New Year, New Adventures, and a Request

I don’t usually do New Year’s resolutions; I’ve found that I am more successful at making changes in my life when I initially realize something needs to change, rather than waiting for an arbitrarily later time.  Plus, this year, I need to contain most of my resolve for a potential major life change.  For M and I, it is becoming increasingly likely that we’ll need to make a move to Germany in 2014.

You see, 5 years ago I fell in love with a German.  M and I moved together from Indiana to Boston and it’s always been understood that when M’s work visa expires, we’d move to Germany for awhile. (Or forever… Don’t tell my mother…)  That time is coming in September.  Since neither of us is fully ready to move right now (I like my job, moving is expensive and my school loans are barely paid off, our current proximity to Joslin is ideal while we contemplate our future family, etc), we’re working on obtaining a new visa or a green card for M but we’re planning for what is probably the inevitable.

I’ve made some effort to learn German but am still have an underwhelming grasp of the German language.  M has decided that the remedy for this is for him to speak to me only in German from now on. This should be interesting.

More importantly (or maybe just equally important), I’ve been reading up on life in Germany for an American expat with diabetes.  Unfortunately, that info is not altogether easy to come by.  I can rely on M for info about the German social health care system, and the internet has plenty of resources for both diabetics and expats, but what it seems to be lacking is a mixing of the two.

What I’ve learned is that an insulin pump is not the standard of care in Germany and insurance coverage for one needs to be fought for on an individual basis.  CGMs are basically never covered and would certainly need to be paid for out of pocket.  My poor German language skills are certainly going to make it tricky to find a job (luckily English is widely spoken in science so I might be in luck…) so we are unlikely to be able to afford such extravagant things initially and I haven’t been on MDI in 12 years!  This is a slightly terrifying prospect and some first-hand info would be greatly appreciated. (Please help!!)

Clearly diabetes in Germany can’t be all bad.  There’s the MySugr app (Ok, it’s from Austria but they speak German so I’m counting it), Mein Diabetes Blog, many, manydiabetes online resources, etc.

Which brings me to the request.  I’m asking you, the DOC, to please comment below with your links, advice, first-hand accounts dealing with insurance in Germany, or any information at all about being a diabetic expat in any EU country; we are willing to move anywhere where we can find jobs and D covered.  I’m looking for things like insurance for foreigners, any policies regarding diabetics and driving,  access to  and cost  of insulin pumps and CGMS, etc.  I plan to do the same and turn this page into a hub full of info for any diabetic looking to make a move to the EU.

Thanks for your help!


Freaky Friday (On Sunday)

M tends to lack tact when talking about my diabetes control. He really cares about me and therefore wants me to be in control all the time. So occasionally, when Dex whines a little too much, he makes comments that imply he thinks I should be able to do better (ie no tact) – I’ve learned to mostly ignore these comments because I know he means well.  In the past, I’ve always joked that if we switched places, he wouldn’t survive 5 minutes (he lives off of popsicles, toast with mounds of Nutella, and coffee loaded with sugary vanilla creamer).

Yesterday, during one such conversation, it occurred to me that I could hand over all insulin and glucose privileges for a day to give him a little taste of the D-life. We could have our very own Freaky Friday. So, yesterday, M was allowed full control over all of my insulin and glucose needs for the entire day. (With the caveat that I would make my own food choices, I’d relay carb info to the best of my ability, and I would stop him if he were at risk of harming me.)

Over the course of the day, my experiment became a game for M. He stared intently at Dex every 4 minutes in anticipation of the coming new BG value. He counted gulps of OJ when my BG dropped a tad low. He began questioning my I:C and adding a little extra insulin to a bolus that just didn’t seem right to him.  He would have a tiny aneurism every time my BG approached the line – “I want you to stay between the lines.  Actually 95 to 105 are the only acceptable numbers.”

M's no-hitter

Sadly, M stopped his control when I left for work this morning so I have no one to blame for these double up arrows but myself…

After 6 hours, he had managed to maintain a no-hitter and his ego began to balloon big time. We went to the grocery store and he refused to let me carry the basket because my BG was only 75 and “we can’t risk it!” He even yelled at me for walking to fast in the parking lot (!). Then he began making all sorts of bad jokes about how “this isn’t as hard as you imply.”

The day was full of laughter and bad jokes. Occasionally I got a bit annoyed at his success – the intention had been for him to fail miserably and for me to have to step in and set him straight – but the end result was much greater than I expected. Sure, M gained some unneeded bragging rights and I lost my opportunity to drive home the point that D is not as easy as it looks, but we definitely bonded throughout the day and I got to share in my D decision making like I haven’t since I was a child. I am insisting that his no-hitter is just a fluke but M is excited to play the Dexcom game again next weekend to prove it was not.  I remain skeptical.