Monday, March 31, 2008
Sunday, March 30, 2008
I love Southern food, but figuring out how much insulin to take for it can be tricky. I ended up over-bolusing for some BBQ chicken thinking the carb count for the sauce was much higher, and later I had the opposite problem with some harmless-looking cornbread. Overall, though, I stayed in the mid-100s and only had one late-night low. The long drives were made much easier by my husband, who took over the wheel for 99% of the trip.
Elvis' house was pretty impressive. I was just a kid when he passed away, but like everyone else I grew up on the man's music. Seeing all those gold records and awards was one thing, but I was struck by how relatively modest a home Graceland is by today's standards. What a shame Elvis isn't still around to enjoy it.
Our last stop was a quiet evening moment at the National Civil Rights Museum:
April 4, 2008 will mark the 40th anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s assassination. In the cool breeze of the evening we heard wind chimes gently singing from a porch across the street. There's a grassy lawn nearby, with trees and gentle curves that instill a sense of peace to this violent place.
Now that Monday's here it's back to work, and back to the fitness routine for both of us. Ugh (:-P
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
In other news, Amylia tagged me for my first blog meme :) Yay! So, here's my stab at a memoir in six words:
I'm afraid my visual today is a little more in tune with my current state. I now tag Scott, Bernard, Cara, George, Donna and Jillian. Here's how to play: 1) Write your own six word memoir; 2) Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you’d like; 3) Link to the person that tagged you in your post, and to the original post if possible so we can track it as it travels across the blogosphere; 4) Tag at least five more blogs with links; and 5) Don’t forget to leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play!
Friday, March 21, 2008
"I Want a New Drug": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MMSFX1Vb3xQ
"Heart and Soul": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U4fdkkBt8VE
"Stuck With You": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SdwNVJIcg7k
Happy Spring, everyone and happy Easter too!
P.S. At Donna's suggestion, here's the fabulous "Workin' for a Living" with Huey Lewis & Garth Brooks. Enjoy!
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Monday, March 17, 2008
The Irish saved civilization, among other things. St. Patrick's Day always makes me think of a time during my first trip to Dublin when they might well have saved me. Had it not been for a simple act of kindness, my own personal Rome might have fallen.
Going to Ireland for a month in July, 2005, I thought I'd taken care of everything. My bags were packed with extra insulin, double the syringes, emergency information everywhere and stashes of snacks and treatments for lows. Solo travel wasn't new to me but I'd never been abroad; when my graduate school offered summer classes overseas, I jumped at the chance to return to the land of my ancestors. The day of my arrival, I hopped a ferry and took a bus to Scotland to attend the Make Poverty History rally in Edinburgh. Things had gone smoothly on the long flight from the States, and though I was tired my blood sugars were only slightly higher than normal. I stood out in the bright sunshine all day with new friends, soaking up the event's energy and sipping water. Slowly the jet lag finally began to hit me, so I wandered off to get some food and rest. I found a spot, pulled out my kit, and did a test.
The meter counted down and I looked at the screen. "HI". Oh boy. I washed my hands and retested. 442--not much better. I didn't panic; the stress of traveling and unfamiliar food always affects my readings. Although this high was Officially Scary, I figured a 6u Humalog bolus shot, rest and fluids would bring the number down to the 200s at least. I drank a liter of water and walked around a bit over the next two hours, killing time until my bus began the long journey back to Ireland. Since I'd eaten little "real" food all day, I got tea and a sandwich in a shop and did another 6u bolus to cover my meal. An hour later, seated on the bus, I tested again: 553. I did an 8u shot, then drank water, fought nausea and waited another half hour. Next test: 525. I tested on both hands and different fingers, but all the results were in the same range. Now I was scared. I felt hot and puffy. After another hour the numbers finally began to go down: 401, 323, 283, 204. I felt better, but tired. I noticed my test strip supply was getting low, but I thought little of it.
When I got back to my room in Dublin I sank, relieved, into my bed. A few hours later I was up again and getting ready to attend an evening event at school. I grabbed my kit to test before heading out, and noticed only a few strips were left. That's right, I used up all those extra strips in Scotland, I thought. I opened my suitcase. Amid all the spare syringes I figured I would find the extra bottle I thought I'd packed. But soon the suitcase was empty, along with my purse and my backpack, and that was when it hit me: Oh no, I think I forgot them back home! Ugh. I cursed my stupidity. Now I would have to find a pharmacy and hope they sold my brand of strips. Who knew how expensive they would be, what with the high value of the Euro and my lack of insurance in Ireland? I gave myself another hard mental kick and asked a few colleagues where the nearest drug store was. Someone pointed me to a place down the street, and I walked over the next morning.
The pharmacist carefully studied my empty test strip bottle. "Sorry miss," he told me. "We don't carry this brand over here." I stood at the counter, shellshocked. Now what do I do? I figured I had no choice now but to ask my family to FedEx more strips to me. While I was mentally calculating how much the shipping would cost, the pharmacist tapped me on the arm. "You must check your blood sugars, miss. Here's a meter no one bought, why don't you take this with you?" And here's a bottle of strips to go with it." He gave me an Ascensia Breeze still shrink-wrapped in its packaging. I stammered, unbelieving. Didn't this cost something? Didn't I have to pay? "No, the meter's really no cost to us, and anyway you must have it." I thanked him profusely and left the shop, still stunned. Back home the Breeze was $80.00 at least, and the strips another $100.00.
I used the Breeze for the rest of my trip and avoided further highs and headed off most of my lows. I still have it, an odd souvenir of sorts. It might not have seemed like the grandest gesture to the pharmacist, but he really saved me a lot of stress and expense with one simple act. So that's what I think of on St. Patrick's Day: a pharmacy on Drumcondra Road, a kind-hearted Dubliner, and the bit of wee Irish luck that touched me there. So to one and all in the diabetes OC, Beannachtaí na Féile Pádraig oraibh!
Friday, March 14, 2008
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
1) How to do a fairly accurate insulin dose via the SWAG method, especially at lunchtime.
2) That I can't eat if my blood sugar is above 225-250 mg/dl, without suffering the consequences. Therefore I strive to keep my levels within range at all times, in case the munchies strike.
3) How to sneak a shot or a test in just about any environment, whether at my desk or in my car, or in a Cessna. (Where have you done it?)
4) That I need to be proactive with any health issue, no matter how minor, especially in cold/flu season. And that my blood sugars will always be wacky so I need to be patient with myself. Rest, fluids, test, rinse, repeat.
5) How to manage a low and not break a sweat.
6) How to feel empathy and compassion for the broken, who are often so much worse off than me.
7) How to organize and multi-task like a pro, like all PWDs :)
8) How to "just say no" when it came to peer pressure to drink or smoke. With diabetes as my excuse, who could argue? Besides, beer is nasty...
9) How to be always be prepared, with the exception of an "oh sh**" moment or two.
10) How to be self-sufficient, tough and strong, and how to be my own best diabetes expert.
Things You Would Think I'd Know By Now:
1) That my friends, family and darling husband, try as they might, cannot always tell when I'm high/low. If I don't communicate my state of crapiness, they won't understand the mood swings that may ensue.
2) How to avoid the post-workout crash 4-5 hours after the gym without inhaling massive carbs before/during exercise, thus negating the effects of my effort.
3) How to stop insulin from leaking out after a shot sometimes, even after holding the needle in place for 10 seconds, pinching up an adequate amount of skin, or all the other little tricks. Ugh.
4) How to avoid the one spot on my left middle finger that hurts like h*** when I lance it. After 25 years you'd think I'd remember exactly where that spot is.
5) That sometimes, you can't have your cake and eat it too (literally). (See #2 above)
6) That most people, sadly, have no idea that type 1 diabetes is any different from type 2. Like others I've heard my fair share of Fantasy Diabetes League comments and gotten some inadvertent brain farts from well-meaning relatives.
7) That high-heeled shoes will always make my feet hurt, and that I will always have to spend the next few days checking them more carefully than usual for problems.
8) That for me, weight gain, like it or not, seems to go hand-in-hand with good control.
9) How to handle unexpected medical issues without so much anxiety. You'd think being so familiar with this stuff would keep the panicky "what-ifs" from taking over...
10) That sometimes, like it or not, I just can't run as fast in this hard-charging world as people who don't have diabetes.
Things I Learn All Over Again Each Day:
1) How amazingly cool and wonderful the diabetes OC really is. Where were you guys all this time...?!?!!
2) What a beautiful gift each day is.
3) How to calculate the insulin I'll need for whatever I'm going to eat/drink and how my blood sugar will react, even if I eat the same thing two days in a row. It's all in the balance of exercise, illness and/or hormones, and sometimes it's just a mystery.
4) That the human body is a reslient thing, and yet so fragile it's heartbreaking.
5) How I'll react when faced with adversity or challenging circumstances.
6) How to fit my diabetes needs in with those of my boss, my husband, my family and the other parts of my life.
7) That sometimes diabetes is front row, and everything else needs to take a back seat until I'm well again.
8) That highs and lows mutate through time. My low feelings will change in six months or a year from shakes to sleepiness to chest pain to hunger pangs. Meanwhile, the highs I never felt as a younger person make me absolutely miserable now.
9) That, if you've ever banged your eyeball and gotten a corneal abrasion, rubbing it will only make the pain come back to haunt you. And you'll wish you never did that (ugh). Right now I'm learning that every day, because I was fool enough to ignore my own advice...
10) That no matter what happens, I'm grateful for the chance to keep hanging in there.
In closing, here's a funny link in anticipation of the coming holiday.
Friday, March 7, 2008
"North and South": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DIn3AjbknZA
"The Outsiders": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2RlG3-tcMoM
And this classic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OnJUNUQtcHU
Thursday, March 6, 2008
By the way, today is my 9,125th day of living with type 1 diabetes. I have lost many things along the way, but I'm proud to say my eyes, toes, and kidneys are not among them.
There is no cure for diabetes. Yet.
Monday, March 3, 2008
Seems like many of us in the Diabetes OC have this particular monkey on our backs. It's been tough, but I'm down to two 12 ounce cans of regular Diet Coke per day. (I can't make it in the mornings yet without my fix.) That's about 90 milligrams total of caffeine per day, or less than a cup of tea. A few weeks ago I was downing quadruple that number (!) in soda and coffee.
Alongside the benefits of feeling less dehydrated and jittery, I'm hoping detox will help my blood pressure levels a little. My "high" number has ticked up a few notches in the last year and I'd like to reverse that trend.
Because, who wants to end up like this?!