When everything feels like it’s falling apart

October 2013 – We trash the car and decide to rely on public transportation and the kindness of coworkers to get around while we save for a new car – avoid debt and earn environmentalist brownie points at the same time.  I also get seated on a 6 month long jury duty which takes me away from work 2 days a week.

New Year’s Eve – M’s immigration paperwork has problems – looks like we’ll have to move to Germany where Insulin pumps are not considered necessary, CSMs are nearly never prescribed, and I barely have an elementary grasp of the language.

January 2 – Dex transmitter battery is out of juice (I should be glad it lasted this long – it’s only supposed to last 6 mo and I’ve had it over a year).  And now no Dex (!)  I’ve ordered a new one, and my insurance will pay, but I’m still waiting on a signature from my Endo.

January 4 – We’ve been noticing that the Hedgehog isn’t using his hind legs as well as usual and one of his eyes is looking red and bulgy. We take him to the vet (goodbye $150 and the cost of a Zipcar rental) and receive a prognosis akin to “there’s nothing we can do that doesn’t cost a fortune and cause him more pain that he’s in now.”  We bring him home with some eye drops and a phone number to call if he takes a turn for the worse.

January 6 – While at jury duty, I receive a goodbye email from my favorite coworker.  Then I receive 2 more.  By the end of the day a third of Company X has been laid off.  Not me, thankfully, but I have to take a 20% pay cut until things turn around (and, frankly, that doesn’t look likely).  To top it off, my carpool was part of the lay-off and now my commute to work is now 1.5 hr each way rather than 25 min (because of the lovely decision we made regarding the car back in October).  We went through something similar about 6 mo ago but it felt less dire that time. Oh, the joys of working for a start-up company.

January 8 – We notice that the apartment is a bit cold and start to question when the last time we felt the radiators kick on.

January 9 – There’s a letter taped to the door of the apartment saying that the boiler is broken and they don’t anticipate heat being restored before Wed – Fri of next week.  Our options are to be cold as we attempt to heat the apartment by oven or fork out money we don’t have to stay in a hotel (see Jan 6, above).  Our lovely landlord isn’t helping at all (and we’ve neglected to buy renters insurance to cover these sorts of costs).

If the last two weeks were intended to set the tone for the coming year, I vote we skip 2014 altogether and embark on 2015 instead.  Who’s in?

I Blame Christmas

I’m having one of those weeks; one where D is behaving like a unsupervised 2 year old on an airplane.  Infusion sites are turning into giant purple bruises on my stomach, or becoming strange unabsorptive lumps on my thigh, or failing to stick properly and falling off within hours.  Meals are being bolused for 5 minutes late and I’m paying for it for 12 hours after.  Insulin has been behaving more like saline, requiring me to bolus at least 1.5x what I think I need to cover anything; I’ve been stacking insulin on insulin, drinking my weight in water, and keeping a constant eye out for ketones (none, thankfully!) but my BG hasn’t been under 150 for more than an hour or two in the last three days!

I’m sure the sushi buffet for Christmas, combined with the stocking full of Reese’s cups and almond Kisses, then the Indian buffet yesterday, and the complete upside down schedule involving way more TV than normal haven’t helped but I’m choosing to blame Christmas.  Christmas was the motivation for the majority of those aforementioned food choices.  Christmas is the reason I’ve had time off work to spend too many hours sitting in front of the television.  With Christmas comes cold weather and with cold weather (and no car) comes a lot more staying home to stay warm. 

I'm ready to quit!

I’m ready to quit!

That average daily dose is about 20 units higher than my normal daily dose.  You’re probably looking at the picture above (of the worst summary screen shot of my adult life) and thinking that it must not be a very realistic summary of the last 3 days, maybe I failed to enter lower numbers into my pump that didn’t require a correction?  While that’s somewhat true, the next screen shot from Dex proves my point:

Worst 3 days in history

Worst 3 days in history

That’s right. You’re looking at 3 full days with an average of 79% above target! Typically I can at least manage to reign in the beast overnight; but not at Christmas!

I am not a Grinch.  Really.  I’ve had my Christmas tree trimmed for a couple weeks and the stockings have been hung with care.  I sent out my homemade Christmas cards and decorated my fridge with the cards and pictures sent by my friends and family.  Christmas is the one holiday M even remotely gets into and I love how opinionated he is about the tree needing to be decorated only with red, the twinkle lights can only be white, and the tree isn’t complete until topped with a star.  Christmas means hot chocolate and singing and mittens and warm tidings (whatever the hell those are).  What’s not to love?

Despite all that, this year I’m thisclose to giving up on Christmas.  If it’s just going to return my love with sticky high blood sugars and teeth sweaters and an increased A1c, then I’m going to boycott.

But then today, the day after the day after the day after Christmas, I wake up with a BG of 65 and level off to 135 after breakfast and I remember that Christmas is over.  I can use the weekend to return to my regularly scheduled food/activity routine, and my blood sugars will return to normal.  I suppose this is what New Years resolutions are for, huh?

I guess Christmas can stay...

I guess Christmas can stay…

T:slim – first impressions

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It’s Thanksgiving and today I’m thankful for life-sustaining medical technology that’s also nice to look at and easy to use. My new touch screen pancreas t:slim insulin pump arrived on Tuesday and after 24 hours of patience, I ran out. So I opened the box, unwrapped my new toy durable medical equipment and began my d-life again without the hassle of dialing in carbs and BG values. It’s been a measly 18 hours since I first plugged her in (name pending) but I’ve already identified a few pros and cons about the newest member if my diabetes team. Since today’s a holiday I’m leaving this post in bullets but I assure you I’ll do my best to update this post as my experience with the t:slim evolves.

Pros:
• Touch screen!!! Hello 21st century.
• Back button and Home button
• Bolus calculator – as in “I had 10+6+32+1+7g of carbs, bolus please!”
• Pretty, shines, modern, relatively small
• Copy/paste basal program – build a new basal program without having to start from scratch.
• Basal program includes ISF, I:C, and target BG
• I:C can be entered in half grams
• IOB on home screen
• 75 xtra units – see cons for explanation.
• Great history menu includes entered BGs, blouses split by type and if the calculated dose was overridden.

Cons Less awesome things:
• Touch screen less responsive than I expected
• 9 button key pad, as in three letters per button. But you only need this for naming basal programs so who really cares?
• Very slow priming and insulin delivery. Ugh!
• Only corrects for low blood sugars under 60 so I need to be a bit more conscious when dosing food with lower BGs
• Clip is a bit poorly placed on the case – only slightly north of center so the pump hangs forward while clipped to my pocket.
• Leur lock connector in awkward position and I can’t seem to hide it.
• Uses close to 50u to ready cartridge and prime 23in tube ( as opposed to about 25 for the ping) so the xtra 100 units I fill are really only and extra 75.

Unsure:
• Wall charger – I was directly connected to the grid for about 10 min this morning
• Multiple confirmation screens before bolus initiates.

And that’s all I got for now.

This is goiong to sound stupid…

Recently, my insurance company shifted my OneTouch Ultra test strips to the top tier of my prescription coverage (meaning that they went from being $60 for a 3 month supply to $150!) and left me with Freestyle Lite strips as my only affordable option.

At first I was angry.  I use an Animas/OneTouch Ping and I often bolus from the remote, which used OneTouch strips exclusively.  I wined and complained and managed to get a free meter (or two) out of the deal, but ultimately, I have had to make the switch to using Freestyle.

It has been a couple months now and I have gotten used to dialing in my BG for correction boluses again.  I have even found the Freestyle meter to have many redeeming qualities; the flashlight that illuminates the test strip is nothing short of the best idea ever, the strips (which fit 50 to a vial as opposed to OneTouch’s 25) barely need any blood at all, and the strips have a cute little butterfly on them.

However, there is one thing that continues to bother me about Freestyle:  After each BG test, I grab the strip with my teeth to pull it out of the meter and suck off any excess blood.  (Does this make me a vampire?)  Then I drop both the strip and the meter back into the little owl coin purse from which they came.

The problem is this: Freestyle test strips taste funny.  There.  I said it.  They have a weird chemical taste that OneTouch is lacking and I hate it.  I hate it more than I love the strip illuminating flashlight.  More than the cute little butterfly adorning each strip.  More than the custom skins I can decorate my meter with.

I hate the taste of Freestyle  strips.

New Sensor Rediculousness

While risking the possibility of this turning into a blog where I simply post pictures of Dex graphs, I felt that this one needed to be shared.

And I went to sleep around 150 and woke around 135...

Every time I start a new arm sensor, it goes completely berserk for the first 2 or 3 nights, then it proceeds to provide spot-on glucose readings for the next 2 weeks.   The image above is an example of this overnight craziness.  While it is entirely possible that I hopped above the line briefly, there is NO WAY I shot up to 400 over the course of 20 minutes and recovered to 135 by morning without any additional insulin.

The back of my arms are my second favorite place to put sensors (I prefer thighs) but if I lose two or three nights to data like this, I’m not sure it’s worth it.  I think it has something to do with the way I sleep – on my side, with my arm under my pillow.  This likely puts pressure on my arm and the site and causes the interstitial fluid in my arm to pool and increases the glucose levels. (I really don’t like the idea of this, btw)  I can deal with that idea.  But if that is the case, I don’t understand how the problem can just go away after a few nights?

Has anyone else experienced this phenomenon? or want to hypothesize with me about how the sensor learns to deal with it over time?