Wednesday, March 28, 2018

The Three Little Pumps

Once upon a 2018, a Type 1 like myself had three pump choices...

Pump A: Tubeless. Doesn't hold enough for my insulin needs. A big no.

Pump B: My current brand. I like it, but I've never loved it. I may have lied and told someone that I loved it. It has some physical problems that have happened to me consistently, causing me to have traded my pump in at least 3 times before my warranty expired. The physical issue means that I have to have assistance with changing my cartridge. My hands are not strong enough to slide the cartridge on or take it off by myself--I usually have Matt do it for me. I want to avoid this problem in the future (and will blog more of the specifics at a later date).

Pump C: The brand I first used when I got my first pump in 2000. I don't have anything against them. Have I loved everything they've made? Meh. But I am ready for a change, and I know their CGM is no longer inferior to the other one I've used. I didn't expect to get static from my insurance company in trying to get this pump approved, mostly because I've gotten other pumps through the same insurance since Matt has been working at the same company for 10 years. I remember needing some pre-auth stuff, but I did not expect my insurance to go through 2 rounds of pre-auth and a consultation with my endocrinologist to prove my pump was "medically necessary".

Am I trying to prove a point here? Is this one of those "idle chatter" types of blog posts? Maybe a little of both. I have Type 1 Diabetes. I think that is enough of a medical necessity to acquire an insulin pump. The end. 

We used to have what, 5 or 6 choices of pumps at one point in history? And we all need insulin to survive, and studies show many people have tighter glucose control on pumps. I wish I understood more about the nonsense that dictates the behavior of insurance companies. That's all I have to say for today.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

THIS JUST IN: Controlling Your Diabetes = Not Medically Necessary

CONTENT WARNING: Sarcasm ahead along with non-sarcasm. Good luck.

"Dear Member:

The purpose of this letter is to confirm that pre-auth [for your insulin pump with CGM] has been denied for the following reason(s):

Your provider asked us to provide a special type of insulin pump that can also continuously monitor your blood sugar. This was requested to help control your diabetes. This request has been denied as not medically necessary."


Neat! Did you guys know controlling your diabetes isn't medically necessary? Wow, what a relief. All this time I've been worrying about this garbage A1C that I have, but it turns out I shouldn't have to care at all.

Okay, in all seriousness, the letter goes on to explain they cover "these types of insulin pumps" for people with recurrent, life-threatening low blood glucose levels and also poorly-controlled pregnant women.

Maybe they would cover a pump without a CGM and a separate CGM system. I've never had trouble with pre-auth for Dexcom, surprisingly. Buuuutttt they would probably also say I don't need an insulin pump because my diabetes is poorly controlled in the wrong direction (highs instead of lows).

Just remember, kids, in the US of A we have the GREATEST HEALTHCARE SYSTEM IN THE WORLD where NOTHING IS EVER WRONG and PRESIDENT OBAMA RUINED IT FOR ALL OF US. It is sheer, tremendous, tremendous, big perfection.

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Disruptive, Unique, Beautiful and Diabetic

Are you still out there, readers? I assume that you are. I've remained quiet in my little space here. Why? It's hard to say. There are a plethora of reasons.

People are saying that blogging is dead; long live blogging.

Every blogging site is promising a "beautifully designed" and "unique" and "amazing" blog/site/whatever. But content is always king, right? I should give you some content to read.

Over ten years ago, when I started Dorkabetic, we (the Diabetes Online Community) were all blogging away, meeting each other via comments sections and daily readership. Now the DOC is so huge I can't keep up. I remember when we all started using Twitter, and now the world *is* Twitter. And Instagram. And...Snapchat? I don't have Snapchat. I'm being an old, crotchety Xennial about it. 

{Author's Note: I should probably learn Snapchat. Give me a good reason to start?}

I am looking at some big diabetes changes on my personal horizon. I want someplace to talk about them. If you've just found me, or if you've been following me forever, I hope to see you around. 

I want to talk about paperwork. I want to talk about insulin pump choices. I want to talk about my perspective. I want to talk about...the Freestyle Libre if I get one? I want to talk about geekery as it relates to diabetes.

Can we do this? Can we start again? Are you with me?

Good.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

National Poetry Month, Diabetes Edition.

Aside from the spacing/kerning that makes me twitchy, after who knows how long, I finally wrote a poem about diabetes I'm mostly pleased about. It's freeverse. It's meant to be performed [if I like it, maybe I'll video?] aloud. I originally posted this to Facebook, but have since taken it down so I can share it more widely (and hopefully more copyrighted-ly) with you.
to Anyone Who Has Ever Said "Needles!..."

I just blink pleasantly as you finish,
Because I know your monologue by heart:
"Ohhh, I don't know if I could ever do that.
Needles are the worst! I'd be so afraid!"
I'm not here to belittle a legitimate phobia,
But I am also jaded enough to gag
On your sentiment.

If you required a needle
Injecting anywhere under your skin
To stay alive each day
You'd do it.
After 27 years of this,
On days your body doesn't feel
Like a walking pincushion,
You can feel like a healthy person,
Or a husk starving for water and sleep,
Or a ravenous scavenger, devouring anything in sight to stay alive.

When you wake with the sun,
Sometimes you remember to thank some unknown
That you woke at all,
Or you can thank a juice box meant for a toddler,
Thank that bag of old Skittles from your purse,
Thank your giant water glass, a vial of insulin, a small syringe..
You prepare for your work day,
Stuffing medical necessities in a commuter bag,
No matter how short the commute.

Load a series of devices that chart and graph and calculate
In with your belongings, alongside the phone, maybe the smart watch,
And try not to feel like a collection of numbers running for a bus,
Don't grouch at the lady in line for artisan coffee
Who tsk-tsks at your selection of an artificial sweetener.,
Don't give your officemate a speech
When she offers what she believes to be body-positive encouragement
Because you joke about the carb count of the free bagels.

When you visit your doctor,
Notice how you feel like a walking data set.
Daydream in the waiting room
About the other data sets sitting nearby.
Who has better numbers?
Do insulin pumps dream of electric islets?
Because you love math geeks, do you want them
To analyze your standard deviations when you can’t look?

Is it hilarious that you suck at tipping
And algebra and doing your taxes
But you can rattle off a correctly calculated ratio
To decrease your blood glucose after eating?

When the mother of a child with diabetes
Calls you "brave", just warmly smile
And share something positive.
Is there bravery in acting as your own organ?
Is it brave to function as a normal person?
Smile. Say something nice to her.
Don't let on there's a tingle in your toes
And extra blood vessels somewhere in your eyes.
Pretend you don’t have a pillbox tucked away
With pills to encourage your serotonin and dopamine.

They don't want to hear this.
They see your 27 years of what you consider “good enough”
As a miracle, a celebration, sometimes you might feel it too.
27 years of the day's tiny stabbings
Produce a quiet pride in the right light,

27 years of unwanted but well-meant concern,
27 years of advertisements that the cure is 10 years away,
27 years of other people's opinions
On your meals and your body and your medication doses
And you haven't punched a single person?!
Maybe it's bravery after all.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Election Day USA 2016

Shred the Patriarchy.
Let it be known that I'm voting for the candidate who will not completely repeal Obamacare and the many steps forward it has produced for healthcare in this country. I'm voting for the candidate who has fought for people with disabilities and health conditions, never mocking them or telling the terminally ill to not bother voting.

I'm a Nasty Woman, one who has a nasty chronic illness and knows how nasty health insurance is in this country. I'm old enough to remember hearing that "we need healthcare, not HillaryCare".

I don't know what's to come for this country. I know everything Hillary stands for is not perfect, but I also know she's no racist demagogue. I'm With Her. I'm excited that finally, hopefully, a woman will preside over the US. I'm voting for her because I feel like her campaign has been the one most based on logic and plans over hearsay and non-specific promises.

I'm leaving work in a few minutes to go vote. Pennsylvania polling places close at 8pm, but remember, if you are in line at 8pm, you should still be permitted to cast your ballot. If they are out of "I Voted" stickers, I'm making my own when I get home.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Political News of the Day: Semi-Fictional Characters Edition

(A non-diabetes related post for your amusement.)

Watching the first Presidential debate last night definitely required the gin and tonic I had in my hand. I was glad to hear that Hillary Clinton picked up on several of the issues addressed by Bernie Sanders during his campaign, and I was almost heartened by Trump's first ten seconds of speech--but then of course that turned into the shit-show we were expecting. 

Over-talking. Mansplaining. Using words like "bigly". Many of us saw it, tweeted about it, or at least saw the highlights and the tweets. 

My achievement of the night was the joke I made. Trump stated something to the effect of, "There are military leaders in this country who definitely support me." 

Of course there are! In fact, these are the leaders I came up with:
  • Admiral Akbar
  • General Grievous
  • Captain Crunch
  • The Skipper 
  • Sergeant Slaughter
  • General Anxiety
  • Major Boredom
  • Captain Caveman
  • Colonel Klink
I am not willing to take bets on the likelihood of Trump nominating any of these military greats to his Cabinet. Honestly? Captain Crunch has too much integrity to stick with this group. 

Friday, September 9, 2016

Nominated Lady

Thanks to some amazing reader or readers out there, I was just nominated for a Wego Health Activist Award as "Best Kept Secret"

I'm not trying to be a secret over here, but maybe I need to take off this mask? Turns out I'm not actually Catwoman! (Sorry if you thought I was.)

I am Hannah, hear me roar! Ten years in this blogging game. Today, I am celebrating this little victory.