. (in most instances)
-You can't be in the military. (unless you're already in it, and you're in excellent physical
- Many jobs(fire, police) are difficult/sans impossible to get into...
-You can't attend a military college.

And that's just the government.

-You can't give aspheresis/bone marrow.
-You can't get drunk, even consumption of light amounts of alcohol is monitered.
-You can't have a baby, without your doctor's permission.
-You can't go barefoot, lest you cut your feet + it leads to amputation(s).
-You can't not be without insurance, unless you want to go bankrupt.
-You can't eat whatever you want, whenever you want.(and at family reunions,its
best not to eat anything at all..)

And telling someone you have diabetes, even in this enlightened age, is sure to invoke the "OMG-are-you-going-to-pass-out-on-me?" reaction.

We're all Valid- we all have worth.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Summertime Stats

Past Year's Stats
(my batting average)

Number of times I've been admitted(to the hospital) during the past year:
2. ( DKA, August 2005. AVM, Feb.2006)

Number of times I've dropped my pump in the toilet:
Once. (at 3 AM one morning)

Number of times I've wished I could switch diseases:
365- one for every day of this past year

Number of dates I've had with paramedics:
One.(bad low)

Number of times my coworkers have freaked out completely...

Number of times my meter has gotten friendly with me + said "HIGH" (thats over 600):
About 10. (4 of them in the past month)

Number of times my meter has read LO (under 10):
None this year, thank goodness.

Number of times I've lain awake at night, afraid to go to sleep lest I die of hypoglycemia:
On the average of once every 10 days.

Number of medical students I've seen this year:

Number of those medical students who were actually worth looking at:

Number of times I've been reminded that I've only got a few more years left on this earth so
I'd better stop being such a terrible diabetic (aka "killing yourself") by nurses/primary docs..:
Fifteen. AT LEAST. Blasted BC/BS health line needs to quit calling me + I need a new pcp.

Number of times I've been told "you shouldn't eat that, you're diabetic" by my type 2
Every week. Drives me up the wall. (I can eat anything I want lady, I pump, you take pills)

Number of cavities I've acquired in the past year from irregular eating habits:
2(as of last January)

Number of times I've fantasied about waking up cured:
3. (Every time I get a run of lows)

Number of test strips I've gone through this year:
2,600. (rough estimate)

Longest amount of time I've left my infusion set in for:
2 weeks. (it still worked some- but I was nervous about leaving it in any longer then that, it looked kind of green)

Shortest amount of time I've left my infusion set in for:
1 day. (it sweated off)

Number of times my pumps ended up on the floor(next morning) +I'm somehow come
3 times. I don't know how it happens, I think I must have a disconnecting-in-my-sleep- problem...

Number of times I've thrown a meter at the wall:
Once. And it was an old meter- so it really didn't matter what happened to it.

Number of spare vials of Novolog sitting in my fridge right now:

Number of my test strips currently littering the floor at work:
3. (that I know of-please don't tell my supivisor!)

Current number of types of meters:
Seven. (2)Accucheck, One Touch Fasttake, Flash, Ultra, Ultrasmart, and something else.

Number of times I’ve punched my brother for annoying me(and blamed it on hypoglycemia):
4. (Its ok, its now history-we’re both grown up + don’t do stuff like that anymore)

Number of times I have wished for my own private endo:( I had this once,(research study- 8 hr streches) in a weird kind of way, it was nice to let someone else worry about all of that for a change)
Once a month(every full moon).

Number of hypoglycemia induced motor vehicles accidents I’ve been in:

Number of times (last Nov.) I repeated to said paramedics that said blood sugar level was not freakin’ low..
Three.(they still didn’t believe me) ER doctor didn’t either, even after checking it multiple times(its always diabetes related, folks)

Number of new body piercings I’ve gotten:
Are we counting the injections that didn’t quite go as planned? If not-just one..

Number of times I’ve been asked “what is that blue box clipped to your side?”
(My theory is, you have to look like a model before your diabetes paraphanalia gets noticed. Which is why I never get asked)

Number of people (now) bored to tears:
Four. Or more.
(It’s ok, I’m finished now).

And would someone please tell this jerk that crying when you get your first insulin pump is NOT funny or inappropriate!? Its an emotional, tender, unforgettable moment- when I got my first one- I was like the Energizer Bunny on steroids, but again, people are differant.. (he also needs to learn to read bios more carefully!) Its perfectly normal.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Happy 25th, PC

If you own a PC- cut yourself a piece of (virtual) cake. (it just needs a 5)

Some of you might remember it.
(The rest of us don't remember life before computers!) I remember being 5 or 6, and playing games on the early IBM pc's. Games like Crossfire, Bouncing Babies, Mousetrap, Kings Quest) Floppy disks + square cartridges you had to plug into the computer.
Later on- Wolfenstein 3D, Doom(which my mom highly dissaproved of) but sooo realistic.
The Entertainment System of the (older) Generation Y. (And just as much fun as the PS2's of today!)
Soon, I'll be joining you (in marking that memoriable age).

Friday, August 11, 2006

End of the Week Rant

Not a good weekend(I'm not sure one could even call it a weekend!)
3rd straight week of working Saturday(s). What makes Saturdays even more special is, we come in an hour earlier.
And I am NOT a morning person. (5 AM-ugh)

My lunch(cheese, ham, and mayo on an onion bagel) went down the hatch at morning break(9:15 AM).
Immeadietly after that- I got low.
There is such irony in getting low after a nice proteinish-fat-carb snack-how much does one eat? When will the carb(s) kick in, since the protein/fat is slowing it down?
I ignored it all, and went straight for the juice.
An hour later, I'm 155. Worked out pretty good.

By lunchtime, I was starving again so I ordered Chinese. I got very tired + dizzy after lunch, thought I was going to keel over. At 2:30, I was checking my blood sugar again when my coworker came over and wanted to see my meter. She was duly impressed at how tech-ish it was.
I poked my finger, applied the blood to the strip.
5 seconds later- I whipped the strip out, covered up the number w/my hand, and told her "Hey look, I'm perfect!"
"Yeah," she said sceptically, and started walking away.
"Wanna know something else?"
She turned around. "What?"
"I sucked the blood off my finger."
"Ewwwwwwww!" She makes a face, and that totally makes my day.
The number on my meter, unfortuantly, is not quite "perfect", but my type 2 coworker would not understand this one at all. I'm not even sure I do.
Darn Chinese.
Maybe I can blame my whacky sense of humor on my blood sugar (PLUS sleep deprivation of the night before)
I bolus.
And bolus again(4 pm)
And rush off to the research study center, fill out paperwork for the next 30 minutes.

How often, on a scale of 1-5, do you:
Feel like smashing your meter?
Overtreat your low blood sugars?
Felt CONFIDENT in treating your low blood sugars?( I have never in my life felt confident while treating my lows!)
Worry about:
Passing out
nocturnal hypoglycemia
Appearing stupid
hurting yourself because of hypoglycemia
hurting others because of hypoglycemia

I've just had my diabetes anylized to the nth degree-and I think I failed.

I did learn something interesting today-its NOT accepted protocal to pay a research study patient cash. (researcher could get in trouble for that) I was in a study once, didn't get in but they still payed me $50 cash after it was over. It did take several hours + was pretty hard to do.
(as in, breathing the antidote to albuterol, stimulating an asthma attack while doing peak respiratory monitoring) I failed that study, my asthma isn't bad enough.(fortuantly) But anyway, the D research study person wants to start giving out checks when the study patients come in- apperently some people aren't getting the checks(in the mail). Sounds like a good idea to me, I wouldn't have to wait 2 months on a check.

Finally down to 109(5:30 pm), I have a sudden craving for Starbucks (cold) coffee, a Moonpie, and an eggroll. The eggroll was left over from lunch, the Starbucks and Moonpie I get from the hospital cafeteria. Thank goodness not everything in that cafateria is healthfood.

Time to go to bed now-morning comes early.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Almost Heaven

I could get used to weather like this.

Go to fullsize image

True, it ain't the beach- but there's something totally refreshing about a summertime mountain breeze.
Last week(like much of the rest of the East Coast) we were experiencing 110 humidic temps, when it cooled down to the 90's later in the week we all thought it the most glorious thing in the world.
This week's average has been mid 80's-and on Sat-Sun its gonna chill down to mid 70's.
And in the mountains- it's typically 20 degrees colder then that.
Time to break out that parka.
All together now-
(let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..)

Almost Heavennn
West Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Aren't in West Virginia
Life is older then
West Virginian cows
Younger then those mountains
Which aren't there anyhow.

Almost Heaven
My town, Virginia
Blue Ridge Mountains
Shenendoah River
If that song's true, then it seems to me
The rivers up in Heaven are filled with mercury.

Country Roads
Country Ham
Pass the grits
Thank you maam'
Country Cookin'
Hey good lookin'
Take me home, country roads..

(No, I didn't write this, so I can't be held responsible for whatever mental damage it inflicts upon its readers)

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Wave of the Future

The year is 2040.

You're in need of an elective hip/knee/whatever replacement..

So your employer gives you a six week leave, (insurance) pays your plane ticket + incurred medical costs when you're in the great country of...


Because its now cheaper to PAY ALL THAT rather then have it done at the private facility next door.
National Health Care is now in place, + you've got the option of waiting a year on this procedure, or going someplace else. Malpractice premiums keep going up- so does the cost of health care.

I was listening to the radio the other day when this topic came up. Scared me so bad I just about dropped my Norand(electronic scanning device-pretty much the cost of a pump and 6x the size of one) on the concrete floor.( Yes, I've done this before) I do NOT want to go to India for any medical procedure, that would be a disaster. Quite aside from the question of followup, (they just release you + you go back to the US-no way to really get back in contact with them for emergency situations) medical care over there is not predictable. (no way to track reputation of doc/hospital?) Some folks might like it though. (hey, its a vacation!) Surgery is most definatly expensive, and if I had no other options I'd be forced to do that- not willingly,though!

I don't understand it all(I don't think anybody does). I've got mixed feelings on the subject of
national health care(with no offense to my UK readers), yes, we'd get the medications we'd need free-but everything is at a price. More taxes- less incentive from the healthcare people to work hard. Back in Feb, before I had my AVM surgery my neuro-opth was casually commenting on this topic. It doesn't matter how many hours he worked, he does it because he's a slave to his job(awesome doctor) he doesn't care about the money-but geez, one would think MORE time should equate to a greater salary. Maybe that wasn't right- maybe people in the NHS don't get payed a flat rate salary but the thought is kind of disturbing. When I work overtime, I want that overtime pay-+ doubly so, when I get to be a nurse and start making even bigger bucks!
Not to mention waiting x number of months for non-emergent things that National Health Care deems not necessary/can wait.

But its coming, so we'd better get used to the idea.

And stock up on diabetes supplies. (that's if your insurance company is generous on rx's. Mine isn't, but they do shell out on expensive surgeries!)

Friday, August 04, 2006

Second Chances

I'm once again sitting at my very favorite spot of the month- low.
This time, however, a bag of cotten candy, tube of glucose gel, juice box, french fries, chicken sandwich, diet coke(to wash it all down) and a new Rx for glucagon keep me company-no repeats of the former episode.
It's very odd how one can feel low/simultainiously run out of gas at the EXACT same spot..
"What's that, honey?" asks the distracted, overworked cashier.
"Twelve. Pump. Twelllllllllve," I reply, thinking how very un-honeyish (NOT sweet) I am feeling at the moment. C'mon Cotten Candy- work your magic. I'm getting annoyed at being called honey too(3rd straight time that day).
Flashback to that morning.
It's a typical Friday at the Endocrine Clinic-only the patient load is different. Instead of 99.9% of the patients being part of the customary Over 60,Type 2, and yes-I-check-my-blood-sugar-once a-month-Club, they are now joined by the Extatic, Expectant Mothers to be.(both types)
And then there's me- too young and too hopelessly single.
I grab the nearest People magazine + dissapeir into it, I don't want to be noticed.
"Heidi?" inquires the nurse.
I lower the magazine half a cubic inch to determine whether she's addressing me or not. Upon proof of the said fact, I toss the magazine aside + go off with the nurse.(kind of glad to get out of there, actually)
Vital signs look good.
Medical student comes in. I get the disturbing feeling that this kid is YOUNGER then me, especially if she was one of those smart types to graduate at 20. She looks too young.
Suddenly, I feel very old( rapidly approaching birthday is NOT helping) -there was a time I considered medical students old + looked up to them. (that was pre-20's) Now medical students are either my age, or younger then me + even residents don't look old. (Attendings still do, however!) I'm aware of how much I still don't know + how much less they don't know that they should know. (about everything, and especially diabetes!)
Customary round of questions. Not that bad a student, she's not acting like she knows everything + she is NOT pregnant. (Endocrine residents/students frequently are) I don't want to see another pregnant person today.
My endo comes in. "You know, you're the first patient I've ever had to have the exact same a1c FOUR times in a row. How do you do it?"
I grin (not at the a1c). "I've always done that, even in peds."
"We'll repeat it today, hopefully its gone down."
Discuss hypo episode.
Glucagon RX. "I'll write you for two/month's supply, but if you use 2 in one month I WANT TO KNOW ABOUT IT!!!!"
I promise. Well, I would tell her about it on just one...bad hypo episodes scare the stuffing out of me.
Ask Stupid Question of the Day.
Get Intelligent Answer to Stupid Question of the Day.
All questions being answered, I go off to the lab for my very favorite phlebotomist to skillfully extract a vial of glucose enriched blood. Guy can get blood out of ANYTHING painlessly.
If its under 8, I'll be a happy woman.
Swear to fax in readings faithfully. (weekly) For an a1c under 7, its going to take months. (and some excellent insulin tweaking skills)
Ready now to kick some diabetic gluteus maximus, I check my blood sugar, bolus an appropriate correction, and start to drive home.
45 minutes later, get low. Pull into gas station.
There goes my motivation.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


Is this worth it?

There are two types of sellers on Ebay- those who know they've got a hot deal(and put it on a low bid, it still takes off running + exceeds their wildest expectations) and those who start out with a discouraging high starting bid- and it goes nowhere.
I much prefer the former- if you don't sell something, you're just giving money (auction fees) away to Ebay.. That's probably 90% of their revenue. That auction, will probably be in the later category.

I collect autographs too(not just famous PWD's, pretty much anybody) but I don't think that's worth it. (out of my price range, anyway)

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

What's So Great About The First?

Since moving out (into the REAL WORLD) ,I've learned to harbor a passionate, unconditional, uncontrolled hatred for the first (of every month). That, of course, is RENT DAY- and one's landlord doesn't give a rip if you are A. broke B. out of town or C. sick and on death's doorstep...

Ok, so the last one is somewhat of stretch. I'm sure they'd take if off, if you made them the sole benificiary on your life insurance policy.

But this August 1 is somewhat special.

This is my maternal grandfather. And today, August 1, 2006- marks the 100th anniversary of his birth. This is photocopy of a pencil drawing my dad did. (from an old photograph) I'm not entirely sure I should be doing this, I might delete the picture later-but a blog is kind of meaningless about a picture.
I never had the priviledge of knowing him, he passed away 1 month before my parents got married.
All of my mom's siblings are getting together tonight, and hosting a Remembrance Party. And I think its kind of crucial that I attend, he (from my mom's accounts) was a very special person + I need to remember this.

And that's whats so special about the first.