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!).

Saturday, August 18, 2007

There’s no such thing as a free lunch

So we have a new family member. She has the most stunning blue eyes you’ve ever seen. She cries a bit, of course, but she’s still so little. Wonderful, silky hair. Long tail. Yes, we’ve been adopted by a cat.

So I’m not quite sure if I’m a great humanitarian or a cat-napper. I’ll tell you the story and you can all vote via comments: great guy or cat-stealing criminal.

The cat showed up a week or two ago at my mother-in-law’s house. Tiny little thing. Came to her door and “cried” until Mickey (short for Mariquita) broke down and fed her some scraps. Pretty soon the cat was around more hours of the day than not.

The cat also kept trying to get in. Mickey wasn’t going to stand for that. The cat almost tripped her too, as she was carrying out her trash, weaving between Mickey’s legs in that anaconda-like way skinny cats can do.

At first I didn’t give the cat too much thought, I didn’t know if it was a stray or a mooching visitor. That is I didn’t give it too much thought until Mick told me she’ fed the cat fideos and the cat went crazy for them and ate all the leftovers. Fideos, a local recipe, is spaghetti fried in a thin tomato sauce. Cats, to the best of my knowledge, don’t generally eat pasta. This, I realized, was one hungry cat. Out of the blue I decided I should take the cat home with me.

Then I remembered that I have a WIFE. Then Rio asked if he could have the cat. I gave him one of those, ‘probably not but we’ll see’ kind of answers. The next morning Deb came in and said, “I’ve been thinking about that cat…”

So off we went to PetSmart. I read that Pet spending last year topped 38 billion (yes, with a B). Now I know why.

Our mission: cat food, litter box, litter. Simple. Cheap.

PetSmart is bigger than your average grocery store, but smaller than a Wal-Mart. They have four aisles dedicated to Cats. Shopping for a Cat is like shopping for baby clothes. If you aren’t careful you can very easily spend all the money in your checking account. And like with babies and small children, the cat will most likely be more delighted with the box than what came in it.

So about 45 minutes into our ten minute errand at PetSmart I heard a funny noise. Beeeeeeep! Kinda like the noise a cell phone makes when the battery is dying. I checked my cell phone to find I had left it in the car again. Damn! Beeeeeeep! OK, so it can’t my cell phone, oh, wait a minute, it’s the new girl!

I slide the Guardian out of her plastic belt holster with a satisfying cliiithunk. The BG graph is missing. Instead it says “Low Predicted.” Ah hah! Magic in action.

I’m sure a few readers ears have perked up: did you say it beeped loud enough to be heard? Well, yes and no.

I’ve found that recently I’ve been sleeping right through the vibrations of my various devices, not waking up until the audio backup alarms kick in. Seems I’m more sensitive to waking up to noise right now. New Girl has more voice that ParaPump, but not by much. A far cry from the earth-shattering, every-one-in-the-room-turns-to-look alarms of the original Girl.

Side note: my contacts at MedT tell me the problem is in waterproofing. Keeping water out tends to keep sound in. While MedT products aren’t rated for scuba diving, they are designed to survive short accidental submersions. I’ve actually been accidentally submerged at least twice in my life; both while working as a photojournalist. The first time I didn’t lose any gear but damn near lost my life. In a split second I decided to forgo the guaranteed Pulitzer Prize winning photo, abandon my gear and dive into a flood to save another human being. Makes me a poor journalist but a pretty good person. I can live with that. The second time I went down with a full camera bag of Nikon bodies, lenses, flash, and police scanner. None of the above survived.

So my first thought was screw the waterproofing, give me a loud alarm. Then I thought about my encounters with water, and then I thought about my friend Erin, whose pager fell off her belt and got flushed down a toilet. On her first day on the job. Kid you not.

I’d be pretty pissed if my Guardian fell in a toilet and short circuited. Still, there’s some pretty smart folks at MedT. I’m betting there is a way to keep water out without keeping sound in. For starters they could make the device beep and vibrate at the same time. That would help.

So anyway, deep in PetSmart didn’t seem the place to test how accurate the predicted low alarm is. I calmly ate a cherry slice while contemplating cat nip toys and flea collars. Thus with early interdiction, the predicted low never came to pass. Not a bad thing.

It’s also worth mentioning that there was no panic-induced overeating to create a rebound hyper. Warning, Action, Smooth end of potential problem. A guy could get use to this.

So low averted, my free cat cost me $94.83. Mind you the cat hasn’t even come home with us yet. The break down went like this:
Food dispenser: $ 9.99
Water dispenser: $ 9.99
Cat food (dry): $ 9.99
Four cans wet cat food: $ 3.08
Litter Box, covered, with filter (but not the $149.99 self cleaning model): $ 15.99
Litter (poor first choice, but that’s a story for another day that I probably won’t ever tell): $ 3.99
Small toy with wire cage and bell: $ 1.99
Flea collar (just in-case): $ 7.99
Cat-nip stuffed teddy bear (guess who insisted on that?): $ 4.99
Scratchy pad: $ 3.99
Radio Controlled Mouse (if it keeps both Rio and the cat entertained it’s a bargain): $ 14.99
Tax: $ 6.85

Oh yeah, plus a $1 donation at the cash register to JAB…some sort of homeless pet outfit. Like who’s gonna say “No” to that????

We got home late at night and the cat was waiting. I had her in my mind as barley more that a kitten. She was quite shy at first, avoiding most human contact. Mickey had picked her up on a few occasions so she scooped her up and put her in the car. The poor cat rocketed all over the interior. Top of rear seat. Dash board. On top of my head. She’d probably never been in a car before. But we all made it home OK.

Twenty four hours later Kaki is sitting in my lap purring and grooming my arm hair with her tongue. We’ve all settled in amazing quickly. She’s actually not a kitten at all. Her fur is perfect. Shinny and smooth. Not what you’d expect from a stray. She’s long, maybe two feet nose to tail. She weighs nothing. You can feel her shoulders and ribs when you pet her. Shy at first, she is now very affectionate with the whole family.

I may be a cat-napper, but given her weight, if she wasn’t a stray she was at the very least neglected to the point of abuse. She’s now in a loving home with shelter, food, water, and even some much appreciated milk. I’m not feeling too much guilt.

My mother was surprised when I told her the story. “Aren’t Siamese cats very expensive?” she asked, “How did one come to be a stray?” Well, disregard for cats and dogs runs sooooooooo deep in Northern New Mexico I’ve twice seen veterinarians cry. No shit.

So more on my new family member. She’ll jump up on your lap or the couch, but thankfully shows no interest in counter tops, spending most of her time on the floor. Sleeps under one of our beds. (I was frantic the first morning when I could find no trace of her in the house when I got up). She’s very vocal. During the day, despite all the nice soft places to sleep she seems to prefer the magazine shelf of our mission-style coffee table.

And lucky for us all, she shows no interest in infusion set tubing, unlike the cat of one of my dearest pumping-blogging-cat-owning-friends.

Not free, but worth every penny. Sort of like Continuous Glucose Monitoring. Well, there’s no such thing as a free lunch.


Blogger Lili said...

I have to warn you - over the counter flea products can be toxic to cats, especially the flea collars. If your cat needs flea treatment, a prescription product is a much safer (and more effective) option.

6:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My cats LOVE their catnip stuffed teddy bear!!

I get the 35 lb. containers of exquisite-cat (sp?) Fresh Scent at Petsmart. Works well for me!

6:34 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wil...What's the cherry slice you took for treating the predicted low?

1:38 PM  
Blogger Major Bedhead said...


I used to have a Siamese. She was a great cat - loved us to pieces, but wasn't so fond of other people.

You might want to take her to the vet to see if she's been fixed, too. A Siamese in heat is one VERY LOUD creature.

7:51 PM  
Blogger ..M.. said...

Just another mention of the basic flea treatments. I wont touch flea collars or supermarket stuff since I read about it causing all sorts of trouble to cats.

Epileptic style fits is one common symptom apparently. Wish we'd known earlier... We lost a cat due to a reaction to a collar and powder :( :( Also wish they'd give pets the respect they deserve and test things properly! It's bad enough what they give humans, but pets really get the rough stuff.

Also, most cats are lactose intolerant - watch out for that milk! Proper kitty milk is probably ok if your cat really fancies milk, but cows milk and cats don't mix.

Ah now this reads like a lecture! And all on what I think is my first ever comment on your blog... apologies!

Lastly.... congrats! Enjoy the new family member :) Welcome to the ever growing list of D bloggers with puddy tats! Pictures please :) If you haven't come across, now's the time to check it out. Cat lover's heaven :)

5:12 AM  

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