Diabetes Santa God! Or…I’m Addicted To My CGM. (Part 2) December 4, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, travel
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Part Two…Continued from, Part One, when I’d just contacted a local D-member!
- At work, less than 24 hours preflight: No success with a charger, but local D-member had an older Medtronic CGM she was willing to lend me.
I’ve never used Medtronic anything. I’ve heard mixed comments about the system, including its less than reliable sensors and its harpoon insertion situation. And I’d be carrying an extra pump as the receiver. Was it worth it? I tried to think logically. But as the nerves and what-if scenarios ballooned in my imagination, yes, it would be worth it. Learning a new system in half-hour, less than 12 hours before my flight added to my nerves, but I felt comforted and protected knowing I would have a CGM system during the diabetes disaster that is Thanksgiving. HUGE SHOUT OUT to the local D-member.
And then I pulled into my driveway.
I walked towards my front door. And held my breath.
There.was.a.box. I’d ordered other items this past week, but this box, this possible gateway to complete relief, was perfect Dex transmitter size.
I slowly walked towards this box, my eyes fixated on the return address label, knowing exactly what it needed to read.
Could it be? Is that even possible?
I carefully lifted the box, fumbled to unlock the front door, and walked inside. Everything else fell to the floor but this box.
Scissors! Where the fuck are my scissors? Ah ha! I carefully cut open the box. I lifted the sides of the box and peered inside.
Nothing but a transmitter could fit in with this packaging. I pulled out the brown packing paper.
There it was.
I felt like the M&M® in the M&M and Santa commercial, “They do exist!”
Some Santa, diabetes god, leprechaun, unicorn was on my side. And I realized how much trust and dependence I have with these devices, the ones that offer me protection, safety and let me live my life how I want. And for that I am thankful – I know others do not have that luxury for which to make complaints.
Diabetes Santa God! Or…I’m Addicted To My CGM. (Part 1) December 3, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, travel
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I had a sneaking suspicion that my warranty was about up on my CGM system. I had to switch to a 3rd party supplier, who I haven’t quite figured out as opposed to DexCom direct. I called 3rd party company, and wouldn’t you know – my transmitter expired in spring.
No, Ms. 3rd party company, I have no Low Battery screen alerts from Dex. What, my receiver’s warranty is up in two weeks? Great – can I just wait and reorder both things at once? Cool, I’ll do that. Talk to you then.
Of course. Two days after I called about this very possibility. I immediately ordered the transmitter, which required a new prescription. I wasn’t too worried at this point – most Dex warnings about failure/low things tend to stretch out. An upcoming Thanksgiving trip weighed on the back of my mind, but I figured I could react appropriately after I received confirmation emails about the order.
- About one week pre Thanksgiving trip: No transmitter, no confirmation emails. But I still wasn’t worried (for future reference, get worried here)(or be smarter and call the company).
- Three days pre Thanksgiving trip: Transmitter starts consistently losing communication with the receiver, even when less than one foot a part. Still no confirmation emails.
- Day and a half pre Thanksgiving trip: This transmitter isn’t going to make it. Now I am a little nervous, but I’ve had diabetes for about 20 years without a CGM – I should be able to handle one holiday with travel using my trusty meter and strips.
- About two hours later: THANKSGIVING! Holy Carb Motherload! Airplanes! So much alcohol! No CGM! Panic ensued. And no confirmation emails.
Now in my panic-mode, I search through my diabetes closet. No random transmitters, but I had one Seven+ sensor, multiple combinations of Seven+ transmitters and receivers…and no Seven+ chargers. I tried to plug things into other things that should probably never plug into one another. No luck. Double-arrow stress increase. In one last-ditch effort, I emailed the only local CGM user I knew.
Wordless Wednesday: A Year of Dex November 13, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, Wordless Wednesday
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Cruising. Not Along. But to Alaska. October 9, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: cruise, diabetes
Cruising. To Alaska. With the family. Because this is a diabetes blog, I’m skipping over my general cruise commentary and going straight to stuff you might care about.
One of the last questions on the health info boarding form included, Do you need a sharps container for syringes, needles… ?
What? Of course I would love a sharps bin! So…a small sharps bin was delivered to my room before we even left the dock. Delivered!
Purell® everywhere. Perfect for removing sticky substances from fingers before testing.
Handheld shower head thing! Perfect for successful showering without a direct water stream on the Dex and insulin pump sites. (Side note, to get hot hot water, you have to push IN the red button and then turn. Side side note. Try to figure that out before your fourth shower).
Lots of stairs. Our room was on the 1st floor, and we mostly ate on the 9th floor. Eight flights of stairs provide the perfect opportunity to give a meal bolus, skip the elevator and be in perfect BG range for breakfast. Also ideal for keeping your ass in shape while cruising.
Reading Time! I finally had time to finish Ginger’s book (review coming).
Cruising Goof Ups (aka, Where I Screwed Up):
Hydration. This was my first cruise, so maybe I missed something, but staying hydrated took some effort. Glasses and mugs were small, and I only found beverage stations during meal times. Take a water bottle from home and keep it filled from your room sink.
Food. All sorts of food. Food with no nutrition labels, five-course evening dinners, carb-filled breakfasts. Buffets. BUFFETS. With soft-serve ice cream and cookies. However, many of the food options stay the same. For instance, I had French toast and fruit every morning (plus or minus eggs, mini chocolate croissants, you know…). The first morning I bloused generously, but cautiously. Learning lessons from Morning One helped set me up for the remaining mornings. Guestimating carbs didn’t get easy, but I did get a handle on it.
Timing. Getting in insulin just around 20 minutes before a meal, not too late (hello HI) or too early (oh…LOW), was difficult. Some meals are at set times, but many were during a time range. I think you could circumvent some of this issue based on your cruising group and their ability to be accommodating.
Cruising with diabetes is definitely doable. Be prepared that things won’t be all flatline all the time. Or at all. But, with a little planning and a little extra effort, and you’ll come back with a great cruise story and steady BGs.
Wordless Wednesday: Bumpy Transition September 18, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, Wordless Wednesday
If You Want To September 6, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, Endo, pump
“…if you want to,” said my endo. He added on this last phrase, as an afterthought.
My endo plays significant roles in many top Type 1 diabetes studies, including a recent study for the closed loop solution with automatic suspension. Essentially the closed loop system means an insulin pump and a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) talk to one another and can make a treatment decision without user intervention. A key part of this particular study is when the CGM alerts to a low during the night, the pump automatically shuts off for two hours*.
I am not cool with this.
If I turned off my pump for two hours in the middle of the night I’d be sky high by morning. Sure, you can override the turned off pump, but that kind of defeats the purpose of an automatic action. (YDMV – I can see the value of this for kiddos, worried parents and hypo-unaware folks).
I don’t trust my Dexcom CGM 24/7, the best sensor on the market today, enough that I’d be okay with it talking to my pump and making a decision without my input.
This closed loop system uses a different CGM and pump than what I currently use. I picked my system for a reason. Because it works for me and my life right now.
Those are three significant downfalls, for something that I am not convinced will improve my care. And “…if I want to.” is the LAST phrase from my endo after his spiel?
I’ve lived with diabetes for a long time. Since I was old enough to make decisions, I made the decisions about how I handle my care. Yeah, I could be in better ‘control’, but the things that often throw me out of control have nothing to do with my choice of treatment tools.
So Dr. Endo, you are absolutely right – if I want to. It is my decision, not yours. I value your bias yet educated opinion, but only if I want to, will I take action. The tools I use every second of my life – those are tools that I use because I want to. Because I see their value to my health and because I want to find a way to incorporate those tools into my health care.
Don’t you dare make me feel guilty if right now, I don’t want to.
*Note: I am not a doctor. I have not read the study details. Talk to your doctor or do your own research for the scientific facts. The study is titled Threshold-Based Insulin-Pump Interruption for Reduction of Hypoglycemia .
Why Would You Want That On Your Foot? August 20, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
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My right foot sports an insulin protein representation tattoo. To an unknowing observer, it looks a little like DNA. When explained, it says Type 1 diabetes.
My diabetes is not often topic of conversation with my coworkers, let alone work co-acquaintances. I see Mr. Espresso Man weekly in the kitchen; we partake in small talk for a minute before heading separate ways. But one day while waiting for his steam thing to do whatever, he asked about the tattoo.
“What’s that on your foot?,” he asked.
“Oh – it’s a representation of an insulin protein,” I answered (if you follow this with a patient “Duh.” you’ll get the right tone).
“Oh. Why would you want that on your foot?” he logically asked.
I had to laugh. Why wouldn’t I? The whole thing seems so logical to me, I forget that people don’t see the connection between my foot and who I am. I realize I probably do the tattoo explanation in reverse and that I should start with the fact that I’m diabetic. Diabetes and insulin are just part of my life – putting it on my foot makes perfect sense to me. It slips my mind that that idea would make no sense to anyone else.
I went on to explain why exactly I wanted a tattoo of an insulin protein on my foot. Like most people, he didn’t say much else, but at least agreeably understood why I would put an insulin protein on my foot.
Wordless Wednesday: Oh! A Slide! July 24, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, Wordless Wednesday
Walk It Off July 11, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, pump
I lost another clipped-to-me, number reading, 24/7 device yesterday.
Not my pump – that’s attached (thankfully).
Not my Dex – this would be a panic-post if that were the case.
A pedometer. A stupid pedometer. I don’t even like pedometers. I don’t care what number shows up on its little screen. But for four months, my employer does.
My employer participates in a program designed to motivate employees to be more active in hopes of increased physical and mental health, and increased productivity. Overall, it’s a cool program. And when I haven’t lost my pedometer, I only get slightly annoyed about tracking yet another number.
But when I reach down to my waistband and realize my pedometer’s missing, I lose it. I already keep track of at least three medical devices each day. My ability to focus, work, drive, exercise depends on those devices. I should be able to keep track of one more. I should be accustomed to a painstaking awareness of where all my devices are at all times.
Losing one, just the most unimportant one, is a reminder of all the other things I carry every day. Shouldn’t I get some sort of extra credit for having to carry and track all sorts of other things during the day, every day? My coworkers get to forget their awareness of what is attached to them after four months. But after this step-count event is over, I still have stuff attached. Stuff with numbers that I need to track everyday. Stuff that can’t be left behind. Stuff that is more important than a pedometer will ever be.
When my attached things stay attached, I feel accomplished in being successful with all the small challenges that become second nature (you know, door knobs, seat belts, pulling down my pants to pee without ripping off a site). But when things go wrong, frustration and bitterness are easily and quickly misplaced. There is no reason a missing pedometer should send me into feeling guilty, irresponsible and defeated. Time to walk it off…
The Look June 26, 2013Posted by laosita in diabetes.
Tags: dexcom, pump
The momentary blank glance while I quickly push buttons on my insulin pump or I shift my gaze to my DexCom. It’s the same look. I got it from my grade-school nephew while I glanced at Dex and bolused before I ate dinner. The same look appeared on an acquaintance’s face when I bolused at lunch. But that look, the look of momentary ‘hmm’, of a question, a query, a ponder. It lasts just a split-second before we all move on. I’m done with whatever I was doing before they formulate a verbal thought.
Very rarely in these cases do I say a single thing. I am doing what I must do before I eat, during exercise or whenever. It’s likely that this is the first time you noticed me doing anything different; even though we’ve hung out before.
I prefer that people get to know me first, and to realize that I do all the ridiculous things I do just because that’s who I am. Diabetes might have contributed, but it is not the main point. Stopping to make a big fuss about an insulin injection, pump bolus or blood test makes diabetes more important than whatever I was really doing. And I don’t want that. Yes, I must take extra steps to do the same activity you do. But I take those steps quickly and move on. I think that sets an example for the proper reaction. And in most cases, that split-second look is just that. A nonjudgmental, indecisive, split-second.
But not making a big deal of something does not mean that it is not important. If I don’t take those extra steps, I die. If I miscalculate those steps, I must deal with consequences. And those ideas deserve attention.
Is The Look a missed education opportunity? Or, is not saying anything about The Look an education in itself?
How do you PWD handle The Look? Does it depend on the situation or the person?