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?

Dex Disasters

So, I clearly dropped the ball as far as reporting on weight loss during the Why WAIT? program.  Between heading to Joslin weekly, searching for the perfect job (I’m still looking), working a far-from-perfect one, and volunteering, I found myself too busy generally overwhelmed with life to write anything.  But, the program is now over and I can say that it was a huge success!  I lost 23lb and 3.5 inches around my waist in 3 months!  I would like to lose another 15 and be back to my end of high school weight, but for now I am happy.

As for today’s post, I will begin with a story.

This morning, with sleep still in my eyes, I rolled out of bed, my pump swinging at my side from the tubing clutched in my hand, as to not allow it to hang freely from the infusion site.  I felt around under my pillow to find Dex and grasped him in my other hand, briefly, before tucking him under the waist band of my underwear and fumbling my way down the hall to the bathroom.

I reached up to turn on the bathroom light with my hand that is holding my pump tubing, feel the pull on my stomach and wish for a moment that getting up to take a pee didn’t have to be this difficult and I proceeded to secure my pump to my waistband too.

So, with pump and Dex secured, and the light on, I shut the door and proceeded to pull down said underwear, at which point my fatal error (and that of the idiot who designed a receiver without a belt clip) became quite obvious.  When I heard the sound of a plastic object plopping into the toilet bowl, I prayed a quick prayer to whatever entity or karma my be listening that by some miracle the clip on my waterproof pump had failed me and Dex was magically still in its place at my waist.  But the gods were not on my side and I quickly reached into the toilet, pulled Dex out, wrapped him in a towel, cursed like a sailor, and ran for the bag of rice in the kitchen.  Artist's rendition of the Dexcom in the toilet

At first it seemed like I had made it in time, the display continued to show readings for the first minute or two, then it suddenly turned off, like it does when it gets a little static shock, attempted to “initialize”, failed, and has been sitting lazily in the bag of rice ever since.

I’ve been doing some research reading posts from others with similar problems on TuDiabetes and it looks like a new receiver will cost me at least $200, probably more like $3-400!  If this is true, I might just have to live without Dex for a couple weeks while I save up the cash.  I could potentially put the money on my credit card but I hate to use it for anything short of life-threatening.  So, the question becomes, is life without Dex a life worth living?

Ok, so I’m being a little hyperbolic, but just in the last 12 hours, I have felt completely blind.  In the year and a few months that I’ve carried that receiver with me, I have never been without it for more that about 48 hours (like that time I left it at my mom’s house, 1000 miles away) and every time my blood sugars end up completely out of whack.  Right now, for instance, I am 250.  I have been 250 for the last 4 hours, approximately (according to 3 finger pokes).  With Dex, I would know if there have been peaks and valleys between readings and I would know if my insulin on board was really going to cover that number or if the extra insulin that I’m about to bolus is going to cause my to crash LOW in the next hour.

Since Dex came into my life, I have unlearned to rely on my symptoms and, instead, I rely solely on Dex to tell my when to test my BG.  In some ways this has been good; I no longer assume that I’m high just because I’m thirsty – sometimes thirst is just thirst – or low simply becasue I’m hungry.  I take pride in the flatlines I see on the receiver and hide Dex from M when he resembles the Rockies.  Dex is like a fifth sixth limb and, as much as he gets on my nerves sometimes,  I miss him when he’s gone.