Scott's Diabetes Blog

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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Basal Rate Test (a story about a spider...)

Basal rate testing is a pain in the butt.

The concept is to fast for a chunk of time so that you can see if your blood sugar remains steady.

Ideally you eliminate as many variables as possible so that you are 100% certain pretty sure that any change in your blood sugar is a result of your basal insulin.

Eliminating variables is much easier said than done. There's just no two ways about it, life is full of variables. Many of those variables affect our blood sugars, and we only know about some of them.

I fasted for the last part of the day, exercising miraculous feats of self-discipline and will-power to avoid the sometimes unconscious "hand-to-mouth" action. I like what G-Money said about "fasting" - that it should instead be called "slowing"!

I ran high most of the day, but by bedtime I was all set. No residual insulin on board, steady blood sugar - good to go. Until Midnight anyway...

So I woke up every couple of hours and tested my blood sugar. At Midnight the alarm goes off and I am so stupidly tired that I can hardly figure out whether to turn off the alarm or answer the phone (which was NOT ringing...).

Blood sugar = 82 mg/dl - awesome!

I stumble to the bathroom to relieve myself, and when I turned to the sink to wash my hands I was scared half to death by a HUGE spider on the edge of the sink!!

Let me explain.

I live in the city. We don't do big creatures around here. Spiders that are the size of my thumbnail (from leg #1 to leg #8) are considered big in my book. This one was four times that size. Scared me like I was a little girl. I almost screamed out loud.

Whoosh!! I felt the adrenaline surge hit my system. The fight or flight reaction system was in full flight mode. Yes, that's right, I said flight mode...

But I realized that I would not be able to sleep knowing a big ass spider was in the bathroom! What if it crawled its way into the bedroom and ate me?! Couldn't have that. I knew I'd have to "dispose" of it somehow.

Thinking I would just wash it down the drain, I cupped some water in my hand and threw it at the spider, knocking it down into the sink. It wouldn't go down the drain. It was too big. Able to latch its big spidey-legs onto the edges and keep itself from being sucked down.

I tried rapidly switching the water from full-blast to off, thinking I might be able to knock it off balance. When that wasn't working I thought I could turn on the hot water and cook it into submission. Nothing.

I finally overcame my wussness and balled up a BUNCH of toilet paper to smash-n-grab it into the toilet and send it on its swirly way.

Breathing hard, beads of adrenaline invoked sweat on my brow - I was nowhere near tired anymore.

I eventually calmed down and fell back asleep. I woke up again at 3:30 AM and tested again.

This time I was up to 131 mg/dl (about a 50 mg/dl increase from my last test).

Now here's the thing that is bugging me.

Overall I am very satisfied that my overnight basal rates are pretty good. But was it the spider induced adrenaline rush that caused the spike at 3:30 AM, or would that have happened anyway?

The only way to find out is to repeat the test. Hopefully without any damn spiders. Or at least not anymore big giant spiders.

Don't laugh - it would have scared you too...

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Minnesota OC Blogger Meet Up!

Looks like our fellow blogger Sara will be in town early in June.

We're trying to organize a little Minnesota OC Blogger meet up!

We're looking at late in the day (late afternoon/early evening) on Sunday, June 3rd.

Sara - is that date/time still good for you?

I would really love to meet some of the other MN OC Bloggers around here. Anyone and everyone that can make it is welcome to join us.

Does anyone have any good ideas on where to meet or what to do? Ideally something or someplace free would be good. I can help with transportation if needed too.

Leave a comment here or drop me an e-mail if you are interested in joining us.

I'm really looking forward to it!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Guardian Angels

Monday, May 07, 2007

Feeling Little

Oh how I wish that the title was some witty way of bragging about all the weight loss that is (not) happening for me.

Instead, it's how I feel tonight. In terms of will power and the ability to stick with my plan.

I've talked a little about my meal plan. I've also talked about the Power of Food.

Tonight I fell down because I was tempted with potato chips, pizza, and brownies.

And I ate all of them. Not all of all of them, but some of all of them. Too much of all of them.

Why is it so hard sometimes to resist those temptations that we are faced with? Maybe I try to be too strict with myself. Or maybe I fall down in times of low blood sugars.

Why is food so powerful sometimes? How does it have the ability to make the best of our intentions collapse into chocolate laced brownie crumbs?

I think that while I am beginning to really appreciate the effect of food choices on my blood sugar, that it often makes me mad and angry. It makes me rebel against it.

But afterwards I feel little. Small and weak willed. Unable to make the "right choice" in the heat of the moment. What kind of person am I if my resolve fails when a brownie is put in front of me?

The "power of food" cuts both ways, and it deserves a little more respect from me. The respect we give Mother Nature for her awesome, life giving gifts on one hand, and her devastating destructive powers on the other.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Diabetes Made Visible Dammit

Warning - graphic and gross pictures ahead. Turn back now if you are bothered by blood.

I changed my infusion set tonight. It had been three and a half days, a little less than another day of insulin in the cartridge, and just time to do it.

My old site was on my lower back, an inch or two left of my spine, and inch or so above my belt line. Basically as far back as I could reach. I put my new site in a similar location, but on the right side this time. All was good.

After inserting the new site, there are still things left to do. I have a routine that goes almost automatically. Part of that routine is after removing the old infusion site, I like to wipe the area with the alcohol swab that I used to clean and prepare the new site. It's just something I've always done.

So in the middle of my routine I am filling my tubing and I grab my used alcohol swab and wipe the old site. Once, twice, three then four times. I'm done wiping and go to set the swab down. And it's soaked with blood. A damn gusher.

My gushers rarely spray or squirt blood, rather it just, well, gushes! Huge, steady, thick streams of blood. And they take forever to stop bleeding.

For those unaccustomed to the term, a gusher happens sometimes when you remove your infusion set. You might nick a capillary or something (insert proper medical terminology here...), and it bleeds like crazy for a little bit.
Nothing to worry about, but it can be messy. And hope the cops don't come in the middle of one, or someone in the house is likely to get locked up. Blood frickin' everywhere.

There had been a delay between my pulling my old set out and wiping with the swab. Nothing huge, but easily 10 or 15 seconds. Do you have any idea how much blood can ooze out in 10 or 15 seconds?

Now I'm still filling the tubing on my pump - and trying to scramble to find a tissue, or napkin, or something that I can put back there. This something has two purposes - to soak up whatever blood is already there, and to absorb the blood that continues to gush out. So I've got insulin dripping steadily out of my unattached tubing, and blood gushing steadily out of my back somewhere.

I find a napkin, stick it on my back, then tell my pump to stop filling the tubing (after confirming that there was indeed insulin dripping from the exposed end (safety first people - pumping air will do you no good...)). The napkin stuck on my back by itself, held on by the blood (just like toilet paper and shaving nicks...).

I sat and applied pressure to my "wound" (?) for a bit, then took off the napkin. I found a clean spot on the napkin and wiped again to check for any fresh blood, and confirmed I was through it. Messy tragedy dealt with.

As I surveyed the carnage, bloody napkin and alcohol swab laying there with the rest of my normal site change trash, I thought "why is this Ok?".

Why is it Ok for any of us to have to deal with this?

All of this technology, science, money - why are we forced to use these primitive tools to deal with this shit? It is settled for. People are Ok with having to stick something under our skin to deliver insulin, and we settle for it. This is not how the non-diabetic person works!!

Don't get me wrong - without the tools and advancements we have, our job would be much, much more difficult. I am thankful for what we have. But I am pissed that we are Ok with it. And I am pissed that the basic treatment for us (insulin) has not changed. Insulin is not a cure.

These pictures are gross and bloody. But if this is what I deal with sometimes, than you will see them too. I'm not going to censor the images because this is diabetes made visible. It's the real deal folks. It should not just be Ok to have to deal with stupid shit like this.

In the end - it's really not a big deal.

My very wise wife said "well it's no use in getting mad about it!", and she is right (as usual).

But I was not really mad at this specific gusher, but rather all that it symbolized for me at the time. The very primitive treatment that we deal with, and accept, and adapt our lives to.

Diabetes made visible dammit. Put it out there so people can see what it is about on a daily basis. It is not Ok. It should not be settled for.