When I’m Old

At Christmastime we were visiting with my grandmother, who has Type 2, at her nursing home when it was almost time for dinner. One of the nurses came in to test her blood sugar and give her insulin for dinner. She asked my grandmother if she wanted us to leave. “Oh, it doesn’t bother me,” she responded. Grandma is a very laid-back lady. The nurse tested her blood sugar and recorded it, then asked if we would like to step out while she gave my grandmother a shot.

I kind of chuckled and said, “I have type 1 diabetes, if it doesn’t bother grandma, it doesn’t bother me.”

Let me tell you, the needle that she gave my grandmother her insulin with was huge

We wrapped up our visit to let grandma get to her dinner, but on the way home I told Brad, “If anyone ever came at me with a needle that big for insulin, I would probably hurt them.” Honestly the needle looked as large as the syringes I use to fill my pods.

Watson likes to rest on my pods (that’s my leg if you were wondering)

That got me thinking… what’s my life with diabetes going to look like when I’m old?

Right now I can’t imagine ever managing diabetes without my high-tech robot parts that make life much, much easier. I can’t imagine not being able to handle the day-in and day-out aspects of life with diabetes by myself. It’s days when I think about being a spunky senior citizen with an insulin pump that I’d like there to be a cure. Not having diabetes now would be fantastic too… but I know research and development take time.

There are many inspiring people who have lived with diabetes for decades and here I am complaining about living with it for almost two years. It’s kind of like syllabus day… knowing what will be expected of me in the future and wondering, can I really do that? When it comes to diabetes, I sometimes wonder how long I can keep it up and if I will get sick of fighting for my own health.

I have a blog draft saved about being utterly exhausted, not by caring for my diabetes but by having to deal with the loads of crap that come with insurance companies and red tape… and some concerns about the future of my medical care. I’ve been without my Dexcom since just before the start of June. I’ve had several severe lows already and some pretty infuriating highs that would never have happened if the company had approved my new system the first time around. I honestly feel like my insurance company is hurting me by taking so long to return decisions and forcing me through the appeals process. And the kicker is, they keep calling and wanting me to enroll in a “disease management” program that I have no interest in but won’t give me a valuable tool in managing my condition and being healthy. I’m willing to bet a lot that offering that program costs them much more than granting approvals to all their type 1 patients for CGMs would.

Anyway, today has been designated as “Check In” day for the diabetes blog community. The point is to encourage connecting and lets those who share their stories know that someone is reading them. I’ll be checking in on the blogs I read today.. I know I won’t get to many on a Monday, but I’ll keep checking in the rest of the week.


35 thoughts on “When I’m Old

  1. Thinking about diabetes and our golden years can be scary – but I know you will handle it with grace!!! And I honestly think things will be so much better – just by thinking over all the changes I’ve seen since my diagnosis in 1979. No huge needles for us, I’m sure!

      • Really!? I thought everyone got that line…for me there should have been a cure 4 times over by now 😛 Also, I don’t want to think about being old with D because I’ll most likely get Alzheimer’s and forget to take care of good ole diabetes,

  2. Just checking in. I don’t remember the hashtag, sorry! Thank you for sharing!! I’m @alegrange on twitter and am going to try check in day to get me involved with the doc!

  3. I’ve been living with it for 23 years, and let me tell you, it comes and goes in waves. As much as I’ve ever tried to wish it away, it’s always there. Sometimes you’re great at taking care of yourself, sometimes you’re not. I’m pretty sure this is just how diabetes is in my life.

  4. I took an injection last week for a stubborn high. I felt like the needle was huge! And couldn’t remember how I used to give myself 4-6 of those a day! How easily we get used to the new things 🙂

  5. First, I’m sorry you’re riding that “D-Exhaustion” train at the moment. I’m there, too, and am actually looking at the G4 to get me back in line as it’s been a couple months since I’ve used my 7+. Anyhow, yes – the “D when I’m older” topic is one I struggle with a lot myself. Aside from just the fact of being a little pessimistic about whether I will get to that point, I do tend to dwell on the point about how it will all look and feel to me then. Not to mention others, who will likely be all decked out in the modern D-tech and I’ll still be using the old-school tech at the time. Oh well. Thanks for sharing this, and good luck your way – sending good vibes. #dblogcheck

  6. Needles and I already don’t mix, if someone ever tried to give me insulin with a huge needle, I would freak! Oh, and my insurance always tries to get me into programs like that, I keep saying no 🙂

  7. The “D-Exhaustion” thing sucks! When you and I and our diabetes get old, I have no doubt we will still be styling!

  8. Just picturing all of us sitting in our rocking chairs, with pumps attached, hoping that the tubing isn’t under the rocker, gives me the giggles today. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I’ve been doing the D-thing for coming up 39 years! Things have certainly changed over the years. I still have days when I wonder what will happen when I can no longer look after my own Diabetes. I hope by then that the cure we are all hoping for has arrived! (or at the least we have Dexcom in Canada!!) I enjoy your blog Rachel, and will continue to “check” in!

  10. Syllabus day, I like that! I’m right there with you, I look ahead sometimes and think I don’t know if I can do this, or of I even want to. A cure seem sometimes seems so far away…

  11. When I look at all the technological breakthroughs in my D time (dx 1979), I am blown away (had to pee in a cup to get a BG “range”). I am no different than anyone else who worries about aging with T1D (believe me the worry can be beyond overwhelming) but then I try to spin it. I’ll be dressed like Judy Jetson, have Rosie the Robot cleaning up after me, and probably be rocking much cooler (and smaller) D tools than the ones we have now!

  12. Considering the advances in drugs, therapy, and technology (including the DOC) in the past couple of decades, I think we’ve all got a leg up on previous generations. And I’m biting the hand of anyone who comes to me with insulin in a syringe with a huge needle!

  13. I sometimes wonder the same thing. Will I still have the cognitive abilities to operate the machinery? Like driving, some skills deteriorate with age. Will my old and tired skin still stand up to the constant adhesives and punctures?

    For now, I just worry about the “now” and hope that later will take care of itself. Maybe I’ll be fine. Maybe I’ll struggle. Maybe diabetes won’t be around anymore in 20 years. Maybe I won’t be. All I can do, all I can worry about, is now.

  14. Your battle w insurance sounds oh so familiar. Cigna denied my 1st try for a pump, a couple of reasons were 1. No documented history of T1D (thank you dr who filled out the Medical Necessity form. …and 2. No history of DKA. (Penalize me for doing a decent job?)
    Hopefully all PWDs will be able to someday get the care we deserve.

    • I had hurdles with my first try for a pump because the endo’s office said I was already using a pump! My current issue is that I was on a Dexcom and doing well so when they looked at my logs for a new one, they said I didn’t have a “history” of hypoglycemia (evidence that it worked!) I hate when they penalize us for doing well and keep valuable tools out of reach.

  15. I’m in a similar insurance battle right now. I refuse to give up because if I give up, they win. And how sad is it that I just wrote that about a HEALTH insurance company?!

  16. I think a lot of us haven’t thought too much about our way-older years because a little voice inside our heads nastily tells us we’re not going to live that long. I find the idea of being an elderly diabetic both terrifying (I worry about helplessness, and getting to, say, 80 without a cure in the 50-plus intervening years would be infuriating and exhausting), but it’s also exhilarating to have a conception of yourself that includes being old – having made it that far.

  17. I’m only 7 months in as a T1D so I’m still thinking about next week, next month and next year and don’t yet have room to think globally long-term. 🙂 I have been pumping since the beginning, which I am very thankful to have. Although I’ve had to do injections of other meds before I was all about the teeny finest needle I could get. Do you suppose that since your grandmother is in a nursing facility that they really don’t care if the needle might hurt or not at their ages? I find that to be cruel, but I’m not sure how I could otherwise explain a large gauge needle for MDIs. I know many diabetics who move from MDI to pump but I can’t imagine having to do MDIs with a large needle and heal from major surgery. Luckily my endo (and my insurance companies) did not force me to go that route. Hopefully the technology will only get better. It bites to have diabetes, but given today’s technology I’m glad it happened when I can take full advantage of what’s available. 🙂

  18. Maybe because I’m older, and am married to a man who is much older than me, that I have thought of old age and beyond (that is, how I want to die), and then from there worked backwards and thought of how do I prepare for those stages, and then more importantly, how I want to live my life, which risks I’m willing to face, and what I am not willing to live with (whether they be risks or safe life).

  19. I am beyond scared about being an elderly person with diabetes. Not that there won’t be a cure, but that either I won’t understand the new technology OR I will understand but my medical team will not take me seriously because I am old. Thank you for bringing this to light.

  20. I just had a similar CGM situation with Medtronic. It took a month to replace my transmitter. The life of a transmitter is 3 years and they keep it under warranty for 1. I told them on the phone repeatedly that I’ve had this problem before, please just send a new one, etc., but there was so much bureaucratic red tape that made it take ten phone calls over four weeks. Not to mention some bad numbers in between. Thanks for posting!

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