Saturday, December 26, 2015

Winter Regimen

When the air outside is cold and crisp and dry, so you put on extra moisturizer and chapstick.

When the chill sneaks into your bedroom at night, so you pull out the space heater and the extra blankets.

When you're fighting off a cold and it's also the holiday season and the air is filled with carbs and sugar and everything nice.....

So you start to wonder, maybe I should just be drinking insulin with my breakfast? Brushing my teeth with it? Showering in it?  

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Boo ya!!!

So I mentioned I've been experiencing a bit of a fizzle lately. And I also mentioned that I've been doing the work to get back on track...backing off the free-wheeling, high carb lifestyle, reinvigorating my exercise routine. That helped somewhat, and things were a bit less crazy, but when I put my CGM back on after a week or so, I still wasn't completely back on track.

I was trying, but I wasn't seeing the results. Unpredictable, unfair blood sugars, things going bananas even when I haven't even touched anything as remotely high-carb as a banana. Nighttime highs, late afternoon highs, all the time highs. occurred to me....that maybe my basal rates needed a bit of adjusting? I did a small increase, and...all of a ya!

Things are going my way again :)

How does this translate into real-life, non-diabetic life? Well, I think the moral of the story is something like: when things are going haywire, go back to the basics and see what you can do from there. 

Saturday, December 12, 2015

The Last Thing

The last thing I ever ate unhesitatingly and wholeheartedly, was some watermelon chunks. I sucked on them as we drove to the hospital, at 6 am the day after the 4th of July. 

We had made the plan the night before, when the wheezing wouldn't stop, the stomach pains were overwhelming, and we spent a lackluster holiday together in a crappy motel room, watching sitcom reruns and the Food Network (I think) as I drifted in and out of sleep. The plan was this: in the morning, we would get up at 7 and drive to the local medical center (helpfully marked with a blue H on our free visitor's guide to Flagstaff). He would drop me off, and while I spent the morning getting some medicine, he would go on a hike nearby and come pick me up afterwards. 

But that night, we both slept fitfully, both of us waking each time I turned over, just to make sure I was still alive. As the sun rose, I sat up and told him it was time, I couldn't wait anymore. He agreed readily, and so we grabbed our things (I think? I barely remember honestly). I ate a few chunks of watermelon, not wanting to go in on an empty stomach. (An empty pancreas, sure. But not an empty stomach.)

We drove over, parked, and headed in. The first sign that things were a little far gone was when, shivering and struggling to fill out the intake forms, I was ushered into a small room for a consultation...ahead of everyone else sitting in the ER. The second sign came when, as I answered the nurse's questions, and she told me that I weighed roughly 30 pounds below my normal weight. The third sign was when I was ushered immediately into an exam room and my then-boyfriend followed me in. I looked at him strangely, wasn't the plan for him to go on a hike while I dealt with this? He looked at me like I was nuts and soothingly reassured me that he would go "later." 

The nail in the pancreatic coffin came a few minutes later when another nurse bustled into the exam room. She stepped inside, sniffed the air, and asked the question I haven't been able to shake since: "Do you have diabetes?"

I said something roughly along the lines of, "you tell me lady, I'm the one that's in the hospital. Do you think if I knew what was wrong with me I'd be here?" but only more polite. I think I actually just said, "I don't know." 

That's when she explained about ketones, and DKA, and got me the insulin and the IVs and drew blood for tests and got me a stretcher and wheeled me down to the ICU, where I spent a fun few days relaxing, recuperating and getting exposed to tuberculosis (story for another time). 

You know what's funny though? I don't even like watermelon. It was just part of that time, when I was ruled by my thirst and craving for sweet. So I didn't even get my last meal right. It's not like I got to guilt-free enjoy some waffles or ice cream cake or things that make me tighten my seatbelt for the blood sugar roller coaster these days. 

Saturday, December 5, 2015

This is Important

I owe the Affordable Care Act so much $32,000.  When I went into the hospital in DKA, I was 24 years old, unmarried, and working full time at a job with no benefits. So a four-day stay in the ICU was really not in my budget. But thanks to the raising of the age limit from 23 to 26, I was still on my family's insurance. Thanks to the ACA, that stay was in Aetna's budget, not mine. Now that I have a "pre-existing condition," I owe the ACA even more thanks that I won't be discriminated against. I owe it thanks for feeling like I can be a substitute teacher if I want to next year, even though there are no benefits, because I can purchase my own insurance on the exchange. 

Speaking of the exchange...on the off chance that there is someone on here, looking for help, trying to understand health care with diabetes, Diatribe (an excellent resource in general) published a great guide here that I'm half posting for a fake audience and half posting for myself as a resource in the future: Diatribe's guide to buying health insurance