Category Archives: Hospitals

Why going to the endo is like math class

D E B U T S I N G L ERemember when you used to take tests or quizzes in math class and the teacher would tell you that “you have to show your work or else you’ll only receive half the credit”? First of all, I should be allowed to do math in my head, even though I get it, they wanted to cut the cheating out. Secondly, I hated getting the answer right but the “steps in getting to the answer” wrong. Isn’t there more than one way?

Yesterday, I had a visit with my endocrinologist who I hadn’t seen in a year. This was due to being laid off my job a year ago and finding health insurance again. Going to see a world-renowned endo is pricey! Along with getting to see all my doctors again (yay!), I get my supplies, insulin and everything else I need to get my a1c back down (it was a 7.9). It’s not terrible, but I was doing much better this time last year. I actually thought it was going to be higher!

With that said, I took the time to tell my doctor about the issues I’ve been faced with and really, nothing has changed since the last time I was there– besides the fact that I wasn’t checking myself enough due to a shortage of supply. I feel like most of the time, it doesn’t matter if you have diabetes or not, doctor’s advice is usually the same: Do more exercise, lose more weight, you’re doing fine, at least you’re alive. We’ve all heard it.

This time though, I was scolded about not wearing my CGMS, which I admit slipped to the wayside, again due to shortage of supply. But, not to fear! I’m back on it.

As I was sitting there with the doc, reviewing the printout of history from my pump, what I call my diary because, well, they know EVERYTHING just from looking at a few numbers on paper… and graphs, and charts, and totals, I saw the scatter of numbers throughout the pages. Most notably were the days where I checked only once or not at all.

**[If you know anything about diabetes and this isn’t the first time you’ve heard of this situation, you know how important it is to check yourself. I’ve written about it here. The doctor refers to not checking as the “dangerous road.”]**

This is when the guilt sets in. There are days when you wake up and you just don’t want to deal, so, putting your health at risk, you don’t. It’s not to say that it is the right thing to do, but it happens. For those who don’t have diabetes, let me just say, it gets exhausting. Always thinking about what you’re eating, the amount of sugar, carbs, counting, shots, boluses, double checking how you feel, checking blood sugar, making sure you’re on top of your life! Numbers– all numbers, all the time. So even though it sounded like a good idea to skip on checking out where you were and how you were doing in terms of blood sugar levels, it’s not in the long run and you look like a bad student at the doctor’s office.

At this point, I’m too old to shout out, “But my a1c was a 7.9! That’s still pretty good!” But that’s how I felt. It was a sigh of relief, it was a way to loosen the hook I’d always be on with my diabetes. But you know what? I didn’t show my work.

When the doctor downloads all the information that my purple insulin pump stores in its computer system, he sees what’s going on like when I drop and when I’m too high and all that jazz– my personal life and what my insides are doing. The graphs and charts are only possible with data, but if I’m not checking myself or wearing my CGMS there is no data. The data here is the long division work I did in my head and didn’t show on paper. The a1c result is the answer that I got kinda right. The only reason it isn’t in the “correct” spectrum is because I didn’t show my work, thus slipping up in the end.

Because I didn’t do the work, my doctor couldn’t tell me how to fix it. As much as this is about pricking your finger and sampling some blood, NOT doing actual facts and figures in your head, you’d think it’d be easier, right? Well, besides my need to ration supplies, it’s easy to forget to check. I’m running to work, I’m busy at work, I’m running home, I’m running around, living life, doing things and then, “Oh, shit! I have to check myself!” Does that not happen to you? It happens to me all the time, which is why the CGMS is good for me. It’s stuck there and that’s it. It tells me when to check and I’m good. For the most part. Technology has been known to fail.

So based off of what he knew for sure, he changed my basal rate, changed my carb ratio and sent me on my way for blood tests.

Usually, when I leave the doctor’s office, I’m known to dwell too long on the whole ordeal. I cry most of the time as a release of energy, anxiety and stress that living with diabetes brings about. I’m reminded of everything I have to do to not die a slow and miserable death, and at the same time, I swear that I’m going to change. The difference this time was that I had company and I had to explain things. He told me that I wasn’t perfect, that I’m human and that he was going to support my habits that I intended to build on. I didn’t cry but instead I accepted the fact that I do what I can and sometimes, things don’t just go the way you want them to.

Life is a tumultuous rollercoaster on its own. Sprinkling in some much needed care adds a little anxiety, but more, it adds the motivation needed to feel better and more in control. In the end, I’ve realized that in order to take control of my diabetes, I’m going to have to do the work and hopefully the more corrections I make on my process, the better my results will be.


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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Hospitals, Personal, Stories

…But You’re Different…

“But see… you actually take care of yourself…”

I’m different. I said that in my last blog. I know I am because I have something that not a lot of people have. Even less among Latinos. See, I’ve got a rare type of diabetes. I know I’ve mentioned this to a lot of different people. I have not just Type 1, but I have Type 1b that has been shown to be developed due to an environmental cause, like a virus. It is not autoimmune.

1150243_595264203866092_1089546014_nAmong Latinos, among Mexican-Americans, diabetes affects 18 percent of the population. It’s a pretty high number and that was back in 2010. I’m waiting for new numbers to come out since I’ve been reporting on the same ones from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s time to update those digits because I know diabetes is affecting a lot more that 25 million Americans; I can feel it.

So within my community where Type 2 diabetes is most talked about (so much that many don’t realize there are different types) as just “diabetes” there is a certain misunderstanding of what I’ve got going on. It’s hard for people to understand what I go through and why I go through it since I’m not old or overweight and I look like I’m in pretty good shape.

When I tell my story, they look at me as if they’re proud of me and say, “That’s so good of you! You keep doing good and keep yourself healthy.” I get that from a lot of people with Type 2. I end up telling them that I’m fine; I know how to take care of myself. It’s them that I’M worried about.

The downside to having Type 1 is that anything can go wrong at any time. It’s actually pretty dumb. I mean, you can be doing just fine, numbers fine and everything and still have traces of protein in your urine. That’s bad, by the way. Protein should not leave your body. Ever. Or have bleeding behind your eye. That’s the worst, especially when you hear, “That’s because of your diabetes. At least it’s not affecting your vision.” I get chills just thinking about it.

There are still issues that I have to face and I usually face them alone. Why? Because people see me and I look fine and healthy and cool. “You’re different. You actually take care of yourself.” Yeah, that’s true, but it’s still something that I have to be weary of.

Look, I’m not saying that anyone should take pity on me, because I don’t want it. What I’m saying is that having diabetes is just as serious whether it’s Type 1, Type 2, LADA, Gestational or anything else. I need and want people to know about my diabetes just in case. It sucks to think about it that way, but it’s true.

Also, when I’m talking to people about it, I want them to listen and to learn about what is affecting me and my body and what I think about because usually, I’m telling people I care about an I hope they care about me enough to listen. It can also help people that they know, not just me.

The truth of the matter is, is that if you have it well controlled, people don’t think it’s a big deal. And then, as I mentioned in a previous blog, should something go wrong, you’re to blame for it because you must have done something wrong.

Maybe I’m just complaining here, but disorders like diabetes should be acknowledged and almost respected. I don’t want people to pity me and I want them to understand just how much effort it takes to make my body “GO.” Is that selfish of me? It might be.

It also comes from issues that I’ve had in the past. Once, I had sharp pains in my abdomen. The doctors said it was another serious disease that only affects men between the ages of 35-45. I was 23. The doctor said he was 95 percent sure he was right. My mom screamed second opinion.

The day that I committed myself into the local hospital in Urbana, I had to beg a neighbor to take me. “I have a meeting with my professor that I can’t miss,” she told me. I stood in front of her in pain. “Can you just drop me off? You don’t even have to come in with me. Just drop me off,” I begged her. The last thing I wanted to do was take a taxi to the hospital and I was in so much pain.

Later I ended up getting my gallbladder taken out and that was the end of that. No other disease. No more problems. Weird? Yep.

The last time, I was severely dehydrated. It took will power to get myself to a point of being OK after my insulin wasn’t getting to me due to a bent cannula. I was throwing up and was too weak to go anywhere. I asked a few people if they could come and just be with me, in case I didn’t stop throwing up and had to go to the hospital. No one accepted my charming invitation.

“But you’re fine,” I was told. That’s not the point! Doesn’t anyone get it?

Maybe it’s these experiences that have jaded me into thinking that I deserve some kind of attention. Maybe it’s these experiences that have got me thinking that I’m superwoman. Maybe it’s these experiences that have me believing that I can do anything, alone, and not be limited by my disorder, the fact that I’m a woman or even, even my body.

When you take care of yourself, even others see you as a champ; invincible. Is that good? Is that bad? It doesn’t make me have diabetes any less. It just means that the complications are kept at bay. I may be different in multiple ways, but I have and will always have diabetes. Just because of that, I’m one of 25 million others in the United States.


Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Health, Hospitals, Latinos, Personal, Stories

Off With The Pump!

My purple MinimedI know, I know. You must be thinking, how can this girl, the one who made up #WhereThePumpAreYou get off the pump? Right. Well, it’s called lack of funds and no insurance. That’s how.

Not for long, she says! I just got a new full-time job that will give me benefits starting in September. Whew! It’s been a while, Blue Cross and yes, I’ve missed you.

However, I must admit that getting off the pump has taught me a thing or two about diabetes. Especially that little shell-like thing called a continuous glucose monitoring system. Man, the fact that I’m checking myself more is a thorn in my side. And how did I ever go so long without knowing where my blood sugar level was?

Apparently, the average cell phone user checks their smart phone 150 times a day or more. Yeah, well, I beat that with checking my CGMS like 300 times a day. I was addicted to knowing my blood sugar and I’m currently going through withdrawal.

I’m gadget driven and I removed the most important one. Bah,  I say.

insulinAlthough, I must admit, it’s putting a lot of things into perspective for me. For instance, pro: I don’t have anything latched on to me. Right? Well then you have the con: I have to carry needles around and look like a drug addict (even though we are) in public.

Or how about this one. Pro: I can wear dresses without figuring out where to put the damn thing! Con: I’m worried about where my blood sugar will be in the next few hours and if the insulin I gave myself should have been in my arm instead of my thigh or in my abdomen instead of my… you get the picture.

Here’s another one for you. Pro: No attachment or holes made in my body. More like, giving the holes time to heal fully. Con: Checking myself more often means more strips. But get this! The nurse at Stroger Hospital (the county one) told me, “You don’t need to check yourself four times a day! You’ve had diabetes for more than 20 years! You know how you feel. Once a day is fine. Just eat sensibly and take your insulin.”

Umm… what? 

On that note, it took the full force of Zeus himself for me to bite my tongue. The parking meter for my car was also running and I didn’t want to get a ticket so… I just ignored the explanation of how I should check once a day but different times every day. Yeah, no. I need strips.

I find myself guessing sometimes now. Am I shaky or is that a result of my phone vibrating? This might be bad, but don’t worry! I’m ordering my Medtronic supplies as soon as I hit publish on this baby. I’ve also been checking more than once a day, so I’m all good.

I’m telling you though, I’m starting to be really weirded out by the fact that I could deal with myself before the pump and before I re-learned appropriate management of my disorder.

Ultimately, my beef is this. I know how bad this is because I’ve seen better. If there is anything that I’m doing with this week of being off the pump is examining how it is to live the life of so many people out there. Those without insurance, those with sub-par medical health professionals and those who have to live under a system that doesn’t care enough to give them the appropriate amount of strips to test at least three times a day!

So, after thinking about all of this, I wondered to myself, “What can I do?” I grew up with privilege of having parents who took care and educated me. They also had health insurance and provided the best care to my sister and I. I have seen the OK, the good and the best endocrinologists and I know what excellent healthcare looks like. I also know what crazy and no health care looks like and now I can compare.

Don’t judge a person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. I’m walking it and I’m learning. Now, the next step is figuring out how to educate, advocate, support and make a change in the system. Who’s with me?

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Filed under Diabetes, Health, Hospitals, Insulin, Treatments

Predicting the Drop

7752_10102548597861270_169164729_nI walked into Stroger Hospital today for a pump clinic meeting. Interestingly enough, I knew  a few people sitting in the room. The diabetic educator was one. The other was a representative from Medtronic, the company that manufactures my insulin pump and supplies. He taught me how to use my CGMS when I first got it. Then there were two endocrinologists whom I hadn’t met before. All were there for me.

They requested my purple Minimed and downloaded all of my data, enough to build a pretty solid profile of what kind of person with diabetes I am. It was intimidating, to say the least. On a giant screen before me lay all of my data: They knew when I took my pump off, when I ate, when I checked my blood sugar, when I had chaos in my life. They knew more about me than the people I talk to every day. I couldn’t hide anything from them, not that I wanted to.

They saw the chaos that I went through earlier this week, when three cannulas bent on me. It was horrendous. The thing about bent cannulas, which are basically mini catheters that deliver insulin under the skin, is that you don’t know their bent until your blood sugar is running in the 400s and no matter how many units you deliver it doesn’t drop. Then after checking everything twice over, the last resort is to pull out the infusion site to see if there was anything wrong there.

296129_10102548024375540_173358406_nCan you imagine doing that three times in a row? For two days, I felt like the sugar in my blood stream had turned to syrup and I was moving slower than a sloth. It didn’t stop me though. I still worked and when I lost all faith in technology, I decided to resort to shots. I’d never been so happy to use a syringe. Sanctification!

Anyway, I told them that story this morning and they saw it. So, we’re going to disregard that, they all concluded. After asking me to remember what happened earlier this week, what I ate and telling me to dive into technology, they had made subtle changes to my pump settings and told me to continue to track everything.

I had never been through a meeting like that, where I had, not one but four different people looking, examining and figuring out how I manage my diabetes. I had never done this before in my life. It seemed like a lot of work, but nonetheless, that’s what it’s there for– to know how you work and how your body works even better by just testing your blood sugar. Amazing.

Technology had once again piqued my interest. Regardless of the fact that I have this sensor on and that I have the pump on almost 24 hours a day, I had never thought about the wealth of data and collection of knowledge that this small thing was absorbing every minute of the day. It was a sponge and it told me more than my pancreas ever could.

With what they said, I would be able to predict low blood glucose, high blood glucose and in the end curve the spikes in blood sugar that make us feel so terrible. Isn’t that what we all want? To just feel good and feel “normal”?

Overall, the conversation was open and pleasant. I’ll be able to go back in September and hopefully this tracking system won’t be so overwhelming.


Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, History, Hospitals, Treatments

DENIED Because of a Pre-exisiting Condition

As I was walking in this gloomy weather, I couldn’t help but think about the issues I have to go through because I am a person with diabetes. I mean, among those with diabetes, I feel like we talk about it all the time.

Checking blood sugar.

Counting carbohydrates.

Faulty hardware for pumps.

Blood sugars too high.

Blood sugars too low.

Frustration, anger, sadness, impatience.

Happiness for balance.

But then you realize that there’s more. That every move you make and every physical illness or issue that you may come across gets blamed on diabetes. It’s not like people ask you, “How does that affect your diabetes?” Most of the time, they ask, “Is that because of your diabetes?”

Blood sugar meme1The “outsiders” are not the only ones who think about it. We do, too. I do, all the time. Pain, numbness, headaches, skin discoloration: the first question I ask myself is, “Am I not taking care of myself well enough?” It’s a scary feeling. Especially for me, right now, it’s hard to try and feel as though I’m not falling apart.

Remember Alanis Morissette’s song “Ironic?” Yeah. That’s me. I had great insurance coverage and took it all for granted that I could see whatever doctor, whenever I needed to and get supplies every three months. As soon as I remember that I don’t have insurance, I feel like everything hurts, my eyesight is going, my head’s going to fall off and I won’t be able to remember my own name tomorrow.

People like me, we need insurance. We need it to pay for supplies, hardware, strips, trips to the doctor, tests, everything really. However, I currently don’t have health insurance. Due to this little pre-existing condition that has ruled my life, I have been rejected and will be rejected by any major medical insurance carrier.  Trust me, I’ve applied. If you know of any major medical plan that judges you by “Do You Have Any Current Health Issues?” let me know.

Then you have all these other insurance companies that say they will cover you because you become part of a pool of people who also have preexisting conditions. Nope. It’s not major medical and it’s a rip-off. Coverage at the pharmacy, what I need the most for test strips and insulin, was non-existent. I was being charged incredible amounts of money for a three-month supply of anything. They didn’t cover anything. It was quite ridiculous and a waste of money.

When it came to hardware for my pump, I had to pay out-of-pocket and was charged $138 for one month. Before, I didn’t have to pay for it. Oh, you lucky people with a pancreas that works!

I don’t know if it makes me feel any better, but I usually explain why I don’t have health insurance. I tell them I’ve started my own business, that I’m an entrepreneur and that I am trying to make it happen for myself and for those who are involved. It’s hard. When I didn’t have insurance a few years ago, my doctor kept telling me to work at Starbucks. Guess what. I applied and never got a call.

Look, I don’t want to work in a cubicle for someone who calls me “Christine” and underestimates my abilities. I’m not a corporate ladder climber. I want to do things for myself and run the quick game that I play. I never wanted to be limited by this disease– this disorder– and it’s not fair that I am.

I keep asking for a miracle of some sort. The only hope at this point is for 2014 to get here and for people to tell me that having diabetes is not going to hinder my ability to get a major medical plan. I really don’t understand why some people don’t understand my ambition. It’s not more important than my health, but at the same time, it’s at the same level.

With or without health insurance I’m vigilant over my blood sugar, my health and the way I feel. The downside, of course, is the fact that I have to pay for everything out-of-pocket. As much as it sucks and as much as I owe doctors money right now, I have no choice. I’m hoping that regardless of what I decide to do, I will be taken care of and someone is looking over me.

For now, I raise my cafecito cup to all of us that have health battles to endure yet keep going, fighting and following our dreams and desires. You’re not alone and neither am I. Cheers to you for doing what you want and not being limited by this blasted body you’ve been given.


Filed under Complications, Doctors, Hospitals, Treatments

It’s a No Go.

I woke up early this morning a tad bit nervous, to say the least. I had to do a lot before noon. A phone meeting, going to the bank, a doctor appointment. No, not a doctor, a nutritionist. A dietician if you will. I literally prepared for this appointment. Had my blood sugars listed and ready, had my machine, had my fear. What was this going to bring? Was this lady going to be like my new endocrinologist or would she be nicer?

My mind started to wander about in different places. I ended up canceling the phone meeting, not going to the bank and taking deep breaths to prepare my mind. What was going to come of this meeting?

I got to the hospital on time. It was the fact that I had to wander through the winding maze of the hospital, find where to check in and all that hot jazz that made me late. They were nice about it. Also, I was in the elevator with the dietician.

As I checked in, I believe the receptionist felt I was nervous. Not too sure though. I sat down and sure enough, the dietician came to get me with her student shadow (like those residents I despise) but I actually liked her. When we first got to talking, she explained to me that getting the pump was not going to solve all of my problems. I knew that right off the bat. She asked me questions about meals, diet and what I knew about carb counting, which is just taking the proper amount of insulin for the grams of carbohydrates consumed.

The one situation that I did have a question about was my carb ratio. I asked about this because when I took the right amount of insulin, sometimes it wouldn’t bring my sugar down after a meal. My carb to insulin ration was 1:15 meaning one unit of insulin for every 15 grams of carbohydrates. They told me to change it to 1:12 and see what would happen with that. Keeping track, even if it’s in your head, is very important. I realize that only I will know what’s going on and how it all works, even if it’s just from memory, remember to always ask questions.

After we settled everything and I explained what I did in certain situations, she thought that I was right on track. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing and doing it right. Rock on! The fact that I used my problem solving skills to balance myself out also played an important role in her decision to agree on an insulin pump for me.

I wasn’t ready for one before since I had just begun learning about how to take care of myself “manually” if you will. When the diabetic nurse came in she said I was exactly the kind of person that should be on a pump since I was doing everything that it entailed anyway. She said it would save me a lot of poking since I take insulin through injection. The bruises and marks sometimes are ghastly (I just really wanted to use that word).

The pump is a small beeper-sized device that is connected to my side with a catheter which is changed every three days. The insulin goes in and I set it up for the amount I’m supposed to get and when. It also remembers the previous amounts and calculates carb intake as well as anything else I program into it. I’m also supposed to be trying out these classes online to see what it’s all about even before I get my hands on an actual pump. Of course, there’s always the question of insurance, which is scary, but for now, I’ll take a deep breath.

When it came down to it, the nurse explained the Medtronic pump to me, with a basic explanation of how it worked with pictures and an example pump. I didn’t have to be put on the CGM again, which was cool. But the visit only inspired me to do more and continue on with my good habits, finding ways to control my diabetes even more.

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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Hospitals, Insulin, Personal, Stories, Treatments

Type III Insights: No Textbook Terminology

When you study something in a book for a few years and then try to take everything you’ve learned and apply it to a person, it’s not the same thing. People are not the same and they don’t know what to do with you. They don’t know how to talk to you and they tell you you’re doing things wrong.

Hi, my name is Christina and I’m diabetic.

I wrote the first blog on a whim, but I feel that those of you who read this need more a description of who I am. I’m not a textbook, I’m human. I don’t do things the precise way, because well, I either forget or don’t want to. We’re human. I’m human.

I doubt that you’ve read the ABOUT page, so I’m just going to tell you a bit more about myself. Since I was seven years old, I was told that I would have to check my blood sugar every day at least 3 times a day but I didn’t know why. It wasn’t until I got a doctor who yelled at me for not doing what I was told instead of explaining to me what was going on in my body, did I get on it. After that doctor, I had one who didn’t care. I didn’t have to check myself as much and so, I didn’t. I learned about things that could happen to me but I didn’t know that I could take control of my diabetes the way people drive a car.

I then found a doctor who was married to a diabetic, loved diabetes herself and told me, you have to understand what’s going on in order to fix it. Check and cover: Check your blood sugar and remember to take the amount of insulin to compensate for what you eat. I felt liberated. I could eat whatever I wanted as long as I knew how to manage and take care of my body. I remember her telling me, “You do what I tell you to do, tell me what happens and I’ll figure out what’s wrong.” I had never had a doctor like that before. The diabetic educator was that much better. Kim had been living with diabetes for over 29 years and she knew exactly what was going on in her body. She explained everything I needed to know and made me want to learn more.

I lost that doctor (hoping to get her back) because of insurance problems and recently went to see another doctor. Unlike Aleppo, this chick told me to switch to decaffeinated coffee because I told her my sugars went up when I had caffeine in my system. Aleppo just told me to take a unit or two of insulin. The differences were vast. I had gotten used to my liberation mentality and now this one was trying to keep me strict again. I had to explain to her that I knew the reason for things and that I wasn’t going to let that happen to me again.

Right now, I check my blood sugars between 7-10 times a day. I run out of strips so fast that I have to explain to my doctors what I do in order to get them to write me another prescription. When I have one strip left, I panic! I’ve learned that in order to keep control of myself, I need to know myself and checking my blood sugar is the answer to a lot of questions I have. I’m thirsty. Check blood sugar. My head hurts. Check blood sugar. I feel tired. Check blood sugar.

Sometimes, I may think I take the right amount of insulin, but I’m wrong. This is the importance of the continued checking. Or I might take too much. In order to keep control, you have to know how.

I’m not into fancy terminology. Cardiovascular, glucose, amputations. No. If we’re going to talk about that here, I’m going to tell you, “Check your blood sugar on that little machine there that goes ‘beep’ because if you don’t your sugar will go up, you’ll poison yourself, have a heart attack or get your leg chopped off. Better yet, you might just go blind, get a bunch of sores on your body and not be able to have sex any more. Eh?” At least, that way, you’ll understand what I’m telling you.

So let the flood gates open! Ask me questions. I have a lot of different stories when it comes to diabetes, so I’ll be posting them all here. I’m also going to start doing research on methodologies and things like that because everyone wants to know, and I have no answers because there not released to the public (among other things).

I’m not a doctor, nor a diabetic educator or a nurse. I’m a human, peer who lives with the same disease and disorder that millions upon millions of people live with in this country. Although I have Type I diabetes, I CAN answer questions about Type II.

Leave a comment and share this with your friends and family.

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Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Hospitals, Personal, Stories

We Can’t Find Your Vein

I have had a million and one experiences with doctors. From eye doctors to dentists, M.D.s to periodontitis, you name it and I’ve probably been there. When I was a kid, I had to get my wisdom teeth pulled because they were going to mess up the beautiful teeth my braces had already aligned and there was no way we were going to let that happen. So there I went, into the office to get them extracted. Fun.

Here’s one thing you should know. They put you under when they do that. They give you anesthesia, put you under and you don’t feel a damn thing. Here’s another thing you should know: For some ungodly reason, veins in diabetics contract. I don’t know why, it just does, which can lead to nerve damage and the like. This is when people get their limbs chopped off if they don’t take care of themselves, but let’s not talk about that. Anyway, so they’ve blamed me having virtually invisible veins on the fact that I’m diabetic. One of a million other things that they put in that category.

So, imagine this: They stick me once and can’t find the vein. Twice and they miss it again. They then move to the other arm. Nothing. Then my hand. By this time, it’s so painful that I want to scream. Tears start streaming. When you give blood usually it’s a thinner needle. Here, they’re putting stuff in you so it’s a bit wider. I am cringing as I write this out!!

They finally found it. And I was out. With a black and blue bruises, but at least I didn’t feel them.

They always check for crazy things in my system. Did you know that people who get blood work done are usually tested for about 20 different things from the amount of liver enzymes in your system to your blood sugar levels and the like? And I have to get pinched and poked for all of them. But at least I have learned throughout the years that it’s my right arm that has the best vein to stab.

A few years ago I got really sick. I was in the hospital for about a week and suffered some weird things with my liver all developing into DKA (Diabetic Keto Acidosis). This is when the sugar in your body that is not used by the cells in your system for energy, sits in your blood stream too long and eventually turns to acid, burning the crap out of your organs. Why this happened? I have no idea. None.

While in the hospital, my right arm was taken with a big, giant needle used to inject me with morphine, insulin, IV juices and the like. So when they came to draw blood, they pried, poked, and stabbed again– everywhere. By the time I was feeling better and left the hospital, I was about 20 pounds lighter with (no joke) about seven very large black and blue bruises on my arms and hands. I looked like a drug addict. It was awful.

The reason why I tell you about this, again, is to share the experiences. I’m sure there are more people who have experienced this or might have been through much worse. But here’s the beginning of a long line of stories. Questions? Leave a comment.


Filed under Diabetes, Doctors, Hospitals