Wednesday, August 28, 2013

People Are Strange, When You're a Stranger

Blanche DuBois, from A Streetcar Named Desire, said, "Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers."

I believe this to ring true for all of us at some point in our lives, but even more so for me tonight.

I decided to go to a movie by myself. My friends all already had plans, were working or had a soccer game. It was a last minute decision and there are a few movies I have been wanting to see, so why not? It's something I do on occasion. It's nice to just pick a movie and go; not worrying about what any one else wants to see or what time to go, it's a pretty great getaway when you just need some time to do something by yourself.

Long story short, I got pretty sick last weekend. I was put on a liquid diet for one week. I'm on day two and it hasn't been fun. So far, I have been tempted by pizza, french fries, chocolate cake and movie theater popcorn. But, for the sake of my health and feeling better, I have been sticking with it thus far.

You can imagine what this has done for my blood sugars. Mostly, they have been within perfect range. Today, I ran from 80-123 every time I checked. 80 is a little low for me, but not enough to do anything. Well, since I had a meeting right after work and then went to a movie, I didn't eat. Usually, this would be an okay decision for me. I could normally make it through a couple hours and not feel anything. Unfortunately, between the liquid diet and it being four hours since I had last ate something, I started feeling really week half way through the movie.

I noticed it when I realized I was sweating. Suddenly, my face felt numb, my arms felt like jello and my legs and hands were trembling. I didn't know what to do. I reached into my bag for my meter and glucose tabs. Meter reading: 38. Glucose tablet case: empty. Shit.

I started to get up thinking I could go run to the snack bar and get some Sprite or juice. But fell right back down. Panic set in-yet I was too confused to realize what I should do.

I looked to my right and a gentleman in his early seventies or so was getting up. He moved to the seat next to me. "Are you alright?" He looked worried. I had definitely frightened him. I explained to him I was a diabetic and experiencing a low blood sugar. Without hesitation, he stood right up and said, "I'll be right back."

In minutes, the gentleman was back. In his hands, he had a small drink and some gummy bears. He had already put the straw in the drink and handed it to me. Then, he sat right down next to me and started opening the candy. I told him, "I'm on a liquid diet. I can't eat those. Thank you so much, though."

He started laughing. "These are for me. You're greedy." I laughed too.

Shortly after I drank half of the Sprite, he nudged me. "Check again before you finish that." I was astonished. I checked. 115. Perfect.

"If it's alright with you, I'm just going to sit here next to you. Movie is almost over any way." He smiled at me.  "It's nice to sit next to a pretty young lady." I felt better, both physically and emotionally.

The movie ended. The lights went up. "By the way. My name is Roy. My late wife was diabetic. A type 1. And I have a granddaughter who is a type 1. Sorry if I made you worry."

"Roy, I'm Charli. You didn't make me worry. You're my hero!"

"Well, I don't know about that. We're strangers. But I'm glad I could help.Take care of yourself"

We went our separate ways. We didn't exchange information.We just said goodbye. And I can't thank him enough.

I pride myself on my independence. I think it's cool that I can go shopping, go out to eat, go to the park, and go to movies by myself. I love that I have the confidence that some people don't to do these things. But, I am also so thankful for the people around me. I can't deny that I need help some times. And I definitely can't thank some of these people enough.But I can try.

To Roy: Thank You.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

That's What I'm Rollin' With

I was asked the other day, "If you were better, would your diabetes not be so bad?"

It's hard to answer this question. Mostly because "better" can mean anything in this. I know what she meant by this question was, "I see your pump and you using it. Maybe you wouldn't have to if you did better."

I explained to her (very calmly I might add) that it's not about something I did to myself. I heard those words coming out of my mouth and realize how far I've come in the past three years. It's amazing to me, really, that I had the same notions of what diabetes was. I thought it was all one big disease, separated only by Type 1 and Type 2-and the only distinction being is when you were diagnosed and if you took insulin. I had prejudices against people who had diabetes-even though I knew both Type 1's and Type 2's in my family. I never took the time to learn because I wasn't forced to.

But, still, her question got me thinking.

I recalled a conversation I had my first night at diabetic camp. Someone called me a "good diabetic." My response? There's no such thing as good and bad in this case. We just have to be as good as we can that moment. And, just like everything else in life, there are weak moments with how you react to things and how you take care of yourself. I have both-in diabetes and other times in my life.

I want to announce these things I do well and the ones I do badly. I want other PWD (People With Diabetes) to know they aren't alone in their struggles and triumphs. I want to know that I'm not alone in these things. So, maybe with these proclamations, I can do better. I can see better. And I can relate better. Because isn't that we are trying to do any way?

The Good 

  • I check my blood sugar before every meal. And I bolus EVERY time. 
  • I try and exercise when I can and am up to it. Although it usually takes forms in Team Sports.
  • I pay attention to how I feel and don't discount it.
  • I stopped with the regular soda and I keep certain things that I know will mess with my blood sugars for special occasions. (Rice, Beer, Pizza, to list a few.)
  • I change my site every three days and I only put enough insulin in my pump for the allotted time.
  • I stay up-to-date on advances in technology so I know what's coming.
  • I am trying to be a test subject for a few diabetes related studies that will help advance us.
  • I do not get short or angry with people when they ask questions. In fact, I WELCOME THEM! I love educating on what I know. And I refer to my trusty DOC handbook (Twitter and FB mostly for lightening speed answers,) WebMd, MayoClinic, and/or my team of Medical Specialists when I do not have the answer.
  • I keep my pump on unless I am going in water or doing extreme activities-and then I take caution for how long I will have it off.
  • I wash my hands before I check my blood sugar so I can get the best reading.
  • I make better choices with food than I ever have before. (Not always the best, but definitely an improvement from five years ago.)
  • I check my feet daily to look for any signs of cuts, scrapes, or infections.
  • I don't drive when I'm having a low episodes.
  • I watch my weight and my a1c and keep them within normal ranges that my doctors have suggested.
The Bad
  • I rarely check my BG two hours after I eat when my pump tells me. Unless I'm going to eat again or I feel "funny"
  • I really like to treat with candy when I'm low. I'm sick of Glucose tabs-except grape and green apple-both which I can rarely find. I should try juice boxes. But I NEVER think to buy them.
  • I over treat some times. If I could explain to you how low blood sugar feels, and you could feel it with me, I don't think any one could blame for this. It doesn't happen all the time, but when it does, WHOA.
  • I never use alcohol pads to clean my skin before a site change. I have boxes upon boxes upon boxes of them. Just don't use them.
  • I can't tell you the last time I've changed my lancets-in any of my devices.
  • I don't always remember to cover my site with the little round disc thingy when I go swimming. I'm sure during the summer I get a healthy does of chlorine, lake and river water. (This is when I use the alcohol pads.)
  • I always forget to keep track of my three days when I'm supposed to change my site so OCCASIONALLY I don't remember to pack supplies or insulin to work. Luckily, I only live four minutes away,
  • I only upload my pump into my doctors system (so he can see the numbers) about twice a month. And it's very inconsistent.
  • I listen to the DOC often before I listen to anyone else. Maybe it's not all bad. they are the ones with the experiences and the knowledge!
  • I forget to schedule more time to blog because I get busy with other stuff and I don't always have access to a computer. 
  • I drink. And sometimes more than two when I do. 
  • I love French Fries and cupcakes and ice cream and anything with carbohydrates.
  • I wear flip flops. And heels. And I got barefoot. One of these every day.
  • I make excuses when I do bad stuff. ^ See all of the above.
  • I make jokes about how some day I'll have dementia. Or die from complications of diabetes. People don't take them well.
  • I've treated a low blood sugar with a beer. It was a test more than anything. But probably not my best decision I've ever made.
  • I don't wear my CGM. I hate it. It's scary and leaves scars that are far beyond the physical ones. I got a different company one from a friend who had a spare. I am going to try it out, but I have to get the supplies for it.And I have to wait until I have insurance for it. I haven't even taken it out of the box yet because of various reasons.
  • I have lost touch with a lot of the DOC. I forget about DSMA a lot. I am rarely on twitter. And I'm just not up-to-date like I used to be. Life threw me some curve balls and I've lost touch.
  • I haven't been to a convention or conference in over a year now. I hate it. Again, curve balls.
It's not all pink ponies and fields of daisies. But, it's not all chainsaws and tragedies either.I do what I can, when I can. And I try to forgive myself when I can't. I pray for people to be more understanding, and hopefully I can teach a little on the way. 

In the mean time, I can be at peace with my successes and my flaws.