Friday, December 19, 2008

Friday Night Videos: Christmas Past

For those of us in the Chicago area, no Christmas would be complete without the local kids' show airing these little clips. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!

Hardrock, Coco, and Joe

Suzy Snowflake

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Heart-y Matters

After fighting an uphill battle for nearly 14 years, my primary care doctor and I have given up. We've been trying unsuccessfully to increase my low HDL number. She called in the reinforcements after my September reading yielded an all-time low of 23. (Normal for women is 40 and above.) I'm on a statin now and have been on several different medications in the past...all to no avail. So yesterday I went to a cardiologist for the first time, to see what else can be done. We in the OC are a special tribe when it comes to the ol' ticker, of course. But my mom died of a heart attack at age 55, so I'm in the real 'red flag' category.

The good news? My heart is healthy and happy, despite the HDL issue, and my blood pressure is in normal range. (My LDL and other numbers have always been fine.) To my surprise, though, the doctor patted me on the shoulder and complimented me on being in such good control of my diabetes. I felt weirdly proud and oddly emotional. Sometimes you just need to hear that, I guess, especially from the medical profession. The only thing he suggested I consider in the near term is more exercise (of course) and losing what weight I can (of course, although I'm not too far off). I will also have a more sensitive cholesterol test done soon to see if my statin should be switched.

The eh? news...the ACE inhibitor issue came up. Again. I have never had proteinuria, touch wood, but twice in the last year my PCP has mentioned starting me on one. Apparently it protects the kidneys of PWDs so they'd rather we start sooner than later. Hmmm. We'll see, the cardio doc backed off a little and said he'd be willing to wait on that one.

While waiting, I was thinking about Lee Ann's recent post. The heart is the center of the body, of course, but isn't it (not) funny how it becomes the center of a PWD's thoughts? When I was a kid I simply never worried about my heart. I'd been a fit, healthy, active child, more tomboy than girly-girl. As a teen, and for several years after diagnosis, I rode my trusty 10-speed everywhere, never thinking about the great workout I was was simply my way to explore and get around. But then the stress began with adulthood...and I noticed every twinge and pain in my chest, and even had an EKG or two. But always as a precaution. No one ever mentioned autonomic neuropathy, although it must have been something in the back of their minds. (For years when I lived alone, Mom expected a call from me first thing every morning--did she know about 'dead in bed' syndrome, or was it just normal parent-of-a-type-1 worry?)
When my mom passed away, doctors were quick to point out all her risk factors to me and stress how different I was from her. They reassured me I would likely not share her fate. But do they worry? The cardiologist said yes, of course, and that's why you're on a statin with aggressive management. That's why my doctor was so quick to refer me to a specialist.
Do I worry?
Long ago I started to try turning negatives into positive energy in my life. So, instead of worrying about what could happen, I decided to enjoy every moment. To express love instead of waiting for "some other time". And, hardest of all, to try forgiveness and patience when I might be quick to anger. It all sounds like greeting card schmaltz, I know, but if you really try it works. It's the constant trial that wears on you.
So I will, as always, do as the doctor says. (He noted that diabetics are his most compliant patients.) Hopefully my HDL number will improve. And hopefully, I will defy the odds.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Some Days...

Some days I feel so old. My husband and I moved over the weekend, and even though we hired movers we're both still torn down by the effort. The whole experience was draining, even though we love our new home. Mentally and physically, we're just exhausted.

And, some days, I just want to stage a diabetes sit-in. A break from it all. A day without worry. The testing, the constant flow of numbers, the shots, the checkups, the wears on you. But you do it. After all, what choice is there?

Some days, this is my theme song. It wasn't written about diabetes, but when I'm having one of those days, this is playing in my head. Today is one of them. So here's to all those out in the OC doing our best to hang in there--and to better days ahead.

Does it ever end, tell me?

Does it ever change color?

Does it ever start feeling better while the rains keep reminding me

Does it ever heal, show me

Will it ever rise higher than all the secret pain hurting everything

I only want to know love

Break the chain

Break the chain

Can I draw the moon sleeping

Can I paint the sky speaking

All the slient words louder, louder still, free the universe

Break the chain

Break the chain

I only want to know love

When I lose my way, find me

When I am afraid, soothe me

When I cut I bleed, touch me

Truth is everything I believe in

Break the chain

Break the chain

I can run wild raise my arms reaching for the open sky

I belong here where the light is strong

I will lay my body down, imagine all the flowers again

Corey Hart, 1998

Monday, December 1, 2008

Food Meme-a-thon

Since my brain is in Monday mode, here's my contribution to the latest OC meme. Enjoy! :-)

1. Can you cook? If yes, do you like to cook?

Yes, and yes. Especially with my husband.

2. When do you eat with your whole family?

My 'whole family' 98% of the time is DH, and we always eat dinner together. I grew up with the family around the dinner table every night, believe it or not, never knowing how rare that is (!).

3. What do you eat for breakfast?

I try to have a breakfast bar at my desk during the week. On the weekends, I generally have a little cheese or half a muffin. My insulin-to-carb ratio is awful in the AM so it's very tricky. Sometimes I don't eat until lunch. (I have trouble with dawn phenomenon from time to time...)

4. When, where and how do you eat on weekdays?

In the AM, it's a breakfast bar at my desk and I usually stay in for lunch. I try to eat yogurt and fruit no matter what; the main course is usually pasta & chicken or a sandwich. Sometimes I drop in the afternoon, so I'll have another breakfast bar around 3-4PM before driving home. In the evening we've fallen into a bad habit of eating out for dinner (see #5). I'll make popcorn or eat a cookie/cheese stick at night before bed, to avoid nighttime lows. Generally I try to consume the majority of my calories at lunchtime.

5. How often do you eat out (in a restaurant)?

Too often...almost every night! DH is low-carbing, though, so we choose more healthy foods than not (lots of salads).

6. How often do you order delivery/take-out?

Rarely--last time was pizza for a party over a year ago.

7. Regarding no. 5 and 6: Say there weren’t financial reasons would you do this more often?

Actually, for us it's the time & not the money. By the time we're both home from work it's so late, we're too tired & hungry to start cooking a meal. When I worked part-time, I would cook dinner for us most nights of the week.

8. Are there any “standard dishes” you serve regularly?

We tend to try lots of ethnic dishes, and keep going back to some favorites (like chicken curry & fish in chili bean sauce). Otherwise, we're fond of your typical meat & vegetable combo.

9. Have you ever cooked for more than 6 persons?

No...eek! DH has, but it was on the grill so I deduct points for difficulty ;-)

10. Do you cook every day?

No, though in the past I did.

11. Have you ever tried recipes from blogs?

Yes, on & off the DOC. We really like Kerri's seriously zippy white bean salad!

12. Who cooks more frequently at your home?


13. And who cooks better?

DH, hands down. But I'm neater :-)

14. Do you cook totally different compared to your mother/parents?

Yes, and no. I've inherited my mom's methods but like to try new ingredients/spices she'd have never touched. The best of both worlds, I guess ;-)

15. If yes, do you nevertheless eat at your parents?

Yes, but ever since my mom died it's been totally different, of course. My dad can boil soup and make a sandwich, and that's about it.

16. Are you a vegetarian or could you imagine being one?

No, and God no :-)

17. What would you like to cook which you haven’t dared to make yet?

It would be really nice to make an entire meal for all my family. We don't have a lot of space so it's difficult to manage.

18. Do you prefer cooking or baking?

Equally fun, though I can eat less of the latter.

19. What is your greatest misery in the kitchen?

Not enough room...and no dishwasher!

20. What do you dislike?

I can't really handle weird, rubbery textured things (i.e. calamari, squid, etc.). Licorice flavor is also bleh. Other than that I'm not too picky :-)

Monday, November 24, 2008

What She Would Have Been...

She would have retired.

Much to her chagrin, she would have started getting 'senior discounts' at the stores and online.

She would perhaps finally have taken that long-overdue second honeymoon with Dad.

She would have taken up a second career, like the answering service she always dreamed of running or the McDonald's franchise she wanted to buy.

She would have celebrated her children's weddings, and enjoyed the company of a new daughter- and son-in-law.

She would have welcomed her granddaughter with unequaled joy, and doted over her.

She would have helped out at holiday meals and been a part of every extended family gathering.

She would have been a proud great aunt to three more little cousins.

She would have been relieved that my diabetes is in such good control.

She would have worried, like always, every time I was RPS, and clucked over me until I felt better.

She would continue to be my main support for all things, diabetes and otherwise.

She would have been glad that I finally found someone to love and take care of me.

She would have been loved, and cherished, like always.

She would have been 62 yesterday.

Happy Birthday, Ma. I love you (:-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Tooth, and Nothing But the Tooth...

Dear friends of the OC, I have a question...I'm considering surgery to have my wisdom teeth removed (at the ripe old age of mid-30-something!) and I'm curious. Have you had it done, and how did it go? For those on MDI, what did you do to deal with your BG levels? Did you take painkillers/steroids? How did they affect you?

I'm leaning toward a plan involving local anesthesia, doing one side of my mouth at a time. (I haven't had surgery since having my tonsils out at age 4, so the thought of going under is a little nerve-wracking.) I have two 'supernumerary' teeth in my upper jaw that will need a little more pushing & pulling than anticipated. Also, one of the lower teeth is hitting on the big nerve down there that apparently provides feeling to one's entire jaw (yikes!). Anyone go through a simliar experience, and if so how did it work out? Has anyone gone under or had partial gas?

Any & all comments are most welcome, thanks!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Be Aware

Be aware. Diabetes isn't always what you think it is.

It can be visible. A finger stick in the lunch room, a pump in the board room. A pat-down at the airport. A needle and a vial in a bathroom.

It can be invisible. A hidden disability, yet disabling all the same. Robbing sleep, vitality, ambition, vigor. Worse, stealing sight, toes, limbs, life.

It can be controlled as well as can be expected by the clumsy efforts of human hands. But really: have you pondered how your kidneys filtered waste from your blood today? Can you think of the last time you worried how ATP got into your cells? Or how oxygen entered your bloodstream from your lungs? Does any basic metabolic function occupy your every waking thought?

There is no cure for diabetes. All the insulin in the world cannot banish it from your body. Be aware.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

D-Blogger Day

This is my first D-Blogger Day post. I joined the Diabetes OC in January 2008, after Googling 'type 1 diabetes blogs' and finding Six Until Me, Diabetes Mine and Tu Diabetes. As my first year of blogging comes to a close I think of how different the world is for me now. How many new friends I've met, how many helpful diabetes management tips I've learned, how many common problems we all share. But mostly, I think about the long years I've spent alone with this disease, never really knowing any other diabetics. I always felt like an alien trying to be human, a machine. It is overwhelming, uplifting, amazing, wonderful and beautiful, and so much more, knowing that there is such a special community online.

So thank you all for putting virtual pen to paper and writing about your lives. It makes me feel like someone truly, finally understands. In this month of giving thanks, I am grateful for all of you.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Just got the results of my latest A1C back -- 6.1, same as in July. So all my stressing on it was for naught, I guess. I'd like to be back in the 5% club someday, but I'll take what I can get :)

In honor of my personal 'status quo', here's a little Status Quo from the ultimate '80s musical extravaganza...Live Aid :) Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Monday, November 3, 2008


Dear Mrs. _______,

Thank you for your letter regarding your visit to Six Flags Great America. I apologize for the delay in responding. However, careful review and consideration is given to each letter as we continually strive to improve our operations and service.

I appreciate it when our Guests take the time to contact me with their suggestions and concerns. I am always interested in our Guests’ experiences as they help us to continually improve our operations and service. On behalf of Six Flags, let me apologize for the inconveniences you experienced throughout your day.

Our Six Flags History began in 1961 with the opening of Six Flags Over Texas. At that time we established several principles which are still part of our day-to-day operation. One of these principles is a “Guest First” response towards all of our Guests. Each of our Team Members is highly trained to implement this “Guest First” response at all times, I am sorry that the Team Members you encountered during your visit did not portray this high standard that we set for ourselves.

In 2008 we implemented a loose article program to help increase the speed of our lines at the six rides utilizing the program and also to help reduce the number of articles lost on each of these rides. We do allow fanny packs which may be fastened around your waist, as long as they do not interfere with the operation of the restraint. Guests who have special medical needs associated with their bags are encouraged to visit Guest Services on the day of their visit to receive a Medical Sticker to put on their bag, allowing them to bring their bag through the ride queue line.

Guest satisfaction is very important to us at Six Flags Great America. We survey our Guests daily and have found that the vast majority of our Guests rate their overall experience at Six Flags as excellent or very good. As in all service industries, we do find that service breakdowns do occur. Please allow me to apologize on behalf of Six Flags for the inconvenience you have experienced.

I am sorry to hear about your last visit. I would like you to return to our Park as my Guests. Enclosed, please find a Complimentary Ticket Reservation, valid for four (4) complimentary admissions, which may be redeemed on any regularly scheduled operating day during the 2009 Seasons. On the day of your visit, present either your Complimentary Ticket Reservation or photo identification at Guest Relations to receive this offer.

I appreciate your family’s patronage and hope you will consider a return visit to Six Flags Great America.

Chris Morris, Guest Services, Six Flags Great America

Friday, October 31, 2008

Friday Night Videos: Halloween Edition

This came out too late for Halloween, 1983 but it's too much fun not to share. Happy Halloween, everyone!

(P.S. Coming Monday...sweet victory)

Thursday, October 30, 2008

One Word Meme

It's the new sensation that's sweeping the nation! (Or at least the OC). Repost as desired:

1. Where is your cell phone? Charging.
2. Your significant other? Magnificent :)
3. Your Hair? Blonde.
4. Your Skin? Pale.
5. Your mother? Heaven...
6. Your favorite thing? Walking.
7. Your dream last night? Work (yikes!)
8. Your favorite drink? DietCoke (making it one word, dammit--it's mine)
9. Your dream/goal? Simplicity.
10. The room you’re in? Den.
11. Your ex? Forgotten.
12. Your fear? Yellowjackets.
13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? Kentucky.
14.Where were you last night? Home.
15.What you’re not? Snarky (!).
16.Muffins? Chocolate :)
17.One of your wish list items? Dishwasher.
18.Where you grew up? Chicago.
19.The last thing you did? Napped.
20.What are you wearing? Sweats.
21.Your TV? Olevia.
22.Your pets? Kitty.
23. Your computer? Dell.
24. Your life? Busy.
25. Your mood? Wiped.
26. Missing someone? Yes.
27. Your car? Chevy.
28. Something you’re not wearing? Makeup.
29. Favorite Store? Target.
30. Your summer? Crazy!
31. Like someone? Deeply...
32. Your favorite color? Sapphire.
33. When is the last time you laughed? Tonight.
34. Last time you cried? Friday.
35. Who will respond to this? You!
36. Whose answers are you anxious to see? Amylia :)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008


I'm due for my next A1C in a week, and I'm stressing. Life has been hectic lately for me, just like all of you, and although I've been pretty good about my routine I feel tense. The questions fill my head every day & night...why do I feel like a few post-meal spikes make me "bad"? Or that a stubborn dawn phenomenon is somehow my fault? Why is it that even a small food reward makes me feel so guilty? I feel like that newly diagnosed teenager all over again, even if my numbers aren't really cause for grave concern. I have this nagging feeling my A1C will be up...and a growing sense of frustration about it. About why a number, especially one that's only partially in my control, has so much power over me. It makes me wonder if the D is all I am sometimes.

I haven't been able to spend time on this blog for lots of reasons lately, one of which is this lack of ability to articulate my unease. It just feels...ugh. You know? This isn't a good mindset going into the holidays, I know. Maybe it's the plague/RPS I've been fighting this week, but I just wish I felt more positive these days. Hopefully this, too, shall pass.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Hard to believe this song came out 25 years ago this month...yikes!

This version is a treat for you die-hard DD fans. My friends and I used to do this all the time with DD videos :) LOL!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Have You Ever...?

Stolen from Kate :)’s the game: There are only two rules -- and you MUST follow them!

1. You can only say Yes or No.
2. You aren’t allowed to explain anything unless someone asks you, so feel free to ask.

Have you ever...

1. Taken a picture fully naked? — NO

2. Painted your room? — YES

3. Made out with a member of the same sex? — NO

4. Driven a car? — YES

5. Danced in front of your mirror? — YES

6. Have a crush? — YES

7. Been dumped? — YES

8. Stolen someone’s heart? — YES

9. Gotten in a car with people you just met? — NO

10. Been in a fist fight? — YES

11. Snuck out of your house? — YES

12. Had feelings for someone who didn’t have them back? — YES

13. Been arrested? — NO

14. Made out with a stranger? — NO

15. Left your house without telling your parents? — YES

16. Had a crush on your neighbour? — NO

17. Ditched school to do something more fun? — NO

18. Slept in a bed with a member of the opposite sex? — YES

19. Seen someone die? — YES

20. Been on a plane? — YES

21. Kissed a picture? — YES

22. Slept in until 3? — YES

23. Love someone or miss someone right now? — YES

24. Laid on your back and watched cloud shapes go by? — YES

25. Made a snow angel? — YES

26. Played dress up? — YES

27. Cheated while playing a game? — YES

28. Been lonely? — YES

29. Fallen asleep at work/school? — YES

30. Yelled at a friend? — YES

31. Felt an earthquake? — NO

32. Touched a snake? — YES

33. Ran a red light? — YES

34. Been suspended from school? — NO

35. Had detention? — YES

36. Been in a car accident? — YES

37. Hated the way you look? — YES

38. Witnessed a crime? — YES

39. Pole danced? — NO

40. Been lost? — YES

41. Been to the opposite side of the country? — YES

42. Felt like dying? — NO

43. Done something you told yourself you wouldn’t? — YES

44. Laughed until something you were drinking came out your nose? — NO

45. Caught a snowflake on your tongue? — YES

45. Sang in the shower? — YES

46. Made out in a park? — YES

47. Had a dream that you married someone? — YES

48. Glued your hand to something? — YES

49. Got your tongue stuck to a pole? — NO

50. Ever gone to school partially naked? — NO

51. Been a cheerleader? — NO

52. Sat on a roof top? — YES

53. Didn’t take a shower for a week? — NO

54. Too scared to watch scary movies alone? — NO

55. Played chicken? — NO

56. Been pushed into a pool/lake with all your clothes on? — NO

57. Been told you’re hot by a complete stranger? — YES

58. Been easily amused? — YES

59. Mooned/flashed someone? — YES

60. Cheated on a test? — NO

61. Forgotten someone’s name? — YES

62. Slept naked? — YES

63. Gone skinny dipping? — NO

64. Blacked out from drinking? — NO

65. Played a prank on someone? — YES

66. Gone to a late night movie? — YES

67. Looked at your reflection as you walked past a window? — YES

68. Failed a class? — YES

69. Choked on something you’re not supposed to eat? — NO

70. Played an instrument for more than 10 hours? — YES

71. Cheated on a girl/boyfriend? — NO

72. Thrown strange objects? — YES

73. Felt like killing someone? — YES

74. Felt like running away? — YES

75. Have you ever ran away? — NO

76. Made a parent cry? — YES

77. Cried over someone? — YES

78. Had sex more than 3 times in one day? — YES

79. Dated someone more than once? — YES

80. Had/Have a dog? — YES

81. Own an instrument? — YES

82. Been in a band/orchestra? — YES

83. Drank 25 sodas in a day? — YES

84. Broken a CD? — YES

85. Shot a gun? — NO

86. Had feelings for one of your best/good friends? — NO

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Anyone else catch the premiere of "Iditarod: Toughest Race on Earth" last night? We happened across it while DH was flipping channels. What struck us right away was the fact that one of the mushers, Bruce Linton, is a type 1 PWD. Amazing! (Bruce is one tough hombre. He tested at 44 while getting ready to start and, instead of treating his low, he went on to feed his dogs first. Yikes!) Bruce hopes "just one kid...gets the message that they anything."
I like Bruce's message of enthusiasm. How many times have we PWDs been told we couldn't do something, just because of the D? On the other hand, I watched my BG go from a perfect wake-up number today (99) to a mid-morning WTF level (313) for no apparent reason (no food, no coffee, but lots of stress...must've been the cortisol). So my take on his message is: yes, you can dream it, and you can even do it...but sometimes, you will also pay for it. Either that, or I'm a wuss ;-)
"Iditarod" continues on Discovery Channel this month. Check it out!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Go here...

...and read this. Finally someone outside the OC is talking about it!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Me and Mr. B

Lest the world wonder what side I'm on...that's pasty little me on the left with the shades, and Barack Obama on the right:

It was 2004 and Barack was running for Senate in Illinois. I was working for John Kerry, and we both nearly stepped in horse poop during a Mexican Independence Day parade :) Even then, he had an just knew he wouldn't stay local too long.

What's your big Election Day issue, OC'ers? (Health care, anyone?!) Don't forget to vote Nov. 4th!

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

To Whom It May Concern.

As you can see from the photo, my husband and I visited your theme park this past Saturday. I've been to Great America numerous times in my life, starting when the park opened (in 1976 I was just a kid and it was called "Marriott's Great America"). I also happen to have type 1 diabetes, which I've successfully managed for over 25 years without complications. You might notice the black bag I'm carrying in the photo. This bag--a travel pack specifically made to strap securely to the body, much like a waist or "fanny" pack--holds my diabetes supplies. These include insulin, syringes, a blood glucose meter and glucose tablets for treating hypoglycemia. Being able to quickly test my blood sugar level and administer either glucose or insulin as needed is central to my self-care regimen. This bag is literally my lifeline, especially in a busy theme park like Great America. I must be able to access my supplies at any time; to lose this bag would be, quite frankly, life-threatening.

I had my bag on Logger's Run, as you can see in the photo. I also carried my bag onto the Demon (which I first rode as a child, when it was called the "Turn of the Century"), and encountered no incident despite the two upside-down loops the rollercoaster makes in its run. The Viper, with its 80-foot drop and maximum speeds of 50 MPH, also presented no challenge to my bag or its contents. However it is with great disappointment that I write to inform you of two other incidents that happened to me last weekend, both due to this bag.

My husband and I approached the American Eagle rollercoaster with great anticipation--this ride is one of our favorites--at about 3:30PM on Saturday, Sept. 28. We haven't been to the park for a year and were unaware of the fact that some rides, including the Eagle, now require "loose articles" to be left behind in lockers near ride boarding areas. A park employee stopped us and informed me of the rule. I explained my condition, and explained that my bag is a) not "loose", but strapped to my body and b) contains items that are medically necessary. The young lady replied that I must show medical identification in order to carry my bag onto the ride. I produced my MedicAlert bracelet, but she she stopped me again. She muttered something about "a manager has to approve this". However, instead of calling for management, she pointed to the lockers and told me I had to leave my bag behind if I wanted to go on the Eagle. I asked for her manager, but she had already walked away and ignored my calling after her. We were left to wonder at the inconsistency of her explanation without any offer of further assistance.

Because my husband and I wanted to preserve the previously happy atmosphere of the day, we declined to pursue the matter and, with great regret, chose not to ride the Eagle. After going on Logger's Run, we decided to go on the Whizzer, another old favorite, at about 4:30PM. We entered without incident and had already taken our seats on the rollercoaster when a park employee named Chris walked up to our car. He informed me that I had to remove my bag and leave it in an unlocked storage bin before being allowed to ride. When I again mentioned my need to carry the bag and identified my medical condition, Chris replied in a loud voice, "Well you're not going to have to shoot up on the ride, are you?" This comment was heard by everyone in the first half of the boarding area, and was made in a sarcastic tone that seriously offended me and my husband. I got out of my seat in disgust and left the ride. The park was closed to the public on Saturday to celebrate "Accenture Family Day", and my husband's work colleagues could very well have overheard Chris' remark and misinterpreted it. We left the park for good after this incident, our day having been effectively ruined by Chris' action. I shudder to think of how Chris would have spoken this way to a child with diabetes.

An unsecured bag storage area is a completely unacceptable solution for my diabetes supplies. As the ride has two separate trains, riders of the previous Whizzer train have unsupervised access when they return. My bag could have deliberately or accidentally been taken by one of these riders. Additionally, Chris' rude, ignorant remark made me wary of leaving my bag within his reach. Moreover, there was no signage prior to boarding the rollercoaster that indicated anything about "loose items"--which, again, my bag was not. A locker might seem like a solution, however insulin is highly susceptible to damage in hot weather and the lockers, while in shaded areas, have no ventilation or cooling system. Further, it turned me off to see another park guest encounter serious difficulty in getting her locker open after going on the "Dark Knight" ride; she waited over 30 minutes for a park employee to provide assistance, and though her locker was finally unlocked there was no explanation provided for the delay. If my insulin, money and source of glucose were to be locked away from me for 30 minutes, I would encounter significant trouble in regulating my blood glucose levels due to stress over the lack of access to my supplies. Therefore the locker solution, while admirable, leaves me unsatisfied.

I have no wish to reverse your policy on "loose items" on rides at Great America. I am sure there are valid legal and common-sense reasons for your restrictions (though I do find it absolutely incredible that an upside-down, multi-looping rollercoaster like the Demon has NO restriction on such items, whereas the Whizzer--a ride which is rated acceptable even for smaller children--has such a rule.) But the application and enforcement of your rules seems arbitrary and left up to the judgement of park employees, at least two of whom are clearly ill-equipped to deal with park guests who have disabilities. If a guest like me qualifies for special consideration under these rules, I expect park employees to be prompt and courteous in securing a manager if they have questions about that qualification. If a guest like me must indeed remove a bag before going on a ride, I expect the park employee handling the matter to treat me with respect, not make a callous, discriminatory remark that borders on slander.

For a couple or a family to truly enjoy Great America, there is little consolation in asking someone to stay off a ride for having a bag that is clearly a) NOT a toy, b) NOT a fashion accessory, or c) 100% essential to that person's health. What it does is make that person--me--feel left out and unwelcome. To me there is no longer anything "great" about Great America.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Diabetes: 1, Home: 0

Oy. I'm struggling today. Last night's scorecard looks like this:

10:30PM: Go to bed with a BG of 178 and a snack (cereal--tricky, as we know...)

12:30AM: Wake up sweaty, shaking and ringing in at 34. Not good. Massive inhaling of carbs ensues. Take a correction dose of 2u Humalog to (hopefully) reverse the 'diabetic wolverine' effect.

4:30AM: Wake up, use the washroom. Test to see how the BG handled the crash earlier. 434...whoa. Take 3u and drink a few glasses of water, and try to go to sleep.

6:30AM: The cat decides to use my head as a pillow. I wake up and test: 212. Whew. I'm exhausted.

7:30AM: Out the door to work, still holding steady at 213. I take a half unit of Humalog, crack open a Diet Coke and prepare for the hour-long drive in to the office.

9:30AM: Back down to earth (relatively) at 183. Can I go home yet...?!?!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

I Am Being Chased By an Angry Black Bear my dream, through a house I've never been in and with people I've never met. We go outside and I can see large paw prints in the dirt. The stranger with me wants to find the bear. I say, "Are you #^%(*^!!!** crazy? Let's get away!" But it's too late. The bear has seen us, and she's hungry. I feel a sense of dread as she approaches...

...and then I wake up. My blood sugar, which was 54 at 3:30AM, is now 303 as I get dressed for work. Weird.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Friday Night Videos: Commercial Mania!

Oh God, those cheesy '80s commercials!

For shoes:

And kids (heavy on the Cabbage Patch Kids, of course):

And McD's (look for a future "Seinfeld" cast member):

And food (where's the whaa...?!)

And, ahem, unmentionables (for us girls!):

And, of course, those 'legendary' Levi's Button Fly 501 jeans:

Happy Friday!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In Memoriam

Seven years on, we will never forget. (Dedicated to the memory of Marni Pont O'Doherty, Long Island, NY.)

Monday, September 8, 2008

Where Do You Go?

...and what can you do, when you're 19 and a type 1--and don't have insurance?,0,5689156.story

"Marquis Hart, 19, learned Feb. 1 that his All Kids coverage had ended. His mother, Linda Hart, a nursing assistant who is uninsured, has since been borrowing money from family and friends for her son's diabetes supplies: $90 a month for two types of insulin, $100 a month for a box of syringes for injections, and more for alcohol pads and strips for his glucose monitor. 'He's only taking his [blood] sugar [levels] when he feels funny because he [doesn't] have coverage anymore, and I don't have the money to pay for what he needs,' Hart said.

Hart is enrolling as a freshman at Daley College this month, but the school won't pay for his diabetes supplies and medications. Hart, who plans to major in computers and business, is anxious about what's going to happen to his health. 'It's a struggle to get the money to pay for what I need. I'd like to try to work, but no one's hiring," he said. "If only they could help me out until I find a way to better myself.'"

*Sigh* I was lucky at 19, my parents' health insurance still covered me. But I've been in the state program cited here and was close to being in Marquis' shoes as an adult. I went to bed with a knot in my stomach every night for a year, hoping I wouldn't lose my coverage. And all along I was made to feel having diabetes was somehow my fault or a character flaw, simply because I needed expensive medicines to stay alive.

How do you fix a broken system? How can we get both sides to agree on the problem?!

Sorry, rant over. Just reading about this upsets me...

Friday, September 5, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Greetings to the OC, from whose friendly ranks I've been absent lately...L-I-F-E has gotten busy, namely work, but I'm still here (:-)

Here's a song from an '80s trio that makes me think of you all. Enjoy the weekend!

Friday, August 29, 2008

Friday Night Videos: Labor Day Edition

A classic from the '80s, for everyone who might be taking off early from the office today ;-) Enjoy

Friday, August 22, 2008

Friday Night Videos

The Smiths were better known as "the other guys playing instruments", since the band was really all about Morrissey...

"Every Day is Like Sunday"

"How Soon Is Now?"

"Girlfriend in a Coma"

Happy weeekend, everyone!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

The Low Headache

Hello to my dear friends of the OC {:-) I'm taking advantage of a slow workday to update my blog. The surf Nazi in my office is at a convention this week too. Hopefully I can sneak a few more posts in before he comes back {;-)

Ah, the low headache. You know that feeling--the dull, unfocused pain that radiates through the eyeballs, the wish for a nice dark room and a soft thing to sleep on, the ache that Tylenol and other pain relievers just can't touch? Yep, that one. And I'm working on a doozy as we speak (read? type? Ugh). I rang in at 55 ja few minutes ago and, although the BG is back on the rise, my lovely parting gift is here to stay. As much as my low symptoms change, the hangover hasn't varied much in 25 years. I guess it's just as well I was never a drinker, I'd trade anything for this lingering feeling of 'ugh'. How do you deal, OC friends?
In better news, I had a quick check-up this morning after a month of daily blood pressure monitoring; it appears my blood pressure issues of a few weeks back are indeed gone. My doctor also seemed very attentive and patient with me, a 180-degree change from my last few appointments. Guess it pays to be her first appointment of the day...I'll have to remember that from now on, even though I'm no morning person. And other work & life issues seem to be settling down as well.
But on one thing I must be blind, or lost, or just plain dense...why is everyone so crazy about this guy lately? I just don't get it...! Maybe it's because I'm a winter sports kinda gal?!?

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


Mid-summer finds me in a funk. I'm going through some major stress at home & work right now, and as always diabetes manages to creep in and complicate things. A string of 300+ wake-up numbers in the past couple of weeks just makes it that much harder to bounce back. And like George said, the non-PWDs in the world just don't get it, no matter how much they may care or try to understand.

Sorry for the downer, OC friends. I'll be back on the blogs with a more positive attitude soon. I'll find my way back, I always do. I just wish sometimes I didn't have to worry about the D 24/7 along with all my other problems.

Monday, July 21, 2008

The results are in...

...and my six-month A1C is (drum roll please): 6.1. Looks I'm out of the 5% club for now...}:-(

But at least everything else is in check, except my pesky HDL numbers (still abysmally low at 26). The BP front looks better too...might just be a case of white-coat syndrome. Or L-I-F-E...! Thanks for your input on how to handle my doctor, OC friends. I think I'll bring it up next time, as gently as possible. We'll see how it goes in 3 months' time {:-)

I'm sending out a shout to Kerri today--hope this sends a smile and a little cheer your way!

Friday, July 18, 2008

What To Do, O Blogosphere?

I'm waiting for my A1C results today, after a whirlwind of six-month-follow-up appointments yesterday. (I also gave blood for a research study for the first time, which was exciting.) Though I'm pretty confident my level will be around the same as it was in January, I come to you conflicted, O Blogosphere, for I have lost confidence in someone very important: my primary care physician. What to do? Here's a little context:

The Good:
  • She's been my PCP since 1995
  • She was the one to urge me to switch to Lantus back in 2000
  • She's helped me get my A1Cs down from the high 7s to the mid- to high 5s
  • She's been very agressive about treating any cholesterol and cardiac-related issues, infections, cuts, low thyroid function, etc.
  • She's on staff at a major teaching hospital, which has long specialized in diabetes care

The Not-So-Good:

  • At my last three appointments (in the last 9 months or so) the office seemed more frantic and less organized than usual (forgetting my appointment, losing my chart, etc.)
  • At my last appointment (yesterday), she actually told me to "back off" my intensive management and cited the ACCORD study as evidence that "a lower A1C increases your risk of a heart attack." (and yes, D-world, I was shocked...I remember reading this thread among others, along with the ACCORD and ADVANCE studies, and coming to the conclusion that as a type 1, neither applied to me. I thought the American Association of Clinical Endocrinologists' guidelines were pretty clear on this too...)
  • She hasn't reviewed any of my medications in a year
  • I was the one to remind her of what tests needed to be done--yesterday I wouldn't have had a urinalysis or a foot inspection if I hadn't prompted her
  • There's something missing I can't put my finger on...lack of attention, maybe? Also at my last three appointments, she has seemed noticeably more distracted and less familiar with me & my history.

I'm befuddled, dear OC friends. As alarming as it is to hear a doctor tell me to let my A1Cs go up, contrary to all the evidence, she also wants me to see her in a month to follow up on some wonky blood pressure numbers. (Yes, I may need another pill...ugh.) So I can't fault her for lack of care there.

My husband recommends I think about it, then write her a letter or mention my concerns to her at that follow-up appoinment. In unrelated matters it is far more difficult for me to physically get to her office nowadays. I might be better off with a doctor in my own neck of the woods, or closer to my excellent eye and girl doctors. What do you think, dear OC? Should I bring it up, or just cut her a break and let it go?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Work Has Eaten Me Alive, and How Are You?

My grandmother at age 22, circa 1936

Hope the rest of the OC has been faring well so far this summer. In the past month, my place of employment has a) reincorporated, b) moved to a new office, c) changed all its providers (though not health insurance...yet), and d) lost its computer network. Twice. Oh, and my commute doubled from 45 minutes to 90, and a workplace Surf Nazi has made it difficult for me to do anything online including blogging. Ugh.

But more on that later. Tonight I'm thinking about my grandmother, who would have been a whopping 94 years old this July. She's been gone 10 years now, but the heartache of life without her lingers. When I was little going to Gram's house was a magical time, filled with special foods only she gave us: orange sherbet, butter mints, graham crackers with butter and honey and, on special occasions, freezer cakes or fudge sundaes from the ice cream parlor down the street.

Diabetes changed all that, of course. She didn't understand it; when I left the hospital after being diagnosed she told me, "Be good and do what the doctors tell you, and you'll get better." Later she must have realized how much things had changed. But Gram always made me feel included, no matter what. The dinner table always had canned peaches or fruit cocktail for me (back in the days of "heavy syrup", she would carefully rinse everything and serve it in a crystal bowl. "Because you're special," she would say, and pat my shoulder.). I might not have been able to eat Oreos for dessert with my brother anymore, but she made sure I always had plain vanilla wafers and a banana. God love her, she often ruined perfectly good strawberries by dousing them in saccharin...but I smiled and thanked her and ate every last one. Every time.

We used to go shopping, Gram and I, when I first learned how to drive. I always got a kick out of looking at clothes together or talking about family things. She would crack me up by eating at McDonald's with me in the mall, with her high heels and perfectly done hair and makeup and designer clothes. ("They're the only ones who have fresh coffee," she would say. Hot black coffee was her drink of choice, be it 32 or 92 degrees outside.) She never asked me if I was low or high, because back then there was no way to tell. But when I got my own apartment she would tell my parents, "Don't worry, she'll be okay. She knows how to take care of herself."

We laid her to rest on a beautiful May morning. On her Mass card, we chose this verse:

“May the raindrops fall lightly on your brow.
May the soft winds freshen your spirit.
May the sunshine brighten your heart.
May the burdens of the day rest lightly upon you,
And may God enfold you in the mantle of His love.”

Goodnite, Gram. We still miss you.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Going Offline

Taking a little break from the OC to tend to some offline business--namely work, which has gotten quite crazy in the last week or so. I'll be back soon!

Monday, June 2, 2008

What Happens Tomorrow?

In honor of the low I rang in at after lunch today (56), I thought I'd list all the symptoms of hypoglycemia I've had over the years:

  • Mouth & tongue going numb
  • Mental confusion
  • Irrational thinking (I need juice, not glucose tabs...!)
  • Blind spots in both eyes (during Officially Scary lows)
  • Sudden onset of depression/sad thoughts
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Shaking hands
  • Excessive chattiness (this one drives my DH nuts sometimes)

And, most recently, tingling in my limbs/extremities. Right now my left arm apparently enjoys favored nation status for this particular idea why, it just starts when I'm going below 70 mg/dl. It's like my elbow is a tuning fork when I'm hovering in the 50s. Weird.

Like all things associated with the D, I'm sure this too shall pass. At least I can still tell when I'm low, for the most part. How about you all out there in OC-land?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Friday Night Videos

You had to love Kool and the Gang. Whether at someone's party or at a school dance, you were sure to hear at least one of their songs back in the '80s. Of course "Celebration" is still a popular pick, but I also liked less frequently played hits--like this one from 1983, "Tonight":

As Tubbs from "Miami Vice" would say..."Solid!" {:-) Have a great weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Road Trip

This past weekend my husband and I attended a family reunion in Kentucky. We decided to drive from Chicago due to the sky-high airfares, which meant 6+ hours on the highway each way. Our annual trip always includes a visit to Natural Bridge State Park, which soothes the senses after a long day of traveling. Take a peek here:

Managing diabetes on the road can be tricky, even under the best of circumstances (such as a non-PWD to take turns driving, which my DH did quite often). For me it helps to keep a nonstop supply of fluids going in, which means more frequent bathroom breaks. I also need to eat on a more regular schedule than usual. Apart from other standard precautions (juice on hand, testing before driving and also during the trip), these two things go a long way toward staving off unwelcome highs and lows.

A couple of times, however, the D reared its ugly head at inopportune moments. I dropped to 57 while navigating through crazy Indianapolis traffic, and during a tense morning I went from 124 to 370 in the space of an hour after misjudging my carbs at breakfast. I wasn't myself at either time, and I'm not proud of it (note to self, don't discuss sensitive issues with DH while high or low). It just seems that the normal pains of travel take a little more out of me than the average bear. Sometimes it's hard to get that across to the non-PWD population...

For now it's back to work and the routine. Ugh :( Hope everyone out in the OC had a good holiday!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Friday Night Videos: Memorial Day Edition

This week's selection is dedicated to three special veterans:

  • My father (U.S. Army, Vietnam, 1964-66);

  • My brother (U.S. Air Force, Gulf War I/Kosovo campaign, 1991-1994);

  • and my husband (U.S. Army, Cold War, 1982-1986)

To them, and to all veterans, you have my humble thanks. May we Americans continue to honor your oath: to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic." Happy Memorial Day weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Say Hello to My (New) Little Friend

Due to a Vista upgrade on my home computer, I found myself needing a boost in the meter department as well. My old piece o'crap cheapie model was reliable but slow, and data was difficult to upload. Using Vista also meant losing the ability to log in to the Web-based data management software for the thing, which of course only works on XP/Internet Explorer 6. So thanks to an online freebie offer, I now use the OneTouch Ultra II. So far I'm liking it -- amazing how going from a 10 to 5 second wait for results makes life that much easier :-) And the data uploading capability, so far, is a gem. (Yay! If I had to manually enter all my results I'd go mad.)

I'm no fan of the black zippy case that came with it, however. I always carry my insulin bottles and syringes with my meter, and there was nowhere to put them. So I'm working on a choice right now is a $5 bag I got at Walgreens:

I've looked at some of the nicer meter cases online, but nothing fits my tastes (or budget) right now. I'm also trying desperately to avoid carrying a yet-larger purse to hold all my stuff. Ah, the joys of being a girl with diabetes :-) But, more importantly, we'll see if the OneTouch helps keep me in the 5% club come July, when I have my next A1C done.
Now, about those Mac commercials...really, Apple, aren't you over this by now...?!?

Monday, May 19, 2008

I Get Weeeird...

I've been tagged by Cara in the latest meme-o-thon. So here come my 10 little oddities!

10) I cannot stand being followed too closely while walking down the street. I'll actually stop and pretend to get a text message or something, just to let the other person go by.

9) Though I'd like to think I'm not secretly OCD ;-), I do rearrange the money in my wallet so that all the bills are in order by denomination--makes it easier to zip through the check-put line. Sometimes I even make sure they're facing the same way. Then I count my change and make sure I have certain combinations (six quarters, five dimes, etc.)...Aaaaaaahhh...!

8) In high school I played alto saxphone, as previously posted. Since then I've probably only played a few times. I used to dream of performing on stage in a band, but alas...

7) I'm distantly related to a former President, Warren G. Harding, on my mother's side of the family. As my fellow Americans may recall from elementary school, he was considered by many to be one of the "worst" U.S. commanders in chief. Not sure how he stacks up nowadays...!

6) I learned beginner-level American Sign Language for an old job. To this day I can still carry on a very basic conversation.

5) Speaking of hearing, I'm also completely deaf in my left ear due to congenital nerve deafness. I've never worn a hearing aid, although my husband sometimes swears I need one!

4) Some of the places I really want to see someday are California, London, Moscow, Germany, Australia, Chile and Tokyo. I would especially love to go on a literary tour of London and/or England. So far I've been to Ireland, Scotland, Wales, western England, Canada, and the Bahamas.

3) And speaking of Oz, my birthday happens to fall on Australian Independence Day (Jan. 26). I'd love to celebrate it Down Under someday, watching the fireworks in a summer sky :-)

2) I have a "Rain Man"-like ability to remember numbers, especially phone numbers. I can't usually remember then the first time I hear or read them, but once they're burned into my brain they're permanent. (I still remember my best friend's phone number from childhood!)

1) And finally, I'm grateful for the memories of growing up in the house my great-grandfather built in 1911, where my grandfather and my father also grew up. Three generations of my family also attended the same two grade schools in my old neighborhood. In a big city like Chicago, this is rare indeed.

If you've read this far and haven't participated, consider yourself tagged!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Friday Night Videos

I loved INXS. Poor Michael. Enjoy and remember a great band!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Gratuitous Cat Post

Behold El Magnifico {:-) We've had him (or is it the reverse?!) for two years now. He's always been a morning cat, but I've noticed he gets especially agitated if I have a classic 3AM low. Anyone else have a furball who can tell your blood sugar level, as if by magic?
Poor kitty, he isn't feeling well today. Get well soon, my little beast...(If you like, check out his blog at

Monday, May 12, 2008

Eyeballs: Check

Continuing in the grand tradition set forth by fellow OC'ers Scott, Donna, Landileigh and Cara, I present my eyeballs for your consideration (eek!). My retinas, I am happy to report, are fine. There's no evidence of changes, the pesky microaneurysm in my left eye is gone, and my glaucoma pressure readings were 16 and 14. Woo hoo!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Wee Paws for Identification

Taking a break this week due to a busy work schedule. Will be back soon!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Friday Night Videos

Time for a lighter subject...

Ah, the saxophone, the staple of many a song in the 1980s. Something about those tunes lent themselves to the silky, sensual sound of a sax in the middle eight, coming back around near the end for a last round in the fading chorus. Of course, being a certifiable geek back then I just had to be in the band in high school...and guess what instrument I played?!

So here's to my old friend the alto sax, and to the good old days of playing along (quite badly, out of tune, and squeaking my reeds the whole time) with my favorite songs on the radio. Happy weekend, dear OC'ers!

Billy Joel: "New York State of Mind"

Duran Duran: "Rio"

Corey Hart: "Never Surrender"

Bruce Springsteen: "Dancing in the Dark"

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

The Baby Dance

Warning: serious post ahead!

Being an anonymous blogger has its benefits. But I still struggle with revealing my thoughts on some topics, and this recent news is one of them. I've always had a very conflicted, highly personal opinion about having children; Nicole has broached this subject before, and some others have too. Here's my say.

I've never been told I couldn't have kids, but no one ever pretended it was an easy thing for a PWD to do. My family never really talked about it when I was first diagnosed; I think the then-imperfect tools for diabetes care posed enough of a daily struggle for them, and having 'the talk' with your teenager is tough without diabetes (!). In my 20s, I had the typical challenges of any young person nowadays trying to build a stable adult life for myself. Diabetes has always been happy to take advantage of any spare energy--or finances--I may have had along the way, but it didn't really stop me. Had I made it more of a priority to settle down back then, a baby or two (and a father!) might well have come along. I don't know if the ticking clock would have been louder had I not had diabetes; I just know that, for me, it wasn't in the cards at the time.

Since I've been married, people have asked me when I'm going to start a family. And this is when it gets difficult for me to write about the subject (even among you, my wonderful OC friends). I like to keep private things private, as they say, especially with such an intensely personal topic. But where diabetes is concerned, I'd have to say my outlook on having a baby is like my attitude toward a cure: a nice thought, and perhaps a possibility, but not something I actively seek out or wish for every day. God has already been kind to me, sparing my eyes and hands, my feet and life, especially after some rebellious younger years when I probably did fewer tests in a month than I do in a three-hour period nowadays.

I also don't know how fair it would be to a child to have me for a mother, someone who might become ill and be a burden to them, a weight on the whole family, or worse, leave them too young. And then there's the frenetic worrying, which occupies me too much of the time already. I would never forgive myself if a child of mine had to deal with diabetes too. All of the nightmarish possibilities down that path quickly drain my enthusiasm whenever I hold my little niece's hand, or smell her baby-soft hair. In my heart I think: I just can't. Every extra sip of water, every moment of fatigue, every ounce of lost weight would send me into a tailspin. I don't know how some mothers do it--in my own family, some have gone through pregnancies with gestational diabetes without so much as a follow-up for mom or baby, or a worry about a future monster lurking for both of them.

But I haven't closed the door, so to speak. I seek out God when this subject comes up, in public or private, and I pray for guidance. Sometimes even a control freak PWD like me realizes every decision may not be mine alone. I also don't want to cast a downer on the parents of kids with type 1 out there, especially those of little girls. Things have changed so quickly in the world of D care, it's no surprise children nowadays can achieve the kinds of A1Cs some grown-ups would love to have {:-) Everyone's journey is unique. And the same goes for my fellow OC'ers, who may have different views. Your diabetes may vary, of course. I just wish sometimes that I were braver about making decisions with mine, especially the big L-I-F-E ones. I wish I had the imagination to see a world with children as a real possibility instead of an abstract thought.