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Blogging dLife Style

September

It Is Go Time!

          ~dLife has put together an amazing platform for different voices of the diabetes community to share their words. Blogabetes is the new feature at dLife featuring a group of spontaneous, poignant, funny, and relateable writers including myself.

Join:

MeKerri MorroneNicole PurcellGeorge SimmonsMichelle KowalskiLori RodeAndy BellRebecca AbmaRobert HudsonCarey PotashKim Doty& Julia

READ – COMMENT – REPEAT!

WELCOME TO BLOGABETES

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The Elusive Pumps

September

It finally happened. All the hard-nosed looking, the squinted eye peering, and allllll the unwelcome staring has brought success. And this time, it was right in front of my nose.

While out to lunch at Todai seafood restaurant, I saw a little girl of about 7 yrs. old with an insulin pump. I had yet to that day actually seen a pump in function on someone, whether young or old. She had a dress on with shoulder straps… and clipped to the back towards her neck was this little pump. Spindled down into the clothing went the tube, undoubtedly secured to her stomach somewhere. I am pretty sure that is the preferred absorption location for children and most adults alike.

It was kind of surreal. I wanted to stand up and make everyone notice, after I did, what they were missing. Her large family sat around their table very plainly. She fiddled with silverware on the table and kept occupied, as kids do. And all the while, pump…pump…pump went the insulin. Amazing how common place it must seem in her family. As if an extension of the young one, always there and always accounted for.

I still look forward to seeing someone my age or about with their pump on. Will I walk up to them and open conversation? Should I ask questions to get live and in color insight into my pumping future? Are there any others left besides this child? I imagine so… just proves once again how invisible diabetes can be.

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A New Doc

September

It has been a full year in San Diego and the law has stirred up a fire under me to get a new doctor. It has been that long since I have seen my last doctor, whose job I felt like I could have done on most visits…. but I digress….

So I have put off finding a replacement in my new city until now. But under California law, my old Endo is no longer allowed to refill my prescriptions. There is a one year cut-off if no office visits have been completed during that hiatus. So as my prescriptions edge closer to becoming bankrupt I will now be able to boost my medication bank account through my new doc. I will venture to his office in two weeks and get back on track with my office visit routine.

The past year has gone fairly smooth. I have managed diabetes well without the tri-monthly huddle with my endo. I stayed on top of my insulin needs and completed a mail-in A1c test to see an overview of the past months. I knew where I stood on the diabetes home front and was confident in my decision to lay low from the doctor’s office.

The end of this year, however, brings me new necessity to connect with a local doctor. I hope to start pumping insulin soon. And with the necessary completed paperwork and recommendation from my doctor, as well as approval from my new insurance company, and insulin pump training, crossed fingers, and a virgin sacrifice… that wish should be fulfilled.

In the present moment I am bearing down over the health plan comparison chart supplied by my work. Eenie-meenie-minee-mo, catch an overpriced, complicated, conflict-ready, greedy insurance company by the toe. All I want for Christmas is {No Hassles} with this new diabetes platform I am stepping on. Any bets whether that will happen?

Despite the cumbersome process all this requires, I am excited to see a local professional who I have heard positive things about. He and his P.A. will be my stepping stone to a new Lantus delivery routine(insulin pen), new insulin pump, updated prescription refills, and a record of well being.

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Carbs Are King

August

The e-mail fairy sent me a short, self-sequestered, advertisement today.  Among the myriad of junk mail, I saw a CalorieKing message and popped it open to see what was up. The welcoming note, personally addressed, let me know the new Joslin paired food nutrition web site was up and running. The spotlight focuses on the cold hard facts of the stuff we eat… and among other things, what it takes to burn it off.

Calories… and carbs!… Are King Here

A download installs a search toolbar on your internet browser and puts food info at your fingertips. Enter a food/drink query and it shoots you over to the CalorieKing website and a list of matches. Need to know how many calories are in a tablespoon of Nutella? How about the sodium count of the Pepsi One you’ve got? Even the carbs in a serving of TGI Friday’s Spinach, Cheese, and Artichoke Dip. It’s all there!

While calories may be the buzz word of choice, the carb tallies have my focus at hand. You see, I put my name on the list of contacts to inform- once the site was up and running. I was intrigued at the collective database of foodstuffs being put together at the time. If I had a nickel for every time I tried to look up the carb count of my next meal… let’s just say I could build a pair of spare change headphones like in those Bank of America commercials. Now, this database is charging ahead and I have my one-stop resource for carb counts.

Give it a run-through, no download required. Just interrogate the search bar on site. CalorieKing and Joslin Diabetes Center have put together a well organized site.

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A Deep Breath

July

I am able to take some time to breathe now. While my new employment is still moving along successfully, summer school has ended… taking a big weight off my shoulders. And the “B” I earned in that Calc II class is very satisfying for the condensed 6 weeks of math that it was!

Take that you lengthy Maclaurin Series and you loopy Integrals by Trigonometric Substitution!

I started to realize how demanding both a new job and a quick paced summer school session was when I got a very curt “HI” from my meter. It was a week of firsts. First week at Starbucks, first angst inducing math exam, and my very first glucometer reading over 500. After that knee jerk of a blood test result, a redly backgrounded vision of me throwing that meter into the wall flashed into my head. If I had high blood pressure problems, I’m sure something would have popped!

The high blood sugar trend felt itself appropriate to continue in the weeks to follow. I am convinced my body is using diabetes as a way to punish me. “If you would only sit on the couch with a movie, I would behave”, my inner diabetes voice tells me. But instead I am waking up at 3:00 am to open for business at my new second home—work. I am eating sporadically, sometimes indulging on discounted Starbucks treats. And able to test my numbers much less frequently than I want.

All that… and throw in uncalculated moments to inject my daily Lantus. Instead of one time daily(suggestively at the same time), it’s more like one time daily(at the closest convenient time)—and it hasn’t been convenient.

I am settling in to the new cycle more and more each day. My days at Starbucks are becoming more  routine and there are less and less skills for me to master. I am becoming more aware of how diabetes unfriendly the menu board is with each shift. Mixing Frappuccinos, Mochas, Macchiatos, and the such, have found me grimacing with each additional pump of syrup, spray of whip cream, or drizzle of chocolate that the recipes call for. It is not for the lack of “friendly” items available, but the requests of the majority of customers, that compels me to concoct these drinks.

More on Starbucks and the menu at another time though.

For the time being, I will put in my hours and collect a paycheck. Edging closer to my receipt of health insurance benefits. And oh ya, keep my numbers in check at the same time!

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A Day At the Beach

June

I decided this nice stretch of beautiful weather needed to be pounced on.

Spring has not fully convinced me that it has sprung yet. Bouts of semi-warm weather intermingle with days of gloomy overhead clouds and nippy breezes. On this particular day, however, spring was stretching it’s arms and showed what it could do. A trip to Coronado Beach was in order. A direct, highway only, route got me to beach front access in twenty minutes.

Coronado is an upscale island and part of San Diego. You can bet, nearly all traffic to the island is produced by construction crews, landscapers, military personnel, and oodles of tourists. It is the place to live when an 800 square foot property line is a steal for $800,000 bucks. Now honestly, I just pulled that number out of my ass… but you get the idea. Big Bucks. 

Coronado and it’s sought after views

The sand was warm and the breeze gentle. I stretched out with my towel and plugged in the headphones. Here is my pile of beach belongings.

  • Insulin pen that I wouldn’t even need(Not sure why I toted that)
  • Pen needles that always accompany the pen
  • Loose test strips that I found in my pocket…used of course
  • Ever needed stuff like keys/wallet/sandals/glasses(usual goodies)

 Ipod, Sandals, Insulin. Good to go

I plugged in and dialed up the Diabetes PowerShow Podcast. This show is my new favorite diabetes geared listen. The cast can be quarky at times and the dialog a little too happy-happy also, but what a great program they have and killer guests to boot! I was feeling at ease and getting my tan on. Good times on the beach.

And no, not all of California’s beauty is nature-made. We have to help out too at times. With diesel engines and large loading grates, a group of Cats scoop up errant seaweed and make way for guests.

Woo ooo. A little help from our friends

One more beach off the list and countless more to go. I aim to hit up as many as I can over my stretch in San Diego and get a real feel for what our coastline is all about.

Beach Feet

aaaahh…

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The Family Pet, With Diabetes

May

I recently had a random thought about an old family pet.

We had a dog named Shasta who had canine diabetes. All of the care and attention she needed parallels mine today. I remember my dad giving her insulin shots and even rare instances when she would seizure. A sudden sense of urgency would fill the room and a brown sugar snack would soon rush her way.

It becomes much more complicated treating a family pet who has diabetes. If only Shasta could have signaled when she needed some sugar. I imagine she would scratch at the chip cabinet when in need of a snack. A supply of dog bone shaped glucose tabs would have been perfect! But with such a full, round belly on her, she surely would have taken advantage of her new power of communication! Snacks all day would have been heaven for that old girl.

Shasta was not alone in her canine needs. Other animals need to receive insulin, much the same way Shasta did. Watch Cookie the dog take her insulin shot like a champ through this YouTube clip.  

I had not made the connection of Shasta’s circumstances to my own situation, until now. Diabetes was right in front of me while growing up and I barely even noticed. I presume this is how it works in the human to human world also. Even with the booming rate of diabetes diagnoses we are seeing, if it doesn’t touch your life directly, it is easy to glance over.

Back to the animals…

Cookie and Shasta don’t monopolize the diabetes care seen in pets. Other family pets need treatment in the same way. I ran across this YouTube clip also. One cat owner shares his routine for testing his cat’s blood sugar. He even keeps a kitty log book. Recording blood sugar levels and time of day. All noted to discuss with the veterinarian team, later on. What compassion this owner has for the health of feline Buddy, his family friend.

 

Subsequently, check out Dave and Smokey’s duo-diabetes tale at Kerri’s new feature: Six Until Me’s “Your Story”.

I have a lot of respect for care-givers. Whether professional or familial… it shows a magnitude of compassion to look after the health and safety of others… others with or without opposable thumbs even!