Diabetes Awareness Month Photo-a-Day 12, 13 – Work and Awareness

Appropriately, I had a work “meet & greet” event last night that occurred over dinnertime. Random “finger foods” and appetizers were served like egg rolls, pot-stickers, chicken fingers, cheese, crackers, fruit, cookies, brownies, jalapeno poppers, etc. Pretty much a smörgåsbord of “guess how many carbs are in THIS??” nightmare. Luckily, there was also wine on hand, and my sugars stayed amazingly level, even amidst the stress of meeting executives that could someday decide my employment fate.

Yummy and questionable all at the same time
As for “awareness” for today….taking some more liberties here with this prompt. It made me think of the awareness that my husband has of my diabetes…or the lack thereof in some areas of my diabetes care.

Now, my husband knows what a low looks/sounds like. The only time I’ve EVER had someone call 911 for me was when he and I were first dating, we were out on a walk after dinner (it was in the BCGM days – before continuous glucose meter), and I crashed and passed out on a stranger’s lawn. He was a trooper through that….and continued to date and eventually marry me – such a keeper.

But as far as all my testing, pump site change-out, CGM sensor supplies, what I use to do what, etc….he’s never been much involved with that. I mean, why should he? I’m the one in charge day-to-day of poking, prodding, and inserting medical devices into my body, and I tend to do a lot of site changes and CGM sensor change-outs when he’s not even around, so he really doesn’t see it much.

Last night, we were upstairs watching How I Met Your Mother (catching up at last on season 8 so we can get to season 9 and finally find out who the heck she is), and we had about 30 minutes before bedtime. My pump was vibrating it’s  “Low Reservoir” alarm – 10 units wouldn’t get me through my basal rate overnight. I would need to change out my set before bedtime, but I was too lazy to go downstairs and get my supplies, and I’d be half asleep once we finished TV. He offered to go get the “stuff” for me, so I gave him the vague directive of, “Under my sink, in the plastic drawer, I need an infusion set and insulin cartridge, and the black bag on top of the drawers.” Here was what he saw:
Stuff, stuff, stuffHe brought me the black zipper case/bag that contains my open insulin, set holder, and various pump accoutrements = score 1 point! He brought me an infusion set = score 2 points! And brought me a sensor set for my Dexcom CGM, saying as he handed it to me, “This isn’t the right one, is it?” To his credit, I only had a couple of reservoirs left, and they were obviously hiding in this messy drawer that is pretty much as unorganized as I get. He re-confirmed with me that it would be a “cylinder-looking thing” and then successfully found it and brought it up to me. I love my husband. And lots of times, he’s more aware than I give him credit for.

Diabetes Awareness Month Photo-a-Day 2 – Check

When someone says, “check,” my first thought is about checking my sugar. I check it (what feels like) a hundred times a day because I am constantly looking at my CGM – continuous glucose monitor. Before I got my Dexcom Seven+. and then the G4, I would prick my finger 10-20 times per day, depending on how wacky my sugars were making me feel, I checked it before and after every single piece of food or sip of drink I would put in my mouth, and I checked it randomly in the middle of the night, especially if I woke up sweating.  It was a pain – literally as well as metaphorically.

Nowadays, I don’t do nearly as many finger-sticks. I rely a LOT on what numbers my CGM is showing me throughout the day, all day, everyday. I still do finger-sticks to calibrate it, but that equals maybe 4-5 per day on average – a significant improvement.

CGM Sensor wire thing

This picture shows the teeny tiny piece of wire(?) that gets inserted under my skin and essentially is the “sensing” part of the CGM sensor. People always ask me, “Does it hurt to inject that under your skin?” Well, yes, sometimes it does. A little bit of a sting. And occasionally a vampire-looking bleeder. But that sensor lasts me for many, many days, and saves me from the 10-20 finger-sticks per day that I would have had to do before. I’ll take the “little sting” every so often, as well as the MUCH needed data and trends of how my blood sugars are behaving, thank you very much!

(Diabetes Awareness Month Photo-a-Day guide located at www.sixuntilme.com)

Low Hallucinations

(Don’t you hate it when you clickety-click around on your screen while creating a blog entry, your computer is slow, and you accidentally hit “publish” before actually creating the post? Yeah, I did that today.)

Last night, while heading out the door to go to dinner with my d-girl friends, my Dexcom starting blaring, and I (correctly) guessed it was the “blood sugar heading downwards” alarm. I didn’t even look at it. It was sooooo close to dinner. I knew better than to drive the 9 minutes to the restaurant without having something working to counteract a potential low, so I shoved a Pillsbury Ready-to-Bake! Pumpkin Cookie in my mouth, several grapes, and swigged some milk to wash it all down.  I don’t ever drive with a low, and I was still feeling OK, so I felt plenty safe enough to get in the car.

Yummy pumpkin goodness. Even raw.

“Please do not eat raw cookie dough.” Does anyone really pay attention to that warning??

On the way to the restaurant, I got stuck behind this old, beat up blue sedan, and could barely make out the back of the driver’s head through the dirty rear windshield. It appeared she had a head full of pigs in a blanket in her hair. Huh?

As the sedan turned and I managed to pass the car, I glanced over – just to make sure she wasn’t actually wearing  those morsels of tastiness – and sure enough, it was a head full of hair curlers, NOT pigs in a blanket. This kind of “low hallucination” seems to happen to me a lot. If my blood sugar starts edging towards 70 or so, food-related connections start happening more and more frequently. Now, I was barely in the 70s at that moment, which isn’t terribly low for me, and consciously I *knew* that lady didn’t really have pigs in a blanket in her hair, but I did find it amusing that it was the first thing that popped into my head.

What is your funniest low hallucination? (and now I’m off to find me some pigs in a blanket for lunch….)

OneTouch Made Me Feel So Much Better

It’s like they read my mind! I’ve been using OneTouch test strips for years now, and was always frustrated that the bottles were packaged in sets of 25 strips each. I mean, seriously? I can blow through 25 strips in a couple of days if I’m on the first legs of a new Dexcom sensor (and have to calibrate it and/or don’t trust it yet,) or if I just have wonky sugars I’m trying to chase down. My answer to this supply issue has always been to immediately combine 2 bottles of fresh test strips into one – so I have more available to me for longer in my “diabetes checker” pack.

More strips per bottle!!!

They look the same….only different…

And the boxes of test strips have always been enormous compared to the amount of product that is within them. A mere 100 test strips in a 3″ x 2.5″ x 2.5″ box. It takes up a significant area of my diabetes supply closet. Consider the shelf real estate it takes up in the pharmacy?

So, imagine my surprise when I picked up my 3 month supply of test strips from the pharmacy this morning. I actually left the store, walked out to my car, shook the bag, and went, “huh?” I hadn’t had coffee yet, so I was a little slow on figuring things out. I went back inside and told the pharmacy tech that it felt a bit light for 300 test strips.

(What I actually said was, “Dude, are you sure there are 300 test strips in here?” and he was like, “Um, yeah, I think so, let’s just look and see.” He’s a nice sort of guy – we have that kind of banter about once every 3 months. More frequently during allergy season, but I digress.)

Sure enough, we tore the package open, and out come 3 smallish boxes, holding a whopping 100 test strips each. Angels sang, the sun came out from behind the clouds – it was awe inspiring. Guess it didn’t take much to make me happy this Friday morning, but it’s the little things like this that make me feel better.

Less real estate taken up in my closet, too!

Less trees were destroyed in the making of this product, yay!

P.S. StripSafely, ya’ll!!

Where’s My CGM?

I know, it’s Monday. We had a busy weekend filled with lots of fun, so I can’t complain. But really, how asleep was I this morning that I had no idea where my CGM was for several hours (it usually lives beside my bed at night, and in my pocket during the day), or how it got to the place where I found it:

I hope it can handle the cold.The only thing I can guess is that, as I was preparing breakfast for my daughter and myself, I got distracted while checking to see what my sugar was, and put the CGM into the fridge instead of what was in my other hand. My sugar was fine – a happy 104 when I woke up, so I can’t blame a low – but I hadn’t had any coffee, so we’ll use that as as excuse. Where’s the oddest place that you have found your CGM (or other diabetes-related tool?)

How I Finally Started Wearing My Dexcom G4

Took my daughter to an aquatic center, thinking I’d only just wade in, so I wore my pump and Dexcom Seven+ in the bra area of my suit. We’d been to other pools several times this summer, and this set-up worked OK so far.

Booby TrapNote the buckets at the top of this picture. It was a spinning gauntlet of drenching-water-booby-trap. It got me. Got me good.

The unintentional soaking left my Dexcom Seven+ receiver giving me the “out of range” symbol for the rest of the day, even though it was always within 5 feet of the sensor on my thigh. And check out the obvious-looking water-leakage line in this next picture.

I think it's dead, Jim. So, even though I’d been stretching out my remaining Dexcom Seven+ supplies for as long as I could before switching over, this meant I had to break open the box of my new Dexcom G4 and start learning to use it. So, here goes!!!

New. Fancy. (I like to keep it in my pocket, and wanted some sort of protective cover regardless, so I had already bought this sassy yellow neoprene one from Tallygear.com a few weeks ago.)

Happy (roller coaster blood sugars) 4th of July!

Not the greatest start to the day of celebrating our Independence….woke up with a blood sugar of 200 (that had apparently been going on all night, but I never woke up to fix it), went down to 55 after breakfast (?!?), back up to 150, down to 70, and now a 113 with a northeast arrow going up. And the day isn’t even half over yet!

Blood sugar roller coaster aside, we have enjoyed some family fun already today….a local theater had a $4 kid’s movie at 10am that included the admission AND a kid’s tray of popcorn, drink, and fruit snack treat for each person – score! Penny had never been to a movie in a theater before, so this seemed like a perfect trial to see how she would do. If we had to bail out early, it wouldn’t feel like such a waste since we would have only spent $12. The movie was Ice Age: Continental Drift….it won’t be winning any awards,  but it was entertaining enough, and she only got squirmy  in the last 15 minutes or so. Yaaaay, we saw a movie together as a family! My husband and I LOVE movies, so we are hoping as she gets older, it can be something we all can share and enjoy together. (And hopefully we can see some movies we all enjoy a little more than Ice Age. It was just – eh.)

Tonight we are going to a friend’s house for a cookout and fireworks…my day is filled with family, friends, and fun – I couldn’t ask for more! (Except maybe for a steady 100 blood sugar, but I guess we’ll have to work on that…..hey, by the time I finished writing this post, the Dexcom was showing a steady 120, straight arrow across. I’ll take it!)

Yay, popcorn!

Happy 4th of July everyone!!