Monday, August 25, 2008

Feeling Super Low

We're not talking numbers here (well, not much anyway--my numbers haven't been low in...let's not even go there).

The past few days have brought a pile of stress. A phone call from my mother on Friday had me heading home Friday evening with Matt. My dad had taken a turn for the worse. Visiting him on Saturday and Sunday morning had to be one of the most difficult things I've done in a long time, if not ever. There were moments of excruciating heartbreak. Each day I left his nursing home in tears.

I also cannot tell whether I should feel indifferent or enraged at his girlfriend's lack of appearances at the home. She doesn't seem to call either, and I don't really feel surprised about it. My dad's family has actually been slowly filing into Pennsylvania to visit him. They're an odd bunch--they can go for months, even years without speaking yet they can rally when one of them is ill. It's what they did for my grandmother (their mom), and what they did for my Aunt Kathy when she passed away less than a year ago. I am trying not to feel too nervous about how my dad's side seems to be so plagued by cancer. I hope that I can avoid that for myself in the future.

Is there a polite way to tell well-wishers that my dad most likely isn't going to get better? I really doubt many have survived stage 4 pancreatic cancer, and now that I've seen him, I know it would take a miracle to make my dad better.

Had more Cleo issues over the past few days. Had a stressful day at work. ARRRGH I need to find some time to have fun or I'm gonna lose it!

I don't even want to tell you what my blood sugar is doing. Yuck, it just looks hopeless.

I know I'll be okay, and I'll get through all of this somehow.

I just wish I didn't have to worry about infusion sets or where the heck my numbers will go next in the midst of all this crazyness.

But there was happy news this weekend.

My grandparents celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary! Go Nana and Pap!

I hope that I can enjoy my marriage for the next sixty some years and beyond. Have I mentioned how much I love Matt lately? Well, I do. He's the front line in dealing with me dealing with all this stressful stuff, and he's handling it pretty well. If you ever get to meet me and my hubby, I hope that you agree that he rocks.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Cleo Nightmares

When you are under a lot of stress AND you have to manage your diabetes, I think there's always a risk of a major meltdown. It can be caused by even the stupidest, littlest things like not enough blood on the test strip, a low blood sugar that keeps you from going home on time, or in my case, some rogue adhesives that refuse to do their job.

It was around 12:30am last night that I unintentionally put my emotions and those of my husband's through the wringer. Everything started off normally and innocuously enough. I was getting ready for bed, changing my entire infusion set. I use the Cleo 90 sets with my Deltec Cozmo pump. (See pic above.) I definitely like the Cleos—they don't get as bent up as some of my old Medtronic sets did. Once you can get them on, they're usually pretty well stuck unless your waistband or belt decides to get pesky. That's only happened to me twice.

However, sometimes I have some trouble getting the Cleos to stick initially. I always use IV Prep wipes, and sometimes I wonder if I have a bad batch of them. Some days I try to put one on (or in, however you want to look at it), and the first one doesn't work. The Cleo has a brilliant mechanism that makes it super-safe as soon as you use it. The introducer needle retracts into the inserter's housing, making it impossible to accidentally poke yourself or someone else with it. Sounds great, right?

It is. Except, if your adhesive doesn't stick properly, you can't try to stick yourself with the set a second time. If it's not staying, you're done. You pull out the depressingly empty cannula and proceed to bleed all over the place.

This is the brief, easy overview of my bedtime last night. The long, emotionally draining version is a little different.

One Cleo didn't work. Frustrating, but common for me. The second one doesn't work. I'm tired. I just want to sleep. Why does this keep happening to me? I just want to go to bed like a normal person without having to do this crap. Matt comes to bed. Everything goes downhill from there. I am almost in tears anyway. He asks me what's wrong, and I answer him truthfully, but I'm short with him. I ask him, trying not to snap, to get me another Cleo. This is the third. Third time is the charm, right?

It doesn't work. My eyes flood with tears, and I can feel my entire body shaking. I feel like my only reaction at this point can be a violent one. I twist the protective cap back onto defective Cleo #3 and grip it hard in my hand.

"What the fucking SHIT?!! Fuck!" comes out of me from a very guttural place as I pitch the Cleo and it hits the bedroom wall with an almost satisfying clack. I am crying, shaking staring straight ahead. Matt moves to hug me and I just feel too down low to even want to accept the affection. Matt assures me it's okay. He says he understands because he gets really frustrated when things don't work as well as they're designed to.

Before I know it, I open my stupid frustrated mouth. "Yeah," I say, sobbing, "but you don't have to worry about how your stuff malfunctioning leaves your health out of control, and that doesn't make you think about how no matter how hard you try, maybe you'll go blind, or your kidneys will fail, or you'll lose a leg...or you'll never have enough control to ever have your own children."

Then I am instantly wrapped in Matt's arms before I even know what happens. I regret the words I've said as we both sit on the bed and weep. I am drained, and I still need to get the infusion set in.

I try the fourth. It fails again. More cussing. More throwing of failed Cleos. More tears.

The fifth one finally works. I breathe a sigh of relief. I apologize to my husband for the freak-out. I go to sleep.

Was it worth the anger? The blinding rage? The bottomless feeling of hopelessness? I don't know. But when my every day life is bringing me the stress of my job, the stress of looking for a new home, and the stress of my father's failing health, sometimes it takes a few extra bleeding holes in your body and failed medical devices to put you at your worst.

Thanks again, diabetes, for showing me just how much hurt is in my life in the ugly hours when I'm trying to make the most of things. Thanks a lot. (Yes, folks, that's sarcasm.)

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Mmm. Frosty.

My new favorite site to laugh at is the Fail Blog. You may ask me why, so here's the best reason I can provide for you:

fail owned pwned pictures
see more pwn and owned pictures

On the other hand, I love Frostys, though ultimately they result in something really obnoxious...


Hmm. I think I need to make a picture, even though you guys are the only ones who would really appreciate the joke.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Update on My Dad

He's not doing so well. Now has a blood clot in one of his legs. Because of the pancreatic cancer, they are not going to operate.

I guess they are trying some blood thinners, but if they don't work and then the clot moves to the heart or lungs...

My aunt is trying to get him into a nice hospice. I don't know that Dad realizes yet that's where he's probably headed. His girlfriend apparently has remarked that she can't take care of him, and basically doesn't want him to come back home. Can't say that I'm surprised--I've never been terribly impressed with her.

Sometimes I feel like I don't know what to do with myself. I wonder if I should be doing more, but then I realize I'm doing all I can. I know that Dad just wants me to do what makes me the happiest, so I call him as much as I can. I send him notes. I put his care into the able hands of his healthcare providers and my aunts (his sisters, both of whom are nurses) who are helping as much as they can.

I know that in the long run, things aren't going to be fine. This won't end well. But for now he seems to be in good spirits, and he's comfortable. That's really all I can ask for at this point.

I thought, as my loyal readers and friends, you all deserved to know.

As for me, I'm holding up pretty well considering. At times I'm probably a bit more emotional than normal, but I'm just trying to go about my life as usual. I know for a fact my dad doesn't want me sitting around and being upset all the time.

So tonight Matt, Nigel and I are going out to look at a different place to rent. Don't get me wrong--I love our current house, but I'm hoping to find a place I'm equally fond of that will save me a couple hundred bucks a month. We've been running into a lot of pesky car repairs lately, plus other expenses we weren't expecting and with our rent being what it is, we're still unable to get new furniture. We have been discussing furniture for months, and it's just never quite enough in our budget. Granted, we are better at staying afloat now that we're all working, but a cheaper rent means we can get more of what we want--a new couch, nice chairs for the dining room, a real bedroom set...

Whatever happens, we'll all get by. Hope you're well, blogosphere.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Calling All Experts on Type 1... is searching for an expert on Type 1 Diabetes! I don't think I'm the expert they're searching for, but maybe you know someone way more scientific or medical who could be qualified! Or maybe you have more time on your hands than I do right now to research all your Diabetes P's and Q's.

Click this little ol' link right here, and then scroll to the "Type 1 Diabetes" description.

It could be a really cool opportunity for the right person!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Eat Some More Pills, Pillhead.

I have never quite understood the people who refuse to take medications because they don't want to have "all those chemicals" or what have you in their bodies. Recently, an acquaintance of mine mentioned that she might have to have her wisdom teeth out soon, but she wasn't really into taking medication, so she was wondering if she could bear it without the painkillers. She worries about taking medications because of her family's history of drug & alcohol addiction and abuse, which I suppose is a great reason to not drink, do drugs, or maybe avoid heavy use of prescription painkillers.

However, and isn't there always a however when I get on these bloggy rants, she won't even take over-the-counter meds for the same reasons. She's just uncomfortable with getting in the habit of putting chemical stuff in her body. Yeah, it sounds noble, but the poor girl has migraines and really terrible acid reflux when she eats acidic foods. She takes nothing, and then proceeds to sit around looking miserable. All because she seems afraid of actually becoming dependent on Excedrin or Pepcid.

I also get really annoyed by people who only trust natural medicine exclusively (hey, supplements can definitely do some good, but you don't want them alone) as well as people who refuse to take their children to doctors because "God intended this to happen".

You know what? Medication exists for a reason, and I wouldn't be alive without it. It's not just the diabetes either--I had a lot of sinus infections and strep throat as a kid. I absolutely cannot identify with those who refuse to take it, and I never have been able to sympathize with people who won't even do the smallest amount of work to ease their own suffering.

Oddly enough, while writing this post, the song "Girl, You Have No Faith in Medicine" by The White Stripes has come on the ol' iTunes.

I wonder how those who are anti-medication look at me. If you knew me today, and you decided those who fill their bodies with "needless" chemicals are in the wrong, are you trying to tell me that you'd have preferred I died in the throes of DKA years ago? Medicine has pretty much given me my whole life, so don't come around me saying that maybe I should JUST drink herbal tea for those PMS cramps, or that I should just tough out my pain.

I'm a human who has good faith in science. So give me some Tylenol already, because this rant has given me a headache. Look, if there happens to be some insulin out there that you don't feel like taking, send it my way. I'd appreciate it, thanks.