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  1. Etiquette

    Monday, 9 July 2012

    I'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?

  2. Overnight

    Wednesday, 20 June 2012

    I 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? 

  3. Now We Are Three.

    Tuesday, 1 May 2012

    I 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.