Maybe it was me

Medical Mutual is my insurance provider and they have this nifty program called Diabetes Advantage that if you play right will cover many of your diabetes care needs at no cost to you. When I heard about the MMDA program of course, I said "sign me up!" The catch is that you must talk to a nurse once every 2 months, answer some questions, see your endo, give them lab results and in turn they send you educational info, cover all pump and testing supplies and even call to get your supply order before you run out. Overall, very cool.

The first 2 times I had to talk to the friendly nurse on the phone it was virtually painless, that is aside from having to give my height and weight to a woman who sounded perky and thin. The usual drill has been that they call and leave me a couple messages and I call back when I get around to it. Well, this last time they left more than a couple messages so on Friday after work I called them back. From the first hello, this nurse sounded a bit more serious, but no worries, I just had to answer some questions. Yeah, right. Maybe it was me, maybe it was her tone but the phone call left me upset and feeling inadequete.

Her: "Have you had any blood sugars lower than 70 or higher than 200 in that past 2 months?"
Me: "Yes"
What I was really thinking: "Well, Duh, I have Diabetes, don't I????"

Her: "What is the lowest reading you have had?"
Me: "About 43"
Her: "That's very low and by letting yoru blood sugar go that low you do know that you are putting yourself at risk?"
Me: "Yes."
What I was reallly thinking: "Let my blood sugar go that low????? It's got a mind of its own at times!!!! Putting myself at risk???? I have diabetes, lady, that's where the risk comes from!"

On to the other end of the spectrum...

Her: "What would you say was your highest blood sugar reading in the last 2 months"
Me: "Maybe 300" I say sheepishly, padding the number given her previous lecture on a low of 43 in the past 2 months for a Type 1 diabetic on the pump.
Her: "That's pretty high"
Me: In my head, "Oh if you only knew"

Her: "You really have to wacth thos sugars and not let them get above 200. Sugars above 200 put you at a much greater risk for complications. Why are your blood sugars above 200?"

Me: "Yes, I know"

And on it went with her telling me things I already knew but in a way that rattled me and pissed me off. I swear, she must have said "you are putting yourself at risk" at least 20 times! Just when I thought it was over and dinner was dangerously close to burning, she asked about my weight then my height and after I answered she paused and said "thats another thing you really need to work on. "

Really? I had no idea that my wieght is high for height. Thanks for the tip. There's just something about a complete stranger, who has never set eyes on you, commenting on your weight.

She was only doing her job, I get that. It was just the way the conversation left me feeling as if I had failed the test. She must have said "putting yourself at risk" at least 20 times. As if diabetes is a choice. The previous MMDA calls had not left me feeling that way at all. One of the other callers even said "you have plenty of other things to worry about," when I admitted that I didn't exercise nearly as much as I should. The other calls made me feel like they were only checking up on me to make sure I was making an effort not failing as this last call made me feel


I: Meme

I am: “32 flavors and then some”
I want: to not want anymore
I wish: life were more simple
I hate: having to wait
I miss: the carefree days of childhood
I fear: complications
I hear: the drone of computers and the blah, blah, blah of my teacher
I wonder: if this class will ever end
I regret: much more than I should
I am not: alone in this fight against diabetes
I dance: alone when I am cleaning
I sing: whatever song is stuck in my head and it usually an annoying song
I cry: usually about or due to diabetes
I am not always: the person I want to be
I make with my hands: the cats purr, a gift for a friend, fat-free veggie dip for Easter
I write: what’s on my mind
I confuse: want & need more than I should
I need: security and he is my security
I should: take better care of myself
I start: many things
I finish: few
I tag: everyone

Diabetes Will Not be Forgotten

Even during Easter Sunday worship diabetes rears its ugly head. In the Christian faith, Easter is a joyous time and I was in good spirits. My parents were in town and I had successfully guesstimated my carbs at dinner with them last night. No small feat given we ate a Mexican place, had appetizers in addition to the chips & salsa and I tried something new. Just as the sermon began there was a disruption as an older man was try8ing to carry his wife out of the church. She was collapsing & unable to stand. Many people rushed over to help, as people do in these situations. Even though she was on the floor in the aisle right next to the pew we were sitting in, I stayed put. That is until I heard the words low blood sugar and diabetes. I grabbed the juice box from my purse, ripped off the straw inserted it, and thrust the juice box it into the hands of a member of the congregation who was evidently a nurse. I heard “can’t swallow…and sugar packets” so I ran to get those. By this time the minister had stopped trying to preach, the EMS was on the way and everyone in the Sanctuary was trying to figure out what was happening. They were able to get maybe tow of the sugar packets in her mouth to dissolve and run down her throat when my brain clicked into gear & I grabbed my blood sugar machine, elbowed my way to a spot right next to her and did a blood sugar. She was 53; not great but not as low as I had thought it might be. She was having trouble keeping her eyes open and was not alert.

The Fire Squad, EMS, etc., poured in and took over. Her husband was apologetic for the disruption. He said that she must have taken too much insulin that morning. They gave her oxygen. In my head I was screaming, how about some sugar guys, she’s only 53? They took her out on a stretcher. The worship service continued. It was odd. There was a strange current rippling through the congregation. We were not used to this much excitement. It took a while for my heart beat to return to it’s normal rate. I thought I might be low but I was 263, just a bit shaken up.

After the service, people were saying things along the lines of me saving the day, or you really knew what to do or you went above and beyond. I heard low blood sugar and only did what is second nature for all of us who live with diabetes. As if I could just sit there with my juice box and blood sugar testing machine in my purse, with a woman barely conscious a few feet away from me and not jump into action. Mind boggling. This was not some great act or something to be applauded for. It was simply a human act.

I feel like there is some bigger message I am supposed to take away from this event since it happened during church on Easter Sunday but I can’t seem to figure it out. It reminded me of the importance to always be prepared with low supplies and that the ‘betes will not be forgotten. It will rear its ugly, Hypoglycemic head during the most inopportune times and you better be ready.


Beep, bop, beep

I was feeling good about this interview. I scored the interview through the reference of a friend. I was able to finagle it to come for the interview the same day they called. I was not nervous as I was for the last job I interviewed for since I was not sure this was even a job I would want.

The walk over to their office was miserable as it was cold and very windy and I had on heels for the interview. I made it there okay albeit a bit windblown, flushed and vowing never to wear heals if I needed to walk more than a block again. I was impressed by the fancy office complete with a great view of the lake

I nailed the first round of questions and was please with myself. The two women interviewing seemed to like my answers as well. Then things to a downward turn…

“Beep, bop, beep”

Shit, shit, shit. My pump is beeping! You have got to be kidding me. Nice timing.

They look to see where the sound is coming from and I try to pretend I heard nothing. Instinctively I reach for the pump on my hip and realize that I was wearing it on my bra since I was not wearing a belt. Is there any way I can possibly cancel the alarm through my clothing without looking like I am fiddling with my chest? Negative. Maybe it will not beep again.

“Beep, bop, beep”

I don’t want my interviewers to think it is my cell phone but I can’t tell them I have diabetes and wear an insulin pump in an interview. What to do? I pretend not to hear it and speak up when it chimes. They look at me quizzically but say nothing. We conclude the interview with the normal pleasantries and they say it will be at least a week before they contact me. I walk back to work cursing my pump & my choice of footwear.



The memorial service was very nice; I was pretty much crying for the whole thing. Her children put together a slide show of pictures of their mom to be shown before and during the service. I volunteered to run this slideshow from the balcony of the church. I think the tears were in my eyes as soon as the somber organ music began, signifying the start of the service, but I really lost it when it was time for the personal comments on Gloria. The first two people to speak, vaguely alluded to the idea of ongoing health problems, but no specific reference to diabetes. The third person, the parish nurse for our congregation, got right to the point, as far as I was concerned. She said that Gloria suffered from almost every complication diabetes could cause. She spoke of her lifelong struggles with the disease and how well she dealt with them. I was sitting in church full of anger and frustration at Diabetes, at Life, even at God too. Tears stinging my cheeks and blinding my eyes I could not get the thought that this woman’s life was cut short by my disease. It was so unfair. I had never really equated diabetes to death before; now it was staring me right in the face.

Every person talked about her smile. The smile she always had & the inspiration she was to so many people in so many ways.

As I was walking out of the service, I was feeling more than a little bit self-conscious because of how upset I was (I mean I didn’t really know her that well & I was not family; what right did I have to be so upset?) I made my way over the parish nurse to tell what a great job she had done. She told me she was glad she had seen me because ever since Gloria’s death she had been worried about me. The weeping began again. She told me that she had been worried about how this would affect me. Talk about hitting the nail on the head.

“Melissa, I want you to know that you are going to be okay. You have done so well with your diabetes. She had all sorts of other problems. She had diabetes before, home blood testing, before insulin pumps…for 50 years. You are going to make it.”

She touched on the fear that I had not really spoken of to anyone: the fear for my own life. Even though I felt in part selfish for my relief at hearing I would be okay, doubt that this was true, anger at the ‘betes and great sadness about this world’s loss, overall she made me feel better. She told me things that I already knew but needed to hear. For that I am grateful.


Life is Good

I was looking back over my blog & it occurred to me that people reading may find my posts depressing or negative. The may wonder if I am just a cranky person. The answer is a resounding “NO!” In reality I am a fairly cheerful, happy person. I am not one of those people walking around with a huge grin on my face, but I am, for the most part a happy person. When I give myself a break & actually think about it – I have a great life:
· Wonderful, supportive husband
· A job with great benefits
· 2 adorable cats (and Beagle)
· A nice home with an awesome kitchen that my husband built for me
· Great encouraging & supportive family & friends
· Only 40 more credit hours of school & I will have a degree!
· New job prospects

· This amazing ‘family’ of d-bloggers for diabetes support & encouragement
· A ton of hard life lessons under my belt that I have learned from
· Choices

And most of all I have hope for a better future. I’ve hit a bad patch as of late but things will get better, I just know it.

As I commented over at Scott’s blog, I may actually try to Eat Well, Exercise & Pay Attention to My Diabetes for a whole week & see if I feel better (less depressed, lethargic & head-achey). We'll see!


I Hate Mondays

What a way to start the week. I woke up with enough time to gather all my paraphernalia for the day without having to race around like a chicken with its head cut off. No small feat for me. I had my usual cups of coffee, threw a granola bar & a piece of fruit in my bag & was on my way. I even made it work early. I never actually ate the breakfast that I remembered to bring so by about 9:30 my stomach was grumbling. Reaching for my trusty black kit, my arm brushed against my abdomen where my infusion set was and something didn’t feel right. I looked down and saw that I was not attached; as in no pump. My mind quickly did a recap of the morning & there it was…sitting on the hamper in the bathroom, at home, where I put it while I shower. Shit. I do my blood sugar and it is 341. Great, 341 & no insulin on board. Frantically I rummage through my emergency pump supplies looking for a syringe, trying to figure out how I could use my extra infusion set and reservoir to get insulin into my body. I give up on that idea, when I realize I would have no idea of how much insulin I was giving myself which would surely lead to an ugly low. Instead, I call my husband to lament. I really don’t know what I expected him to be able to do from across town at his office but I just wanted him to know. “How can you forget to put your pump on?” he asks, in a fretful tone. Not exactly the sympathy I was looking for but a very valid point.

How can I forget to put on my pump that provides my life-sustaining drug? Probably the same way I have forgotten my blood sugar machine or test strips (on more than one occasion). I just do. My mind is elsewhere. The day did not improve from there. I had to go home (25 miles) and get the forgotten pump and hurry back to work. By the time I got back it was time for lunch which coincided with a staff meeting on this particular day but my blood sugar was still too high to eat. Of course there were these mini-brownie-cupcake-things that were just about making me drool. The unfinished ones, I knew would be parked in my office (the reception area) for the remainder of the day. Great; I did not have the willpower for this today. I was cranky. Needless to say, I had a few.

I continued to feel ornery for the remainder of the day; so much so that I decided to play hooky from school. My self-destructive path persisted with the eating of Kraft Mac & Cheese, plus extra cheese for dinner and the taking of an extra-generous bolus for this meal in hopes of dropping low so I would have a good excuse to eat more chocolate. It worked and I dropped to 100, and felt like I was still dropping so I had chocolate covered pretzels and ice-cold milk. I did not bolus for this extra treat and went to bed glad that this bad day was over.

It wasn’t over yet…I woke up at 1:30 am, bladder near bursting, with a blood sugar of 475. Nice. Bolus 11.1 units in the middle of the night and pray that I would not crash and wake up low causing another bad day.

I woke up at a perfect 126, but still angry at myself for my previous days behavior. I don’t know why or how I can forget such simple, essential things such as my pump or my BG machine. Maybe it’s because I am trying to forget diabetes for a while. On the other hand I do know that I make choices about my diabetes care when I am hyperglycemic. The high blood sugar makes me feel cranky and too lethargic to care about my stupid diabetes. My mind is too clogged with the abundance of syrupy sugar in my blood stream for me to think clearly. Just when I need it most, the clear thinking and voice of reason abandon me. I know this happens, just not how to fix it. I am nowhere near the level of care where high blood sugars do not exist.