Tuesday, November 10, 2009
They're sleek, for a medical device. They're stylish, for a medical device. They bring the diabetics who take insulin freedom from injections and obtrusive pump tubing. You can check your blood glucose and wirelessly control your pump from one PDA-like doohickey. (Yes, that's a technical term there.)
And they are, at this point, utterly pointless for me to consider. Patch pumps might be all the rage, thanks to famous customers like Nick Jonas, but this dorky diabetic is presently not a fan. Now, don't get me wrong. Everyone's insulin needs are different, and coming up with pumps that hold tiny amounts of insulin that dose miniscule, super-accurate amounts is certainly a very important medical device development. However, patch pumps leave diabetics like me out in the dust, unless we want to refill every single day.
I take what some people consider to be a lot of insulin. My low basal rate during the day is 2.8 u/hr. Now, granted there's not a lot of change during the course of 24 hours from that rate, but some people are just completely flabbergasted to find out what my daily intake is, as if that's a bad thing. I just call it what I need to stay alive and healthy. If you want to criticize me for how much insulin I'm taking, I'm sorry, but you're kind of a dick. Believe me, I wish I could take a couple measly units to cover a meal. I'd save money on insulin!
So I was utterly thrilled at the promise of something I saw over at DiabetesMine last week: the Picosulin Pump/Patch! At last, somebody is considering a patch pump which will be discreet, stylish (for a medical device) and will hold 3ml of insulin at a time! What a completely brill idea! I love the fact that somebody is working on a device which will give me options. Ever since Smiths Medical announced that they were bowing out from the diabetes business, I've been heartbroken, because when I get my next pump, I won't have choices. The only pump company that makes a 3ml pump that's worth a hoot, in my opinion, is Minimed. And I've had Minimed before. I wasn't unhappy, but their pump didn't offer the customization I really needed. Their bolus cap was too low for me.
I would love to see further development by Picosulin. In fact, if you visit their website, they have a survey you can take to tell them what you want in a pump. Everything I just told you, I also told them. (Maybe in a few less words, but the idea is the same.)
Maybe one day, there will be a patch pump that could work well for me. Then I can be just as hip as one of the Jo-Bros.
Monday, November 9, 2009
So here it is, folks. It's D-Blog Day, that creatively invented holiday we diabetes bloggers celebrate with empowerment, bittersweetness, and fond memories of the first time we found, read, commented on and/or started a diabetes blog. I think so many of us came online searching for information or just someone who had a voice similar to ours, and instead we found a huge wealth of friendship, support, and stories that tell us we're not alone. We've all found that our daily struggles, while still somewhat unique, are not the misunderstood mysteries of days past. As diabetes bloggers and diabetes blog readers, we've all found a home here in the vast wilderness of the World Wide Web. Doesn't it feel great?
Here's to the future of d-blogs, their authors, their readers, the good they can do.
This coming Saturday is World Diabetes Day, and at the World Diabetes Day in Philadelphia event, I will be proud to host an information table on online support and resources for everyone affected by diabetes. While I've never been shy about performing or hosting events in public, I'm a little nervous about this one. People will be looking at me as an expert! Whoa! So, I have to thank everyone out there in the DiabetesOC for making this possible for me. The support, friendship and love I find through D-Blogs and communities is something I want to share with everyone now. And I will. And I can't wait to post some pictures from the event after it happens.
I believe that a blog can be a great tool for both empowerment and emotional outlet, and I'm so happy that I started reading DiabetesMine and SixUntilMe back in 2006, because I realized that I don't have to let diabetes run my life. Yet, when I feel like diabetes is trying to become some kind of dictatorship in my body, I can blog about it, feel better, get the virtual hugs I need. I can even learn something.
I can't really say for certain that the DiabetesOC has saved my life, but it has certainly made this life with diabetes feel a lot easier and more rewarding to live! Happy D-Blog Day to my fellow bloggers, readers, and lurkers!
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Just a quick post/call for help today. This year, on World Diabetes Day, I will be [wo]manning an information table at the Philadelphia WDD event, all about online support for people with diabetes. This means visitors will receive handouts and information on diabetes websites, blogs, resources, etc.
Just because many of us know where all the good stuff is online doesn't mean it's easy to find for everybody. There are a lot of diabetes sites out there, some awesome, some less-than-stellar. I want to be able to direct people to the good ones!
This is where you can help play a part in my display. Imagine for a moment you are searching for diabetes websites and resources for the first time. What are some of your picks for diabetes sites, social networks, and blogs for those who are DiabetesOC beginners? What would you recommend for a Type 1? A Type 2? A parent of a child with diabetes? A child or teen with diabetes?
Also, who are the other bloggers and diabetes activists in the greater Philadelphia area? Thinking maybe a list of the locals would appeal to passersby as well.
Your comments are really, really appreciated! And if you want to mention your own blog, I won't judge you, but if you feel self conscious about saying "Dorkabetic is the best diabetes blog ever" or what have you, anonymous comments are cool.
Thank you so much, friends!
Tuesday, November 3, 2009
A monthly visitor. A little friend. Aunt Flo's in town. A gift from Mother Nature. The curse. The crimson tide. That time of the month. Menstruation. Your period.
Whatever you want to call it, ladies, have you ever noticed it can be tricky business when it comes to The Big D? Some people I know complain about the blood glucose roller coaster they go on. Some people go high. Some people stay low. I always get really low in day 1 then shoot way back up. A blood glucose catapult, if you will.
This makes things tricky the entire almost-week my Aunt Flo is in for a visit. I'm suddenly overly sleepy. Is my BG high? Is it just my hormones wreaking havoc on my energy levels? I never know. Peeing more often. Having no energy. Being really hungry. It seems like half the symptoms that go along with having your period are also symptoms of high blood sugar, and I am normally plagued by both at the same time. Ugh.
Let's not even talk about the food cravings. No, wait. Let's. That's what this blog is for, right? Discussions? I am one of those women who wants salty things followed by sweet things followed by more salty things followed by more sweet things. I think the absolute worst part of having my period is that not only do I get cravings, but I'm also just hungry all the freaking time. I'll eat a big dinner, then an hour later I want a snack. Then after that I might consider another snack.
Now I am wondering if my high that-time-o'-the-month blood sugar levels are related to my constant snacking. I'm sure the answer is probably yes, somewhat. I seem to be high regardless of my snack intake. You do not want to get between me and my food right now. I'm crabby enough as-is, but if you will be prying this here miniature Mr. Goodbar from my cold, dead hands. Look, I'm even bolusing for it!
Ladies, what kinds of issues do you have once a month? Let's commiserate!
Friday, October 30, 2009
How often can I say it? I really love Halloween. This year I won't be dressing up as anything, and I have no parties to attend. My mom is coming to visit, and I'm actually quite excited about that. Matt and I are considering taking her on a haunted hayride, possibly a ghost tour in Philadelphia.
But really now, let's pause to look at Halloween for a moment, as people with diabetes. (Or people who help people with diabetes.) A simple Google search for "diabetic kids Halloween" or something similar turns up piles and piles of results, including a story that just appeared in USA Today. Oh, Halloween, if nothing else you seem to serve as a reminder to media outlets that kids are actually sick with Type 1 diabetes. The article is actually forward-thinking enough to have commentary from Fit4D.com, which tells the world that sweets are not the no-no for kids with diabetes anymore. They are simply like any other indulgent food--something to be planned for ahead of time.
Someone from the Mayo Clinic then opens their big mouth in the article, saying how candy is forbidden for pediatric diabetes patients at Halloween. Parents should seek out alternatives. Hey, I like alternatives--I loved getting Halloween toys and pencils and apples as a kid on my neighborhood trick-or-treating excursions. But hey--fruit also has carbs. You know, like a fun-sized Snickers. Also, realistically speaking? I don't think any child should be eating all of their Halloween candy on Halloween. Not only is that unhealthy, resulting in tummyaches and wiley sugar-high behaviors, but I think it teaches our kids to be greedy. I think I'm digressing. I apologize.
When it comes to Halloween, you do not want your children doing what I did in my middle school years. After years of candy deprivation, I went crazy. Sure, I made a little money by "selling" my parents and grandparents the candy that they were interested in, but there were plenty of goodies that were unappetizing to them. I told everyone I was giving them to my friends at school. Instead, I kept the candy hidden under my bed, covertly eating it at night while doing my homework or noshing when I returned home from school to an empty house. Hell hath no fury like a tween five years deprived of real candy.
I've seen some parents who take all of their children's candy and save it for episodes of low blood sugar. In my opinion, that's kind of an awful idea. I don't think the practice of unintentionally teaching your kids that having lows = getting treats is a good one. It seems too easy for an older kid who checks their own blood sugar to wander into the kitchen, say, "I'm low!" and be a glutton over the candy dish. Call me old-fashioned, but I was raised to treat my lows with juice or glucose tabs, unless none were available.
I really like the stance that Children with Diabetes takes on helping your kids have a normal Halloween with diabetes. They advise their readers, "[The common misconception is that] kids with diabetes shouldn't enjoy the treats -- they should. The issue is integrating the treats into the child's meal plan so as to minimize the disruption in blood glucose control. With fast acting insulins like NovoLog and Humalog, more and more families simply integrate candy into their child's meal plan." So basically, find out what your kids' favorites are. Ask them what they consider to be bolus-worthy. The CWD article is really helpful, as it has carb-count information for a number of different varieties of candy. Yay!
Many of us have learned how to manage our diabetes from a young age. I am so with Kerri, that as people with diabetes, we all need to learn how to manage our guilt, too. So let's start young with learning that the occasional treat is not the straw that breaks the camel's back. Let's all teach our kids that treats are good once in a while, but must come along with insulin, and testing to make sure everything is okay. Sure, we're diabetics. But that doesn't mean we need to suffer and deprive ourselves at every single turn. We're also humans with cravings for sweets.
And cravings for brains.
Oh wait, that's zombies.
Happy Halloween to all. If you need me, I will be bolusing for these fabulous 15g of carbs I am about to ingest. Bless you, mini Reese's Peanut Butter Cups.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
1. Do you like bleu cheese? Yes, especially crumbled on a salad with a good vinagrette, occasionally melted on a burger or steak, and of course, bleu cheese dressing is the tops with any Buffalo chicken items.
2. Have you ever smoked? Nope, though I am occasionally jealous of smokers because they are often allowed to take more breaks during the workday.
3. Do you own a gun? Only if squirt guns and Nerf weapons count.
4. Favorite type of Food? Type? What I'm in the mood for changes from day to day. I like comfort food, ethnic food, fried food, grilled food...food food food. It's too close to lunchtime for me to be thinking about so many kinds of food. I may end up eating a pencil.
5. Favorite type of music? I guess indie or alternative, though I don't really put much faith in actual genres of music anymore. I like too many kinds of music to pick one favorite type. How about "the good type"?
6. What do you think of hot dogs? I think they're pretty tasty once in a while. It's not like I eat them every day.
7. Favorite Christmas movie? I can't think of one offhand, but I'll tell you that WAY back in the day it was "Home Alone".
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? I like a really big cup of coffee, but recently I've been drinking diet sodas due to lack of a coffee machine at work.
9. Can you do push ups? If I can do any, I'm sure they're really terrible and sissy-looking.
10. What’s your favorite piece of jewelry? My engagement ring. It's still totally awesome and not too over-the-top.
11. Favorite hobby? Writing!
12. Do you have A. D. D.? Maybe mildly? I've never been diagnosed. I just think I need a lot of caffeine to function during the day. You know, like most people.
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts? Glasses, since I was 5. If I take them off, I can see clearly to about six inches in front of my nose.
14. Middle name? Ellen.
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment: I'm hungry, so I should probably get some lunch. My eye itches. I'll be glad when the construction is done at the office and all these extraneous noises go away.
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink: Diet Soda, water, iced tea.
17. Current worry? What if things with my job don't improve and I get really unhappy with it?
18. Current hate right now? Hate is a really strong word, and I don't hate things or people strongly. But I do hate that we don't get our free coffee machines until our entire office suite is completed. Three more weeks...
19. Favorite place to be? Somewhere comfortable in the company of good friends and people that I love. (awwww.)
20. How did you bring in the new year? In Grandma and Grandpa McD's living room in Indiana with some drinks and TV.
21. Someplace you’d like to go? Back to Austin, TX for a bit. It's a cool town and all of the food was fantastic.
22. Name three people who will complete this. *points* You, you, aaaannnd you. That could be directed at anybody.
23. Do you own slippers? Yes I do, they're purple ballerina-type things.
24. What color shirt are you wearing? It's black with a pattern that is primarily royal blue, magenta and gray.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets? I've never tried it. They might be, uh, fun, for uh, certain things, but I'm not even sure I like wearing satin clothes, with the exception of undergarments.
26. Can you whistle? Indeed.
27. Where are you now? My desk.
28. Would you be a pirate? Do you mean as a career? Or just an outfit? Or a Ren Faire re-enactor? I would probably do the 2nd or even the 3rd.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower? Anything that strikes my fancy at the time, though nothing beats a good showertime showtune.
30. Favorite Girl’s Name? I like Nora, Grace, and Kate.
31. Favorite boy’s name? I like Ian, Seth, and Colin.
32. What is in your pocket right now? While I am wearing a skirt with pockets, they are currently empty.
33. Last thing that made you laugh? Something our IT guy said. But then again, everything makes me giggle, so it may not have even been that funny.
34. What vehicle do you drive? Presently, a Chevy HHR. It's my rental car while my actual car, a 2004 Mazda 6 wagon, is still at the body shop. The HHR as a whole isn't bad, but I miss my car.
35. Worst injury you’ve ever had? Probably my broken middle finger which my dear friend Cari "fixed" for me. Yeowch.
36. Do you love where you live? Yes and no. The town where I live is pretty convenient, has great stuff in it, and I can walk to almost anything I need from my house. However, I do wish we were situated just a teensy bit closer to Philadelphia itself. I would appreciate an easier way to get onto 76 from where we live.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house? 2, one we use, one that we haven't used in a while but still intend to hook back up.
38. How many computers do you have in your house? There are 2 which get used, Matt's desktop and my laptop. There may be a few others floating around in the basement, but they are old and may run Windows 98 or something like that.
39. If you changed your job, what would it be? I would love to write for a living. Or maybe even work at a library.
40. If you were granted three wishes, what would they be? (Assuming these all come free of those "be careful what you wish for" scenarios...) A cure for diabetes, a lifetime of loaded Apple computers, and a career that I will always love.
Monday, October 12, 2009
It's true, though, diabetes has been riding in my backseat for a while now. I know it's there. It's just so quiet most of the time that it's easy to ignore. As always, I could be doing more. I could be doing better. I am a diabetes blogger, not a diabetes role model.
Let's couple some mismanagement with stress, and I'm sure my numbers are pretty awful right now anyway. I know that I'm stressed out because I've started biting my nails again. Nailbiting has been a habit of mine since childhood, but at times like this in my life, let's just say the nail clippers are pretty much useless except for filing down the odd edges I can make with my teeth.
I still like my job. I'm relatively happy here. I work with nice people...I just feel frustrated lately. I'm not really sure where this job falls in terms of any career goals I might have. At this point, it's just starting to feel like another job--not exactly a track I want to follow for the rest of my life. Every day when I'm doing some repetitive task, or filing, or answering the phone, I would most love to be writing or creating things. I would love to find enough freelance writing work that I could work from home all the time. Honestly, if anybody knows of any good opportunities or good places to start freelancing, I would absolutely love to start writing now and build a portfolio. I am beginning to think that what I want to do when I grow up is to be able to work and write for myself. Words are the one thing in my life that I've always been the most passionate about.
Meanwhile, the economy still sucks so I'm not about to leave my current job for what could be nothing but disaster. As I said, I like my current job. It's just not everything I want it to be, and as time wears on, I feel less and less okay with that. I hope that when our office moves that everything will change. Maybe my responsibilities will finally align with my true talents and passions and desires.
So in the meantime, does anybody know of any writing projects that would appeal to a sassy blogging gal with a Bachelor's in Communications?
If you need me, I'll be chomping on my fingers in private. Thanks.
Thursday, October 8, 2009
For example, if the puzzle requires you to get into a tree to collect the Starites you need to complete the level, you could type in "ladder", get a ladder, and climb up to your goal. Or you could type "ax" and chop the tree down. Or you could type "beaver" and get a beaver to come chew on the tree trunk, hence felling the tree and reaching your goal. Fun, right? It sure is.
I just purchased Scribblenauts for my own DS, and let me tell you...I've barely touched the real levels yet. Things are hectic and crazy at work right now, I don't have a lot of free time these days. So why the hell are you posting this, Hannah? You may ask me.
Because even before you play the game, the opening screen is a sandbox, meaning a fun screen to play around with that doesn't otherwise affect your own game play. It is here that you can find out the true measure of Scribblenauts' vast library of words. You can't use real people's names or anything obscene, but it's true that I have been able to summon all of the following:
Elf (so the Orc killed the Elf, but the Wizard killed the Orc)
If you want to see more of what kind of fun this can be, I suggest you go watch this YouTube clip from some video game expo somewhere.
So I decided just to entertain you, my dear diabetes-havin' readership, that I would see what Scribblenauts was capable of using diabetes terms. I successfully summoned the following, though don't even ask me how these could be remotely beneficial in a puzzle level:
Endocrinologist (just like typing in "doctor")
Insulin (no different from the syringe)
Glucose Monitor (which looks a lot like the last BD meter I had before they stopped making them)
Things that didn't work at all:
Things that almost worked:
Juice Box (a big wooden box/crate...hope you're feeling really low)
Insulin Pump (I got a bicycle pump, that looked like it had long tubing and an infusion set connected to it, but it turns out the bike pump looks identical)
So I guess were we all to have type 1 in the Scribblenauts universe, we'd be okay. You'd be able to see an endo, test your blood sugar and give yourself shots. If your BG got too low, you could still eat a candy bar. Or maybe get crushed by a wooden crate o' juice. All that while you run around, clutching your useless, bright red pancreas. Don't worry. It'll come in handy someday. That Cthulu is always such a hungry little fella...
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Sorry, I get carried away at the repeated appearance of the word blog. I think I've mentioned this in the past.
Perhaps I shall discuss a little more about why I haven't been blogging lately: I'm tired. I'm not tired of blogging, nor am I tired of blogging about that-which-will-not-be-named-today. I'm just exhausted sometimes. My work days are busy, chock full of activities and most recently have not allowed me a lot of downtime to hop online, Twitter, blog, chat, whatever. There are friends I probably haven't had a decent conversation with in over a month because our online schedules just don't sync up anymore.
By the time I get home at night, I have the energy to eat dinner, watch TV, maybe do some reading, play some video games. But not always. I've been going home and vegging out, physically and mentally sometimes.
In between that, I've also been busy with some new friends of mine, and of course, the old friends too. Even Matt has been busy with projects at work and twice-weekly band practices until they've played both of their shows this month.
But if I had to pick 3 adjectives to describe me these days, they almost seem counter-productive, because the adjectives would be: exhausted, stressed-out, and content. Overall, I'm really happy about a lot of things in my life. For all the tiredness and strain I have regarding my work and all of that *grumble grumble*-betes stuff, I still really like my job and the people I work with. I'm constantly trying to get better, do better, be better.
It's just not easy, and I can accept that. I can't believe it's October already. I also can't believe I've been married for 3 years already. Or that this blog is over 3 years old!
As the beloved Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." So I've been looking at life a lot, and neglecting the blog. I'm hoping that's going to change, because while I haven't been missing out on life, I've been missing all of you guys!
Full blogspeed ahead!
Blog blog bloggity blog blog bloggy blog bloggle blog blog...oh good gravy, somebody stop me...blog blog blogggggggg...
Monday, September 14, 2009
Mine doesn't work. Chances are, if you're reading this, yours doesn't work either. Or you know someone with a broken one.
It's the reason I have an invisible illness. It's also a particularly nasty place to get cancer.
My dad died a year ago today. I still miss him, always. It's weird--I didn't feel terribly sad today, I was able to make it through. Sometimes it feels like it was only yesterday, sometimes it feels like it's been years since I've seen him. Now I find it almost fascinatingly odd that Patrick Swayze has passed away today from the exact same thing.
Pancreases are tricky little things, aren't they? No wonder they don't get any respect until something goes horribly awry.
Friday, September 11, 2009
Saturday, September 5, 2009
As a kid, my constant companion on day trips (aside from Mom & Dad) was the Young's Bag. We're not talking a special brand or anything here, but more the logo that was screenprinted on it. This wasn't a Berkin bag or a Butler bag, not a Kate Spade, it was a branded giveaway from Young Industries, where my grandfather spent his career. He acquired a couple of these bags at a company picnic and bestowed one upon my family. It was simply a soft-sided six-pack cooler with a shoulder strap. Gray bag, blue strap, I recall.
The Young's Bag (which I believe I've written about in an old entry, too) was always there with us. It held Junior Juice boxes and packs of peanut butter crackers for lows, my original One Touch glucose meter (that old, gray brick), syringes, a Glucagon kit, alcohol wipes, extra lancets, test strips, my logbook and a juice-box sized, mini soft cooler that held my insulin, both NPH and regular. None of those fancy Frios for me, no sir!
Were Frios even on the market in the early '90's? I don't know, but sometimes I think I could definitely use one now. It's difficult to find $2.00 juice box coolers at the grocery store these days!
Parts of my childhood can be summed up thusly: Sleepover? Young's bag. Dinner at a restaurant? Young's bag. Daytrip to Knoebel's Amusement Park? Young's bag, dropped off at the First Aid station until it was time for my afternoon shots. You get the picture.
Recent years have brought about the need to travel with entire boxes of supplies. Pump infusion sets, reservoirs, etc., all depending on how long you plan to be on a trip. I always overprepare in terms of backup supplies. You never know what's going to happen, especially if you are travelling out of state for an extended period of time. Heck, sometimes you travel, you think you have everything, and then you're in for a difficult surprise! Back in March, I went to Chicago for two weeks for work training purposes, only to realize I had forgotten the extra insulin I intended to pack. I had enough for a few days left, and I had to have Matt FedEx the stuff to my hotel the next day.
Boxes and boxes of supplies tucked under my bed in college. Syringes always tucked into a corner of my purse in case of pump malfunction.
Nowadays, I am constantly carrying The Purple and White Thing. It's a cosmetic bag I got as a freebie for buying too much junk at Ulta (again) or maybe Sephora, I don't remember. I like makeup, even if I don't always wear it. Anyway, this little circular bag holds a few Cleo infusion sets, a couple of reservoirs, insulin, test strips, sometimes a small tube of glucose tabs. It's peace of mind in a cute little zippered bag. It gets me through mid-workday site changes and trips through the airport. It's my new companion on daytrips, and the only thing that could make it better would be if it were insulated!
We are always carrying something. They are always trying to come up with some newer, cuter way for us to tote our supplies about, and for that, I'm grateful. What's the most creative container you've had for your diabetes supplies?
I get by with my midsize purses and additional bags. The fact that GIGANTIC purses seem to be in style has been fun--plenty of diabetes supply space. I could carry 3 meters and not find any of them!
But sometimes, just sometimes, I wish I could go on vacation with just a tiny little wristlet, my ID, money, maybe a single lipgloss. And that would be all I'd need.
I hope everyone has a really happy Labor Day weekend, regardless of travel, picnics, bumming around at home, or having to work retail. We're headed to Virginia with some friends for a trip to Busch Gardens and Virginia Beach. I am so looking forward to car-tripping with Matt--he's my favorite road trip buddy. And the beach. And rollercoasters! Whee!
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
All bragadoccio aside (sorry, my team is awesome!!), here's a little anecdote I couldn't resist sharing with you all.
We were outside the hotel on Monday night chatting with the other poets and friends gathered out front. I saw a young man pull something small and round out of his messenger bag. My attention was immediately drawn directly to it--a vial of One Touch test strips. I kept an eye on the guy with his test strip bottle, eager to see if he was going to pull a meter out so maybe I could start a conversation. As far as I know, I've only ever met one other person at a poetry slam with Type 1. He rummaged around in his bag, and I wondered if he had an Ultra 2, or a One Touch Ping, or an Ultra-Mini...
He pulled out not a meter case, but a rolling paper. I'm not advocating anything here, it just generally happens that where poets are gathered, shall we say that, um, smoking herbal substances is a commonplace occurance. As he rolled his jazz cigarette, I finally caught the young man's attention.
Me: "Wow, that's actually really clever!"
Me: "Using an empty test strip vial as a container for...well..."
"Oh, yeah, actually it's pretty common. If you pack one of these, they're not going to open it up in the airport to find out what's inside it, you know?"
Me: "Huh, guess that makes sense, I suppose." I paused, and started chuckling. "Well, I'm actually a diabetic myself, and it's good to know that somebody has a way to recycle those stupid bottles. I always feel like it's kind of a waste when I have to toss an empty one."
The guy started laughing. "Hey, you can just give 'em to me! Oh, hey, do you guys smoke?"
Me: "No thanks, dude. I was just curious about your, uh, test strips."
I guess we never know what diabetes supplies might be good for...
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
*Cue the flashback harp music and wavy screen dissolve effects*
It was 1990, and I was 8 years old, looking forward to 3rd grade. I remember it was a Saturday morning, and that my grandparents were going to be leaving for a fishing trip to Canada that day. I'd spent all spring and summer drinking and drinking and drinking whatever I could get my hands on, had cravings for sugar, spent a lot of time going to the bathroom, but nobody thought anything of it. This particular morning, I get up, feeling a little odd. I charge down the hallway of the house, then realize I'm out of breath. My heart is pounding. I recall thinking it definitely wasn't normal.
My dad was in the kitchen. He noticed something was odd, mentioned that I was breathing awfully fast. I insisted that I was fine (heh, something I will still do to this day when I feel mildly bothered by my health or randomly hurting body parts or what have you). I told him I had just run down the hallway, that's all. But things got worse. I remember being scared. I remember my back hurting very badly, not wanting to stand up.
After that, things get fuzzy. I remember being at my pediatrician's office, throwing up green stuff in a stainless steel pan that was kidney-shaped. I vaguely remember being wheeled up from the ER. I remember lying on a table, staring at the speckled ceiling tiles as a doctor and some nurses cut down on my ankle to force an IV into my collapsing veins. After that, things get fuzzier. I still have the scar. You can go here and check it out, or squint at my ankle in an attempt to check it out. I think it's more prominent to me than to anyone else.
I don't want to dwell on my diagnosis story. It feels like such a tiny, almost insignificant part of the life I've lived with diabetes so far, and it's so far from the life I live now. I was a little girl, scared, yes, but also strong as hell. I remember feeling angry because my mother was crying by my bedside when I knew in my heart that I was going to be just fine. I was going to be my regular old self, just that self now needed to be given shots, and probably would never eat candy ever again.
"None at all?" I remember asking.
"It's very bad for you," my mom said.
"Not even a couple of M&M's? Or a Skittle?"
"Hannie Ellen, things are going to be very different from now on."
And they were. 19 years later, I don't always have the control I want. I don't always have my life perfectly in order. Yet I am still strong against this disease; I am still fighting it. I am hoping this year to continue the improvements I've started to make in years past.
Kelly also suggested that since I didn't know my actual diagnosis date, I needed to have a festival to celebrate, and I should celebrate with some bolus-worthy treat every day in the weeks around when I suspect my diagnosis occurred. So in the past couple of weeks, I've enjoyed some delicious beers, water ice, my favorite pizza, a Frosty, sweet potato fries and other bits of amazing food.
I'm the happiest I've been, personally, in a very long time. It seems like a great time for some positive change for once. I'm looking forward to returning to blogging more often to document it all.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I'm sure many of us with diabetes have been here before: your entire body is immediately sluggish, your mind foggy, maybe your eyes blur. The tongue is stuck to the roof of the mouth, and no amount of water seems to help.
You test your BG, and it's high. Maybe a little high, maybe really, really high. Maybe it's "oh shit the meter isn't even going to clock this as a number so now I just need to guess and take some insulin" high.
Times like this, I wonder if our blood really does resemble syrup, sludging slowly through our veins. I wonder if I'd be more appetizing to a vampire as a dessert than a main course.
Even when I feel like I'm a slow-moving human tar pit, heavy with exhaustion, I can still smile about things.
Like whether the vampire would want any toppings for his dessert. I am not partial to people with sprinkles, but whipped cream, on the other hand...
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
Were I two years younger (like when I started this blog, for example...), I would totally be there. All you need to provide is your own travel costs and incidentals. Everything else is totally free! This sounds like it could be an amazing event for all of you who are 18-25, and it's being held on the campus of Villanova University, which is a really beautiful school. Amusingly enough, I drive through it when I head over to Gary's office.
(Where, um, I haven't been in quite some time, and that definitely needs to change. Perhaps I need a real blog post on that later.)
Come on, ya'll, when somebody actually offers you free food when you have diabetes, I always think that's a great idea. And it's not every day that it comes with free lodging and free seminars about living well with diabetes that are geared toward young adults! Check out some info by clicking this handy-dandy link right now.
Monday, April 20, 2009
I am here today to praise my awesome, talented friend Thea, because I gave her my concept for my logo and she straight-up ran with it.
Look how pretty and shiny it is!
Go to theas.net to check out more of my friend's work, or visit her Etsy shop here to see what she's got for sale!
Friday, April 10, 2009
Why rhyming quatrains? I'm not really sure. I just think rhyming things have a tendency to be lighter than free verse, and I am all about making people laugh in spite of their hardship. I will publish your lines on the blog all month long, so keep them coming. Please also leave a link to your blog/TuDiabetes profile/what have you so I can give you the credit you deserve.
Got something silly to say about diabetes? Please email it to me at nrrdygrrl-at-gmail-dot-com.
Happy Easter / spring holiday / Passover / fill in your holiday of choice here to all!
Monday, April 6, 2009
Friday, April 3, 2009
Diabetes Limerick #1
A stylish gal with the 'betes
Loved dresses and skirts full of pleats--
Pump clipped to the placket
Of her oversized jacket,
She'd sacrifice fashion for sweets.
Also, yesterday Chris made the brilliant suggestion that for National Poetry Month I could write a quatrain (4 lines, rhyming) a day pertaining to diabetes, then at the end of the month I can recap them all into one massive rhyming diabetes poem! This sounds like a fun challenge. Let's see what we can do with that.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
I miss you!
I have been busy and frolicking in the delightful spring weather, but I promise there is going to be something AWESOME coming very soon.
In the meantime, did you know that April is National Poetry Month?
How do you propose I celebrate, being that I am indeed a poet and a diabetic? I want to do some special things this month, so please let me know if you have any suggestions.
More soon, I promise promise promise.
Monday, March 9, 2009
This post is coming to you from the slightly cloudy greater Chicagoland area. I'm out here for training for work. Day 1 is over, I'll be here until March 20th. Tonight, I'm feeling a little lonely and stressed out. I'm alternating watching House and staring out the window at the traffic passing on the nearby highway, so I figured a blog post might be a little more productive. These two weeks are going to be incredibly learning-intensive and probably somewhat stressful, and my main support system is back in Pennsylvania: my awesome co-workers and my amazing husband.
I guess things are going all right so far. In my training group I've met another poet as well as a lady with Type 1. We bonded in the bathroom as she checked her blood glucose at the sink. Some of the other people seem nice--I will be spending these next 2 weeks with them, so I hope they really are.
Yet, I feel a little stir-crazy. I want a backrub. I need a hug. I'm irritated because the rack of clean towels is actually in the back of the shower so the fresh towels could get wet, and also because somebody mounted the curtains wrong in here so I can't really darken the room. (But I'm not paying for the space, and I have a fridge and a microwave, so I'm not allowed to complain.) And I keep seeing ads for White Castle which are tempting me, but I really have no method to get anywhere with the exception of the hotel! I am hoping I am only temporarily going to be in this restless funk.
But how did it start?
Probably with the takeoff delay from Philadelphia yesterday. I got to the hotel about 2 hours later than I expected to because of it, though I hear I was pretty lucky. Travel times were terrible all over because of bad weather in Chicago. I finally made it here, got some overpriced food from the hotel convenience store ($7 for a Lean Cuisine? UGH, only because I can get reimbursed), and settled in by doing some unpacking.
At some point, it dawns on me...I have everything I need.
Except extra insulin.
I forgot to pack the extra Novolog bottles. Frantic phone call to husband, give him address of hotel, insulin got sent out today, will arrive Wednesday. Problem solved, crisis averted.
Deep breaths, Hannah. Deep breaths.
This is all going to be fun and worthwhile. I just know it. I wish I felt more like I wasn't starting off on the wrong foot. Reading this post in its entirety, it doesn't seem all that bad, but I still feel down in the dumps. And I keep worrying about what's happening at work without me.
I just wish I didn't have to be having one of these days so far from home.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Are you wondering what I've been up to?
Well, I've been the featured blogger on the Diabetes OC website this week! If you're not quite "in the know", the OC has nothing to do with that teen drama with a kickass soundtrack. OC = online community in this case. The Diabetes OC's claim to fame is that it's a one stop shop for finding diabetes blogs and websites. It's how I connected with so many of the excellent blogs I read now!
Anyway, my first post was about me and why I started a diabetes-related blog in the first place.
My second post was about being at work with diabetes.
My third and final post should hopefully go up today. It has been a hectic week at work, and I still managed to grind out 3 blog posts. I should think about that when I get lazy about blogging here at Dorkabetic. (Which, um, I have been guilty of lately. Oops.)
I think I am darn near fully recovered from my appendectomy. I am excited because in a short while, I will be taking yet another trip to the Chicago area for training for my job. They really like me--they like me so much, they want me to learn new things! Yay!
I have some things in mind that need to get posted. I hope they can go up next week. We'll see how hectic things get.
Also, I just got Animal Crossing: City Folk for the Wii. I am engrossed in the adorable, relatively girly awesomeness. Additionally, it's really fun to go into your neighbors' houses and open all their drawers. Anybody got a friend code? You're welcome to come visit the picturesque hamlet of Delamarf anytime. Why am I so into this game that is barely a game? I can't explain it. I will just leave you with an exchange between Matt and I from last evening:
Me: OH NO!!
Matt: What's wrong?
Me: Oh no! He needs help!
Matt: (running in from office) Who? What?
Me: (pointing at TV screen with Wii-mote) The little blue walrus! He needs my help because he's hungry! Awww, look, he's crying. Poor little walrus!
Matt: (patting me on the head) Well, babe, maybe you should find him something to eat.
Me: I probably should, but you don't care. You think I'm nuts.
Matt: I think you're cute, and I love you. Now feed the walrus, I'm going back to my computer.
Me: Okay. Maybe he can has a bukkit.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
So I am being featured this week on the Diabetes OC blog! Woo hoo!
I'm kind of a big deal.
A big deal who is currently wearing light teal pajama bottoms and a black t-shirt, refilling her insulin pump, and going back to playing her Valentine's Day present, "Animal Crossing: City Folk".
Your faithful Dorkabetic, signing off.
Monday, February 2, 2009
I fretted and fretted over this and that, but yet my biggest worry was that nobody was going to know how to handle someone with Type 1 diabetes in a hospital. You read a lot of horror stories and accounts of people complaining about incompetent staffers. As people with diabetes, I guess we are supposed to be prepared in any situation, but I had never come up with any kind of action plan for when something like this would happen. I crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. I tried to think of what kind of numbers I'd be happy with in the hospital. Which arm was my IV in? Would anyone know what to do with my insulin pump? Would anyone try to disconnect it? What about checking my sugars?
Well, I was met with a friendly and surprisingly open-minded hospital staff. Some of the nurses had never seen an insulin pump before, some were familiar with its workings; I showed it off to everyone. My hospital-assigned internist really loved it.
"So, all I have to do is tell you what your numbers are, then you can do the work?" he grinned. "You make things so easy for me! Thanks!"
Thanks to the pocket design of my hospital gowns, I was able to thread my pump through my shirt pocket and have it in close proximity at all times.
But let me tell you...when you are in the hospital, in pain, drugged up on Morphine, having a fever and battling infection with not one but two types of antibiotics, you take whatever numbers you get and then correct them. I even tried playing around with some increased temporary basal rates, but my BGs were pretty consistently between 200 and 250 no matter what I did or ate. I am pretty sure it was some combination of stress and meds.
It is a strange feeling having someone else check your blood sugar after pretty much doing it alone for 17 years or so. Of course, hospital meters need to carry and store more info than your average consumer meter, so they are still the size of bricks. (You know, flashy, ergonomically shaped bricks with scanners on them.) They still require everyone's favorite--the hanging drop of blood. I had purple bruises on half my fingers when I normally have tiny, pin-sized marks. However, under the aforementioned feeling-bad-and-being-on-drugs protocol, I didn't care too much that they seemed to be dicing my digits before meals and bedtime. I expected numbers to be high, so I corrected and made sure I drank water as much as possible.
I would think for a planned hospital stay, I would have preferred my own meters, of course, but this was something I had never even considered. Do you have an emergency action plan in place? I had to wonder if I was the least-prepared diabetic on the planet. My tips for an emergency hospital stay...assuming you are conscious enough to engage with your medical professionals:
1. Make sure you tell them every med you are on, and how often you take them. Try to remember dosages, or have someone check on your bottles at home and let them know. The nurses were concerned at my extremely high heart rate until I told one of them that I hadn't taken any of my usual Atenolol. They got it for me, and I came back down to normal!
2. Try to keep a good attitude. Some of the most frustrating moments I had at the hospital involved not being able to get a nurse to come in when I needed them, but many days it was because they were short-staffed or another patient was having a REAL crisis. Sure, I really needed that pain medication, but some deep breathing got me through the next 15 minutes until the nurse showed up.
3. If you pump, see that you can be in control. Keep an open line of communication with your nurses and doctors. Don't let them leave the room without telling you your numbers!
4. Hospital menus don't have carb counts on them, though mine did suggest that "artificial sweetener" was a "starter". Like an appetizer? Truly, I would have preferred some mozzarella sticks or hummus as a starter! Anyway, you'll be giving it your best guess, but they seemed to do a good job with providing lower-carb options. You just have to make sure you order them!
Well, as I said before, good riddance to that lousy old appendix. I am just happy to be feeling much better and blogging again. If you're looking for me, I will be plopped down, relaxing, catching up on like, every episode of "Arrested Development" from season 2 onward.
Saturday, January 31, 2009
A week ago, following two bouts with stomach bugs since Christmas, I woke up feeling like crap yet again. My stomach hurt. My sides hurt. My back hurt. Matt and I had already rented a van to go to Williamsport for the weekend to pick up the remaining stuff my dad left us in his will, and this was probably our third attempt to do so. It's a lot of stuff, and every time we try to get it, I either get sick or we can't rent a vehicle large enough to pack it all in.
I have Matt drive me in the rental van to the Immediate Care Clinic nearby. It's about 10am. They see me in about 10 minutes from my arrival, and decide I need a CAT scan. (Insert jokes about waving cats that detect sickness over people here.) After I get the results of that, I am told I have acute appendicitis and need to get myself to the nearest emergency room.
Off we went. One thing led to another, and at 6pm they wheeled me in for my first-ever major surgery. Needless to say, I was pretty darn scared.
I spent most of this week at the hospital. My appendix had ruptured, so they had to do a traditional surgery and clean out all the icky pus. Some people are fortunate enough to get their appendixes (appendices?) removed laproscopically (how DO you spell that anyway?) these days, but oh no. Not me. Why would my body choose to do anything the easy way?
Yesterday, they finally let me come home, so here I am. I hope the rest of the year brings more health and happiness, but in a nutshell, I'm just glad all of that is over and done with.
There are many other tidbits from my hospital stay I want to share with you all, and also another major story from my personal life that you should know about. I'm excited that I'll have the time to do that this week--even if I am all hopped up on Percocet.
See you 'round the net!
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
Blog World, I am stressed out over a girl.
Not a romantic-interest type girl, I'm happily married thank you very much, and while I am known to get crushes easily, one thing I have never been is fully bisexual. I apologize to any girls I find cute, here and now: sorry, I don't want to make out. I shall pass on a secondary apology to any guys I know who would like to see me make out with said cute girls. NOT HAPPENING, and not the point of this blog post.
You may remember (if you were reading back then) my ridiculously hard time with my roommate Nigel's previous girlfriend, The Leech, who was a completely immature nutball who never left our apartment. Nigel's most recent girlfriend is really sweet, smart and funny. She ran into some hard times and moved in with us temporarily. However, temporarily has stacked up to more months than I thought it would be.
Nigel and P are starting to look for a place of their own now, which is cool, but unfortunately, P is having some major problems with her health. They think it might be MS, so if anybody can refer me to any good MS blogs or resources, I'd love to pass them along to her.
But here is where my problem lies: I like her, but living with her seems bad for my own health. Have you ever met someone who seems to be your trigger person? For example, even if you're not completely in tune with that individual, their moods can affect your own? My stress and anxiety levels automatically skyrocket when she's around. If she's not having a good time, I am still having a good time, but I am hyper-aware that she's having a terrible time, and I just feel upset and angry about it. If I know she's truly upset while we're all out together, I get just as anxious as she does.
This is why I've been so distressed and distant in recent months. My living situation is stressing the hell out of me because our previous Hannah-Matt-Nigel dynamic has changed. The three of us functioned somewhat as a family, but we are NOT equipped to be a family of four. Our trips to dinner no longer end with spontaneous trips to the movies. Our trips to the movies become more difficult as only 3 of us can always agree on what to see, and our fourth counterpart doesn't do well with horror films or cheesy action. We are some zombie-loving folks around here. Not to mention our love for Jason Statham (who loves insulin pumps)! We could kill 2-3 hours at a time playing co-op mode on various first-person shooters; she doesn't like creepy games with guns and asks Nigel not to spend "all night" in front of the TV.
The pace of life and my ability to truly relax have been severely compromised for about 4 months now. It's a little ridiculous, even to me. Do you have friends who you love dearly, but you just know that cohabitation with those people would be the worst idea since New Coke? I think that is where my issue lies with P. Having her around all the time is making me resent her, and that's not necessary at all.
But some days, I just think, "If I find one more half-finished glass of soda around here, I'm gonna....AAARRRGHHHH!!!" Or, "You can't possibly have a bad reaction to every medicine in the entire world....AAARRRGHHHHH!!"
But I am really concerned for her and her pending diagnosis, and I do not want to channel my "AAAARGHHHH"-energy towards her regarding that. No one with a chronic illness deserves that, and I am finding I'm not sure how to relate to a newly-diagnosed person, since I've spent nearly 19 years in the company of diabetes. This really bothers me, as I want to be as supportive as I can.
Their moving plans are coming along. I am excited and even a little nervous about living as a proper married couple (meaning a roommate-less couple). I have furniture in mind. I just hope we can manage to sync up enough after the move-out to hang out as much as we'd like.
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Just a question for anyone out there who might be able to answer it:
How the heck can a sassy blogger/writer like me get into more freelancing?
I want to write more in 2009, and finding some actual projects to commit to might help me a bit, I'd suppose. Sitting around and writing when I get home from work (or any other time of day) is simultaneously a passion for me and great escape from my daily grind. While I may be the most creative person in my office, my work is far from writing-related at this point, unless you count the few small projects I get to assemble on occasion, like a student newsletter or a new bulletin board.
Writing, even with its occasional stresses, is my way of de-stressing and decompressing from the rest of the world. I always love any excuses to do more of it. And believe you me, friends, I hope to do more of it here in this space as well.
Soooo...any tips? Pointers? Sources? Web sites? Advice? Give me something to look forward to on Monday. Thanks, all!
Thursday, January 8, 2009
Remember that stomach virus I caught right before Christmas?
Guess who has another one? This time accompanied by a fever of 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit! Yippee!
Now if you don't mind, I will be going back to bed. Again. Actually, the only times I've left my bed today was to go to the doctor's office, and also to go to the bathroom. Every part of my body hurts. I definitely will not be going to work tomorrow either.