Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Wordless Wednesday - Anniversary

5 bride & groom - color
Our first date was 14 years ago today.  Our wedding was 9 years ago today.  I don’t know what I’d do without my favorite Type 3.  Happy anniversary, Sweetpea!!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

White Coat Syndrome

WhiteCoatSyndromeTo say that going to the doctor stresses me out would be a huge understatement.  I hate doctor appointments.  I get all tied up in knots for over a week before my appointment looms.  Funny thing is, I really don’t know what I’m so worried about.  I love all my doctors.  I know I can talk to them and they will listen.  I know they only want me to be at my best and healthiest.  But even so, it’s still really hard and stressful for me.  So I fully support the recent initiative by Diabetes Advocates to help with What to Say to Your Doctor by providing some tips and links to resources. And even though I don’t have all the answers, I can tell you what has helped make my white coat syndrome a little less severe over my past appointments.

The first thing is to find The One.  Yup, in a way it’s almost like dating.  That blind date my neighbor fixed me up on was easy - I knew within 10 minutes I would not be seeing this guy again.  It can be the same with health care professionals - you might know right away it’s not a good fit.  Sometimes it’s a little tougher than that.  I think back to some really nice guys I’ve dated.  They treated me well and I liked them a lot.   But I didn’t "LIKE like them” (official teen girl speak flashback!!) - something was just missing and I knew I wasn’t doing either of us a favor by continuing our relationship.  It was scary and sad but we both deserved better.  It can be the same with a healthcare professional.  You might like the doctor a lot but something is missing.  You’re not getting what you need and your appointments almost seem like a waste of time.  It can be scary and take some work to move on and find a new doctor, but it’s probably better for both of you if you do.

So now that I’ve found The One, my appointments should be a breeze, right?  Well, not exactly.  I’m still a bundle of nerves.  So how do I make sure I’m getting the most out of my appointments and the best care I can get?  First, I make a list of all my questions in the weeks or even months before my appointment.  I type them in the Notes section of my smartphone so it’s easy to add things as I think of them and I know I’ll have them with me when appointment time comes.  Next, I ask all of my questions - even the ones that seem stupid once I’m in the doctor’s office.  And yes, when I’m feeling stressed I often look at a question on my list and want to skip it because I think it might sound stupid.  But I force myself to ask it, and my doctor has never once made me feel silly for asking anything.  (By the way, if your doctor doesn’t take the time to listen to and answer all of your questions, you probably have not yet found The One.)  And lastly, I remember that my appointment is a two-way street.  My doctor will probably also have a list of questions for me, and the most important thing is that I answer them HONESTLY.  Even when I don’t want to.  At my last appointment my endo was concerned about a huge 300+ spike on the printout of my CGM graph and asked about it.  Did I want to tell him that I had a major moment of weakness with my Easter basket?  I sure didn’t.  But I told him anyway because I’m human and I wanted jelly beans and chocolate that day and even though I tried to bolus for them there was no way I could eat what I ate without a mega-spike.  I’m not proud of it, but he understood, he didn’t chastise me, and he also didn’t waste our time trying to figure out a problem that wasn’t really a problem at all.

Sure, I still get nervous and stressed before my appointments.  These days, at least I’m less nervous and stressed than I used to be because I know the doctors I see are people I respect and trust and because I show up at my appointments prepared.

Do you have any advice for making the most of medical appointments?

Monday, June 17, 2013

Busy Weekends = Bad Dreams

Sometimes my favorite weekends are quiet, lazy and restful.  This weekend was none of that, but it was still a lot of fun.  We did some “kitchen shopping” because we’re in the beginning planning stages of gutting and re-doing our hideously ugly kitchen.  Then I scrubbed that ugly kitchen, and the rest of the house, and cooked for a small dinner party we had.  There was plenty of food, and there was also a fair amount of alcohol to partake in as well.  Toss in a long Father’s Day hike with the in-laws yesterday, and by last night I was beyond tired.  No surprise, I was also battling some pretty sticky lows.  The alcohol and exercise combo gets me every time.  As much as I wanted to just fall into bed early and drift off to sleep, I had to stay up a bit longer to overtreat that low.

I was in a safe range when I finally went to sleep, but my brain must have had a low-hangover.  (What is the fun term for that?  Hang-lowver?  I always forget . . . . )  The weird dreams I had were the kind that usually happen because of a low.  The good thing?  The dreams revolved around members of the DOC.  The bad thing?  I was fighting with almost everyone in my dream.

ChristmasAs the dream started, Cherise had a new job as a manicurist.  (I’m convinced that dream storyline had to do with the pictures of Cherise’s painted OmniPods that I had been admiring on Facebook.)  Stacey had an appointment but very rudely said she was not paying Cherise.  I yelled at Stacey, and she yelled back at me.  I turned around to see the small rocking chair that I’ve had since I was little (that’s it, and me, on the right).  Sarah came along and stood on it, and it cracked.  I told her the chair was not for adults, and she said she didn’t care and sat on it until it broke.  As I yelled at her, Sara came along and told me to stop being so mean.  Then she said that when Pete talks he sounds really stupid.  (Poor Pete!!)

What the heck is it with low dreams - especially this one that happened when I wasn’t even low anymore?  Why did it have me fighting with my friends?   I swear, next time I’m low at night I’m skipping the pineapple juice and going for GlucoLift instead!  Maybe I’ll dream that I’m having a lovely vacation on a rocket ship!!  Either that or I need to go back to quiet, lazy, restful weekends!

Please tell me this isn’t just me, and that you have some weird low dreams to share too . . . .

Monday, June 10, 2013

Travel Ready . . . . . .

Over the weekend Pete and I took a quick overnight trip to New York City.  I love travel adventures, but packing really stresses me out.  I know I’m a chronic over-packer.  And even still, I’m always terrified that I’m forgetting to pack something very important.  Of course, in reality there is very little I could forget that I couldn’t live without for my time away.  But diabetes supplies . . . . well yes.  Some of those things I quite literally could not live without.

A while back I got the idea to keep a small travel pack ready with about everything I need, diabetes-wise, for a quick trip away.  I pulled out a small clear bag I picked up one year at Friends for Life and tucked in a bunch of supplies.

Here’s a closer look at what I keep inside.

It’s filled with spare Tegaderm, IV prep wipes and alcohol swabs, a new vial of test strips, two AAA batteries and the wall charger for my meter, an infusion set and reservoir and two full travel packs of GlucoLift.  All I need to do is throw in a bottle of insulin and I’m good to go overnight or for a long weekend, because I know I also always have more test strips, batteries, low treatments and supplies for a full pump site change in my purse.

When I return home from a trip, I restock the bag before stowing it in the drawer where I keep my diabetes supplies.  Knowing it’s organized and waiting makes packing a bit less stressful.  I also like knowing it’s ready and easily accessible if I ever need to quickly leave the house in an emergency situation.

Our weekend trip was a quick one, but Pete and I had a fantastic time walking around the city, eating a wonderful dinner, finally seeing Wicked on Broadway (something I’ve been dying to do for a very long time and it was more than worth the wait) and just sharing an adventure together.  Travel should be all about the fun and not about the stress, and my pre-packed travel bag helps fend off some of that travel stress.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

(Late) Wordless Wednesday - Sick

The horrible sore throat is bad enough.  But seeing that big spike after I eat, no matter what I eat or how early I pre-bolus?  Sometimes that seems even worse.  (And it makes me as cranky as Jack Skellington.) Being “real-people-sick” with diabetes is a drag.  (It also throws off my week so Wordless Wednesday ends up on Thursday.)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

30 Years of Meters . . . .

Today I’m over at The Loop blog talking about the latest blood glucose meter I've been using.  It was fun to think back to my very first meter in the early ‘80s.  I think it looked similar to the meter in the upper left corner of this picture.

Picture courtesy of Christopher Tidy via

Every so often I get frustrated because I feel like diabetes technology is crawling at a snails pace compared to entertainment technology (like cell phones, e-readers, etc.) .  But when I think back to the tools I used 30 years ago, I start to appreciate how far my diabetes devices have come.

Do you remember the first meter you used?  Was is very different from today’s meters?

** My Medtronic disclosure can be found here. **