Monday, September 29, 2008

A Divabetic in DC

"Five, four, three, two, one...."
Confetti erupted as we walked through the doors, into the exhibit hall. I attended
this, an exclusively chick with diabetes event.(my husband had no interest in coming along) There were various booths set up-educational,(5) makeover(4), and caterers. I am not into the makeup deal(on a regular basis) but I thought it would be neat to try it out, see how wild I could look. So I went over to the makeup booth + got wild green eyes and brilliant red lipstick. Then I went over to the food place, but all they had were raw veggies,chicken pieces, and steamed veggies(that looked really gross). I headed back out to the car and grabbed my bag of Doritos because I was starving to death. Chicken, carrot sticks, and diet coke just weren't enough. Went back inside and over to the exercise booth, where you had to go through a mini-exercise session + they really did make it hard. Meanwhile, all this stuff was going on onstage(JDRF, ADA walk members) and musical groups. To get the prize bagpack, you had to go to at least three stations so I went to a "What's your numbers?" station and was told I am officially obese.(BMI=31?) Yep, 5"2, 119 lbs,qualifies me as obese, I guess I should lose about 25 lbs.(heavy sarcasm) But its not a bad number, its just a number.
(the reasoning of these people I simply do not understand)
Went to another booth and pretty much just stated something obvious so that I could just get through it and not have the CDE lecture me on eating every meal,taking your insulin, etc...
(this was pretty basic stuff)

At 3:30, they started handing out awards. And for all of about 2.5 seconds, I had hopes of winning the highly coveted Most Senior Diabetic award.Like I've stated, this was an event catering mainly to the older, type 2 crowd and when you've had diabetes forever you tend to just stay home. Because you already know all this stuff. So I felt like I had a small chance. But then a 12 year, 14 year, 20 year, 27 year, and 34 + 35 year PWD consecuatively squashed those pipe dreams into the cold, hard linoleum. Highly doubtful that I will EVER win such an award. The 34 and 35 year PWD both got nice gift baskets(worth a couple of hundred bucks), they both looked like senior Mrs.America's, they age well. Would be that I will be so lucky. Other gift baskets went to the most travelled(4 hours, from VA Beach), biggest entourage(6 people).

Because I was so bummed out about not walking the runway(I had preconcieved notions that that was what we'd be doing, at some point) I hastily volunteered(along with several others) to demonstrate exercise moves on stage. It didn't much make up for it but I did get several hundred people staring at me and that was definatly an addicting rush. For our troubles, we got a bag with a pack of Splenda.

Went to the CVS Booth- got a handrub-lotion, put hands in plastic baggies, put in waterbag type warmers, take out, take off baggies- felt AWESOME. Headed back out to registration, turned in paper, got prize backpack from NovoNordisk. Of course, the massage therapists and manicurists and caterors had all shut down so for me, the party was pretty much dead. Got a shirt and a wristband and headed out to the parking lot, now a mini-sea and still coming down hard. Good thing it wasn't held outdoors. I highly recommend going to one-if you get the chance. It was pretty cool being with hundreds of other women with diabetes, even if we had absolutely nothing else in common. Being in the racial minority at an event is a little bit awkward, PR people must have taken my picture a dozen times. I am not photogenic and having my picture plastered all over the website has got me a tad nervous.(ackkk)Not sure I'm ready for all of that.

Friday, September 26, 2008

The Unforgettable Call

"You aren't tearing up my golf course," the proprietor, a short, balding man curtly replies as we jump out of the ambulance, ready to do battle against disease and injury.

"But we have to get to the patient-how else are we going to get there?We have a lot of heavy gear," the squad leader asks.

"I dunno- you figure something out. I just don't want ruts the size of basketball courts in my course, and your truck is definatly gonna do that.I don't wanna fix all that."

Roll eyes....Our fearless squad leader, well adept with dealing with all types of difficult individuals, takes it all in stride and decides on golf carts as the means of transportation.

Of which there are only three.

#1 goes to the owner
#2 goes to the squad leader and other trainee
#3 goes to the driver and the bags of gear

And I have to hang off the back of cart #2, because there is simply
no room for me anywhere else. This is a golf course with a lot of hills + rocks
and the prospect of going down them frontwards, let alone backwards,
is not extremely appealing. I will be going down them backwards.

"Isn't this fun?" the squad leader exclaims, as she mashes the accelerator
down to the floor, launching us off on a fifteen foot freefall before impacting earth, making a mini crater.
"Yeah!" squeals the other trainee, jumping up and down off the seat in uncontrollable glee.

I don't say anything, I'm too busy trying not to scream, faint, fall off, or be sick.
This is beyond insane.(not a roller coaster person here!) Jerk,jerk,jerk,
vroom, drop ,thuds, repeat.After about a mile, we finally reach the patient.(It was the scariest ride I have ever been on, bar none)

Initial impression- in no acute distress. Unlike one of the caregivers, whose knees are still knocking so hard you can hear them over in the next county.

"Sir- we're from the rescue squad, what happened?"

"Stepped in a hole, twisted my ankle," he gestures at his right foot, propped up on a pillow.

Beer cans litter the immediate area, one of his buddies is carrying one and if I had to lay good money on it, the patient has contributed greatly to the pile. I take his blood pressure and pulse and he fixes me with an all-knowing look.

"My pulse, is it 76?"

"Uh, yes it is, is that normal for you?"

"It's always 76. Been that my entire life."

I'm somewhat skeptical of that, how is it possible to have a pulse that never deviates, even at rest? Even if you are a fitness buff.

Squad leader stabilizes his ankle, wraps it up in the pillow. Help put him on cart #2 and they take off to the ambulance.(SL driving) Rather difficult I might imagine, but they get there. And the person I drove back with is a better driver and its not so bad.

Back in the ambulance, I again check his blood pressure and pulse. Again, the pulse is 76.I'm starting to believe the patient, it makes the 2nd time. Not that anything is disturbing the patient, who has reached that state of post-beer #5 euphoric eutopic bliss and feels little pain. His ankle was likely broken, and unlike a normal person he's not screaming,cussing, hitting, biting,scratching, flailing, moaning, writhing,spitting, arguing, or otherwise engaged. He's the perfect patient and does everything we ask. The one drawback, he is pretty chatty and during the lengthy ride to the hospital I think we covered all of the 5,000+ events in his life and then some. A third set of vitals...another 76. I believe him totally now.

Sometimes beer is a good thing, it's the great natural anesthesia. But it usually does not make people so easy to get along with. Ah, the good o'le RS days.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


Very addicting. Nothing I want so far... waiting patiently on my B.O.C.!
(if I conducted my own woot BODC, it would consist of something like the following: 2 meters,5 alcohol swabs, 1 issue of Diabetes Health, a roll of glucose tablets,a small cold pack(for your diabetes case), and a Multiclix)

(B.O.D.C.= bag of diabetes crap)

Monday, September 22, 2008

That Dysfunctional Epithelial Tissue

Primary function of the Epithelial Tissue:

#1 Tends to screw up. Big time. All glands are in epithilial tissue. I wish I knew why islets are so fragile, just like that they're killed by the tcells and the journey of a thousand other afflictions is launched. Islets seem to be the puniest cells in the human body. My islets put up a decent fight(6 month process) but after I was diagnosed, they took no time at all to completely flatline.(starting cpeptide: 0.3, subsequent cpeptide: 0.0) Why oh why, are such vital cells not tougher? I'd rather some organ like the thymus or the appendix go out, and the pancreas NEVER.

Primary function of the external insulin pump:

#1 To (have the infusion set) die, post-lunch, while taking an exam. In that respect,it also tends to screw up at the most vital times. Why can't there be some sort of alarm that goes off when the set isn't in your skin anymore? The Dexcom certainly lets you know when the sensor isn't in the tissue. The pump, has alot of things that need fixing.

I got my upgraded Dexcom, its at home waiting for me when I get back from school! No more having to waste tons of fingersticks(strips!) trying to calibrate the meter to the unit.(via cable) No more cable, you just put your bg in the Dexcom.Yay!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

A Case of TMI....

I'm a conspiracy theorist- I believe that school administrators dictate all the instructors to make exams on the exact same weeks. Case in point:
-A&P lab exam, 9/17 (Wed)
-A&P lecture exam, 9/22
-3 page psych paper, 9/22
-5 page sociology paper, 9/24 (Wed)
All three courses hitting the big time over the course of a week. Not just dumb luck, the A&P was more then enough to keep me occupied. I barely have time or energy for all I have to do.I've found that certain monthly events can also negatively deplete electrolytes, whereas the infusion I got Friday would have lasted me till Monday just fine,it ran out Friday night and Monday morning can't come soon enough. No energy whatsoever,and its from low electrolytes, not hormones. (Told you you didn't want to read this!)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Spot the OC'rs


(there are four, that I can see!) More (of course) were there,if you see more then that let me know.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Ten Things I'd like my Doctor to Know

#1 This isn't a confessional, and likely neither of us is Catholic so don't turn it into a guiltfest. Yes, I messed up. I'm only human, and the large gaps in my logbook void of any carb count info whatsoever can be expected. I'll try to do better.

#2 Don't tell me I'm too young for x, y, and z. Anything is possible, everything is probable, and stranger things have happened.

#3 Don't tell me I lucked out by having a weird genetic thing. Luck is not the term for it, luck is REALLY not the term for it. Trial by fire is the term for it. It's a medical condition and no medical condition is particularly pleasant, especially not one that requires weekly electrolyte infusions + over time,(like about the time it takes for diabetes to kill the kidneys) can cause kidney failure although that's pretty rare. The only cure, is a kidney transplant sometimes they transplant even if the rest of your kidney function is ok. Which mine is. And I don't want a transplant, although if kidney failure ever necessitates one I'd have a double advantage.

#4 I've probably had diabetes longer then you've been practicing medicine so I'd appreciate you showing a little trust.(if you're not an endo, please don't play one) I know how serious diabetes can be.

#5 I dislike insurance companies just as much as you do, they never have the best interests of the patient in mind.

#6 If there's ever a cure for diabetes, I'm taking you out to lunch.

#7 Diet Coke is on top of the food pyramid. I cannot stop drinking it.

#8 This is a partnership + I wish to be treated as comprehending 75% of what you are actually saying. It will eventually sink in.(forgive me if I don't quite understand how the Loop of Henle reabsorbs,absorbs, and fails to absorb) Every case is different, so I'm guessing not even you have things entirely figured out as it pertains to mine.

#9 A hypo, is a force not to be reckoned with.It's like being starved for a week and then let loose at a Chinese buffet, it is very hard not to go completely wild.

#10 Watching more episodes of shows like House...will greatly improve your ability to relate with your patients. That's where they get 99% of their medical knowledge anyway.
(season premiere tonight,btw!)

Monday, September 15, 2008

Lessons of a Yard Sale(Part II)

Lesson Set #1
and last Saturday...
1. If something hasn't sold in 4 yard sales(2 years) it's probably never gonna and it's time to just let go...and give it to charity.

2. The dude who wants to know if you've got any sniper rifles for sale might just be on for something. As it pertains to scaring the heck out of #3, so much so that they'll never come back. No, I don't have any knives or guns for sale + I've no idea why he asked that.(nor do I want to know)

3. More of my favorite type of customer- the type who loudly proclaim something isn't worth it, offer you less then a dollar for the very expensive item, and snuff off in a pout when you stand firm that this price is the lowest you'll go. Grrrr, I bet you have no problem shelling out for the exact same item at JCPenney. At a yard sale, though, it's supposed to be free or nearly so.

4. Items being used by yourself(such as the fan and rocking chair) need to have signs that they aren't for sale because they are invariably the items that people want to buy the most.
Fan? no
Rocking chair? no
Windex bottle? no
Price stickers? no
Nationals baseball cap? no
(the forbidden seems to have the most appeal)

5. Water bottles really sell. WHO knew, my FFL stash is down to 2 now. I am giving the rest to the Salvation Army. I'd never pay money for something I've got zillions of but most people don't attend conferances and don't get zillions of various items.

6. The hot sun is great for the bgs..stayed between 140-170 for 6 straight hours, even postmeal!

7. People who don't like to drink diet soda probably don't have diabetes.

8. The price of everything drops by 10%, every hour.

9. You'll invariably forget to put a box of stuff out and be kicking yourself for missing out on a potential $30+ more in sales.(and it'll have to wait till the next one)
(kick,kick, kick)

10. Playing "Let's stop the Diabetics" is really fun, although most were in the type 2 category there was a young women who got the Ultra Mini(I give away my extra meters) and she coulda been a type 1. Or maybe people just like getting freebies, no matter what it is. Sometimes people are open about the D and sometimes they just grab and run. There was only one women who actually talked to me about it.

11. Drinking $6 worth of Diet Sodas significantly cuts into one's profits.

12. Heavy rains the night before tend to deter people from coming out en masse the next day-sales weren't as good.

13. We should have sold the new neighbor's house,it's kind of doubtful as to when they're coming back. Been gone for over a week now(they headed down with their boat to have some fun in Hurricane Gustav). One has to wonder whether they are coming back.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The First Type 1 Ironman!

Yo, Bill-you forgot to suck your finger.(maybe most D's didn't do that,back in 1983 though...)

25 years later...he's still doing what he loves. Ironman #6, in October.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Stars of the Fallen

Forgetting isn't an option. Ever-the destruction of this country begins with people who could care less about the thousands(maybe more) of hardcore terrorists who eat,breathe, and live to wipe America off the planet.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

The Chicken or the Egg: A Diabetes Debate

You know just after you've taken your first course in a subject and are convinced that you know it all?

Yeah, you could say I'm SOOO at that place. (best Patrick Dempsey impersonation)

So, in psych class we've been rehashing all the major theorists + boring doesn't begin to do justice to the term. The summer course was so packed, so intense, that I'm remembering all this stuff and listening to it again is like regurgitating a fine steak.(great the first time, NOT great the 2nd time) I like psych, I'm probably going to end up a psychiatric pediatric nurse at this rate. I am also ready to move beyond the basics- start solving the world's problems or at least understand them better.

But the one thing the prof said caught my attention, the issue of which comes first- the urge to change behavior(feelings) or the behavior itself. I can see both sides, in the tv show What not to Wear they give the contestants a $5,000 wardrobe makeover,new hair style, makeup- fixing the behavior first, and then the feelings of self confidence + initiative catch up.

And then diabetes(or another chronic disease) comes into the picture and things get so blurry you're not sure which theory is right. If the behavior comes first, you might as well forget about it because someone has to want to change. And if feelings come first, past good disease management doesn't necessarily have a positive impact if you're in that blue funk right now. Learned behavior doesn't mean you'll just automatically keep repeating it, regardless of how you feel. And doing it, does not make one happy about doing it. (it's usually the opposite)

I guess it's like Joe S. said in his FFL discussion group...feelings are important, but you can't run your management off them. It's non negotiable, diabetes management. You might displace your feelings of anger and non compliance into being the longest haired, most tattooed individual in your neighborhood but you can't cope with it by ignoring your disease. It has consequences far beyond one's own life- the family,friends, national and global impact of soaring health care costs. Being angry at diabetes is perfectly acceptable, learning how to channel that anger into a more productive end product is the challenge.
What are you guys thoughts on this?
(logic was never my strong point, these are just my weird ramblings)

Friday, September 05, 2008

One in a Million

Raise your hand if you've ever felt unique, because of your diabetes.

Raise your other one if you're convinced that yours is the freakingist, hardest, most complex case ever.

And now, jump up and down when you hear that the autosomal recessive gene curse has struck again.. and the thing you're being tested for, is something that about 250 people in the US have. That the nephrologist, who has been in practice for 35 years, has never seen before.

Bartter's Syndrome. None of my five siblings have anything weird, or chronic diseases.I'm not sure my parents knew what they were in for, that fall day when I made my appearance on earth. Or that January day, when the screwy genes collided.
There's a few more tests that have to be run, but one thing is for sure, magnesium infusions are going to be a part of life for an indeterminate period of time.

Monday, September 01, 2008

A Labor Day Wish

The past few weeks have been rather difficult, as I come to terms with something every bit as votile and twisted as diabetes is. But accentuating the positives is good for one's mental health, so I'll take a whack at it:
- No school(today)- I don't have to survive through it.
- I'm not in the hospital, ER, or doctor's office. And that's a good thing, I'm tired of all three places. Tomorrow may be another story, but that's tomorrow + I'm trying to focus on making today the best it can be.
-I have a great family,a wonderful husband,and a good life.Overall. I'm not in the path of Hurricane Gustav, having to flee for my life while the house/possessions get demolished.
The sun is shining, there is fall nip in the air, and it's the perfect holiday.

Today is my birthday,and I want to live life, not the other way around.