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I Feel Weird August 20, 2014

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Bad news: Sometimes, after 25ish years, someone still has to tell you to go get something to eat.

I swim in the morning. This particular morning I swam well and was enjoying the set Coach had concocted. I started the morning a bit higher than preferred, dosed 1 unit of insulin, ate a handful of granola and headed to practice. Yet with about 15 minutes remaining in the set, I hung on the wall at a set break.

“Ready?” asked my no-nonsense lane mate of several years (and medical professional). (She once pointed out while I hesitated getting in that the worst that could happen is I could drown, and I wouldn’t because we have several doctors on the team…um thanks.)

“I feel weird,” I said. And I did. I felt weird. Not low or tired. I just felt off. Off-kilter and not comfortable. Just weird. My head said ‘Get out and eat. You’re low.’ Except that message can take some serious detours in these cases.

“Do you want to keep going?” she asked.

“No.” I knew that finishing the set was a bad idea.

“Uh. Ok. Do you need to get something to eat?” she continued. One simple question at a time.

“Um. I dunno. I feel weird.”

“Get out and check your sugar,” demanded the voice of logic.

“Ok. I have stuff in my bag. Yeah, you’re right,” I conceded.

42. Forty-two isn’t a particularly safe number. Forty-two in the water is less safe. Forty-two in the water, while exercising, is dumb.

My hero-of-the-day lane mate later asked if I was indeed low. She knew enough to recognize that 42 is too low. I applauded her insistence to kick me out of the pool, and she chalked it up to seeing low-blood sugar patients say they feel weird.

I knew the feeling. I know what weird means to me. I recognize the danger of a low, especially in this circumstance. I know these things because I have had 25 years to figure it out. Yet, someone else had to see those same things and directly tell me to do something about it. Why?


Day 18: Your Care May Vary November 18, 2012

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Today’s Topic: Write about your advice for someone caring for a patient with your condition.

The wording of today’s topic made me think of a nursing home or someone in a situation who needs help with actions that many take for granted such as getting dressed or going for a walk.

Someone with diabetes and no other issues that make life tough doesn’t need caring for. They need support. While we do need to be cared about, we don’t need watching over in everything that we do.

  • If you have a question, ask. It doesn’t matter if it’s about my pump or why I’m eating cake. But do not assume, do not tell me about your overweight cousin with type 2 stereotype, do not tell me how to ‘fix’ my diabetes.
  • Be willing to help. If you’re not comfortable, try to get there. If you can’t, then say something. I’ll understand. Help with difficult to reach sensor spots, infusion sets, taping.
  • If you’re cooking or want to go out, give me a 20 minute heads up. Let me know ahead of time what we’ll be eating. I can eat anything you can, but it helps if I know what the plan is.
  • If I’m low, find me juice, regular soda, glucose tabs, gel. If I get it myself, let me get it myself. But if I ask you, please hustle.
  • When we go places, ask me if I have everything. But ask me in the same way you’d ask about packing my toothbrush.

How every person wants to be cared for, or supported, is different. Their personality, your relationship, time since diagnosis, all factor into the best way to care for that person. These points are suggestions, not all-encompassing guidelines. Just as your diabetes may vary – your care may vary.

Luckily Surrounded. July 11, 2012

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An unexpected reminder gently slapped me in the face this past week during the CWD Friends for Life 2012 event. I listened to others, and contemplated. Yeah, diabetes sucks. But you deal; you have to. [Side note: Not as easy as it sounds]. Sometimes on my own or with the DOC, but almost always with contributions from the people with whom I surround myself. I was reminded that I am lucky. Lucky to have a phenomenal support crew, regardless as to if that’s what they meant to be. For example…

  • Type Awesome Friend: Fastest across the street juice retrieval from Soda La Fuente that I have ever seen. Granted, I was low, but I might have seen a streak as he ran out the door.
  • Type Awesome Ex: Conquered the middle of the night, I’m-going-to-test-you-because-Dex-is-beeping-so-stick-your-finger-out-from-under-the-covers action.
  • ER Doctor: After testing for keytones, informed me that, “You have keytones. But not diabetic keytones.” Sweet. And we moved on.
  • Endo: When looking at my Dex graph, points at some ups and downs and says, “These are fine.” No asking what I ate, no asking exactly what I did two weeks ago at 3:02 pm.
  • Eye Doctor: After an appointment says, “Keep up the good work, I know it’s hard.” I left the office in tears.
  • Type Awesome Coworker: Unknowingly got sucked into DOC tweets, saw this:
    and tweeted back, “m&ms and jolly ranchers in my desk if you need.”
  • Type Awesome Sister: As a youngster, knew to get orange juice for a low. In a foreign country. After I’d passed out. She laughed.
  • Type Awesome Camping Friend: Noticed I was high for the whole camping trip, and asked the dreaded ‘Should you really be eating that?’ when I reached for another chocolate piece. Well, no. I shouldn’t. In that case, I needed someone to call me out.
  • Type Awesome Relative: Came to me holding his arms straight out, huge hands cupped. Holding Dex like a baby bird. “It was beeping, I don’t know what it wants.”

None of these people get it like the DOC might; but they come damn close. Do you find that your in-person support crew changes how often you look to, or how much you rely on the DOC or other online communities?

Type Awesome April 14, 2012

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As a newbie pumper, I’ve been experimenting with different site locations. (Important lesson- do not try to place an infusion set somewhere that you wouldn’t give a normal shot). I’ve taken a liking to placing the infusion set in my upper arm. I like the different location and it causes no problem in cooler weather, but is slightly more problematic in warmer weather. Without sleeves, the site is often the victim of door frames, driver seats, sports bras, and stares. Yep- people stare. Some ask questions, opening a dialogue for some good old fashioned education. Or smart-ass responses.

Lady I’ve known for about an hour: Oh no, what is that on your arm?

Me: Huh? Oh, that’s just an infusion set for my insulin pump.

Lady: Oh, you’re diabetic?

Me: Yep. [Or, the in-my-head version: No, I just like sticking expensive crap on my body to see how long it will stay on for].

Lady: Oh. I wouldn’t have guessed, you don’t look diabetic.

My super speedy witty friend: What did you think she’d have a big D on her forehead? I’m prediabetic, do I get a big PD?

That’s right, Type Awesome. You Rock.