Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marcus and the Post-Tonsillectomy Hamburger

"What kind of pain will it be-sharp,searing,dull ache,pulsating,or burning?"

"All of the above," my surgeon asserts, snapping the chart shut with a sense of finality. "It will be the worst sore throat of your life."

"Great.Might as well get it over with, then."

It's the morning of July 16,and my pre-op blood sugar is hanging out at 189. I have bolused, but the stress is already doing a number on my blood sugar. All in all though,it is isn't 50 and it isn't 300 so I'm not too upset about it.

Anesthesiologist stops by. OR nurse comes in,and my pump reminds me that the battery is about to die. (whoops, forgot to change it last night) Since its alkaline, and I don't think they'd appreciate it going off and emitting the Shriek of Death in the middle of the operation(the shriek of death does not stop unless you change the battery,which they wouldn't know to do), I ask the OR nurse if they have any spare AA batteries. He finds me one. I work on repriming and reloading it,as the anesthesiologist looks mildly annoyed that I'm not to ready to go in right that very minute.(I'm sorry, but it does take a few minutes) It's annoying how a doc can take an extra 30 minutes,but if the patient does that they're wasting the doc's time. The second I'm done,its off to the OR, I bolus another correction for the steroids they're going to pump into me and drift away.

The first thing I'm aware of, post-surgery is that my surgeon was absolutely telling the truth-the pain is all of the above. There is a Redwood growing in my throat,and grunting hurts, much less trying to talk. The second thing I'm aware of,is if I try to lie down flat my throat blocks up and I can't breathe at all.Small sips of water help this,but upset the stomach and make me retch, worrying the post-op nurse that I'm going to start bleeding again. Husband gets lost trying to find the place and takes several hours to pick me up. Get home. Take monster doses of every drug they have given me,doze off(on side,still impossible to breathe lying on back) My mom has come up to help out for a few days.Night #1, no sleep, despite the painkillers. Get a fever. Drink Gatorade,eat Popsicles, take meds,put in eardrops, rinse repeat. By Sunday though, the fever has let up and presumably I shall survive so my Mom leaves. Blood sugars are actually pretty good when you don't want to eat anything, except treating even mild lows SUCK because even swallowing liquid sends shooting pains all the way down your throat and up to your ears. Most people do not even feel like eating ice cream,its too darn thick.

Monday night, I decide to fix some scrambled eggs. Drank some Gatorade after that, and went to irrigate my throat. It was red, so I continue irrigating to get the gator aide completely out and the clumps of blood kept coming. After 20 or so minutes of that,(it was about 9 pm at that point) I was afraid I'd injured something and I was going to bleed to death and going to the ER was the best course of action given talking was extremely difficult and that's ultimately what the on-call doctor would say anyway. I was freaked out. Needless to say, when we got to the ER their definition of emergency was different from my own so it was another couple of hours till I saw a real doctor. Still bleeding. The doc said they didn't have the facilities to re cauterize,and called up the on call ENT doc and since I wasn't gushing great quantities of blood I'd probably be fine till morning. Discharged. Next morning,back in the ENT office, the doc took a look at my throat and decided to recauterize it. Hadn't eaten/drunken anything that morning, other then the pain meds so it was back to the OR. When I woke up,the pain was not very different from what I'd been feeling all along so it wasn't some huge shock. More recovery. I dreamed about eating BK hamburgers, because the surgeon's name was Dr. Hamburger.(that was a really weird twist to the experience) Have not had any bleeding since then,it scared the stuffing out of me that I would bleed to death right there.

Two weeks out, saw my surgeon again today and he says it's healing well. With each day that passes, less risk of bleeding again, but still cannot drink Diet Coke or take Advil for (other) pains till at least Sunday. I can semi-talk now,(short paragraphs) before it starts hurting again and it doesn't hurt near as much.(I still prefer to talk Chewbaccan though,but no one else can understand me when I do that) Can eat soup, soft pasta/foods,and ice cream without invoking a horrible backlash. I don't know how people can immediately eat ice cream after a tonsillectomy,I couldn't for a long time. The only foods that actually felt pleasurable were Popsicles and Beef broth. YTMV. The Redwood is now a Maple,and I think I am over the worst of it now. I now believe that it should be mandatory for every kid to get their tonsils taken out, because it is very much worse as an adult. I never even knew a throat could feel like that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Type 1, Live! on Fear Factor

I just had to do it.

Mainly, because there was a singular lack of sane people around to talk me out of it. Everyone else was at Disney, or the FFL hotel. It was just me, so I had made up my mind to do whatever I wanted to do.

The late afternoon rain fell in sheets, turning the semi-backed Orlando sod into a lake, once again.

"Lisence, please," the girl at the stand requests.

I whip out my lisence, stand on the scales.At 5"2, I barely qualify heightwise(5" to 6"2) and at X lbs, lets just say I am at the lower end of the weight requirements.

"Come on over here."

We stand around, filling out forms. The questions are invasive, personal,not for the faint of heart.

Do you have a fear of crowds?
Do you have a fear of embarressing yourself in front of 2000 people?
Do you have any medical condition that might be aggravated by excessive jerking, etc?
Do you have asthma?
Are you pregnant?
Do you relinquesh rights to sue Universal Studios should you be injured/maimed/killed?
Do you have any issues with seeing your body in Spandex?(unforseen pscyhological effects)

And then, mini boot camp. We all do jumping jacks for five minutes, stretches for another five.(although it felt like alot longer)Apparently, the purpose of this pointless exercise was to weed out the seriously unfit among us.(of which I am one but it actually didn't weed me out)

Further selection down to ten people. We all crowd around a small tv screen to view what we'd be getting into. Due to PC and all that jazz, they've got to take one girl, and I am more then happy to be that girl.

Me. Five big, hunky guys. Yeah, I won't be winning but I figure its the showing up and trying that counts.

It's a weird feeling as we all march back to the trailer and are met by a friendly assisstant and EMT "Joe". Three of us on one bench, three to the other. We're handed another form, more legal stuff absolving Universal Studios of any blame whatsoever should we die or win a prize BTW where should we send the body/prize? Such a comforting thought. More invasive medical questions, this one asks if I have uncontrolled diabetes. I slightly pause on that one,wondering what exactly their definition of "uncontrolled" is, but I figure they just want to know if I will pass out on stage. Which is what the general public defines "control" as, how frequently one passes out(not what their a1c is,etc.) And I won't be doing that, so I check "no". EMT Joe gives us all dour looks before rattling off things that may possibly happen to us, based on contestants past experiences. Oh boy,scary stuff. Very glad my bp and pulse aren't being recorded for this. Each of us goes back to do a quick camera shot- "Hi, I'm Heidi, and I'm going to win Fear Factor because blahblahblah!"
The assistant hands us each a container of clothes and tells us to go change. So off I go to the women's changing room.

Spandex top
Spandex shorts
Waterpark shoes
Depend type, disposable underwear.Ewww.

As well as removing insulin pump, CGM, all rings,jewerly, green FFL wristband/medical ID. You don't get any of that, nothin must impede the performing of daredevil stunts.I do leave my set/sensor in,I don't figure that matters so much. Because the show takes about an hour, I check my blood sugar(298), give a correction(on the conservative side of things, I don't want to be going low in front of 500+ people) and waddle out to the main area where its jumpsuit fitting time. A crew member helps me into my jumpsuit, and if there were any previous doubts in my mind as to whether or not I was able to breathe, now there are none. It's hot as blazes, and everything is very, very tight. But on the plus side I don't look half bad in Spandex so I'm not worried about the public mortification factor. The producer comes in, runs us all through the first scene. We all go back out to the back of the stage, climb four flights of stairs. Stage crew helps us put goggles on, tighten jumpsuits even more. I ask if it possibly has to be that tight and the stage dude just says "Yes". I'm of a differant opinion,but I don't want to become a pancake should the thing fail so I don't say anything.

Lights, camera, action!

75 feet up. I walk onto the platform, grip bar.

"Pssst, Heidi!"

I turn around. "What?"(its so noisy I can barely hear him)

"Stop bending your knees, it's not time for that yet."

(I think the stage guy is regretting his assignment)

It's hot. My hands sweat profusely, and wiping them on my shorts every five seconds fails to dry them off. And I'm nervous-will it hurt/jerk when I do fall down? Things look so much scarier up here.


The platform vibrates under my feet. I bend my knees again, and attempt to death-grip said yellow bar. The platform dissapeirs. I look out over the audience, briefly, wondering if there are any other D's in attendance that day. The bar I'm hanging from slopes down, so that's even easier to lose your grip as the sweat from your palms easily slides them off.

Later, the water starts. A fine mist is sprayed at the bars, to make them even wetter and a few seconds after that begins, I'm falling falling falling towards the stage. There is no humongous jolt(much to my surprise),just like that,I'm on the ground. Everyone else falls down, and another contestant and I take the "Walk of Shame."

"So what happened out there?"

"I think I just need to go back to the gym and work on my pullups-I'll be back someday and win this!"

"I like your attitude!" (even if ain't ever gonna happen)

So other contestant and I go back to the changing rooms and wait for the show to totally end before we're released.

This clip is actually from the same day,2 shows prior(it made me decide to apply to go on FF,I was in the audience-took a video clips myself but they didn't turn out):(thankfully, I didn't have to eat any disgusting things which is what I really needed to know before I applied)

All in all, it was pretty neat, kind of like minature skydiving. I might concievable skydive one day, if it is like that. Didn't expect to win, did it for the experience. The first place prize was 4 Universal Studio tickets, 2nd place was 2. And someone in the audience gave me a thumbs up for my attempts.(I had a fan, whoo hoo!) It's kind of neat to be able to do something, even though you have diabetes,it shouldn't hold you back from doing whatever you want to do. Kept expecting the diabetes police to show up and tell me I couldn't do it,had to keep reminding myself that short of them inspecting every square inch of my body, no one knew I had diabetes and it was really none of their business as long as nothing happened.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

10 More Awesome Iphone/Touch Apps

I really have to get caught up with the zillion and one things that have happened this month. Vacations. Birthdays. Thousands of people with type 1 diabetes(and family members) coming together. Individuals in tightly clad spandex,doing dare devil stunts. Life and sometimes-not-so-certain moments in the OR. And I'd kind of like to do it before jetting off into the wild blue European yonder(this weekend).

So this is my start.

#1. The Weather Channel. Yeah, it sounds insanely boring, but its pretty nifty to be checking out the immediate/future forcast when you don't have a tv/radio around. Cost: FREE.

#2 Password Shaker. Random password generator, to keep things interesting and un-guessable. You can store the info in the app, so you don't forget them.
Cost: FREE.

#3 Camera Zoom. Takes the standard camera option to a whole new level, you can zoom in and out while taking pictures. Very cool, I really love this app! Cost: .99

#4 Speed Bones Lite.Fun game, that helps you learn the major bones of the body. I will be getting the real version/other anatomical apps to help me with the upcoming anatomy course this fall. Cost: FREE

#5 Battery Status. Tells you how much talk time/internet/audio remaining before your iphone/itouch totally poops out. Cost: FREE

#6 MyConvert. Does almost everything, no mmol/mg/dl converter but hopefully in a future version. Cost: FREE

#7 Drivers Ed. Unseful for the newbie teen or for the older adult brushing up on general knowledge. Cost:FREE

#8 IAreaCodes. Tells you where that US call is coming from, as well as including international calling codes. Cost: FREE

#9 Time Zone Converter. At .99, this is your cheapest option(no freebies) to check on the times around the world from where you are.(if you're not near a computer) Will come in handy, should I decide to call anyone from Europe.

#10 Waterslide. A fun, summer-ish app. Cost: FREE

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Worst Job at Disney not, contrary to popular belief, being the ride operator of the Disney attraction "It's a Small World." If you've ever been on that ride, you know just how horrible that song is.(especially having to hear it all day,every day)

It was the final day of vacation, and time to bid Adios to the Coronado Springs Resort/remaining Friends for Life conventioneers. I was up at 7 am, to complete the arduous two-hour packing process.(otherwise, it was have taken twice that, unpacking) Humongous green duffel bag=stuffed. Humongous suitcase=equally stuffed. That is why I fly Southwest, they are cheaper then cheap but at least there are no checked bag fees. Rather then stay up till post-midnight doing all that, I chose to wake up early. So after packing up,eating a quick breakfast, and calling the Magical Express to update my pickup time my roommate and had all our junk transported to the Coronado storage room.(she also checked in some bags,which I couldn't do, as SW is not on the preferred list) Went to the business center to print out my boarding pass. As I'm sitting there, trying to make method from the madness, my Dexcom starts shrieking at me. Being post-meal,of course I ignore it. Five minutes later,I start to feel low and whaddya know, that was actually a low alarm. I pay the $1 fee and stumble out of the room, in the general direction of the drink machines, until my room mate points out that I'm missing my mug(free refills) so I go back and get that from the business center and take off in a hypoglycemic hurry for the food court. A full mug of Orange soft-drink later, I'm good to go.(refill with diet) Get on bus for Downtown Disney. The only people on the bus are T.O.P.S. (Take off Pounds Sensibly) Conventioneers. Several of them have diabetes, and one actually has a pump. When they hear we have diabetes, we are presented with honorary Tinker Bell bottle caps/magnets. That was really sweet of them.
At Disney, employees tend to be a little more talkative then at your run-of-the-mill theme park and you're expected to remain pleasant for the constant barrage of the following comments.

"Have a Magical Day!"
"Where are you from?"
"Are you having a wonderful time?"
"Is this your first time at Disney?"
"Have a Magical Day!"
(rinse, repeat)

I was sufficiently upset from the previous day's Disney Police encounter to not be having a Magical Day. Not that I wasn't having a good time, it's just that I was upset at Disney/Ebay seller who ripped me off/etc.

Wander through Downtown Disney, eventually making it to the big store where room-mate decidedes to go in and I head off to McDonalds,being 122 mg/dl and hungry as a horse. She isn't so hungry, being in the 300's. After lunch, I head to the Lego store to find some Star Wars characters as a souvenear for my husband. I entered the store, where you can fill a large cup for $12.95(various bricks,etc.) I get a cup and commence to filling it, trying to avoid tripping over the zillion little kids everywhere. There is an employee there, patiently picking up and restocking EVERY little Lego piece as it falls on the floor. No small task, the floor is constantly being littered with hundreds more Legos as screaming little kids digging into the containers fling Legos left and right, all over Creation. To add to the mess, I accidentally dump my diet Coke and transform the Legos into a sea of wet, sticky Legos. Employee comes over and wipes it up with paper towels.
She deserves a medal-that has to be the worst job at Disney. I sure couldn't that, day in and day out. I thank her, and pay for my purchases. Head over to the Big Store(aka The Wonderful World of Disney) and wander around looking for my room mate for 30 minutes. Do alot of shopping, run into some more FFL people(I swear we're all magnetic), head back to hotel, rescue stuff from storage. Room mate leaves on 3:45 bus, I leave at 4:15, get to airport, do curb-side check-in(which is good because I could not physically budge that humongous duffel) Browse shops, go through security, go to S'barro for a slice of pizza. As I'm paying for my pizza, an employee knocks a container of red marinara sauce off the counter. It goes flying through the air, hits the floor, and splatters all over my left tennis shoe.I was not able to get it all out, so I'll have to wash it. Accidents happen,I wasn't mad, but it would have been nice if they would have given my a discount for that. Ate supper, boarded plane, and it was uneventful from there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

10 Rules of D-Etiquette

1. DON'T offer unsolicted advice about my eating or other aspects of my diabetes.
2. DO realize and appreciate that diabetes is hard work.
3.DON'T tell me horror stories about your grandmothers or other people's diabetes.
4.DO offer to join me in making healthy lifestle changes.
5.DON'T look so horrified when I
check my blood sugars or give myself an injection.
6. Do ask how you might be helpful.
7.DON'T offer thoughtless reassurances.
8.Do be supportive of by efforts for self-care.
9.DON'T peek at or comment on my by numbers without asking me first.
10. Do offer your love and encouragement.
-Sent from the IPhone

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Red Light, Green Light


Stop right there.

Stop, and immerse yourself in the sights,smells,and sensory experiences of summer. Because it now IS summer, despite a frigid May, and a extremely dubious June. I'm sure you were wondering if was ever going to get here. The thermometer confirms it to be true.(80+degrees,finally)



Go drink diet coke by the case, I will be. Especially since I'll be going cold turkey
(not by choice!) for two weeks.(following tonsillectomy) That will be hard,if I don't get caffeine in some form I will turn into THAT person,the one you would pay good money not to ever have contact with. I have alot of sympathy for people who cannot quit smoking because I am just as addicted to my caffeinated diet coke.

Go Live Long, and may all(or most) your blood sugars be under 140 mg/dl(or whatever range you consider good) this holiday weekend!

(and I'm going to California and Florida,so next post will be in a couple of weeks)