Diabetes Awareness Month Photo-a-Day 14 – World Diabetes Day

I missed it.
I completely failed to participate in this year’s World Diabetes Day. I’m even writing this post the day after it occurred. Why, you may ask?

Because, completely un-diabetes-related, I was sick. Woke up yesterday morning feeling a bit queasy. Drank 2 sips of water from the bottle I always keep beside my bed. Promptly ran to the bathroom and expunged all the contents of my stomach from (what felt like, considering the volume) the last 3 days.

Bleck.

Closest thing to a “blue circle of diabetes awareness” that I could experience for the day.

The remainder of the day was kind of a blur. It involved a lot of restless sleeping, nausea, fever, chills, body aches, crazy thirst….but any time I even took just a taste of water, here it came back up, along with other various liquid friends that were hanging out with it in my digestive system. At one point, late afternoon, I got brave and ate 1 small goldfish cracker. Thought I was safe for about 10-15 minutes until I tried washing it down with a swig of water. Bad idea.

Shocker of the year, despite dehydration and practically no food, my blood sugars were in fabulous range all day long. I never took a bolus of insulin, just let my regular basal rate run all day. Started out in the 100s early in the day, eventually got down into the 70s by late afternoon (this was actually after the heaver caused by the goldfish cracker & water), but then wound itself back up into the 130 range by the time I went to bed. Around 2am I woke up with a raging headache. (Caused by dehydration? Caffeine/coffee withdrawal? This stupid virus? All three?) I HAD to take some kind of pain reliever for it, but didn’t want to do so on an empty stomach. I felt so-so at this point,  made the executive decision to heat up some chicken noodle soup, sipped on the broth and ate a fair amount of noodles. Took Aleve (since anything acetaminophen-based wrecks the Dexcom CGM numbers.) Waited. It all stayed down, and I gratefully went back to a still-restless sleep.

Woke up this morning feeling like a new woman. Coffee smelled good again. The eggs and corned-beef hash that my husband made for me tasted like a gourmet meal. I drank 40 ounces of water before lunchtime, and it was delicious.  I survived the 24-hour-puke-your-guts-out-virus! Now, let’s just hope the rest of my family and friends don’t get it -there are some things I do NOT wish to share.  Happy Belated World Diabetes Day, ya’ll!!!

Wordy Wednesday – Strip Safely

Unless you’ve been living under a diabetes rock (let’s face it, some of us DO crawl under a rock on occasion with regards to diabetes – no judging) you’ve probably already heard of the Strip Safely campaign. But if not, in a nutshell, it’s this: “Blood glucose test strips are at the center of diabetes life. The FDA acknowledges there are inaccurate strips in the marketplace but has no process to remove them. People with diabetes are at risk from inaccurate strips. Let’s change that.” And with regards to the July DSMA Blog Carnival topic: Test strip accuracy is important to me because I want to be here for a long, long time, and my health depends on the accuracy of the tools I use to manage it.

The rising cost of healthcare seems to be moving in lock step with the increasing numbers of people being diagnosed with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes. If people with diabetes cannot trust key tools – i.e., test strips used in glucose meters to measure blood sugar levels – we use to help manage our disease and (hopefully) offset potential complications, how can we be expected to keep ourselves as healthy as possible so that we do not further drain our healthcare resources? It only makes sense for insurance companies and others with skin in the game to get involved with this. It’s a win-win for everyone involved if we can STAY HEALTHY. Strips & CGM sort of matching, yay!The picture above shows my blood sugar readings from the 2 main meters I use and my Dexcom CGM. While I’m thrilled that they are all within 10 points of each other, I’m not really thrilled at that number, but hey – it’s the common post-breakfast spike I tend to have and it’s already on it’s way down. Whew.

I feel I have the luxury of “trusting” my meters and their test strips to a good extent because I’ve seen my HbA1c numbers reflect what my glucose meter readings have told me over time. But I know at some higher ends of the glucose spectrum, and some lower ends, things can get sketchy with regards to accuracy. And what about all the other people who can’t afford expensive meters and supplies and have to “make do” with potentially sub-standard strips and meters? Like the campaign says: let’s change that.

Insurance Letter Kerfuffle

(Before you even ask, yes, kerfuffle is a real word!)

Received a letter the other day from my insurance company (who shall remain nameless to protect innocent friends who work there) that required my “immediate” attention. I could either complete the questionnaire on the back of the form (pictured here) or go online and complete it there.

I chose to go online, of course, because a) my handwriting is terrible and darn near illegible and b) why waste a stamp on some stupid survey-ish thing? Boring.

But before I could even go online to answer the questions, I had to figure out WHAT this claim was about, and why all the fuss about it. On this letter, it gave the date of treatment (which was over 2 months ago – like I can remember anything from that long ago??), treatment by “NETWORK MEDICAL SUPPLY,” and a claim number. I had no idea if NETWORK MEDICAL SUPPLY was a generic name for something, or an actual provider I had received something from – it didn’t sound familiar. That was all the info. No dollar amount on the claim, no description of what it was for or anything else.

So, carving even more time out of my busy day, I went onto the insurance company’s website and tracked down the claim information. Turns out, it was for the recent order of my new Dexcom G4, which I haven’t even taken out of the box yet. (More on that some other time. I just don’t want to waste all the sensors I have for my old Dexcom, so I’m trying to use them up!)

Mystery solved, I went online to answer the questions, and was surprised that the online questions didn’t even match the hard copy questionnaire questions I was sent in the mail. Really? Inconsistency kind of annoys me, especially when medical health issues are concerned. The basic gist of what both questionnaires were trying to determine was, did I need this equipment due to an accident or injury, and was that injury caused by someone else they could hunt down for payment. They asked the exact same question about 3 different ways. I guess, trying to see if I answered it differently??

Obviously, my Type 1 diabetes was not caused by an accident/injury, so all those questions I answered completely and reasonably. But the funniest thing (to me) at the end was this question: “Do you blame anyone for causing this condition?”

My answer was: “No. I have Type 1 diabetes. Unless you want to blame the universe, or the virus that spurred it into occurring. It is what it is.”

I’m still a bit flabbergasted that no one figured out, before sending me this letter, that I was a Type 1 diabetic using a continuous glucose meter, and they had NO reason to send me the letter in the first place. Stupid-waste-of-time-kerfuffle.

Fifteen Minutes Can Be An Eternity

The inspiration for starting this blog was a 3am low last week that woke me up from a sound sleep. What’s the deal with 3am and diabetes? (Did The KLF know something we didn’t? In conversations with other d-friends, it seems to be a common occurrence at that common time.) I was hot and sweating, but the temp in the house was a mild 72 degrees, so that was a big clue-in that I was low.

Of course, my Dexcom CGM was right there beside the bed beeping away, so maybe that’s what really aroused me. It showed 45 and one arrow going down…..yikes. Squashing the panic, I limped into the kitchen (I’ll talk more about limping and plantar faciitis in the future, I’m sure), drank a cup of 2% Lactaid milk, and ate 3 whole wheat Ritz crackers.  Grabbed my meter out of my purse, stuck my finger and tested to compare it to the Dexcom number. It said 48. With that unpleasant confirmation, I laid down on the couch in the living room, and waited. This blog was born at that moment.

I feel like this exact same event has happened thousands of times over the past 19 years. But each time, it’s slightly different. Maybe I eat a different amount of carbs, maybe I wait a shorter or longer length of time, maybe I ask my husband to get up instead and get me that glass of milk.

Two Ritz Crackers

Two Ritz Crackers (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

One of the first things I learned as a newly diagnosed diabetic was that if your blood sugars got too low (and that number was never really told to me….is 70 too low? 51 too low?) you were supposed to eat or drink about 15 grams of carbohydrates, then wait 15 minutes before consuming  something more. I have balked against that rule hundreds of times. Been so panicked about crashing and passing out that I ate everything in my fridge, including non-carbs that didn’t help anything. But the other night, even at a true 45, I kept my head together, drank my milk and ate my crackers, and stopped at that. Once again consulting the Dexcom, I saw that my sugar (after close to that mysterious 15 minute mark), did level out and start rising, slowly but surely. I felt safe enough to get back into bed and try to get back to sleep. My last thought before sleep – that felt like a long 15 minutes.

Best hair day I've had in a while!!I’m not quite certain yet where this blog is going to lead….I just need to resolve for myself these issues I have concerning time, diabetes, life, and everything else, and hope it can be useful to the greater diabetic community, as well as non-diabetics, family & friends who may just want a little peek into our world.