Bus riding with B

Memorial Day Weekend and I did what most New Yorkers do (Ok that’s not true.  I did NOT go to the Hamptons).  I did however enjoy time with friends who happen to have outdoor space (yep, a rooftop get together).  Gorgeous right?

I wore a strapless sundress and just inserted my first (drum roll please) unassisted (more drum rolling) Dexcom site in my arm earlier in the morning (woo hoo *Victory Dance*).

Friends arrived at the rooftop festivities with their 2 1/2 year old, Lady B.  I joke that Lady B is smarter than I am.  The joke is that I’m not joking.  This kid quite possibly (possibly = definitely) has a better vocabulary than I do and is so bright that I am considering hiring her to work in my office and run my finances.  Anyway, when it became too dark to sit on the roof, we went to my friend’s apartment where Lady B and I sat next to each other on the sofa.  We started playing what I would like to call, “Riding A NYC Bus” (lots of colliding into each other).  Quickly it was determined that said friend’s loft steps were the “bus stop” and the sofa was the bus.  When we sat on the steps we were squished (the steps are narrow, or I have a big butt, or something like that, shhh no judgements), and my Dexcom sensor was right in Lady B’s face every time she spoke to me.  I kept her jabbering, not sure how to explain my arm if she asked (I have limited knowledge on 2 year olds. That is also true for 1 and 3 years olds).  Lady B and I ran around the coffee table and back to the bus stop.  I felt a tiny little hand cup right over the Dex sensor and Lady B leaned up and asked what was on my arm.  I stammered and started to explain that my body doesn’t always work correctly and this helps me know how to make it better.  She kept patting the sensor, with the gentlest touch, so cautious.  Her Dad started explaining it is medicine.  She kept smiling, staring at the Dexcom sensor, so I told her it helps me stay healthy and strong so I can play with her.  Apparently that was all she needed to know because she pulled her hand away and told me it was time to get on the bus.

The bus game continued (its Manhattan on a holiday weekend, lots of transfers) and my Dexcom sensor became the hot topic (what else are you going to talk about while waiting for the bus right?).  When Lady B realized a sticker held the Dexcom on my arm her eyes were as wide as saucers and her whole face lit up.  She kept patting my arm and telling me how much she likes “this” (The Dexcom).  I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry.  I’ve had my fair share of frowning looks and stares from strangers in the last few weeks.  The weather is warm and I own far more sleeveless items of clothing than I ever realized.  When asked, I explain to strangers that I’m diabetic and and quickly explain “it” tracks my blood sugar levels.  Depending on the person’s reaction I might say something like I’m under house arrest OR I’m in the Witness Relocation Program and add a giggle, but there I was, playing crazy bus ride, with a little girl who wanted to talk stickers and for some reason, kept nodding her head and saying, “I like this”.

D-Blog Week Day 3- One Thing I Could Do Better

Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at.  Today let’s look at the flip-side.  We probably all have one thing we could try to do better.  Why not make today the day we start working on it.  No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

Oy vey. This morning I came up with at least 6 different answers to this question (had I worked-out longer this AM I am sure I could have easily doubled or tripled that number).  Hmmmm.  Just one thing?  The first one that comes to mind is combining my almost 33 years diabetes knowledge with the information I’ve learned from 4+ months with my beloved Dexcom.  The most obvious one for me is, “HEY if you’re going to eat like the winning hippo in a game of Hungry Hippo, bolus earlier!” 

My first few weeks with my buddy Dex (Dexcom is the name for more formal occasions) taught me that my BG shoots up right after a meal (often) and returns to my target range later.  At first, I felt compelled to correct those post meal highs.  Dex beeping at me that I was too high was like a flashback to my high school Spanish class and Senora Bogan constantly yelling at me to “SILENCIO POR FAVOR!!!”.  Correcting those Dex beeps would lead me to crash later and then eat glucose tablets like they were M &Ms (what can I say, M&Ms are quite tasty).

So after the first few weeks I kinda, sorta started to chill-out about the corrections (I fought myself NOT to do a correction) but knew that wasn’t the answer.  My blood shouldn’t skyrocket in order to comeback to normal range.  I had to face it, I must bolus sooner and as much as I hate admitting it, I need to combo bolus sometimes too.  This boils down to organization and a little more planning on my part.  Ugh.  I’ve admitted it and now I have to do it. Gracias!

Diabetes Blog Week (my first real post)… One Diabetes Thing I Do Well

Today’s Topic for Diabetes Blog Week:

Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly! 

 A few weeks ago I had what I consider a diabetes test.  No, not a test to see if I am diabetic, that test was in the summer of 1979 (man am I old).  No, this was what I consider a test of my internal Emergency Broadcast System.  The whole story is rather graphic and is better suited for another post (later this week) about insulin pumps, X-rays, TSA, and warranties.  Today, I am supposed to pat myself on the back for the diabetes thing I do well.  My “thing” is that in a serious panic, freak the front-door out moment; I keep a level head, and use my smarts.

I was on a red eye flight and unbeknownst to me had a bent cannula under my skin from a brand spanking new pump site (oh and by “bent” I mean like if you took a regular straw and tried to turn it into a bendy straw).

cannula bent like a non-bendy straw

I have to preface this story by explaining I take anti nausea pills sometimes when I fly and for the first few hours of the flight I believed I was sick, not diabetes sick, which led to some of the impending confusion taking care of the situation.  For the sake of sticking to the topic, I will shorten this to the following facts: hours of puking, taking over one of the bathrooms, and peeing my pants.  When my Dexcom showed my BG was in the low 200s, I wasn’t too concerned since I was getting sick (over and over and over) and definitely didn’t want to deal with going low until my stomach issues were under control. I kept giving myself mini boluses (less than a correction) with my pump, my body continued exploding, and I kept noticing my BG wasn’t decreasing at all.  By the time the Dex said I’d reached 300, I suspected I was possibly having the Perfect Storm scenario.

I changed my pump site in a huge rush to get to the airport (yep, stupid) but I didn’t remove the old site as my just-in-case back-up (yep, smart).  So I switched the pump to the old site, bloused and waited (ok “waiting” is a nice way of saying I drank a diet Coke in the bathroom and started puking it out my nose so violently I got a nose bleed).  My BG sort of stabilized in the 300-320 range.  It wasn’t going down though and at that point it really should have.  I had already peed my pants while puking (and made new very scratchy undies out of toilet paper) so my pride was long gone.  Somehow, in my muddled state, I went through my mental checklist of what to do.  I made it back to my seat and grabbed my glucometer, glucose tablets, a new vial of insulin and a syringe (something I rarely traveled with many years ago when all I thought I ever needed was my back-up old pump).

Back in the bathroom, Pukefest 2012 continued but I was able to check my blood… 427! Ack! Dex said 337.  I opened the new insulin vial and pulled the safety cap off the syringe (as a side note: I used to chew on those caps as a kid as I did my shots. I put the safety cap in my mouth for a second, caught myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe in a time of complete distress I automatically did something I haven’t done since I went on my first pump 12 years ago.  What a weird-O).  Anyway I looked over my belly and figured since I was clearly having insulin absorption issues, I should inject elsewhere so I gave myself a mini shot in my belly far from both pump sites (smart) and then another one in my hip (which was a mess with the plane bouncing but I got it… also smart).

I had puked myself silly by the time I was finally able to sit back in my seat for the remaining 45 minutes.  By the time we landed, my BG was in the 240 range.  I managed to keep hydrating myself (small sips and smart) and grabbed liquids on my way out of the airport (also smart since I ended up in NYC traffic for over an hour).

When I got home and cleaned up (good-bye toilet paper undies), my BG was still hovering in the 200s, so I changed out everything with the pump again.  I then called Animas and had them go through any and all diagnostic testing they could do over the phone.  My next call was to my doctor since I still felt like I’d been hit by a bus and then dragged for awhile and high ketones.  When I told her how I’d used the light on my phone to grab a syringe out of my make-up bag, my doctor told me she was proud of me.  She said how lots of people on pumps don’t have syringes on them at all times.  I had been one of those people.  For some unknown reason, in the past year, I started carrying 2 syringes in my travel bag.  So yeah,  I may not be diabetes perfect, but when push came to shove, I was smart.  No wait.  I Am Smart.

A Start

In the past few months, I have started reading diabetes blogs with an interest and regularity that I never had before.  There are a few reasons for this but the biggest one is I had an interest in obtaining a CGM since I suspected I was having issues with hypoglycemic unawareness and simply put, i was scared.  Blogs became my real world research.  I was approved by my insurance for a Dexcom in December of 2011. I didn’t know anyone, personally, using this technology and suddenly I found myself mildly dependant on T1D blogs.  Other than an hour long training session, EVERYTHING I learned about my Dex, I learned from the world of diabetes tweets and blogs.

The only times I have considered starting a blog were in relation to my career which is NOT in the field of healthcare or diabetes.  Writing a diabetes blog didn’t occur to me nor did it remotely appeal to me.  But then, something changed.  Not all at once, but little things started happening.  My boyfriend gained more diabetes education, especially about the Dexcom through reading blogs, I trained to be a mentor on behalf of JDRF and realized I am old T1D (dx 1979), I was contacted by someone in my professional life with a Dexcom question…. Someone who knew I was diabetic by something I posted on twitter, not by anything I ever told them directly.  A man stopped me on the beach an hour after my boyfriend put a Dexcom sensor in my arm for the first time.  The man was with his 8 year old son who was on an insulin pump too.  When I told him I was approaching my 33rd anniversary with diabetes, he kept telling me how “cool” that was and then apologizing with tears in his eyes and hugging his son.  He told me how encouraging it was to hear and of course tears then streamed from my eyes too. I thought about what a vast sea of fantastic diabetes blogs I had discovered in a few months and that dissuaded me from pursuing any vague notion of blogging.  Nope, I don’t need to blog.  I didn’t think I had anything new to say on the topic.

April 23, 2012 was the day when diabetes managed to scare me silly (although I didn’t realize it at the time) and a few people told me I should write down what happened (more on that later).  Then the turning point.  I saw a post about Diabetes Blog Week and Karen Graffeo of http://www.bittersweetdiabetes.com wrote, “If you don’t have a blog but have thought about starting one, now is the perfect time”.  So I guess, now is my perfect time.