Catching Up

It has been close to three years since I started this blog….and more than two years since I last posted in it. Some things have changed in that timeframe, so perhaps a refresher is in order?

Age

2012- Mid twenties

2014- Late twenties

American politics

2012- Ineffective chumps under– oh God, could it be Mitt Romney?!

2014– Ineffective chumps still under Obama

Relationship status

2012- Oh, cute OKCupid guy wants to go waltzing with me? Okay! (that was here)

2014- Washing cute OKCupid guy‘s empty coffee cups in our shared apartment

Work

2012- Caring for eccentric patients in GOB Hospital

2014- Caring for a different set of patients in a new department of GOB Hospital

Marathons

2012- Two (four by the year‘s end)

2014- Seven, the most recent an international one (ja wohl, bitches!)

Countries visited

2012- Seven

2014- Twelve

Airplane barf bags utilized while traveling

2012- Zero

2014- One

Bruce Springsteen concerts

2012 (January) less than 18

2012 (December) more than 22

2014- enough that I can‘t remember exactly how many times I’ve seen him live

Unnecessarily hysterical American coverage of Africa

2012- Kony

2014- Ebola

S*** Patients Say, the Comeback Edition

Old Lady Frantically Waving to Me in the Waiting AreaCarolina! Caaaaaarolina! How are you, my dear? So long time that I don’t talk to you! I say to her, (jabs home attendant in the knee) I say, “Why Carolina no talk to me? It is like…..she DIVORCE me!

I didn’t divorce you, Abuela. Nor you, dear blog. Let’s give this a whirl again, shall we?

S*** Patients Say, #3

The patriotic edition:

Crochety Old Man Ranting to Me as I Am on Hold With Medicare: This is just ridiculous. And do you know that they keep cutting my Social Security, too? Dammit, I pay more and more taxes every year! It’s all Obama’s fault, he’s screwed this country. I tell ya, if somebody assassinated him, I’d buy everyone a round at the pub! I would start a f%$&ing parade!

Nine

Wednesday was my ninth diaversary, but let me take you back a few weeks before we get to that.

In May, I went to see one of my fellow church choir members singing with the Broadway Inspirational Voices choir. Yes! A gospel choir entirely composed entirely of Broadway actors and actresses. Norm Lewis, the male lead in Porgy and Bess, was right there in the back row. You can imagine how phenomenal it was, especially for a girl like me who secretly has a fat black Baptist lady trapped inside.

My favorite song– besides the one in which my friend and fellow choir member Bertilla had a solo– was “It’s Only a Test.” The soloist was jumping up and down. People were dancing and shouting “Yes! Amen!” in the aisles. I was clapping along so furiously that my palms hurt straight through intermission. The Spirit was so fierce, I think if there had been one more encore we would have blown the roof off of the church.

It’s not quite the same, but here’s the original song:

I’m one of those obnoxious people who gets stuck on songs, so I came home, bought the original song, and spent the next three weeks playing it on repeat in iTunes and bopping around on the subway to it, singing along under my breath and perhaps generating a lot of looks from cooler-headed New Yorkers.

I was catching up on blogs and listening for the 46th time when I came across this post. It was a guest blog by Victoria Cumbow on the blog Diabetesaliciousness by Kelly Kunik. (Side note: if you do not read these ladies’ blogs, you should. They are both funny, fierce, and faithful!) It’s only a test! I thought. Diabetes is only a test.

Fast forward as I thought back to that moment on Wednesday.

This blog post I wrote last year sums up my usual approach to the diaversary. It’s a time to look back, to feel bummed out and do something nice for myself, to clink a glass to another year down with an often noxious chronic illness. Another year down, and how many more to go…?

This particular bummer always alights at this time of year: the endless grind forward. Another year and I’m still alive with limbs and kidneys intact, yay! The reward being….another year. And another and another and another and another. Until they find a cure– which, let’s face it, is on the horizon as much as Neptune is.

No cure, no remission, no test that ENDS like a breakup or unemployment or surviving the 74th annual Hunger Games.

So I moped until I remembered the chorus of that song:

Hold on!

Be strong!

It’s only a test!

It’s only a test!

A really long, annoying, potentially fatal test. A test that still makes me cry and scream periodically, nine years later. A test whose questions I sometimes don’t understand. But only a test.

So, like Victoria said, I remain optimistic. I’m going to spend another year, as Bishop Larry Trotter says, keeping the faith and not giving up.

And how did I celebrate another year of passing the test? By enjoying dinner with some of the dear friends I would have never met without this damn disease:

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And you’d best believe that I will doing something GRAND when I hit double digits next year!

A very important specification

I’m a member of Help A Reporter Out, a cool free service to be a source for reporters nationwide. One reporter recently requested a source on cannibalism (no doubt in response to this guy. And this guy. Orrrrrrr the world’s worst boyfriend:

Query:

Doing an article on cannibalism. Need experts on the topic
(don’t have to be real cannibals).

Dammit! So my chewing someone’s elbow off didn’t net me any expert credentials??

Diabetes Blog Week: Heroes

Let’s end our week on a high note and blog about our “Diabetes Hero”. It can be anyone you’d like to recognize or admire, someone you know personally or not, someone with diabetes or maybe a Type 3. It might be a fabulous endo or CDE. It could be a d-celebrity or role-model. It could be another DOC member. It’s up to you – who is your Diabetes Hero??

I have so many people I admire in Diabetes Land. Banting and Best, who discovered insulin. The people who developed the technology for at-home blood glucose meters. My parents. Phil Southerland. The founders and fellow members of ACT1 Diabetes. My first CDE. Wilford Brimley, but only the cat version.

But far too little credit has been given to the people who opened the gates to Diabetes Land: my aunt and a dude named Clean.

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No, not this guy. Although take out the bushy white eyebrows and he could be Clean’s long-lost second cousin.

My diabetes manifested itself rather atypically. The details are another saga entirely, but suffice to say we didn’t know things were wrong until some pretty wacky complications appeared. At this point, multiple doctors had closed my chart, declared, “Well, I don’t know what’s going on! I’m referring you to Dr. Specialist.” You’re totally f$@&ed up! I can’t handle dealing with you, so here, let me pass you like a football instead of actually being a competent physician and treating you like a real human being who is not making stuff up. Don’t hit the field goal posts on the way out!

So when my mom related our struggles to her sister (while I was no doubt sitting in my bedroom, sulking and reading fanfic), she had an idea. We were currently waiting five long months in order to see a specialist at So-and-So Big Shot Medical Center. My aunt Sis had a buddy, Clean, who worked at Another Big Shot Medical Center. Maybe he could find a physician with availability?

Now, a word about Clean: he is one of those freaks of nature, impossible human beings that make you scratch your head when you look at them and wonder, “How do you even exist?” He has an MD, a PHD, and had recently gotten his MBA just for the hell of it. He studied abroad for three months in Chile when he was sixteen and still visited his host family every year or two. He stays friends with everyone and still managed to have enough free time to write 2 books. Why he is nicknamed “Clean” is shrouded in mystery. (My aunt is nicknamed “Sis” because….well, I’ve never been able to detect a deeper reason other than that she is my mom’s sister, and that’s what we all call her.)

Anyways, Sis talked to Clean, Clean talked to his connections at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and within days we were scheduled to see one Dr. Schwarz, specialist in Adolescent Medicine. And it was there that someone finally, finally had the sense to take a urine sample from me, immediately whisk me to the ER, and give me an answer, a diagnosis, and a new path to walk down.

I don’t know what would have happened if they hadn’t stepped in. Maybe my diagnosis would have only been a few more months down the road. But maybe I would have just had more confused doctors who couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Maybe it would have taken blindness for them to get the picture. Maybe I would have gone into DKA and died. Regardless, they changed my life for the better, even if seventeen-year-old me, hooked up to insulin and saline drips in the CHOP emergency room, would have never acknowledged it at the time.

For that, those guys are my heroes.

Diabetes Blog Week: Something Good to Eat

Inspired by DFeast Fridays, share a favorite recipe with us. It can be healthy, or it can be a yummy indulgence. Extra points if you can include carb counts and other nutrition info!! If it’s not an original recipe, be sure to properly credit your source.

The original prompt for Day 6 of Diabetes Blog Week is “Saturday Snapshots,” aka a post of pictures related to diabetes. Since I have the photography skills of a blind wombat*, I decided to go for a wildcard day and blog about recipes.

And then I realized that I can’t exactly cook, either.

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So let me share with you what I DO cook when I, in fact, am willing to put in the time and elbow grease to produce my own mediocre food.

Stir Fry Veggies
Ingredients: spinach in a bag, bell peppers, onions, asparagus, zucchini. Any combination of the above will do.
Olive oil
Seasonings as desired

1. Chop onions. Swear to yourself that this WILL be the time that onions don’t make you cry.
2. Get three-quarters of the way through the onion, feel like a successful human being. Begin crying and sniffling as you slice the rest of the onion. Curse demotion to unsuccessful human and wipe nose on dishtowel (you’ll wash it tomorrow).
3. Chop the rest of your vegetables. Feel moderately successful again when you don’t gouge any fingers.
4. Swirl 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a medium-sized skillet, over medium to high heat.
5. Put asparagus and zucchini in the skillet first. Wait about a minute before adding the peppers and onions, unless you forget because you’re dancing around to whatever Pandora station you have on and it’s really more like three minutes.
6. Add spinach from bag last; say prayer that there is no E. coli growing on the leaves because you can’t be bothered to wash it.
7. Stir frequently until green vegetables are a bright green and onions are turning clear. Don’t burn the spinach.
8. If zucchini ends up burned instead, console yourself with the fact that the carcinogens from burnt food can’t be worse than E. coli.
9. Remove veggies from skillet onto plate, douse dress in more olive oil, pepper, and any other spices you have sitting in your kitchen since 2006.
10. Serve with whatever protein and carb sources you can cobble together to call it a legitimate “dinner.” Recommended combination: peanut butter straight from the jar and red wine.

Bon appetit!

*Slightly above the photography skills of a blind rhinoceros. Because at least wombats can push buttons.

PS. If you want more recipes from people who have cooking skills of, say, a really genius wombat who can see, look here.

Diabetes Blog Week: What They Should Know

Today let’s borrow a topic from a #dsma chat held last September. The tweet asked “What is one thing you would tell someone that doesn’t have diabetes about living with diabetes?”. Let’s do a little advocating and post what we wish people knew about diabetes. Have more than one thing you wish people knew? Go ahead and tell us everything.

There are, again, so many possibilities. Because most people with the big D could dig deeper into the mines of Moria into this topic, read some other posts here and let me offer up one more:

If you ever see me sitting down for a meal and gazing glassy-eyed into space….or staring at my chicken sandwich with a furrowed brow…….

FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, DON’T TALK TO ME.

Calculating insulin doses does not lend itself to multitasking.

The end.

Diabetes Blog Week: Fantasy Device

Today let’s tackle an idea inspired by Bennet of Your Diabetes May Vary. Tell us what your Fantasy Diabetes Device would be? Think of your dream blood glucose checker, delivery system for insulin or other meds, magic carb counter, etc. etc. etc. The sky is the limit – what would you love to see?

Remember how I mentioned pens needles as one thing to improve? Well, I wish that pen manufacturers would make it THEIR one thing to improve.

An insulin pen is an ingeniously simple device. Screw on the needle, remove cap, dial up your dose, inject, and poof! Life-sustaining medication delivered, without having to carry around huge vials of insulin, big scary syringes, or being connected to a pump.

The problem is, simplicity comes at the expense of precision. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve injected only to feel a damp spot on my skin afterwards. Or seen insulin drip from the needle tip afterwards. Or injected with a pen that was nearly out and discover later that there was, in fact, no insulin delivered. A droplet doesn’t LOOK like a lot, but that’s a couple of units and a blood sugar of 268 right there.

So I’ve got a simple request to the device makers out there. I’m not necessarily asking for a cure, and artificial pancreas, or a magic carb reader (although those would be AWESOMETASTIC). I just want an insulin pen that I can use with confidence…and maybe half units, too.

Are you listening, Novo Nordisk?

Diabetes Blog Week: One Thing to Improve

 

Yesterday we gave ourselves and our loved ones a big pat on the back for one thing we are great at. Today let’s look at the flip-side. We probably all have one thing we could try to do better. Why not make today the day we start working on it. No judgments, no scolding, just sharing one small thing we can improve so the DOC can cheer us on!

Oy! One small thing is tricky when you think in terms of big things you would like to overhaul. For example:

  • Revolutionize my diet to be super plant-filled and low-carb and awesome
  • Get a grip on my blood sugars during exercise so that I never have issues during long runs EVER
  • Stop stuffing fistfuls of crackers and peanut butter in my face for lows and carry glucose tabs like a civilized person
  • Find a replacement pancreas and self-transplant already

Sigh.

So here’s one baby thing: change my pen needles every day. Maybe the BD lady at TCOYD last year in Albany was just trying to scare me into buying more of her product, but she solemnly informed me that if you use a pen needle more than a few times, there’s a 61% margin of error in the amount of insulin delivered. SIXTY FREAKING ONE PERCENT!

Whether it’s true or not, you know how it gets when you don’t swap out your needles: bruises, hissing curses at your desk when you’re shooting up for lunch, and wacky BGs that could very well be due to 73% insulin actually going in for the kill. Plus, I can’t stand that feeling when the needle is so blunt that injecting yourself like you’re shoving a butter knife through your grandmother’s congealed meatloaf. It really is that gross.

So I’m going to try to change my pen needles every day. Okay, maybe every 2 days.

And maybe “Blunt Needle” should be the cover band to Blunt Lancet, eh?

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