Monday, May 30, 2011

Race Day Dreams & Diabetes

Ah, Race Day in Indianapolis.

Nothing like it.

I've been to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway several times for other events, and have been at a couple practice and media preview runs for the Indy 500 in years past. But haven't had much interest in actually braving the mass crowds and craziness on Race Day in the past. We've been fine watching the highlights and even listening by radio from home... until this year.

My photo from an Indy meetup in 2010.
That's because of a particular highlight: the first-ever licensed driver with Type 1 diabetes was making his debut run in the race. Yes, we're talking Charlie Kimball - a fellow PWD who I had the honor of meeting back in 2010, and also was featured in many recent interviews such as this one here.

His involvement got me excited to actually tune in and follow his progress, and so a chance that came up earlier in the week presented a chance to actually be there to witness this first-hand.

Suzi and I answered a call to volunteer with the American Diabetes Association, at a booth sponsored by Novo Nordisk, featuring Charlie Kimball's newest initiative known as "Drive The Switch." We were to promote the ADA and upcoming Tour de Cure, and it was just a great chance to finally partake in such a globally exciting event based here in Indy where we live.

But it wasn't meant to be.

Some logistical challenges created by what I'd describe as last-minute volunteer coordination and inadequate response time presented challenges, and we ultimately weren't able to secure our tickets to get into the race to be at the ADA booth. So, a late night Saturday conversation that came as a result of my reaching out via Facebook and Twitter led to the conclusion that we'd pass up this opportunity and instead just tune in from home on Sunday.

Of course, the stupidity that is the Indy 500 means that if you actually LIVE in Indianapolis where the event is happening, you can't actually see it LIVE. No, there's a local market blackout and so your only option is to attend and watch live or tune in by radio. Watching the race on TV means tuning in many hours later into the evening, when it's re-played on the local ABC affiliate. This is the only major one-day national sporting event in the country that isn’t televised live in the local market. That's the definition of stupid in my opinion, but that's not the point here... /EndDigression.

So, as Sunday race time got underway, I fired up the family heirloom in my living room: an old tube radio that my great-great grandmother had owned in the 1930s. Given the history of this Race Day and all the tradition involved, it only seemed appropriate to use this method rather than tuning in via live radio-cast online.

About 300,000 attended the race, which marked the 100th anniversary since it had begun and the 95th time it had actually run (not counting five when our country was at War).

This was the debut race of one of our own in the Diabetes Community, as IndyCar racer Charlie Kimball qualified for his first-ever 500. The 26-year old from California was diagnosed with Type 1 about four years ago. He drives the No. 83 car for Novo Nordisk Chip Ganassi Racing in the IZOD IndyCar Series.

Now, one thing all readers should know: I am NOT a race fan. Just because I live in Indianapolis, and just because I'm naming other drivers and provided Twitter updates as the race was happening.. Doesn't indicate my expertise or interest, by any means.

With that in mind, I found it pretty exciting to actually follow the race. I didn't care at all who was actually leading, but was watching our guy Charlie and rooting for him the entire time. At the half-way point, he jumped up to the 5-7 spots but consistently held steady in the teens and keeping pace for the most part with Danica Patrick, Tony Kanaan, Vitor Meira, and Buddy Rice.

In the end, it was 2005 winner Dan Wheldon who secured the win after one of  the most dramatic finishes of the Indy 500 when rookie JR Hildebrand hit the wall on the fourth turn of the final lap. Charlie finished 13th of the 33 racers - after starting out at 28th that day.

What. An. Amazing. Debut. Run. Marvelous job, Charlie. Congrats, and thank you for being who you are. Something that impresses me beyond anything is that Charlie puts his diabetes out there and wears it on his sleeve, and lets the chips fall where they may. He doesn't hide his diabetes or try to sweep it under a rug, as I've heard others do. The rational is that they don't want to be "judged" by their diabetes and so they keep it hidden. But not Charlie. He does what is needed, and proudly displays that to not only keep himself accountable but also serve as an inspiration to others that you CAN do something even when you are Living With Diabetes.

That's an important message to have out there. He's making history, both as an incredible race-car driver but one who is doing it with diabetes.

At one point, we cut to a video interview of Charlie talking about how he has his Dexcom CGM attached to the steering wheel so that he's got that on his dash with the car info. The interview cut back to an announcer, who then talked about how Charlie started the race at 200 ("right where he wants to be") and then had gone up to 225, before the half-way point where his BG was at 250 and stable. If he hit 300 mg/dL, then they'd use the Levemir Flexpen while the tire change happened in the Pit Lane and he'd get an injection through the fire-suit. Very cool little explanation there during the Race!!

Charlie was tweeting in the days, hours, and minutes before the race began. About his practices, qualifying, appearances, and 500 Parade activity. One from that Sunday morning stood out to me

"17 years of racing. Blood, sweat, tears. 3.5 years with diabetes. Multiple victories. Many friends. The first Indy 500. A dream come true."

That about sums it up right there. Dreams CAN be achieved and diabetes doesn't have to interfere.

Way to go on an inspirational and competitive debut in the Indy 500, Charlie! You are awesome and doing great, and it'll be fun to watch you keep up on this track as the years go on!

Now, since it's Memorial Day -> Thank you to all those service men and women who have done and are doing what you do for all of us. We cherish and thank you, today and always.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Back-to-Back-to-Back-to...

 Life has been pretty busy lately with regular stresses and much to do with work, so I've been unplugged more often and not as connected to the Diabetes Online Community as has been normal.

A handful of D-Meetups this week presented a great chance to get back into the swing of things. A trio of Meetups, plus another event with fellow People With Diabetes, decorated the calendar.

But as fate would have it, the stars only aligned for one of those D-meetups.

- Monday brought an Adult D-Meetup on the northside of Indianapolis, one of several that have occured during the past year as part of the local JDRF chapter's effort to increase outreach to the Adult Type 1 community. This meetup brought out about 10 of us to a local brewery called Three Wise Men Brewpub. No formal agenda or organization to this gathering, and this one didn't really even delve into much talk about the JDRF or the adult outreach. It was an unscripted meetup where we were just all able to talk individually or in a couple groups about whatever - from D-Camp, to Tour de Cure, and biking with diabetes in general, pump differences, and general work and life topics. At one point, one guy talked about his sister being all "glitters and unicorns" while he's more "fire and brimstone." It was an all around good time with great people! Looking forward to the next round of D-Meetups!

- Tuesday was supposed to be an American Diabetes Association committee meeting about social media use, but the combination of nightmare traffic and a Low left me unable to make it. I'm looking forward to the chance of talking more about how the ADA can use social media to reach out (like Dayle has done as the ADA's first blogger) and how that organization can work with others locally on the bigger picture items.

- A JDRF family meetup was set for Wednesday, but the vicious weather heading into Indianapolis led to that meetup being canceled. Golf ball sized hail and a trio of tornado-producing storm cells moved through our area, keeping us up watching the forecasts. This was part of the devastating storm lines that moved in from Oklahoma and out West, and it also hit Indiana hard. So, it was probably a good idea that the D-Meetup was canceled that night.

- This weekend is the Indianapolis 500, and we're volunteering with the ADA. As it turns out, one of our own PWDs is going to be racing! That's right: Charlie Kimball will be the first licensed D-Driver to race in the 500. And we'll be there working the event, likely at his Novo-sponsored booth promoting his effort known as Drive The Switch. So, there's another D-Meetup right down the road.

Back to back to back to back... And here we go!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

New Law: No Texting My Pancreas While Driving

Apparently, Indiana has it in for those of us who Text Our Pancreas.

You know, like Kim says over at Texting My Pancreas - .those of us who are pancreatically-challenged and occasionally have to get word to our lazy organ using an insulin pump or CGM.

Well, the time has arrived making it illegal to do that while behind the wheel.

Lawmakers here have passed a law restricting texting while driving, and Gov. Mitch Daniels (who may soon be announcing a White House run) signed this into law on May 10. This means that starting July 1, you won't be able to utilize your cell phone or telecommunication device behind the wheel in any texting-like manner in the Hoosier State (and no, I've got NO CLUE what a Hoosier actually is...)

This isn't Indiana-specific, though. We have a national trend that encompasses some 30 states at this point, and Indiana is joining the fray with a new law banning the practice. Legislation in the form of House Enrolled Act 1129 prohibits drivers from using any telecommunications devices while behind the wheel. Stats say that those drivers who engage in texting while driving are more dangerous.

While I have and do occasionally glance at or fire off a text message during my commute, it's not something I do often and certainly don't have any opposition to the message that drivers should not engage in texting while driving.

Now, don't misunderstand me here. Talking on a cell phone or using it to text someone while driving is definitely distracting and can lead to deadly crashes.  But, so are a million other things that people do while driving. Like changing the radio station or CD. Grabbing the soda or coffee, and making sure you don't dribble any on your work clothes. Eating a cheeseburger. Or just eying the driving directions you have printed out to make sure you know where you're heading.

All of these things can be distracting and dangerous, but we're regulating one of them. My big concern is the enforcement of these bans, and how police can efficiently gauge one's texting habits behind the wheel to determine whether a citation should be given out. What if the phone is sitting on your lap? What about those who use navigation or GPS programs on their phones for driving directions? Are you more impaired by reading those directions on your phone versus reading them from a piece of paper in the passenger seat?

Pondering the enforcement of this, how would you write the law? Prohibit so much as a glance in the general direction of a cellphone while driving? Should we mandate that cell phones be stored out of the driver's sight while the car isn't in park? What about other things that might distract someone from the road, like navigation systems or radio and CD players or shiny objects? Pretty boys or girls in the passenger seat you might want to put your arm around? How would you prove a driver was looking at a cellphone and not something near it?

Once the police pullover takes place and it's up to the officer to determine whether you are in fact a Texting Driver, should the said public servant have the right to demand to see your phone or PDA? Do police have the right to confiscate the device in order to use in building a case against a suspected Texting Driver? Lots of issues there, but at least the Indiana legislation prohibits this police confiscation (other states do not).

But all of those issues aside, what does this mean to the Diabetes Community who might be wearing devices that some consider to be "telecommunications devices" - or at least produce the same kind of momentary distraction this law aims to eliminate?

Here in Indiana, the new law doesn't apply to either amateur radio equipment operated by an FCC-licensed operator or a communications system installed in a heavy commercial vehicle. But no mention of other devices, or allowing for any law enforcement discretion when facing this scenario.
Flashback photo from early 2010, long before the new law.
My blood meter transmits my BG results wirelessly to my pump, which then in turn communicates with any CGM and can then be "texted" by the push of a few buttons.

Hmmm. Sounds like it might apply to me.

So, what if you're CGM starts vibrating or beeping as you are driving, and you're in a position to ignore it completely or glance at it to determine the cause behind the alert. Is it Low or High, predicting a change, lost sensor or time for a blood test?

Do you pull over just to check? Because if you ignore it, that can be a safety issue. And if you check while driving, and this law does apply, then you're breaking the law.

Personally, I've become annoyed when the Pump or CGM at my waist vibrates and repeats. I have unbuckled my seat belt and pressed buttons, but I've also pulled it from the holster and glanced down at it momentarily while not altering my driving behavior. Do I now need to worry that this could lead to a traffic ticket?

Some states have contemplated this, and created exceptions for certain items like GPS and navigation devices. Some specifically mention medical devices not applying. Others spell out how the laws only apply to "texting or email" devices, not the more general "telecommunications" or "wireless" devices. But it's not consistent, and variances exist in every state. And I'm stuck in a state that swipes at this with a very broad brush.

Clearly, this really does take the whole Driving While Diabetic issue to a new level.

Some say just pull over. Don't test while driving. Don't "operate" a pump or CGM while behind the wheel. Maybe that's a good general rule of thumb, but I personally have found myself in situations where my CGM or pump keeps alerting me at the waist and distracting me. Rather than just hit a button and make it be quite, I look at it and do what's needed. If Low, I may pull over and do a fingerstick but I may also just quickly do what's necessary because it's not dangerous.

Curious about whether this has ever come up anywhere before with this national push, I put a few feelers out there to attorneys practicing in the diabetes area. The consensus was that this hasn't come up as far as they know, but they noted it's an interesting issue that could be a possibility.

"Really, I have never heard of that happening, but i guess i understand the concern," one wrote. "It does not seem impossible by any means, but I do not really think it's likely to happen often. Obviously, it is far worse if a driver is hypo while driving and that is the serious danger. But I guess it is not inconceivable that one of us could be distracted while (doing that) and get into an accident.  I do not think it would be a frequent occurrence, but I guess it it possible."

Another D-Lawyer on the opposite end of the country says this, "I must say that I have never encountered any case or issue relating to the need to make some adjustment while operating a vehicle. My guess is that any argument that a diabetic should be permitted to make an adjustment while driving would not get very far in the face of any showing that the chance of an accident increases with the distraction and that the adjustment could be made by pulling to the side of the road and stopping the car."

Those with the American Diabetes Association relay a message that "Our advocacy department and scientific & medical affairs department seem to agree: Better be safe than sorry, so it’s best to pull over."

So there you go. The D-Legal Powers That Be say the best advise is for people on a CGM or pump - or those who might need to test while driving - to make sure they are aware of their numbers while driving in order to avoid a Low, and if need be just pull over.

With all these new laws popping up and police getting used to recognizing this while on the road, it'll be interesting to see if this ever comes up as a concern among People With Diabetes who happen to be Texting Our Pancreas on a regular basis.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Backups

Walking down the hallway at my office recently, the plastic pump holster keeping my Minimed 722 fastened to my belt suddenly broke off. No apparent reason.

One moment it was attached, the next my pump was dangling from my waist. Luckily, the tubing had been tucked in and the arm set wasn't impacted.

Of course, this meant I'd need a new pump holster.

Fortunately, I have backups in my arsenal of supplies at home. Three to be exact.

I've stocked up on some of these over time, after once upon a time having one of these break and not having any replacement. I prefer the holster cases, where I'm able to wear it on my waist and slide the pump out for quick easy access whenever needed. These cost a nice little chunk and so over time I've been able to stock up as they've replaced my pumps - they send a new case with the pump, but they don't want the case back so I keep them.
 
Another one busted a month or so ago, and so this was a relatively recent swap. So, another one bit the dust. Two others remained as backups as well as one still in the plastic baggie unopened. So when I returned home, the switch was made.

That also presented a moment to check out the other cases I have on tap: two regular pump clips for this pump, a clear plastic holster from the Deltec Cozmo I'd used a few years ago, and even four black leather pocket flip cases.

What a supply of backups, I have.

Hey, it's good to have backups - because you just never know what doorknob, wall corner, or random change in the wind may sneak up on you.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Learning So Much

This is the seventh and final installment of Diabetes Blog Week, created by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. This 7th prompt: What We've Learned. Last year, Wendy of Candy Hearts made a suggestion for this year. She commented that “Day 7 should be a post about stuff we've learned from other blogs or the experience of coming together online...”  So today, let’s do just that! We're writing about what we've learned from other blogs, this week or in full since finding the DOC. What's the experience of blogging been like, and what's the DOC done for you? This post could even be used to look ahead and talk about what the future holds.
- - - - - - - - - -

Newly-married and just after we'd moved into our first house back in 2005, I began scouring the web looking for "real stories" about people Living With Diabetes. Not just the horror stories as I'd heard my entire life or those that were covered by the media. Not the older Type 2s or the kids with diabetes, but the 20 and 30 somethings that were just living life while managing their diabetes. There had to be more people out there "like me," those longtime diabetics who "get it" and are facing the same issues and concerns as I am....

That's when I first found what was then the beginning of the Diabetes Online Community, where those adults in the same age range were out there sharing what I wanted to hear. A few bloggers and online sites existed at the time. In the years before, I'd found some forums and other sites online to share some D-stories, some focused on children or teens or even older adults, but nothing with the connection and sharing of "real D-Life" stories that I'd been searching for. Within the next year, that little network of people grew and became a lifeline.

A couple years of D-Lurking, and my own personal blogging at The Corner Booth expanded into what is now The Diabetic's Corner Booth, a place where I can share all my Highs and Lows and everything in between. Just one guy living his life while managing diabetes, good and bad. And the people in this ever-expanding community... Simply outstanding. I mean, just look at the number of bloggers - newbies and longtimers - who are participating in this. There's 100+ every day! That is totally A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

I learn something every single day.

What it's like to Live With Diabetes, rather than be owned and defined and restricted by diabetes

How others handle their diabetes and contend with complications, mild and more complicated.

I've learned you can name your pump and medical devices. The beauty of unicorns and glitter. The awesomeness of cupcakes. Terms like "glucoaster" and "What The Fructose."

I learned what it means to own my diabetes and share my story, being an advocate for others who may not have found their voice.

How I really wish I'd used my voice to be a Diabetes Advocate earlier in my life, whether it be through a local nonprofit or D-Camp or just as someone communicating about media mistakes as they happen.

I've learned how we can actually talk and get through to Pharma, establishing a relationship and influencing change - such as getting "non-perfect" BG numbers displayed on meter commercials.

That we can actually establish a dialogue with organizations like the American Diabetes Association and Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, getting them to talk to each other but also work with them to reach out to those who weren't always the primary focus.

My perspective on those superhero parents who act like a pancreas has expanded and I so much more appreciate what they do each and every day. I've learned that Type 2s are not all that different, because we're battling diabetes and fighting the good fight in much the same way and we all have many of the same concerns.

This past week particularly, I've seen the incredible humor and creativity of so many - just two that really stand out in my mind are D-Moms Meri at Our Diabetic Life and Reyna at Beta Buddies, who not demonstrated their MacGyverisms and song-writing but also how they're willing to explore the diabetes lives of earth worms. So totally impressive!

Those two examples highlight what I've learned from so many - that laughing can cure so many ill moods, and that humor is a great coping mechanism that allows you to develop a more positive perspective on even on the most negative and frustrating D-experiences.

But most of all?

I've learned that we all have a place in this world and we can touch people even when didn't set out to do that, and that our actions have a ripple effect on so many others - inside and outside of this community. Our passion multiplies and influences change, providing purpose and hope.

That is what I've learned from this growing community through the years, and seeing some of the work this community helps nurture - Diabetes Blog Week, Diabetes Art Day, or World Diabetes Day and the Big Blue Test - is simply astonishing. I continue learning each day from the amazing people who make this community what it is, receiving insight and support and so much more.

So far, that is what I've learned. I can't wait to see what we all learn tomorrow.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Snapshots

This is the sixth day of Diabetes Blog Week, created by Karen over at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. We're supposed to have a Snapshot Saturday here today. While some will likely tell little stories with their reels of photos, I've got nothing... The brain is tapped. So, here are some random photo highlights from my recent D-Past. Enjoy.

One of the many many cool things that happened at JDRF Government Day in March was meeting Olympic gold medalist Gary Hall Jr, who I looked up to as being a Type 1 swimmer who swam all four years of high school. Snapping a photo with this guy was simply awesome - it was great meeting you, Gary!

Recently attended this awesome event that raised thousands for the Diabetes Youth Foundation of Indiana... AND my loving and wonderful spouse got up there on stage for an act with a few others. While they didn't win the ultimate prize, they were all 10s in my book!

My meter is pimped out. And that's just cool to say.


Usually, this is how I wear my pump - on my beltline using a holster for quick and easy access.

 But sometimes, crap happens and for no reason the holster just snaps. For no apparent reason.


 And so, I resort to my Backup Supply of cases and holsters as seen below.


Lastly, I leave you with one of my favorite D-Related photos ever snapped... World Domination Plotting Shadow Cat. Yes, that is what you think it is on her head. This is the reason my cat hates me...

"I will dispose of you, idiot. Quickly & efficiently."
AFTERNOON UPDATE: Lastly, what happens when you see a 39 mg/dL on your BG meter in the middle of the afternoon? Well, you may very well go for this below:

Two apple juice boxes, 2 pudding cups, one yogurt,
one applesauce, and five little fruit snack packs.
Can you see overtreating??? I certainly can.
And for the record: my BG a few hours later hit 500 mg/dL.
Got it back down In Range by bedtime, though, so there's that...

So what do these pictures teach us? Um... I have no idea. But I'm sure you can glean something from them. Or not. Hope you at least enjoyed them.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Definition of Awesomeness

Here we go, the latest post for Diabetes Blog Week!

Yes, it's Friday The Thirteenth. I get it. But fully aware that I risk jinxing myself by offering this thought, here goes: Awesome Things. That's the assignment we're writing about today. Back in February the #DSMA Blog Carnival challenged us to write about the most awesome thing we've done DESPITE diabetes. Now, we'll put a twist on that topic and focus on the good things The D has brought in life. What awesome thing have I done BECAUSE of diabetes?

Well, I think joining this community is probably one of the most awesome things I've done as a direct result of Living With Diabetes. Friendships made, different perspectives discovered, more appreciation for my own D-Life and how we're all connected and part of a bigger picture. That's enabled me to become more open and honest and accountable about my own D-Management, and that's led to better health overall.

But this is not about ME; it's about ALL OF US. Every single Person With Diabetes.

How do I put this all into words, the impact this has had on me and how that in turn has had a ripple effect on others? So many messages and comments come my way and each and every one touches my heart. While it's impossible to put one ahead of another, this one recent message from a fellow Person With Diabetes illustrates what I'm trying to say perfectly and so I share that message as evidence to why this community is so incredibly awesome.

"I cannot possibly tell you how your blogs have helped me! You are the reason I have become addicted to the online community. I have fallen off the wagon countless times in my 30 years of being a PWD and since I began reading about you, I have really developed a new appreciation for myself and the importance of good self care. I know it wasn't a goal for you to help me specifically, but I want you to know that you absolutely have, tremendously!!!! I want you to feel great and proud about what you do online to communicate, inform and advocate as well as the things you do with events you attend - especially Government Day! So THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, Michael! You have really touched my life!"

WOW. Seriously. Wow.

All I can really say is: No, thank you. This brings tears to my eyes, and I'm so incredibly glad you found some inspiration from whatever I put out there. But I'm nobody special, there are so many others out there who I would write this exact thing about. That's exactly what I get from every single person out there in this ever-expanding online community, and together we're making a difference and touching those who might need it. We're all a part of the puzzle in making this Community the awesome thing that it is.

To me, that is the definition of awesomeness.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Through The Eyes Of...

This is the fourth installment of Diabetes Blog Week created by Karen at Bitter~Sweet Diabetes. Today we're supposed to write about those Ten Things We Hate About You, Diabetes.

Um, wait... only ten? As in 10? Not like, a glucose-saturated gazillion va-million?!

Ok, fine. While many more could be on the list, the assignment calls for 10 and we wouldn't want this list to go on forever. So, I'll limit those items that rise to the top notches of the list. But this won't be a list of Ten Things that I hate about diabetes. No, it's not about ME here... rather, this list will be Ten Things To Hate About Diabetes, Through The Eyes Of...

(drum roll, please...)

1. The Riley Dog: You aren't my friend, diabetes. You make my daddy not want to play with me. Instead of tossing the ball, taking me on a walk, or running around the backyard with me, he sometimes needs to just sit down and rest and eat some of that yummy people food or apple juice. And sometimes, at night when we're all sleeping, you show up and make daddy yell. I think he's playing, but when I jump up on the bed he gets scared and tries to get away from me and starts yelling. That scares me, and I go run and hide in my B-E-D. But at least I have a chew toy and can pretend I'm squeezing you with my teeth, diabetes.

2. Shadow Cat: You know, diabetes... I am the dominant and most important being in this household, yet somehow you fail to realize that. You have no respect for authority and insist on stealing The Idiot's attention when he could very well be paying attention to me. And sometimes, when you get in the way in the middle of the night, like that oaf-of-a-dog mentions above, those paramedics are summoned to the house and steal my thunder. You are taking away from my World Domination Plotting, see, and I won't stand for that any longer. You've been warned, diabetes. Disobey at your own peril.

3. Cell Phone: I love it when people use me to talk or send messages. But diabetes, you bring this tone of conversation to a level I'd rather avoid. You cause Mike to get all angry and yell at the insurance company people on the phone, rather than having those pleasant conversations I so much appreciate. That makes my phone-ears hurt and it really stresses me out, making me lose signals and drop calls randomly. There's only so many times one can hear the same "On Hold" music before he screams "Supervisor" at the non-helpful representative on the other end of the phone. Being the middle man sucks when you're pulling the strings, diabetes. Tone it down, please.

4. Insurance Flex Account Card: You put so much wear and tear on me, diabetes. Rather than using me occasionally at a pharmacy or periodic doctor's visit, you make it so that I'm one of the most frequently-used cards in the wallet of Member ID #1234. Many of my fellow Flex Cards don't ever get to that point of being maxed out, but you make it so that's not the case for me. Less and less can be covered and that just isn't fair for me, because then I get blamed for the crappy coverage. You complicate my life, diabetes.

5. Alarm Clock: Diabetes, you screw with my mission in life and I hate you for that. All my world entails is to wake people up, and Mike has relied on me for years to help him achieve this sleep-no-more status. Yet, you jump into bed with him in the middle of the night and act like a pair of earmuffs on him. He doesn't hear my shrills to awaken, either because you've lowered his blood sugar or pushed it skyward - both leading him to sleep longer and ignore me completely. That leads to Lost Time, and then he gets mad at me for not doing a better job. It even motivates him to set two alarms rather than one on certain nights, doubling my workload with a 3 a.m. wake-up-call and adding pressure to my already full plate. I hate you. Luckily, Mike does have a backup that can do what I can't - actually fetch him those glucose tabs that sit in a jar next to me on the nightstand. His Loving and Supporting Spouse does great, in times when I can't get around your stupidity.

6. My Top Layer of Skin: Diabetes, all you do is cause me pain. You force needles into me on a constant basis, to the point where some of those needles need to pierce me every two or three days. But I have a tough time keeping up, and as a result I find myself covered in scar tissue and my wide campus of real estate is limited. That's what pushed Mike to go on a several-month pump hiatus last year, just to get away from the constant site changes. That allowed me to heal a little, but then we went back to the pump and the cycle began again. Syringes aren't perfect, but in a way they're a break or freedom from being constantly attached to something. Oh, do I love for those times when we get a totally free shower... where nothing is attached. But those are few and far between. It's all your fault diabetes.

7. Minimed CGM Sensor: If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be a CGM Sensor... instead, my bits and pieces would probably be ingredients in some other medical supply or device. But no. You make me what I am - a hideous, inaccurate, fear-inducing D-Device sensor. First, I look like a bumble bee. Yes, one of those yellow and black lined insects that have scary stingers designed to pierce one's skin. Seriously. That's what I see when looking in the mirror, and it's your fault. Am I the byproduct of some engineer's sick sense of humor? Who knows. But what is known is that you've made a mockery of me, diabetes, and I despise you for it.

8. Minimed Veo Pump: When it comes to diabetes, I hate the FDA. This is because if it wasn't for the stupid policies of that U.S. beaucratic nightmare agency, I might actually be living in America. Those moronic government officials would actually be asking the correct questions and be concerned about real, practical safety and regulatory medical device issues instead of the WRONG things. They might realize that diabetes kills many people in their sleep at night, and that's what is the biggest issue facing those Living With Diabetes - not the Highs that could cause DKA and possibly lead to complications at some point in the future. I hope they start asking the right questions soon, so that the country can have a fruitful discussion about the real issues of getting me approved in the U.S.

9. Apple Juice & Glucose Tabs: We tag-teamed this one for a specific reason - to let you know, diabetes, that you don't make life easy for us. See, we have very sugar-rich contents that can truly serve an important function for a Low Blood Sugar. However, you toss in your "low brain symptoms" and "shuddering and shaking" and that makes it even more difficult for people to get what they need from us. We have little clear wrappers that initially seal us from the lips, and these symptoms just don't make it any easier for the person trying to access our sugar content. In the haste of trying to get us opened, people have tossed us to the ground or stabbed us with a knife. That's just not cool. You need to relax and ease into these Lows a little better, friend. For everyone's sake.

10. My Pancreas: What can I say???? Diabetes, you are the bane of my existence. I hate you, more than words can portray. How do I possibly express the hurt that I hope you'll someday incur? Maybe, just maybe, someday there will be a Cure. And you'll finally get your ass kicked.

So that's the List of Ten.

But even with all those items and so many more, we must take a moment to recognize a common thread that runs through each perspective and can only be described as something we LOVE about diabetes.

Hoskins Home Internet Connection Network: Thank you, diabetes, for lighting up my online world in recent years - especially on Wednesday nights, when the universe expands to the point of bursting because of something known as #dsma... You complete me, diabetes, and bring me together with so many wonderful friends scattered across the world on home or work computers, mobile devices, or anyplace the Internet can reach. Together, we truly are making a different worldwide.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Biggest Blooper of Them All

This is the third day of Diabetes Blog Week created by Karen over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes, and today's prompt is all about D-Bloopers.

My mind first went to the obvious choices:

Poking finger for blood test without putting a strip in the meter.

Eating without bolusing. Or vice versa, where you bolus then forget to eat (both leading to same result -> Glucoaster).

Putting a new infusion set in, and then walking away with the pump still sitting on a table so that you pull out the newly-inserted set. Or you collide instantly with a sneaky doorknob, open drawer, or wall corner.

Or those days where I'm wearing a white work shirt and manage to get a gusher.

Drawing up a bolus in a syringe and injecting it in your leg, only to realize you'd already done that and now doubled up the dosage. Or a variation: giving a shot of quick-acting when you actually meant to inject long-acting.

Bloopers abound. We know them well.

I've done all of the above, been in the shower cleaning myself off and ripped off my pump set. While on Multiple Daily Injections during a several-month pump hiatus last year, I had a time or two when I wasn't paying enough attention while injecting and didn't get the needle in far enough under my skin - resulting in a lovely skin bubble.


But none of these are unique or original. And my mind just isn't giving me anything more creative or original...

Ye Gods. This is tough.

If we need to pinpoint a major blooper in the overall big picture, something that just isn't supposed to happen and leaves you thinking "Are you Effn serious???? You surely can't be?!" (Yes, I am serious. And don't call me Shirley.). This is what comes to mind as my example of something so totally whacked it must be a blooper.

ME. More specifically: My insatiable love for glucose tabs.

When God was wiring my diabetes brain about what I'm supposed to like and not like, there must have been some crossed wires when it came to the Not Supposed To Like Glucose Tablets Rule. Yes, I'm a fan of these and would eat them like candy if I could. Not just the flavored ones we have nowadays, where you can get everything from orange to raspberry to coconut (even pina colada??).

This love goes back to even those pasty white square tabs that BD has since discontinued. I used to sneak them as a kid, and LOVED them.

Clearly, this is a D-Blooper of epic proportions on the part of those nutty Diabetes Gods. Someone is obviously watching me on the Grand Stage of D-Life Dramas and getting a kick out of my fascination with these sugary treats.

Um, no... I don't recall Why The Fructose this picture was actually taken.




So there we are. D-Bloopers at their best. So it is, Living With Diabetes. At least we have the ability to laugh about it, and at ourselves.

Well, at least, most of the time...

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Letter To The Unknowns of My Diabetes Past

This is the 2nd day of Diabetes Blog Week, created by Karen over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes. Today's prompt is Letter Writing Day, where we are supposed to write a real or fictional letter somehow connected to diabetes - to an endo, an actual meter or pump company, or maybe a letter from one's adult self to the D-Child you were. Whomever the letter's recipient may be, this is the day to tell that person how you're feeling.

At first, I'd seriously pondered writing a letter from my current Adult Type 1 self to my younger self. But that theme seemed like it might be a common one, and mine might lean more toward the serious end. Plus, there's that country song Letter To Me that already goes there. So, I opted for another choice. That led me to this:

Letter To The Unknown Guys & Gals of My Diabetes Past. Those strangers who, at one time or another, briefly came into my world and made an impression. Now, this multi-point letter is a collection of thoughts to those who weren't around long enough to exchange names or retain details on for more than a brief time.

Dear...

Second-Grade Substitute Teacher Who Didn't Believe:
I'm sorry that I tried to punch you in the nose that one day you were filling in for my regular, more understanding teacher. When you wouldn't let me eat a morning snack in class, and then the little curly haired red-head fellow student of mine warned you that I wasn't lying about needing to eat, you should have listened. He got into an argument with you, but in the meantime I laid my head down on the desk and tried to sleep. When you wouldn't let things be, two of my classmates ran out of class against the teacher's wishes to fetch help. Back at the desk, I freaked out from the Low blood sugar and started yelling before other classmates had to hold me down and stop me from trying to hit you. Those two help-seeking classmates got in trouble and, had you been reasonable, my mom wouldn't have had to get involved and fight to get them out of trouble because of your stupidity. I'm glad it worked out in the end, though I don't recall ever seeing you again. Hope the teaching career worked out. At least that helped teach the school that all subs needed to be told about my diabetes and allow me to eat in class.

Manager Who Stormed the Bathroom Stall and Tried to Toss Me from the Restaurant:
No, I wasn't trying to shoot up with drugs behind the stall door that wasn't locked. That was simply not an accurate report from the other person who happened to see me in there holding a syringe and pulling my shirt up to inject the partially-cloudy liquid into my body. Though I'm sure that might sometimes have been the case with other teenagers you'd encountered in the mid-90s, that wasn't what I was up to. But rather than believing my explanation, you accused me of lying and proclaimed you'd call the cops and have me locked up. I'm perfectly fine with the fact that you were proven wrong by someone else working that day, and that I never went back to your establishment again. In fact, it was pretty enjoyable convincing others that a boycott of your business was a perfectly acceptable response.

Nice Late-Night Diner Waitress:
You are very nice and I appreciate all you did for me back in the 90s. Not only did you reliably refill my coffee cup while there at any hour, but you had no issue with ALWAYS making sure that my soda was in fact sugar-free and that, from time to time, you brought me many glasses of orange juice and didn't charge me for them. I wish all waitresses were like you.

Anti-Charity Guy In College Who Only Contributes to 'Worthy' Causes:
Dude, you suck. I was a philanthropy-embracing college student trying to raise money for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and you were an asshole. It would have been fine if you couldn't or didn't want to contribute to my particular charity. But to say that you only contribute to 'worthy' causes, that was simply uncalled for. I don't wish many people ill in this world, but I might actually hope that you were diagnosed with diabetes at some point since then. How worthy is that cause now, dipshit?

Face-making Couple at Nearby Panera Bread Table:
It was a Sunday afternoon, and my wife and I were out for a simple sandwich at a place offering free Internet access. We were minding our own business, and being a Type 1 diabetic who must take insulin before eating, it became necessary to test my blood sugar before scarfing down that meal. Yet when I displayed my blood meter and poked my finger, and then drew up some insulin in my syringe (thanks to multi-daily injections), you decided to toss some frowns and frustrated faces in our direction. Like we were invading your turf and doing something so unholy you couldn't believe it. Reflecting on this now, I wish I would have stood up and approached you and started waving my arms at you while chanting "Satin is my friend." Enough to make you really uncomfortable. Instead, I smiled and that seemed to annoy you. There were more looks before you eventually got up and left. Good riddance.

Random Golf Mate #4:
I remember that day a few years ago, when we were standing next to each at a golf tee. You and your pal had been matched up with a friend and I, and so our pair of twosomes became a foursome. We were standing near one of the tees waiting to begin that hole. You glanced down and caught a glimpse of the insulin pump at my waist. "Is that an insulin pump?" you asked. "Yes, it is," I said flatly, then turned and walked away. Nothing more said about it from then on. I'm sorry for being an asshat. Diabetes wasn't what I wanted to talk about that day, I just wanted to play some golf rather than making small-talk about diabetes. You could've been a fellow Person With Diabetes. Or maybe someone with a personal D-Connection. It could have been a life-changing friendship in the works there. But I blew you off. That was uncalled for and not how I should have responded. Sorry about that.

Insulin Pumping Lady At Church:
One Sunday morning, my wife pointed me to you on the opposite end of the sanctuary. That was a communion weekend and we were still sitting in our pew in the middle of an aisle. You were walking away from the front of the room back to your seat, and I could see a Minimed pump attached to your side. Scaling back my excitement, I decided not to jump to my feet and leap over the pew and rush toward you waving my arms and brandishing my own pump for a "pump bump." Instead, I sat and watched you go find your seat. We weren't able to find you afterward, and our pastor didn't know who you might be. I never looked you up after that. I'd like to meet and say hello, but don't want you to think I'm some crazy person. Maybe we'll get that chance some day.

Insurance Guys And Girls on Other End of Telephone
Zombies are usually smarter than you. Most of you. Some of you seem to have common sense, but those telephone encounters are few and far between. I don't understand why you can't understand simple sentences, or insist on screwing up orders that my doctor has clearly directed you to fill. You are not my doctor and don't have the ability to make medical decisions for me. You're screwing with my health and life, and it's unfair and ridiculous. If I ask you a basic question based on what is ON FILE, you should have the ability to look at the screen in front of you and get the answer. Stop being a moron. And when I ask for a supervisor, I'd rather not repeat myself at least three times before you finally direct me to one. If you can't follow these simple commands, find a new freaking job. It's not rocket science.

To everyone else, I hope that whatever brief encounters we've had through the years have enabled you to grow as a person and learn from the situation. If it was pleasant through my eyes, I hope it was the same for you. If not, I hope you've had the opportunity to get some perspective and balance out your asshattery with real person friendliness. Regardless, thanks for making my D-Life what it is.

Sincerely,

That One Diabetic Guy Who You Probably Don't Remember

Monday, May 9, 2011

Admiring Our Differences

DBlogWeek2011Banner

It's that time of year again.  You may recall from 2010 that a phenomenon known as Diabetes Blog Week sweeped across this community, with dozens of bloggers giving their own spins on a single topic. We have a prompt for every day of the week, thanks to D-Blog Week creator Karen over at Bitter-Sweet Diabetes. You can find all those participants listed over there.


Today's Topic: Admiring our differences  -
We are all diabetes bloggers, but we come from many different perspectives. So, what have we learned from those diagnosed at different ages or with another type of diabetes, or those D-Parents who might be considered heroes? Pick a type of blogger who's looking at The D from a different perspective tell why they inspire you, why you admire them, or why it’s great that we are all the same but different.
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -  
 I'd hoped for some originality here, but that just isn't how I'm gonna roll for this initial topic. Back in November, one of the most eye-opening experiences I've had came at the Children's Museum of Indianapolis when I was able to actually walk briefly in the shoes of a D-Parent - albeit it very briefly. That sparked this post, dubbed Penguins, Polar Bears, and Superheroes. That post is where I return to now for today's topic, and part of what I'd written then seems particularly relevant now to describe how and why I admire these D-Parents so much:

"What I faced was just a few brief moments of what these Parents of Children With Diabetes face every day, every night. every moment. Regardless of my own experiences growing up with and living as an adult with Type 1, that doesn't replace the simple reality that I don't know what it's like to be a caregiver to a child - especially a CWD. You think it requires ninja-skills to manage your own D-Life? Well, try being responsible for that from the outside, with the normal parental cares and concerns amplified by this chronic condition's necessities, and having to teach this little one how to grow up to have a successful life with diabetes. Not easy by any means. I'd known that before, but see it even more clearly now. These Parents Acting Like Pancreases are superheroes. We could recognize them every moment of every day, and they'd still be under-appreciated. So, to every Parent Who Acts Like A Pancreas: Thank you, so incredibly much. For everything. We Children With Diabetes Who Grew Up are who are because of your care, your guidance, your balancing those daily issues in whatever way you did."


I promise to be original for Tuesday's topic, which will be: Diabetes Letter to... (Catch you tomorrow, when you'll see who that letter goes to!)

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Times Have Changed

Four years makes all the difference, apparently.

Back about this time in 2007, when this was still The Corner Booth and didn't have "Diabetes" in the title, I'd written up a D-themed blog post called "What's In a Name?" and said that there was no need in my mind to ever name an insulin pump or medical device, as some in the small DOC-at-the-time had done. I questioned the motives for doing something like that and said it wasn't my thing, and ended the short post with the proclamation: "That's where I draw the line"

Flash-forward to 2011, and here I am with a Minimed pump. I'm not even sure how many actual pumps have come across my D-Life during my past decade of pumping, but there's been a handful. The past three going back to late 2009 have had names - Bacon Gibbs, Bacon II (a.k.a. Bacon Gibbs Corleone, The Don of Rage Bolusing), and Scarface. That all followed a brief two-year switchover to the Cozmo, which later got tagged with the casual name of either Coz and Kramer.

During the past couple years, I've even managed to score a trial test of one Minimed CGM who received the nickname of Larry The Loaner CGM.

(Recomposing myself, trying to find my dignity and self-respect...)

So there it is. BAM.
 
Looking back, it's quite remarkable how things change - in life generally and as it pertains to this online diabetes community. Somehow, at some point, I crossed the line and started naming my medical devices. Not exactly sure where it began,  I'm sure this naming inspiration came from those in this community to some degree. You know, me doing what the cool kids do.

The Diabetes Online Community has grown exponentially and so much has changed, for the better. It's tough to keep up these days with everything that's been written, but that's a good prob to have. This community's patient-voice is so incredibly stronger and well-heard, and continues echoing here and beyond like a growing megaphone hooked up to our named-medical devices.

Mostly, I think it's humor and perspective that the DOC has injected into my life - cynicism and sarcasm is always present, but I feel that by connecting with others who are Living With Diabetes just as I am - and articulating those day-to-day challenges - it helps being able to put it all into context and better balance. I'm not the first to say it, but it's a matter of having everyone shoulder a D-Life rather it being just me. That's very powerful and I'm so thankful for the changes I've come to experience in recent years. And so on.

Amazing, isn't it, how time goes by?

Who knows what tomorrow will bring. I can't wait to see what's ahead. If nothing else, I'm sure it will have a cleverly fun name to go along with it.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Ancient Order of Two-Headed Diabetic Turtles

It's about the turtle, see.
Yes, I'm a member.

These days, it seems an appropriate self-designation would be Slacker in Charge of the Procrastinator's Society. Especially in regard to my D-Life in recent months. Slacking, slacking, and more slacking.

My blood test readings illustrate the trends, which have continued and started bubbling and boiling over from a few points in the day to more widespread periods of time. The brief Dawn Phenom hours in the morning have started stretching all night and most of the morning, while the evening hours post-dinner have gobbled up the entire night.

I'm too nervous to actually analyze what my Carelink data trends might say, but I'd guess I would be in range something like 25% of the time. My OneTouch meter average is 239 mg/dL for seven days and two weeks, and 220 for thirty days.

Um... YIKES!

Energy levels have been lacking lately, and some of those ever-so-pleasant neuropathy pains in the feet have returned when numbers skyrocket - my own version of a "warning bell," so to speak.

At this rate, I'm quickly zooming in on a 9.0 A1c or higher - taking me back to pre-DOC levels.

This isn't where I want to be. Not by far.

I recently canceled an Endo visit with Dr. P in late April, but am looking forward to my first meeting with a new CDE in her office who happens to be a longtime Type 1 herself.  I'm hoping she'll be able to help me get my act in order as both a "medical professional" and fellow PWD, though it'll be interesting to see what happens in regard to my latest slacking trends.

Excuses do no good. Life has been stressful and busy and the storm clouds have built up everywhere, and I think that's just helped fuel my desire to come home from work and try to just veg out and relax as much as possible. With the combined energy and productivity depletion coupling with the High BGs and falling-behind feeling overall, everything keeps adding up. Thyroid level wackiness has probably helped along the way, too.

Unplugging from the DOC a bit has helped me regain some focus. Of course, I do miss those friendships and everyone and that level of regular interaction and support. But it's serving a purpose.

On top of that, I am praying again after a long time of turning away from God. I'm reevaluating and reinvesting in that relationship, and being mindful to work on all of those other important relationships in my life that are so essential. I'm reminding myself often how good life really is, despite the challenges, and how lucky we are to have each other. And really how the tools exist to move forward and actually do something about it all - particularly my D-Life slacking. 


Maybe just being able to talk to someone on the medical end who "gets it" can offer some perspective, balance, and focus on what's ahead. I'm looking forward to that.

So, without further ado, I'm tearing up my membership card in the Procrastinator's Society. 

Basal testing (evening, overnight, morning). Eating discipline and more accurate carb-counting in the evening hours. Implementing that "planned for" exercise plan. Enough rest, but balancing the needed creative and intellectual mental exercises with some ever-important relaxation and fun. Organize what needs to be organized. Honest self-examination and facing fears and challenges. And so much more. It's time to move away from the Creed and stop living on the motto of: "I will never do today what I can put off until tomorrow." 

There's a long way to go, and it won't be easy. 

But it's time to step forward and embrace the wisdom once eloquently-voiced by Tim Robbins in the new classic 1994 flick Shawshank Redemption:

Monday, May 2, 2011

Give Peace a Chance

President Barack Obama announced late Sunday night that Terrorist Mastermind Osama Bin Ladan was killed in a military operation in Pakistan.

Nearly 10 years after he carried out the tragic terrorist attack on America. This man who'd orchestrated so many crimes upon humanity is now gone.

On a weird historical sidenote: May 1 happens to also be the day in 1945 when Adolf Hitler was announced dead. Crazy coincidence, or alignment of the stars, or something.

 "Justice has been done." - President Obama, in his speech.

So, I say: GOD BLESS AMERICA.



But this is bigger than the United States. This is about worldwide peace. Hopefully, now that another terrorist leader has been eliminated, maybe we can all somehow unite in peace for this world. Despite the terrors that still exists, this historic moment can generate an outpouring of support for creating that unity for all of us.

We are a global community. Let's Give Peace A Chance. Please.