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!).

Thursday, January 10, 2008

A good day

It was long over-due; but I had a good day yesterday.

“Vacation” was over Monday, but my first two days back at the clinic sucked. The heavy snow and howling wind didn’t help my mood either. But yesterday was a different story.

First of all I was swamped, always a good thing for me. If I’m focusing on other people’s troubles I don’t have time to feel sorry for myself. I also like a busy day. I actually have more energy on a busy day. Nothing wears me out more than a day with too much time on my hands.

It was pretty much back-to-back patients yesterday, with a couple of walk in pseudo-emergencies to add flavor to the day. My building was also half full of crying babies and a constant babble of Spanish. It was WIC day (Women, Infants, and Children). I host a visit from the WIC program once per month. They help low-income women with groceries and education. Between patients I can slip out of my office and play with the babies and toddlers.

It was also a day where three patients came in to report that their blood sugars were “totally whacked.” This has lead to a new diagnosis: CWBG, short for Clinically Whacked Blood Glucose, which is characterized by crazy and vexing variations in BGL.

It was good exercise for my brain. I do like a good mystery. I do like solving difficult puzzles (so long as they aren’t jig-saw puzzles which I absolutely hate!).

Anyway, since about Thanksgiving I’ve been dealing with high cancellation and no-show rates. Too much time in the office with nothing useful to do. I was beginning to feel worthless; and even though I’m not paid much, I was beginning to feel the clinic was wasting their money to pay me to sit in my office and feel sorry for myself.

My poor guilt-ridden patients just didn’t want to come in with cookie crumbs on their chins during the Carbmass season. But they are back now, and I assured them that I had been every bit as “bad” as they had been. (Had they come they’d have seen the brownie crumbs on my keyboard.) Oh well, I guess my false image as a role model is intact. Next December I going to beg Doctors without Borders to send me to Algeria or somewhere warm where I can actually be of use for the month.

But yesterday I had numerous opportunities to practice some good medicine. To make a difference. To make people feel and be better. I felt like I had a purpose once again.

It was a very good day.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

A note from a very dark space

The email read: Happy New Year, Wil! Here’s hoping yours is happy, healthy, and prosperous.

It has been none of the above. My ribs are cracked so it hurts every time I breathe. I have a three inch laceration across my left palm. I’m left handed, of course. I can’t just lie in bed ‘cause I got a head cold and I’m more miserable lying down than standing. No, I didn’t survive a plane crash or get attacked by sharks while swimming the great barrier reef. I should be so lucky.

No. These are vacation-induced home-improvement project injuries. Except the cold, and no, sadly I didn’t catch that cavorting with hookers. I got it from my wife’s little cousins at the family Christmas party.

And of course the carb-saturated environment of Christmas, along with my notorious lack of self-control have had the expected effect on my blood sugar.

Not a healthy New Year.

Neither is it prosperous. After selling everything of value that I still own on eBay in a three week marathon, I sat down to update the check book; where upon I discovered that the fucking post office had cleaned me out. Deb had been taking the dozens of packages to them for shipping. I had charged shipping to cover parcel post. The post office told Deb that Priority Mail was basically the same price.

Yeah. Right.

Not if the box is of any size at all.

Item sells for 35 dollars. I charge 10 for shipping. Post Office charges 78 to ship it. I have effectively paid 33 dollars for someone to take this item off my hands. More actually, once eBay hits me for listing it and takes their “final value” fee. Let’s not forget PayPal. They take a cut too.

It was a finical blood bath. We lost money on all most all the small stuff we sold. What about the big stuff? Well, that is a series of tragedies that still makes me too sick to talk about it, but involves shipping damage, credit card fraud, and at least one psychopath who has bombarded with bile-filled e-mails and crazy demands. And those are all separate incidents, by the way. At least I look very scholarly with all this grey hair in my beard.

On top of all of that, under the delusion we had money again, I was re-disturbing a percentage of our wealth on eBay while Deb was doing the same at Wal-Mart. When the smoke cleared we were broke and in debt to our necks again; but now with less stuff than before.

Not a prosperous New Year.

Which leaves me with happiness. Even without all the stress and crap listed above I started the end of the year in a dark space and I have stayed there. I can’t even tell you why, but I doubt I’ve ever been so depressed.

Maybe the lack of money and the fact that I’ll never earn a decent paycheck at the clinic ‘cause I don’t have the right letters after my name.

Maybe the complete lack of intimacy in my life.

Maybe because I spent the vacation downsizing my life’s work. After almost 20 years in the lab businesses it is now clear this will end badly. I moved remaining bits a pieces of equipment from four three-quarters-empty-rooms into one large one. It’ll be nice in the long run, but it was emotionally tough and stirred up lots of emotions I didn’t even know I had. Made it clear just how much I’ve lost in the last six years; and not just money, either.

Maybe because of this diabetes thing. You know I have diabetes, right?

Maybe because my insurance is so bad I’m pumpless and it doesn’t look good for the CGM once the current sensors are used up. A mixed blessing, I’ve had a lot of really crappy sensors lately. Looks like MedT is having trouble up-scaling production while keep a hold of quality.




Well, just… Not a Happy New Year.