The D Connection

Shortly after I was diagnosed (Type 1-LADA) – no insulin – just some pills, we were out to dinner at a local restaurant with friends from work. Must have been blogging by then or I wouldn’t have spotted the Medtronic pump on the waiter who walked by our table. Being the (ahem…) shy, and quiet person that I am, I grabbed the young man and said, “You’re wearing an insulin pump!” He was delighted (Thank, God…). We had a great time chatting and then he got back to waitering. My friends at the table thought I was nuts but – I worked with them so – they sorta already knew I was a little nutty.

Standing in the customs’ line in Dublin last September – which winds back and forth and back and forth – I spotted TUBING! Had to wait for the next loop and yes! It was an insulin pump! On a teenager – who wasn’t that thrilled that I spotted it. But – her mother was delighted. So as we wove through the back and forth, we had a fun conversation! The friends who traveled with us – well, thought I was nuts. M, the husband, he’s kinda used to it and copes. And the teenager? We were great friends by the time we got to the customs stuff.

Last summer, I met a local family whose young daughter has Type 1 and uses a Medtronic Pump. They wanted to enroll their daughter at VBS, in our church but – felt they couldn’t because of her diabetes. A friend of theirs – who knows me – said yes, you can – the church secretary wears an insulin pump. They’re a great family and I didn’t kill the cute young lady while she was at VBS. (A Medtronic pump is a whole ‘nother pump from Animas Ping.) We had fun and lots of giggles as she showed me what to do. Amazingly – this tiny little girl plays ice hockey, just like her mom. Seriously, the ice hockey equipment is bigger than she is.

Earlier this month (remember – this post is about connections) a d-dad, Carey Potash, posted on FB about a D-Ice Hockey Camp being held up there in Canada. I sent the info to the d-mom. And……..

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They’re there – and they’ve met Carey – and she’s having a great time – and they’re already talking about going back next year. I’ve never met Carey but – a couple of years ago he posted a great video of his son with a light saber in their back yard – and it was fun to watch. AND – Carey knows Shannon Lewis – a d-mom – and Shannon told me that they’re a really great family. And Shannon lives in New Hampshire so sometimes we meet for lunch when I go down to the BIG city, Manchester.
And – isn’t she cute?

So – those D Connections very often show up when you least expect them.

Kind of like that old TV show “Candid Camera.”

And now you know, I’m older than you.

 

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I’m not perfect.

Perfection – certainly not a word used when you’re dealing with Diabetes.

ha-haBack when I first started pumping, I put the “change inset” schedule on my calendar. Because, you know, you change it every 3 days and that would remind me in the morning to change the inset and fill a new cartridge before my shower – every 3 days.

And I’d read where people’s pumps would run out of insulin. And I’d smugly think, “Well, if they’d just schedule it like I do, they wouldn’t run out of insulin.”

And then – a doorknob happened – or a kinked cannula happened – or life happened. And that 3 day schedule – down the tubes. At first I’d readjust the calendar schedule after the mishaps.

But now? I gave up the calendar scheduling. (Try not to laugh…)

I use a cartridge down to the last drop because – I forgot to change my inset/cartridge that morning.

Or even more annoying – will finishing showering and dressing for work, only to figure out there’s not enough insulin to last through the day.

Or – exasperating – get ready to eat lunch at work and find out I don’t have enough insulin for lunch.

Eeeeeek!

Yes, I carry an insulin pen for those times. I even have needles for the pen! (I forgot needles one trip.)

But I smile when I think of how “smug” I was years ago. And I’m grateful that I never expressed that smugness on a blog or anywhere else.

welcome-to-perfection

PS – Animas Ping Pumps play Für Elise when you are close to running out of insulin. Driving yesterday and listening to the radio, Für Elise came on. I shut off the radio!

 

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Dusting It Off

I’m very impressed with those d-bloggers who blog more than once every 3 or 4 months.

dustingI’m dusting this one off and I’m not happy with myself. I would have been a looney tune case if I hadn’t found the d-blogs. Really.

Those early d-blog pioneers were and still are amazing people.

I’m going to do better.

I’m going to write here more often with the hope that some other, “Oh My God, I have what?!” d-person will find this and know that – they’re not alone.

PS – Today was our 41st Wedding Anniversary. Wowee, Zowee!

 

 

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D-Blog Week

So – I’m not doing D-Blog Week – for the first time since Karen began it.

But…

I can read blogs and comment so – that’s me this week.

If you haven’t – check out Karen’s list of who’s blogging.

Here’s a link to Day 1 – The “I Can” blogs.

I Can – Monday, 5/11

They’re quite amazing and I’m already enjoying “meeting” some new d-people.

Have a great week!

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Me & the Anesthesiologist

And by the way, he was one of the cutest anesthesiologists I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve met a whole lot of anesthesiologists…

When you reach a certain age, a colonoscopy is recommended. The one this week was my third. I’m on the five year plan as they’ve found and removed polyps each time. I don’t whine as I had two good friends who died due to colon cancer.

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And as much as I hate, hate, hate doing the prep thing… I really, really hate it…

And this year, I decided to fix an abdominal hernia that was becoming annoying.

So I did both this week. (Oh, and my husband is a saint.)

2015-04-08I did the prep. My blood sugars were really quite amazing during the entire time. A couple of quick lows that a few sips of regular ginger ale took care of nicely.

Arrived at the hospital at 8am and began the whole prep for surgery thing. (And Dexcom and the hospital meter matched – the nurse was awed. So was I…) This was my first time with general anesthesia (2 C-sections but that’s been all). The nurses were awesome and everyone wanted to look at Dexcom. They hadn’t seen one. And they wanted to know who implanted the Dexcom transmitter… They were surprised when I said I did it once a week – by myself.

I cannot tell you how many times this was said, “You must be a very brittle diabetic.”

Um, no. The pump and the cgms are tools used by any person with diabetes. Even the youngest children have them. “Really?!”

And then the anesthesiologist arrived. And he asked how to work the Ping and the Dexcom. Quick lesson with a strong reminder that a finger stick had to be done as confirmation of any Dex info that was going to result in insulin or glucose –  and I was down the hall and out. The Dexcom was placed on a tray – and the Ping was hooked to my hospital gown’s neck. I checked my dex and history button later and there was a 200 with a one unit bolus halfway through the surgery.

When I saw the anesthesiologist after, I told him it was awesome that he’d used them. He wanted more info about Dex. I told him I was especially appreciative of the Dexcom when driving.  He told me his father had Type 1 and had a car accident due to a hypo. I told him I’ve had several times where I either pulled over to treat or didn’t even leave work when Dexcom alerted me to a lower blood sugar.

So, my innards got cleaned and checked and I’m good for another five years.

And the weird lump on my abdominal area is gone (well, I think it is – there’s a huge bandage there right now – I get to take it off and joy, joy take a shower tomorrow!).

Oh – and one of the nurses has a sister with Type 2. She said she knows her sister wishes she had someone to talk to about Diabetes. I let her know about the DOC and will be sending her some blog addresses.

Oh – then it snowed last night. A couple of inches. Sigh…

2015-04-09 01

 

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Diabetes Grief

Today – one of the attendees of the Diabetes UC (UnConference) posted this:
My biggest struggle lately has been the grief over diagnosis. Before attending, I’d been having some rough weeks with sadness and worry over how my life was going to be now that I had diabetes. But something clicked over the weekend, and since returning I have felt so much more positive.

And yes – that was me, 10 years ago.

And yes – it’s still me, now.

D sucks. And you can “Pollyanna” it all you want. (And I’m one of the best Pollyanna people around.) But Diabetes sucks. Lots of other diseases suck – but I don’t have one of those at this time.

So for now, Diabetes sucks.

I can be positive. I can be angry. I can be sad. (I’m really, really good at sad.) I can be happy that there’s all these DOC people in my computer who help me. I can be angry that there’s all these DOC people in my computer who are stuck with the same sucky disease.

Sometimes it’s hard to be positive.

I’m lucky. When I started pumping, I was invited by our Animas Rep to join a group that met about an hour away. It was awesome. The pumping people were friendly and helpful and nice. Unless it was snowing, I drove to every meeting. Sitting around talking with other d-people made a HUGE difference. I wasn’t scared. I learned stuff. It really, really made me more confident in pumping.

Then – Animas phased out our Rep. She went to Rhode Island. And that was better for her family situation but, I miss her and our meetings…

And – apart from this – in speaking w/ a doctor’s office this week, and saying that I have Type 1, the person (nurse/receptionist/whatever) told me that she has a friend with diabetes who just doesn’t take care of herself. And she was angry. I told her that it wasn’t easy, and to try to NOT be angry at her friend with diabetes. And I told her that maybe her friend just needs another d-friend and gave her permission to share my name and number. I am far from the perfect d-person but sometimes, as we all know, just having someone else say, “Yes, me too.” makes a huge difference.

 

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TSA Cares – Really!

Several people have written about contacting TSA for a passenger support specialist to make it easier getting through airport security.

So I did.

And received this reply within 24 hours.
Good afternoon, Ms. Skinner,
I am sorry I was unable to reach you earlier today.  We have received your request for assistance from the TSA Contact Center.  Certainly a  passenger support specialist can be provided to assist you through the checkpoint and the screening process.  When you arrive at the airport feel free to contact the manager on duty, *******.  Either Mr. **** or a checkpoint supervisor will arrange for the PSS to meet you.   Meanwhile, if you have any questions, please give us a call at this office.

Our flight from Manchester to DC was at 5:50 am – crack of dawn. Our PSS met us at the airline desk and from there – life was easy peasy – zip-zip through the lines (got to take “cuts!”). The woman actually thanked me for taking the time to contact them. She said they want to help but can’t if people don’t ask.

And Las Vegas – no contact but – we both ended up as TSA pre-checked. And again, life was good. M zipped right through. I requested a pat-down and so had to take off shoes but that was it. No liquid inspections – and M got to leave his CPap machine in the bag.

Kelly wrote about her good TSA experience in Philadelphia last week – go read it here:
This Trip, A Philly TSA Agent Made Traveling With Diabetes Way LESS Stressful!

So yes, we went to the very first annual Diabetes UnConference. It was awesome. And because we live in New Hampshire where it’s still very, very cold – and there’s still snow on the ground, we stayed the whole week. That was also awesome.

I can’t write about the conference – yet… I will – lots of people are writing lots of good stuff.

I will say that I have to get back to blogging. The blogs were such a TREMENDOUS help to me when I was first diagnosed – 10 years ago this month. And sometimes you think (or I think) well, gee – no one’s reading it so why write it. There were a whole bunch of blog lurkers at the conference and so, you never know who might be helped just by a few words from you. Just knowing that you’re not the only person who forgot to put your pump back on, bolus for a meal, order supplies, etc… is comforting. Trust me – been there done that (and more…).

For now Christel has earned my total respect for making an UnConference such a grand and enjoyable and fun and organized (and warm) UnConference!

Oh – thought I’d be the oldest one there. I wasn’t.
Thought I’d be the one who traveled the farthest. Didn’t happen…

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Medicare, I did it…

In April I will be 65 years old. Holy sh**! Really?

Anyway, I signed up for Medicare this week. It was easy. It was kind of fascinating to see my “earnings” report. Not that I earned much. I was a teacher – Special Education. Then I was a substitute teacher for years while our sons were in school. Then a volunteer thing at the church turned into a job. Moved here to NH and I’m a parish secretary. Being a parish secretary is truly the last thing I ever thought I’d do. To be honest, I never thought of that when it came to, “What I’m going to be when I grow up.”

I won’t be activating the Medicare thing right away as I plan/hope to continue working for awhile. Why? Well, that would be because I have health insurance. I like my Dexcom. I really like my Dexcom. Medicare won’t pay for Dexcoms. (I would give up my pump to keep Dexcom.)

My huge fear – driving without Dexcom. I don’t have a whole lot of lows. And for the most part, I can tell when I’m low. But – driving down/up the interstate? If I’m on the interstate, it usually means I’ve been to a mall or a doctor’s appointment (or lunch with Shannon Lewis!). Malls ( and Targets) create lows for me.  If I’m driving, I sometimes don’t feel the lows. I have Dexcom sitting right on the console. I keep an eye on it. And yes, I’ve pulled off the road to test and treat when needed when I’m by myself. (Juice kept in the car during 3 seasons – Skittles in the winter. I’ve learned I can’t drink a frozen juice box…!)  If my husband and I are together, we stop and switch drivers.

And a night time low? Those are terrible. And scary. If I needed an ambulance in the winter, it might not happen. During the winter, if it’s snowing, they wouldn’t even be able to get an ambulance up our road. I have asked what would happen. They would have to walk up with a sled thing if needed. It could take awhile. I might send Medicare a photo of my snowy road.

I’m extremely fortunate, really! I like my job. I like the people I work with each day. I like the parishioners. I like my 5 minute commute. So – working more? It’s okay. It’s actually very good. (I’m trying so hard to NOT say, “It’s a good thing.”)
goodthing
PS – Thanks to Kim Vlasnik, I can even insert the Dexcom in my arm, by myself. And this past week – I got one into my right arm using my left hand (I’m right handed). (Yay me!!!) I didn’t think I could do it. But – I can do this.

PPS – We’re going to the Diabetes UnConference in March. I’m hoping there will be no snow in LasVegas while we’re there.

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10 Years Ago

10 years ago I was 54 years old.

10 years ago I knew very little about Diabetes because…

10 years ago I didn’t have Diabetes.

10 years ago the flu shot was restricted to people older than 54.

And so, in 2004, I wasn’t able to get a flu shot…

A link:
http://www.nytimes.com/2004/10/17/health/17flu2.html?_r=

10 years ago, I got the flu, just after Christmas. I was really sick.
(Our furnace broke that week, too.)
(The only thing I wanted to eat was chocolate milkshakes. Yup, no joke…)

Three months after that, I was diagnosed with Diabetes.

March, 2005.

You know, sometimes, life just sort of sucks.

Sometimes I feel sorry for myself.
Who am I kidding?  I feel sorry for myself every single, damn day.
And then I feel very, very, very lucky that I found the DOC people.

And then – I read other d-blogs, other d-facebook posts…
And I coped – just like the rest of you – just like all of us.

Diabetes Sucks.

Happy New Year!

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