Sunday, March 30, 2008

A Night Out with the Pancreas

I like my pancreas(es)-both my old, worn out, c-peptide dead one and my spanky nice, (relatively) new, blue one. Both of them serve their respective roles.(one for the digestive enzymes, one for the insulin)

What I don't like, is a night in which both of them flunk out.

10 PM- Dex has me at 78, and its been going on for the better part of 1.5 hours,flirting with the 70-80 range.(meter confirms this) I'm feeling low, so I swig some glucose + figure I'll recheck in about an hour. Regretfully, I haven't yet reconnected to my pump + I fall asleep...

3 PM- Shrieking Dex wakes me up,telling me I'm low. NOT in this lifetime, not unless I've spontaneously regenerated islet cells overnight. But I'd better check anyway.

Ultra: 406.(should have put my pump back on last night)I shoot 4 units, resume slumber. Since the Dex is so screwed up, put it somewhere else to chill out those whacky readings.

5:30 PM- Very, very, high. I can tell this, without consulting the meter. Meter confirms, at over 500 mg/dl. I think I must have shot air, not insulin, that first time... Shoot 6 more units.(this isn't the time to be worrying about set reliability)




I start to dream, intense dreams(does the body do that, the more worn out one is?)
I'm low in those dreams and someone is pouring OJ down my throat.(I hate oj, so this is a nightmare) I recover, enter a surfing competition and win first place.(I've never surfed in my life)
A long time(in dream hours) later..

Wake up, 186. Perhaps the title of this post should have been, A Night With(out) the
Pancreas. I am impressed, though, that my correction factor was still so strong even as high as I was, even with no basal.(1/60)In the future, I'm going to program a temp basal NOT take my pump off, going slightly low is much better then waking up 500's and feeling like you've been 10 rounds with Mohammad Ali.It's beyond a yucky feeling,its pure exhaustion.(you just want to curl up and sleep for 12+ hours)

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Just Six?

I've been tagged by Minnesota Nice, so here goes..
The Rules:
1) Write your own six word memoir;
2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like;
3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere;
4) Tag at least five more blogs with links; and
5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!

"Don't take your body for granted."

Every part is amazing...a fact you may not fully appreciate until various parts start malfunctioning, and you have to do x, y, and z to make up for it. Appreciate
the health that you have.

If you haven't yet participated in this meme, I tag YOU.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Moments of Truth

I am the world's worst diabetic.On second thought..I am the world's second worst diabetic. My hero, is a Reality Check Aussie bloke who wore an infusion set for 30 days, no problem. I will be in a state of permanent awe over that.
I went to another insulin pump meeting tonight + they were discussing changing infusion sets/reservoirs every three days. And when their infusion set goes bad, before three days, they still do a complete set-reservoir change. Some of them throw away 30-50 units of insulin because of that.

This is how I do infusion set/reservoir changes-when the 300 unit cartridge runs out, I put a new one in. I prime a new tubing line every couple cartridges.(twice a month) Infusion sets, I leave in till they're dead.(varies from 5-7 days, I once left one in for 15 days) I have never had an infection,(in 7 years)and because I rotate, I rarely get scar tissue.(and it goes away, within a month) I have been preached at endlessly through the years to change every three days and I do not feel the need because of the above factors.

Tonight, I had one of those "wow" moments,as I realized I am probably the only pumper on the planet to do it that way. Followed by another "wow" moment when someone on a Medtronic cgs complained about feeling guilty for an 6.2 a1c, she thought she should do better on a CGS. My jaw just about hit the floor, one should not look a gift horse in the mouth.(my own a1c is far from that,though it is improving) I do
not belong in this group, most of them had a1cs under 7..
A guilt rush soon followed, maybe if I did change my sets on a set schedule my a1c would be better. There's a "site change" alarm on my pump, and for the first time ever, I'm going to start using it. I don't like changing every three days, one has to worry every time whether the site is good but there may be something to this theory of better bgs with regular changes. Even if I am the world's weirdest diabetic, as I don't get scar tissue. It's worth a shot,trying it. When I said how I did it I got the usual passioned pleas to stop destroying my skin/life, and maybe, they have a point. Skin can only take so much abuse.

Great meeting, as usual, this pump group has been around for 10 years (pretty impressive, the pumps of 10 years ago were very different and the CDE's have really had to adjust to a lot of changes).

Monday, March 24, 2008

Testing by Nationality

An Italian, a German and an American are wandering through the desert.

"I'm tired and I'm thirsty," the Italian said. "I must have wine."

"I'm tired and I'm thirsty," the German said. "I must have beer."

"I'm tired and I'm thirsty," the American says. "I must have diabetes."

(very lame joke, but I think it's funny!)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

25 Products to Rock Our Lives(part 1)

#25 A futuristic syringe, designed off the stinger on a mosquito. No pain. I'm not one to
complain about needles,but I've got to admit there are some fairly body-numbing
ones out there.(not diabetes related,the ones I mind are about 3 inches long and suck half the blood from your body) The less pain in that regard, the better.

#24 The New Ice Breakers cubed gum..(or at least, new to me)
(2 carbs,5 calories) Be still, my heart. It is so
good.Almost makes having diabetes worth while.

#23 Dual Blood Pressure- Blood Sugar monitor. Watch them both go up the longer you think about it..

#22 The Kit Bag.

#21 The Pelikan Sun Wannabe
(yes, its good, but do the math.. its .15
per test! (with shipping) And you're changing
that 'bleepin' thing every 1-2 days, depending
on how much you test.. it sure adds up.

#20 The 60's Child

For the wild child in ya.. dude,that decade wasn't
the greatest for D-advancements. Oh well.

#19 Never be caught unprepared

How long till this hits the shelves, I want one..(not in me, but near me)

#18 Glucose Spray
Haven't figured this one out yet- is it meant for treating hypos, or for a sweetener alternative? No carb counts anywhere on the package.
(your thoughts needed, before I try it)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Deliver Me...

(..from the hands of any physician who would blame a person for less then stellar control at the most crucial, support-needing time in her life. Noncompliance?? what planet are they from? This is the hardest thing a women with diabetes will ever go through.)

Tune in tonight at 10 pm EST. All the hype, jazz, blame you could wish for..perhaps a true-to-life diabetic pregnancy in the making.Should be interesting.

Pumpers Anonymous

"Hello, my name is Heidi, I've had diabetes for about 10 years.(Insulin addiction all the way) This is my husband, G, and we're obviously new to the area-showing up over an hour late, Baltimore is a huge place + we got lost getting here. I've been a "pumper" for almost 7 years."

I sit down, feeling selfconsious but in a good way. These people "get it", even if most of them probably think I'm just a baby-faced rookie.(you missed the pediatric meeting, sweetie) Which I definatly feel like, when I meet people who have had diabetes since the days of huge syringes + urine checks. But no one can say I'm a rookie pumper,+ that makes me feel slightly better. I am a veteran, in that regard.

"We're so glad you could join us," the CDE, smiling, gracious, welcome, responds. "Too bad you missed the speaker, he was in the previous hour, but we're glad nonetheless!" (speaker was an Omnipod rep)

Talk shop(pump, diabetes stuff) for another 40 minutes. I don't know how most pump groups do the seating my former group, it was a circle, or rows of chairs.
This one sits around a huge, long table. Thus, impossible to hear what someone at one end is saying when you're sitting at the other end, and several conversations were going on at once. Everyone else is a Medtronic pumper(I'm the odd person out, once again), but that is the pump company most people go with. I try not to take it personally, nor deliver my true opinion on that subject.(my beef with MM is another post) I meet a couple of people, a relatively new pumper and his wife. He frequently contracts work in the town we're in, so its possible to run into them at any weird time... And, I met someone from the CWD chatrooms. She had told me about the meeting in the first place. She was really nice, its always interesting to meet someone you've chatted with for years.(at least) Around my age, too.

A final "door prize"...

It was challenging, lugging it home(got some weird looks on the monorail) but diet coke, is diet coke. (worth the trouble) Altogether, it was a good session. Original scheduled speaker was canceled(which I'm glad of, really wanted to hear him) and rescheduled for April. Can't wait for the next meeting!
(which I think I'll drive to, public transportation is a massive headache, and there was plenty of parking at the site.)

My name is Heidi...and I'm an addict to pumping. No hope for me, I'll never overcome it.(unless there's a cure, and then I'll probably still go to Former Pumper's Anonymous.)

Friday, March 14, 2008

An Open Letter to Guinness

March 14, 2008
Dear Guinness:

I realize you're horrifically busy, dashing all over the world to validate great human feats/records. And I realize, that not every "record" is truly something that you want your readers to try at home.
But since you've already published various diabetes feats(highest blood sugar(somewhere over the edge of reality, at 5000+ mg/dl) and the most number of injections(70,000+, some Scottish bloke who's had diabetes since 1926) I think you should consider another category.
I hold(or,at least I hope I do) the record(for anyone still living) for the highest hemoglobin a1c.(average blood glucose, over a 3 month period) Not quite something to proud of, but a part of
my infamous past.(the sole reason for growing rapid cataracts + going blind in 3 days post diabetes diagnosis,but thats another story) And I think I deserve recognition for still being alive.
Enclosed, you will find hospital records of the said fact. (Date of records: 12/10/98-12/13/98)

(A1c: 23.9)


Another Annoying Reader

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Littlest Rock Star(ette)

I'm an Aunt!(once again) Little Hannah entered the world at 12:30 pm,EST, yesterday afternoon. My brother says she wasn't named for Hannah Montana...regardless,she'll be getting much more attention then said star in our households!! Hopefully will get to see her this weekend...


Monday, March 10, 2008

Photo of the Week(3/10/08)

I wonder how many people would ride in his taxi, its not wise to put bumper stickers of any sort on your vehicle if you're a professional driver.(you-will-offend-someone.Depend upon it)

Thursday, March 06, 2008

The Art of Customer Service

It's amazing how completely un-helpful your insurance company can be.

Scenario: I send in rx's to new mail order supply place.(for cartridges + Cleo infusion sets). The cartridges, they mail me back 20 (partial box) and charge me $35. Ugh. Should have gotten the doc to write it 3 boxes for a 3 month supply.Another thing about Medco, they grill you about how many you actually use in a 3 month period.(really none of their business, if the doc writes the rx for that number)
The Cleos, they say it isn't covered under the mail order portion of my plan and send back the RX. Now the new mail order supply place is Medco, switched from Caremark on Jan.1. But the retail pharmacy portion is still processed through Caremark. I call BCBS to see about getting appeal forms, Medco has informed me that the only infusion set covered under the MO portion is a MM set.(NOT luer lock, and not compatible with my pump) How much sense does it make to cover the pump cartridge and not the infusion set?? BCBS rep practically immeadiently hands me off to the Medco rep again.(not interested in answering my questions about the appropriate forms at all) Medco rep suggests going to a durable medical supply company and trying to get them there, processing it through the retail portion. I call all of the durable medical supply places around here, and none of them have insulin pump supplies.(I don't know if any do..) Medco rep also gives me the phone numbers to BCBS appeal places(she was more helpful then the BCBS rep!) Medco can't give me the info for retail, that has to come from Caremark.Register for the Caremark website, and call Caremark to see if any infusion sets are covered under retail. They say they don't have access to that information,refer me to a covered benefits PDF(no mention of any pump supplies), and switch me right back to the Medco rep. Hang up, this isn't going anywhere.
(very productive day,and its now 5 pm)
On the Caremark website, there's an option to check drug coverage(and several infusion sets listed) but all of them spit out the following:

"We're sorry; this drug is NOT COVERED by your benefit plan OR may NOT BE THE APPROPRIATE REGIMEN as defined by your plan. For more information, please refer to your benefit materials or contact your benefit administrator (Error Code 70)."

Looks like I will have to appeal(once I get the info to do that). They don't even make that easy, BCBS rep wouldn't tell me how and there are no forms on the website.
I'll have to call that number the Medco rep gave me. I also want to get the ball rolling for sensor coverage + that will take a long time.(if ever)
I'm really not sure I like this insurance, certain parts are good but the rest is a nightmare..We could switch every year,my husband has alot of options and I thought I'd picked out a winner(D-cost-wise) but apparently not. My former BCBS plan was much easier to deal with. And, I have about 5 infusion sets left so unless they last a month each,I'm going to have to go back on shots.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Bread, Soup, and a Root Canal

To my knowledge, only Catholics,Lutherans,and Eastern Orthodox celebrate Lent. Every Wednesday during Lent, they hold a soup + bread supper. Representing simplicity. I wasn't raised Lutheran but my husband was, so tonight we went to a soup supper.

Perfect timing, really, because I now have a second reason to live off soup.(other then the gastro stuff) The ever-so-slight tooth pain that has been nagging me for a day and a half grew to epic proportions. I did not have a dentist,(yet) I had an appointment for a cleaning.(next week)But I knew I couldn't wait till then. I called them up and begged them not to let me die. And they said, how about now? and I was exceedingly grateful. My old dentist would have never squeezed me in. I put petal to the medal and rushed over there.

15 minutes later, they do an xray of the bottom right corner(that was fine), and an xray of the upper right. The dentist is a really nice guy, more personable then my last one(who I think I just never hit it off with, she just inflicted too much pain + seemed aloof no matter how much she tried not to) And this guy, well he was gentler.(that helped)He actually cared about how comfortable I was. While waiting on the results of the 2nd xray, he stuck a Novocaine needle in my gums to numb me up because it was obviously going to show something. Show something it did,a cavity around an existing filling(why do cavities like to grow in the exact same teeth??) necrosis, infection, a glorified mess. After telling me how much it would cost(around $700) he commenced to operating. Removed the cavity,the (dead)nerve, and put a temporary cap on it while the yuck drains. The infection was relatively minor so he didn't prescribe any antibiotics. But, unfortunately, because the yuck has to drain he couldn't do it all at once. So he'll put on the crown next week. More good fortune, dental insurance will cover most of it and it'll only be like $275.(I've had much, much, worse bills) And my blood sugar, despite the Novocaine, was absolutely perfect(106) afterwords.(another first)
So that's my first root the ripe old age of 26. I've got to work out a better cleaning system, because the amount of diet coke I consume is going to put me in dentures before I'm 40, at this rate.

Monday, March 03, 2008

A "Yes" Moment


I hang up, and start dancing around the house with unbridled joy.(while the cats stare,quickly lose interest, and shuffle off in search of more interesting things to look at(like food) The gastroenterologist has just informed me of the results of the latest test, a gastric
emptying study.


He'd sounded confused, maybe even a bit disappointed with that. Like he was hoping to
read me the riot act(once again) about my blood sugars. This from a doc who asked me if my blood sugar ever goes over 200.
(try daily, at least. Every large meal must have its over 200 zenith before plummeting) I don't think he gets many type 1's in his practice.

As for me, I'm just glad that diabetes hasn't won. No complications for me.(beyond the cataract stuff) And that feels good.

Like I'm standing on the top of Mt. Everest, and diabetes can't touch me.
(blissful naiveté maybe, but wonderful, nonetheless) I'm no closer to finding out whats causing the problems, but at least I know what its not.I guess, if it still won't heal the next step will be to re-investigate a gallbladder connection with an ERCP.