Diabetes Has Terrible Timing

I was going to title this blog post simply: UGH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! But that wouldn’t be very explanatory and would do terrible things to the already weak SEO of my site.

Here’s the story:

I’m in charge of the monthly events for the professional organization whose board I sit on. I was hosting the summer networking event one evening. I was at the bar having just been served the Pub Exclusive: Great Lakes Buckin’ Mule Moscow Mule Ale and I pulled out my PDM to take a bolus for the beer and some food. The screen flashed on and then straight to a PDM error message to call customer service.

I knew the PDM would need reset, but was wondering if I could delay a bolus so I glanced at my Dexcom app on my phone. It was apparently the perfect time for a sensor error.

Let’s recap real quick: I’m running an event, I can’t bolus from my insulin pump, I can’t read my CGM and because of the PDM error I have no glucose meter either.

I excuse myself and dig in my diabetes bag for a syringe to take a bolus from my insulin vial. I find no syringes in my bag and have no idea why. So I go to the quietest place I can find (the event was in the bar of a hotel restaurant) and even then it was loud, but I called OmniPod customer service anyway. I spent 20 minutes of the phone with a sympathetic rep who took the information and tried to walk me through a reset using a “paperclip,” since I didn’t have a paperclip or safety pin or anything, I used my earring. The PDM screen blinked off, it went to the restart screen, blinked off again, restart screen, off, restart, off, restart… rinse repeat. We tried the earring reset again. Same result. We removed the batteries, waited, replaced them, and same result. That’s when the rep pronounced my PDM dead. “Okay, I’ll take shots until tomorrow and they’ll overnight me a new one,” I thought.

“Rachel, our records show that your PDM is out of warranty. We won’t be able to replace it, you’ll need to order a new one.”

I deflated. I had forgotten that I willfully allowed myself to run out of warranty in December in the vain hope that OmniPod would be releasing a closed-loop system. I had attempted to get an OmniPod DASH in order to do a review for DiabetesMine, but I couldn’t get my hands on one. It’s a long story.

“Do you have another form of insulin delivery?” He asked me. To which my automatic response was, “Yes.”

But did I? Continue reading

I Smell Insulin

“Hey, hey, wake up,” Brad whispered, gently shaking me. “Come on, wake up.”

My eyelids felt glued shut and my head was heavy with sleep. It’s gotta be 3 in the morning, why is he waking me up? I finally got one eyelid to open and pulled my face barely out of my pillow and groggily asked, “What?”

“I smell insulin and I know your blood sugar is high,” he said. “Do you need to change your pod?” I swear it took me a good 30 seconds to process this.

Continue reading

How do you present yourself?

Earlier this month, I was at an industrial trade show running media meetings for a large, well-known manufacturing client. I was standing in their booth during a particularly busy time in the exhibit hall and pitching in where I could until my next meeting.

A man, who looked a little disheveled and addled came wandering up to the display I was standing near. I said hello and he looked at the company name on the booth and said, “With a name like that, you must not be a Japanese company.” I responded that it’s an American company with a global presence. He was silent, looking at the display and not me, so I offered to get someone to answer questions for him.

“Oh no, I’m not a potential customer,” he told me and fished a business card out of his pocket. “I’m a PR guy, if you want to get more publicity for your products, give me a call.” He handed me the card and walked away. I didn’t even have the opportunity to say thanks, he was gone so fast. I stifled a laugh and turned to the product manager who had overheard the “pitch,” he too was laughing.

I’m not in sales or business development, I’m in marketing communications. For the purposes of that trade show, I was the “PR guy.” Never in a million years would I assume a greeting and closing line like that would be professional or persuasive. And I’d never hand someone a business card without actually introducing myself and getting the other person’s name. Whenever you present yourself to others, regardless of what business you’re in, you should strive to be professional and polite.

Here are a few easy communication tips for making a good first time meeting impression: Continue reading

Christmas Gifts for People with Diabetes

If you’ve got someone who has diabetes on your Christmas shopping list this year, listen up, this one is for you!

If you’re wondering, “What should I get for my diabetic friend/relative this year?” Allow me to help, instead ask yourself “What should I get for my diabetic friend/relative this year?”

Here’s the thing about people who live with diabetes, the disease is something they live with, I guarantee you it isn’t something that they want or view as a hobby, so it probably isn’t something you should get them gifts for. Most people with diabetes want to be seen as more than their illness, no matter how much they blog, tweet or post about it online. Look at your friend or relative as a person outside of their diabetes with their own unique personality, interests and hobbies that can provide you with plenty of ideas for gift giving.

Of course, if your loved one asks for something diabetes-related, that’s a whole different story. Sometimes they may want treated to a fancy new diabetes bag or medical alert bracelet, and if that’s the case definitely go for it!

Just don’t assume that because a person lives with a disease that they will want gifts for it.

New Friends – Thanks Diabetes

It’s 3:30 pm and I’m in the basement of the church in my bridesmaid dress trying to steam the wrinkles out of another bridesmaid’s dress. The room is really hot, but do I feel hotter than I did 5 minutes ago? Maybe. I glance at my Dexcom app, still no data. It’s been on the fritz since I arrived this morning to get my hair done for my friend’s wedding. Maybe it’s just the steam and the activity in the bridal room.

But my hand is shaking. Something isn’t right. I check my blood sugar. 43.

I pop open my tube of glucose tabs and eat the only 3 that are in there and curse myself for not refilling it. I don’t have any other fast-acting sugar with me. The bridesmaid whose dress I was steaming is a pediatric nurse and she sees me. “Are you okay?” she asks.

“I’m low, I’m 43,” I respond. By this point, everyone in the room has seen this. She asks if anyone has food in the room. Someone offers a bag of Sour Patch Kids, and I scarf down some candy and take a drink of water.

People ask me what I need now and I respond that I need just a minute.

The pastor knocks on the door and announces that we have five minutes before we have to go upstairs. The nurse slips on her dress that someone else has finished steaming and asks me how I feel. I can’t focus enough to respond right away and just awkwardly stare at her, but I can’t quite focus on her or figure out how to speak words. “I need another minute,” I finally manage to say. Then the pastor is at the door, “Okay ladies, it’s time to go upstairs.” We bustle around and I start to feel more stable, I slip on my ambitious heels and teeter up the stairs behind the other girls.

“Do you need more sugar? My uncle is type 1 and I’m sure he has something with him,” the nurse offers. I shake my head. We line up as the soloist finishes her song.

“Rach, are you okay?” my friend the bride asks. This is the absolute last thing I want my dear friend thinking about before walking down the aisle to marry the love of her life. Continue reading