Wednesday, 3 April 2013Apologies for the absolutely dreadful pun there.So far this week, we've learned that the only person I think I actually amuse with my humour is myself. But here's another 'interesting' factoid about me that you might not know. I am that interesting mixture of mildly clumsy and mildly accident prone that means I end up doing myself an injury with somewhat surprising frequency.
Over the last few years, I've cut myself with glasses, had a mirror stuck in my foot, been knocked off a table I've been standing on, been dropped in the middle of dance routines, and possibly my favourite one - been kicked whilst practising the waltz and having my toe broken.
A lot of the things I end up doing to myself seem to happen during shows, or rehearsals for them. Yesterday, I mentioned the calls to NHS Direct I had made because of my foot. This was during the first show week of a regional tour I've just finished with Six Lips Theatre. I wish I could put my finger on what the heck I actually did do to my foot, but I can't. Best I can come up with is that I'd just turned it over whilst walking too many times. Yes, I do that a lot. No, I don't know why. Seems I just walk weirdly. But as the day went on, it hurt me more and more to put weight on my foot, and I had a searing pain leading up from my big toe. And by the time I'd finished the show that evening, I ended up blowing off cast drinks because I got offered a lift home, and that would save me the half hour walk home. Took some painkillers, iced it, and shrugged it off, thinking by the time I woke up in the morning, it would probably be a lot better.
Of course not. I tried to walk to work, but got as far as the end of the street before I was practically crying. So I went back home, and decided to call NHS Direct for some advice. The thing I haven't mentioned is that as part of the show I was working on, I was dancing burlesque. Which means quite high heels. No, I still can't entirely fathom how I was the best candidate for that particular job, either. After waiting on hold for a while, and then waiting for them to call me back, I ended up talking with one of the nurses, who seemed torn between wanting to tell me that I had gout, despite the fact I clearly didn't, and wanting to talk about how much she loved burlesque, and why couldn't she find the DVD of the film 'Burlesque' at HMV? Which was all well and good, although slightly surreal, however I left the call with the instruction to take a small shedload of over the counter drugs, and call my GP if it wasn't better by the Sunday. To be honest, I'm not stupid, I could have worked that out myself.
Forward to Sunday, and nope, no better. I'm starting to wonder if I have actually broken something in it. I end up getting told to go to A&E to get it x-rayed. I wasn't really keen on spending my Sunday afternoon sat in A&E, but hey, you do what you have to, don't you? I was worried that I was being a bit over-cautious, but foot care is one of those things that you get drilled in to you again and again. You get all sorts of horror stories, one of my favourites being told to me by own mother about someone standing on a plug without realising it. Great.
So I was in an out in less than an hour. After looking at the x-ray, 'No, nothing's broken. Go home.' was the extent of the medical advice I got. No-one ever told me what was ACTUALLY wrong with it, although soft tissue damage seems to be the popular opinion when I've straw polled people.
It's just one of those things, that it does feel like an over reaction, but sometimes you just can't shake the horror stories and the idea of 'what if I have done something and I just can't feel it?'. It feels like you really can't win sometimes.
Ah being responsible. It's great fun.
Posted by Becky at 22:07 | | |
Tuesday, 2 April 2013
I started composing this in my head, and all of a sudden I had that earworm of a Maroon 5 song stuck in my head. I spent a lot of late last summer/early autumn travelling around in a van, and that song seemed to always be on the radio. Along with that awful 'Call Me Maybe' song. But it seemed vaguely appropriate. The Maroon 5 one. Not 'Call Me Maybe'.
Oh Diabetes, you have long been known to throw a spanner into many aspects of my life, and turn things on their head. You dealt me a new one over the last two months though - I never thought you would be so mean as to brazenly attack my phone bill.
I don't have a landline. I don't think I know anyone of my age who does. Line rental just costs too much, and I'm not home enough to make it cost effective anyway. I have my mobile phone, and a fairly good phone package. Or so I thought.
I got one of those oh-so-daunting 'Field Safety' notices through from Animas recently. The sort which give the impression of 'you don't need to panic, but you might want to anyway', coupled with 'you don't need to call us, but call us'. Confusing, and somewhat worrying, especially on a Friday night, after office hours.
So that meant that of course I would give them a call. And as I have found out in the past, if you call after 5pm, you get transferred to America. Which I did, and got to speak with a thoroughly lovely customer service rep. I get amused that I am called ma'am when I speak to the US reps. You just don't get that over here, you really don't. Poor love must have had a hard day, I think. She was just so relieved that I wasn't yelling at her that she couldn't express how sorry she was to put me out enough. She did have to put me on hold for about twenty minutes though. Long enough for me to run a bath and read half a magazine, anyway. She had to call me back the next day, but it turned out that it's nothing to worry about for now, although I will have to have my pump exchanged at some point. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for an upgrade to the Animas Vibe, but I can but hope.
So I have no problems with Animas' customer service. Their people are lovely and very accommodating. However, their 08000 numbers? That's not free from my mobile, despite supposedly being free phone numbers. Which is what added nearly £20 ($30) to my standard contract payments. Ouch.
At least everything is fine with my pump. But between that and next month's adventure with calling NHS direct, I can't take any more of this, diabetes! I may have to buy some sort of expansion on my phone package to cover your damages to my bank balance!
Or maybe I could start reversing the charges, at any rate...
Monday, 1 April 2013I'm known for liking a joke. I believe I have a pretty good sense of humour on the whole, and I'm not above playing pranks on people. I once convinced one of my university housemates that green tea was made with marijuana, for example. I clingfilmed someone's door during my fresher's week (which will be ten years ago in September, which makes me wonder what I've done with my life). I've stuffed shoes with newspaper, and even pulled the odd prank phone call in my time, leading me to convince a friend that she was now responsible for a delivery of forty pigs in Southampton from a pig farm in Alabama. So for me to resurrect blogging on the first of April might make you think that this is an April Fool's joke. I assure you it's not.
Over the last couple of years, I've been coming and going through blogging, tweeting and the DOC in general. And I've not been happy about this. Blogging and advocacy used to be my main, burning passion. Yet here we are in April and this is my first post of the year. I only managed three the year before. Not funny. Is it because I stopped caring? Is it because I stopped having things to say? No. Absolutely not. I have all the usual excuses, of course. I've been busy. And yes, that's true. But that's not really enough to put aside something that I used to care so much about. So with that in mind, I think it's time for a bit of honesty here.
I've been distracted, and I took my finger off the pulse. Things move so quickly in life - you know that as well as I do. There were other people, other things, and before I knew it, a year had gone, and then another. I got into something of a tired rut with looking after myself. Diabetes care became routine, second nature, something I wasn't thinking about so much. And the truth is that that is a dangerous place to be in. You can't stop caring, or paying attention, because that's when you get into trouble. And I don't want that. None of us do.
I don't want to be that person. I don't want to be complacent. Not when I keep seeing blue candles appearing on Facebook. Not when the media are still getting things so wrong. Not when there's so much to fight for, and get angry about.
Because those things are beyond a joke. There's nothing funny there.
Even though I might be. I'm hilarious, don't you know?
Well, I make myself laugh anyway. So that's one and counting.
Monday, 9 July 2012I've come to realise that, try as we might, diabetes gets in the way, and there's often very little we can do about it.
As a general rule, I don't tend to worry too much about what people think of me for taking care of my D when I'm out and about. I'll test, I'll pull out my pump. I used to publicly and unashamedly inject when I was on MDI. Only once did I have someone have a problem with any of this, and I was only upset about it because they told my boss that they thought it was inappropriate and unsanitary. I never found out who it was, and that bothered me. Because if they had said it to my face, it would have been a chance to educate, to advocate. And hey, I'm all for that.
However, I've found myself in a bit of a situation which concerns me.
I'm very saddened to say that my Grandma passed away last week. It wasn't unexpected, but is still extremely sad. I loved her very much, and will miss her greatly. We are now of course, planning her funeral, which is going to take place next Monday. This is set to be quite a long affair, starting with a Mass at 12 noon. It is then looking to be until 4pm before we will get to the reception, where I will be able to eat.
It feels selfish and petty to be even concerned by this, but I have found if I eat lunch any later than 12:30, at the moment I will drop like a rock. There's no way I can leave it until 4pm. I could turn my basal off, but somehow that seems even more irresponsible as I would almost certainly sky rocket. I don't want to cause a scene. I have no desire to go hypo in the middle of Grandma's funeral, but I don't really want to have to eat there, either. So I'm stuck between a rock and a hard place. Because if I was having to give myself an injection/bolus/test, I'd probably be ok with it. That's obviously something medical. But I'm not at all sure what to do about this.
So, DOC, I'm asking you for your thoughts on funeral etiquette. What do you think?
Posted by Becky at 20:02 | | |
Wednesday, 20 June 2012I am truly a very lucky girl in many, many respects. I still can't quite believe that in these times of so many things being cut back, the giant madness that is what government is planning to do to our poor NHS, and all the many other things that have been happening, that I managed to get my hands on a pump. Of course, I have to keep reminding myself that I managed to do so in 2010, although that never sits right in my mind. It feels too long ago. I then have to have a quiet word with myself along the lines of 'you've actually been doing all this longer than you think you have.'
Ah yes. Right you are.
But even before I decided that pumping was going to be the right move for me (a long and arduous process, I'm sure those of you who have been reading my ramblings for a while will recall), the focus of all my covetousness was always a CGM. Oooh yes. Extremely hard to come by in this neck of the woods, especially if you don't have the finances to self fund, which I don't. I paid my bills this evening, and that wincing sound that followed it up should give you a bit of a sense of my general financial situation.
But I recently doubled my basal rates, for reasons I will go into another time. For the most part, this has been rather a great success. However, previous to that I'd been having an awful lot of swings. Dreadful sleep and the like.
Since doubling, things had been a lot better, and my waking scores had been much lower than normal. Being that I'd been struggling to get them under 9(160), this felt like a vast improvement. However, I'd not been able to shake the nagging feeling that something needed tweaking. Again my sleep had been feeling rather rubbish. Perhaps I was going high overnight? So after a fairly disastrous clinic appointment (again, another time) I decided I would throw caution to the wind and ask if I could borrow the clinic's CGM for a week.
Much to my surprise, they said yes.
Huh. Wasn't expecting that. But not only were they ok with it, it turns out that the clinic was in possession of two different CGMs. The Freestyle Navigator, which is what I had initially hoped to borrow, and the Medtronic iPro (I wonder when Apple are going to start hounding them for that name). Given the time that it would apparently take to get funding for a Navigator sensor, I ended up asking to borrow the iPro.
If you're not familiar with it, it will record up to six days worth of data for later upload - you can't view it in real time. However, I thought it would probably give me the most accurate picture of what was going on over a period of time.
What I hadn't taken into consideration was where the sensor would end up. I had imagined I would be able to put it in my arm. Turns out that wasn't an option. Attempt number one was on my abdomen, but went into a patch of skin which makes me think I need to rotate my sites more. So we went for my lower back. Both attempts HURT to go in, and as you can probably see off the photo, the one that stayed in bled.
Now, I had this in for six days, and had it taken out this morning. To channel the Big Bang Theory for a moment, something about either the sensor or the Tegaderm that was placed over the top was something of a wool/fire ant blend. It itched like CRAZY. And also happened to be placed just at an awkward point on the side that I sleep on. Which made for a couple of interesting evenings. TWO FREAKING HOURS trying to get to sleep one night. I just don't sleep naturally on my left hand side, and it was just too uncomfortable on the sensor.
Thankfully, it seems like the data I got was worthwhile. But the main shock was not what I was expecting. I mentioned earlier that I'd been having some really bad sleep lately. I thought I'd been being a bit of a wuss, but getting up had been being harder and harder lately. Looking at the data on the graphs, it turns out that I've been being hypo overnight. A lot. For extended periods of time.
And if I hadn't asked to borrow the CGM, I would probably never have known. That's more than a little frightening. I've always been torn between the belief that, as I'd been told many times, if you are hypo overnight you will wake up. But then I'm sadly balancing that off with far too many blue candles on Facebook, and too many horror stories that I've heard first and second hand from the DOC.
I've knocked my overnight basal down by a fraction. Hopefully that will be enough. Yet I don't think sleep is going to come easily tonight, or for the next few nights. This has made me all the more keen to eventually get my hands on some permanent CGM tech. With Dexcom and the Animas Vibe over here now (and already using Animas products myself), you would think it would be possible. But even though the tech is there, the funds are not.
This scares me. I'm not ashamed to say that. And I will correct this - what other choice do I have?
Tuesday, 1 May 2012I remember you. I remember all about you. I remember the day you walked into my life.
I remember what I was wearing, down to my boots. I remember the last meal I ate before you turned my life upside down. I remember what the weather was like, and how much money I had in my purse. I remember how that day panned out, down to the smallest details. The conversations, the minutia.
I don't remember what came before. Like the Abba song, I don't remember the day before you came. I don't remember what I wore, what I said, what I ate. Where I went. I know it was my brother's birthday, but only because, shockingly, that happens at that time every year. I remember being angry, and upset, and feeling unwell. But it's all vague. It's all fuzzy as though that very last day was something from another time. Which I suppose it was.
Because you walked into my life like an uninvited guest. You took off your shoes, and put your feet up on the table. And like it or not, you were here to stay. And you brought your baggage with you. All sorts of things I never wanted to have around or think about, but, like you, they were here to stay because they were a part of you.
So I had a permanent guest in my life. But whilst you left all these things around that I didn't want, every so often you'd do something nice for me. You'd bring home milk, or you'd buy some flowers. And on those occasions, I'd forgive you for being there in the first place. Almost.
And three years on, because of you, I have good days and bad days. And the bad ones can be really bad. They can suck, and have me in tears. But I have the good ones too. And on either end of that spectrum, I have a Facebook and Twitter feed full of friends that I met because of the fact that you came into my life. Friends who understand. Friends that I can't quite believe weren't in my life the day before you arrived. Who make a lot of the awful things you do to me that little bit better.
So even if you do run up bills, and tread mud into the carpet, I can cope with it. I have to. You're not going anywhere any time soon. I wish I could show you the door, and just look at the flowers and drink the milk, but sadly it's an all encompassing deal. You can't just pick and choose the parts that you like, much as you might want to.
Three years ago, I didn't know you. I might not know you completely now. But I'm getting there.
Monday, 10 October 2011I don't know about you, but I have certain pieces of music that I'll come back to time and time again. Pieces that mean a lot more to me than others - the ones that always provoke a reaction. I've had a weird, unsettling day today for reasons that aren't entirely mine. And I've found the past few months or so a bit of an uphill battle a lot of the time. I also know that I'm not the only one out there. And sometimes you don't have the words to really show the support that you want to. So instead, I'm going to let someone else do it for me, in a way better than I ever could.
I love this song. I loved it for many, many years, but it took on a whole new meaning when I heard it sung as part of the Manchester Passion a few years back. I've never been able to find a recording of that, sadly - but it was amazing. But all I know is that, tonight, if you've been struggling, I want you to know that you're not alone in this. Because I love you.