Friday, March 29, 2013

Lessons Learned

Oh crap!  Can't go to bed yet.  I forgot to refill my reservoir.

It's 11:30pm.  Open the fridge, pull out the insulin, set it on the counter.  Give it a few minutes to warm up, and come back.

I've done this a million times.  I could fill a reservoir in my sleep.  And maybe that's what I was doing, because I can't figure out how this happened.

Next thing I know, the reservoir and attached vial of insulin fly out of my hands.  I can see it all happening in slow motion.  My hands reaching out in an attempt to catch it.

"Noooooooooo!!!!" I cry, diving for the vial.  But it's too late.  The vial of insulin smashes to the tile floor.  Did I mention the vial was almost full?

If you look REALLY CLOSELY, you can see the puddle of
insulin and broken glass on the floor.

The bottom of the vial broke open...

..and so did the top.

Impressive, ain't it?

In almost 20 years of living with Type 1 Diabetes, this is only the second time I've broken a vial of insulin.  And of course it would be super late at night.  And my last vial.

Two choices: go to the pharmacy at midnight to get more insulin, or fill the reservoir with the dregs of a couple vials that have been sitting in the fridge for who knows how long.  I was exhausted, and chose the dregs.

Big mistake.  Woke up to this:

So I got to go to the pharmacy at 7am instead of midnight.  And be miserable.  And late to work.

Brightside: I LOVE my local Walgreens pharmacy!  They had my insulin ready to go in a jiffy when I said it was kind of an emergency.  No questions asked, no "try to remember to refill your prescription several days in advance."  Just a promptly filled prescription handed over with a smile.  Thank you!

Lessons learned: always keep at least two vials of insulin on hand.  And don't trust sketchy dregs of insulin in the fridge.

And it's damn hard to get rid of that insulin smell.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Thanks Kiddo

So last week, I went to the pool.  An indoor pool, considering the eight inches of snow on the ground outside my window.  Come on, spring!  Where are you?

But I digress.  So I went to the pool.  I had just gotten out and reconnected my pump.  My Medtronic pump isn't waterproof, though every time I'm at the pool a waterproof pump sounds absolutely wonderful.  But I digress again.

I had reconnected my pump, and clipped it to the shoulder strap of my swimsuit. There I sat, on a bench, my purple insulin pump out for all the world to see.  The pool was crowded.  Very crowded.  Full of kids.  And kids being kids, a lot of them stared at my pump when they walked by.  This is not a new experience for me.  Fairly typical for the pool.  I just smiled at them as they walked or swam past.

Though it's nothing new, it does get old after a while.  Sometimes it's hard to be different.  To be the only one at a pool with a medical device attached.  To have people stare.

After a while, this one boy walked by.  I'd seen him earlier--he was there with a large group of kids.  He looked to be about eight or so.  He stared directly at my pump as he walked by.  A bit later, he walked by again.  This time, he looked at my face, and I smiled at him.  Then, he proceeded to walk by a third time.

This time though, he stopped.

"Are you diabetic?" he asked.

"Yes," I replied.

"Me too!" he said, lifting his shirt to reveal a pump pack hiding underneath.

Suddenly, I didn't feel different anymore.  "What color is your pump?" I asked him.

"Gray," he responded, pulling his pump out of the pack.

"Look at that," I exclaimed, "our pumps are the same!  Except for the color."  We both had the Medtronic Revel, his gray and mine purple.

"I have to go," he said.  "My group is leaving."

"It was nice to meet you," I said with a smile.

He smiled back.  "It was nice to meet you too."  And off he went.

I don't know if I'll ever see that kid again, but I sure won't forget him.  Thanks kiddo, for making me feel less alone.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Interesting Total...

I was ordering my pump supplies online.  Nothing unusual about that.  Until I saw the pre-insurance total:

Two thoughts.  One, thank the Lord I have health insurance.  Two, I've never seen that before!  Giggle-snort!

This is what $666 worth of pump supplies looks like, in case you were wondering.  Four boxes of sets and two boxes of reservoirs.

And I am so grateful for health insurance.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

On Repeat

It's been a long week.  My anxiety has been making its presence known, which makes it feel even longer.

One thing that helps me is to replace the repeating loop of anxiety in my head with music.  Music is a salve for my soul.

There is one song I've been listening to on repeat, over and over again, for the last several days.  One lyric in particular has become my mantra this week.

"Never let your fear decide your fate." - Kill Your Heroes by AWOLNATION

The fear will not win.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

My Heart In Your Hands

Few topics are capable of eliciting a more visceral response from people with diabetes and their loved ones than talk of a cure.  So many emotions come rushing to the surface so quickly.

I don't know about you, but for me, having any sort of reasonable, unbiased conversation about any potential cure is next to impossible.  Anger, frustration, pain, sadness, cynicism--all these things rush to the surface.  I have lived with Type 1 Diabetes for nineteen years.  There are people I've met who've had it for more than twice that long.  This is our reality.  This is our life.

When we have conversations about a cure, words must be carefully chosen.  It is important to remember what an emotional topic this is, that words hold more power in this context than they typically do.

I've written about this before, but I don't expect to see a cure in my lifetime.  Do I believe that all types of diabetes will be cured one day?  Absolutely!  But do I expect to still be around when this happens?  No.  I operate under the assumption that I will live with Type 1 Diabetes for the rest of my life.  It's part of how I cope.

I do want to emphasize that I STRONGLY believe in supporting diabetes research and working for a cure!  I believe that with all my heart.  I support organizations who are working towards a cure, but I also believe in supporting research for technology and medication that will make our lives better.  Like the Artificial Pancreas Project.  Or glucose-responsive insulin.  And there are many others.

The point is, we need to have HOPE.  Hope that help is coming.  Hope that something better lies ahead.  For me, that hope lies in things like the APP and glucose-responsive insulin.  I hope and pray to see one of those things in my lifetime.  For other people, hope lies in a cure.  And that's ok.  We need to take our hope where we can get it.

I want to know what research is being done.  What different organizations and companies are working on.  I'm all in favor of whatever will help improve the lives of people with diabetes.  But please, choose your words carefully.  Don't make me any promises.  You hold my heart in your hands.