Tag Archives: Medtronic

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

Diabetes Melodies

So the other day, my boyfriend was looking up videos about diabetes and came up with a few good ones. I want to share them here because I’m being lazy and really, I have nothing to write about just yet. I plan on getting my HbA1c tested next Saturday and I’m still writing down everything I’m eating and calculating the appropriate carbohydrates.

Yesterday I woke up with a blood glucose of 491. Pump fail. I should have known something was up when I first put the pump on because it said I had less than I really did. Not mention the night before last my blood sugar wouldn’t come down. It was scary to say the least and I slept a lot while constantly checking my blood sugar, drinking water and taking insulin. I checked my ketone level, of which the strip said I only had a trace so I was ok with that. But man, it was scary. I didn’t know what to do and I wanted to rip the pump out and give myself a shot. I changed the pump and it all worked out, thank God.

Anyway, moving on. My sugar reading for dinner was 75. Slightly low, but I had been getting hungry and didn’t eat much in the morning. Needless to say, I definitely enjoyed my dinner.

So here are the two videos that my boyfriend found that I thought were hilariously awesome and decided I should share with you, my fabulous readers. Let me know what you think, si?

My favorite line: “I’m a Type 1, son!”

This one is more for the Type 2 kats out there but nonetheless, still good information to know. I don’t have a favorite line for this one, but loved exaggerated corniness of it!

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Filed under Complications, Diabetes, Doctors, Health, Stories

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