Diabetes Doesn’t Give Holidays Off

Next week marks my 3rd year of using OmniPod to manage my type 1 diabetes. This isn’t really relevant to today’s story, but I wanted to point it out.

It’s sometimes hard to believe how much time has gone by since I was diagnosed with diabetes and since I started using an insulin pump. It’s an all-day, everyday condition that gives no time off for vacations, holidays or good behavior. In fact, I think that mine punishes me on vacation and during holidays!

I know it’s been a few weeks, but let me tell you about my very unthankful and unpleasant start to Thanksgiving. The evening before Thanksgiving Brad and I went down to his family’s house. We usually help prepare and cook the meal. My blood sugar was a little high, but I assumed it was from having lunch out with my coworkers. I took corrections and set temp basals, but got kind of wrapped up in the prep for the big dinner that I wasn’t as vigilant as I should have been.

I was over 200 before bed, so I corrected and set an alarm. I woke up to my alarm and was still high so I corrected again and set another alarm because no one really needs to sleep, right? I have no recollection of testing a second time but my PDM shows another reading and correction, it was lower but still too high. When I woke up the next morning and checked my Dexcom I almost had a heart attack, it read over 300. I immediate stuck my finger and sure enough, I was 302.

Its hard to be thankful when you start the day with a device failure, pod change and moderate ketones. #walkwithd

A photo posted by Rachel K (@probablyrachel) on

Something was clearly wrong so I took a manual injection from my brand new vial of insulin and started the pod change process, right there in my in-laws’ guest bed while Brad was just waking up. The old pod was starting day 3 and was the last of my previous vial of insulin, that coupled with the mystery food and my dysfunctional immune system created the perfect diabetes storm to threaten to ruin my Thanksgiving. Continue reading

A Side Effect of Diabetes

There are a lot of side effects of diabetes that no one ever seems to talk about… Today, I’d like to discuss one of them.

Diabetes is a 24/7 health condition that never lets up and requires a lot of attention. My type 1 diabetes is like a needy monster that needs checked, fed, exercised, watered and medicated. Aside from those things and exponentially more doctors and medical appointments than a regular, healthy-pancreas person (known as “normal” for the rest of this post) has, it requires one more thing. Countless hours of my life spent on the phone.

Do you know what normal people do on their lunch breaks?

They eat lunch.

Sometimes they go for a walk, exercise, run errands and maybe make a quick personal call.

Do you know what I do on my lunch break?

I make phone calls (and attempt to eat my lunch during hold times or quietly while the person on the other side pulls up my information).

Who am I calling you ask? Continue reading

When Your Life Literally Depends on Wal-Mart

In college, the only real store in town was the Wal-Mart Super Center. It was the only place for college gal on a budget to get groceries, towels and cleaning supplies (her roommates weren’t terribly tidy!). The Wal-Mart was pretty nice.

Where I live now…. I avoid Wal-Mart. The Wal-Mart nearest my home draws the crowd of people who missed out of manners day in kindergarten, don’t frequent the deodorant aisle at Wally World and have serious personal space and pick-up-the-pace issues.

Unfortunately, about once a year, I need Wal-Mart to survive. That inevitable time of the year when my insurance can’t figure out which end is up and that I paid a crap load of money to reach my deductible and I find myself utterly out of test strips. That time of the year hit this weekend.

You see, my brand name test strips that go with my OmniPod PDM cost about $1.54 per little tiny strip… which means the a box of 50 strips that might hold me until this gets figured out (I test 9+ times a day friends) costs more than $75.

The name brand strips for bright pink meter the hospital gave me at diagnosis cost about $1.37 per strip, which isn’t exactly acceptable to pay out of pocket for either…when you know the insurance is supposed to be covering them at 100% now that I’ve emptied my HSA into my bum pancreas.

This is where Wal-Mart comes in.  Continue reading

Tried and Failed

…in more ways that one.

I’m still getting back into “real life” after vacation and I had a post drafted up for yesterday about how diabetes behaved during our trip. Then I realized that October 1st was No D-Day! So I planned to postpone that post and to enjoy a day meant to put D on the back burner.

I tried and failed to make diabetes as small of a part of the day as possible. I wasn’t the only one failing… so was were my pods.

After arriving home on Sunday evening, I replaced my pod and lived happily for a day and a half. I bolused for lunch yesterday and my pod clicked away, beeped to confirm it was done. Less than an hour later it started squealing. Fun. It took longer to silence the errant pod thanks to the confirmation screen and whatever processing screen that was. I’m sure my office neighbors were thrilled.

I called up customer support… I’m sure they missed my weekly phone calls since I got switched. I was warned of wait times by the automated message then got to speak directly to a rep. They must have known I had work to get back to. The woman I spoke with was nice and went through the questions. She discovered that they still owed me pods from the summer (I had written them off after multiple conversations regarding replacing them, then getting the new system so we’ll see). I get to wait 3-4 weeks for them, but that should be okay. I was asked to send my failed pod back so the engineering department can look at it. [Maybe they’ll see 50+ units of insulin in it and realize how much failed pods waste!] My bg trended high following so I question whether I actually received my lunch bolus or if my body just hates me. Continue reading

Wediquette

As a former bridesmaid, maid of honor, bride and now matron of honor and guest during Wedding Season 2013, it’s very, very clear to me that the average person is not aware of what is, and isn’t, appropriate behavior surrounding the happiest day of someone’s life. So it’s my pleasure to get on my soap box and share some advice with you, the internet, on how to be a nice wedding guest.

Here are 10 fairly simple things to remember when attending a wedding:

  1. It is never, ever, ever, ever, ever appropriate for a woman to wear a white dress to a wedding if she is not the bride, a flower girl or a British bridesmaid. Sure, some clothes have white in them, that’s not a huge deal. A white lace dress? Big, HUGE no no. Pick another color and save the white for church or a graduation or something that isn’t a wedding. Also plan on nixing anything that is “cream” or “off white” from your wedding guest wardrobe. Wearing a white dress is just plain rude. (If you think I sound adamant about this, you’re right. I see this happen over and over again and wonder why girls do it. Maybe they don’t know? So I’m spreading the wediquette.) Continue reading