LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Monday, September 17, 2007

B-days are Bad days

I know that today my blood sugar will be suboptimal, even if I still had the pump. And I haven’t even gotten out of bed yet. You see, today is the all-staff meeting and celebration of September B-Days.

It’ll be a sugar fest.

Turns out that there are an unusually large number of folks born in September working at the clinic. “I had no idea I was surrounded by Virgos,” muttered E as we headed to the car after work last week, “but this explains a lot.”

Yeah, I’m one of the Virgos, I doubt anyone will be surprised by that. And before you ask, a pair of fours this year.

I check my blood sugar with a fingerstick, enter it into the Guardian, then swing my feet to the floor. The carpet is cold on my bare toes. Autumn is coming and the nights are getting cold. I get an alarm. Cal Error which stands for Calibration Error. The signal strength is too low to match up with the BGL I just entered. Damn. The pathetic thing is, the Guardian was with in a few points of the fingerstick. I try again and get another cal error, followed by a "replace sensor" message. Damn. I’ve had really, really, really bad luck on this sensor lot. The first one out of the box…. Well, I was taking my underwear off to jump in the shower and somehow the band caught the IV3000 and I pulled the transmitter and the sensor out in one fell swoop. Made me sick to my stomach. I guess I’m not the type of guy who could ever light a cigar with a 100 dollar bill. It served less than a day and was pretty far off the entire time. Double damn.

The next one ran erratic for the first half of it’s life and now this. I sigh and get another sensor out of the fridge, turn on my coffee pot, take my Synthroid, and jump into the shower. The smell of brewing Rift Valley blend fills the house.

Skin still soft from the shower to the point I’m dripping on the kitchen floor, I open the shrink wrap and take the clearpurpleishgrey sensor from the bag. I slip cover off the insertion needle and pull the front adhesive off. I pinch up some flesh on my left leg and rest the needle on my skin. I slowly push the needle through the skin and a wave of pain cascades across my leg. Fuck! I snap the needle back out of my leg. Damn, musta hit a nerve. I move over a few inches and try again, but now my skin is hyper sensitive. The needle isn’t even in a 16th of an inch and the pain is too great to continue. I try twice more in different locations. No go. Now four small holes are oozing blood.

I switch to the right leg. I rest the needle on the skin, gather up my courage and ram in the needle up to the hilt in one steady un-stoppable motion. It’s in.

I whip the back adhesive off and suddenly a new wave of pain, the worst yet, sweeps over me. Hastily, I pull out the inserter needle, leaving only the sensor behind. The pain fades to a dull throb. Not my morning. Usually these things don’t hurt at all.

Major pain until the needle comes out is the sure sign of a crooked sensor. We’ll see what happens. Pumpless, new therapy, and now headed off for a 12.5 hour day unsure how the sensor will work…. On cake day at that. Some days it just doesn’t pay to get out of bed.

To add insult to cake, my Pfizer rep shows up at the clinic mid-morning with a Starbucks traveling jug and boxes of goodies for all. The excursion starts out like the Alps, rounds off, and turns into a perfect bell curve. The combination of Humalog and expert carb counting wins the day.

Oh yeah. I think I forgot to mention I switched to Humalog from Novolog yesterday. I haven’t been all that happy with the response I’ve been getting to the Novo, even though I’ve used it both in shots and later in the pumps since the beginning of my diabetic career.

That said, the Novolog just isn’t working well for me anymore. Excursions followed by crashes. I was having this problem pumping too, the last couple of months. Despite the universal free availably of Novolog I decided to try one of the few sample pens of Humalog I’ve been able to get my hands on. Too early to tell, but it preformed like a champ today.

The Lilly disposable pen for Humalog is more elegant looking than Novo’s Flexpen. It has a white barrel with a grey cap large enough to carry the disconnected but still re-usable disposable pen needle in. Nice. Slightly larger in diameter than the flex pen, but small enough to be convenient and discrete to carry. Somehow is has a higher quality esthetic to it that’s hard to put my finger on. Flexpens look a bit like low-end highlighter pens. The Lilly pens look more like a fine fountain pen. Also nice is a little built in magnifying glass that makes the dosing numbers larger for those whose eyes aren’t getting younger.

While also not a Swiss Watch, the movement is noticeably smoother than Novo’s pen. On the down side, however, is the madding necessity of an extra operational step. You must first spin the dial 360 degrees, pull the base away from the body of the pen and then dial in your selected dose. Drives me crazy and I’ve only taken a handful of shots with it.

Anyway, as I bounce up my unimproved and declining drive way at the end of the day, I’m quite smug that I rode out two kinds of cake and Starbucks goodies with only a relatively short term excursion that was landed promptly with no hypos and only one correction.

I put the Accord in park and toot the horn Navajo-fashion to let the family know I’m home. The door flies open as I get out of the car and stretch my weary body. The sun is going down and I left before it crested the mesa to the east. “Daddy’s home! Daddy’s home!” as Rio dashes out onto the porch the smell of Debbie’s homemade pizza crust drifts out the door from the kitchen and I know that no amount of clever carb counting or high tech insulin will save me from the end of the day excursion that lays ahead of me.


Anonymous RichW said...

How dull life would be if we weren’t diabetic.

9:22 AM  

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