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!).

Friday, September 12, 2008

Why I had to buy cargo pants

So I have a new look, function dictating form this time. Here is how it happened.

Where to start? OK, nurses wear scrubs. The paramedics wear black pants with 2,000 pockets, combat boots and caduceus-emblazoned blue T-shirts. The Doctors wear white lab coats (sometimes hiding Hawaiian beach shirts underneath). I recently learned that the length of the lab coat signifies status. The longer it is, the greater the status. Med students get waist-length coats at their “coating” ceremony and get the longer ones on graduation. Hmmmm…no doubt a legacy of the penis-size approach to medicine of the AMA.

But what do un-certified diabetes educators wear?

It probably sounds silly. And it’s no doubt a vanity, but I’ve struggled with this for two years. We are generally a blue-jeans part of the world. And I’m under strict orders to never wear a tie at the clinic. Our medical director wants to keep us part of the community, not set ourselves apart from it.

Last December I got really depressed ‘cause no one wanted to come see me. After all, who the hell wants to see their diabetes educator at Carb-mass? So I sat in my office and ate brownies and felt sorry for myself all month long. During that period I tried wearing a sport coat to make myself feel more professional. It back fired when I was unable to connect with a very young, very poor kid who had just been Dx’d. A white guy who looks like a college professor was not what he needed at that moment.

So thanks to Wal-Mart, this spring and summer I’ve been wearing various muted colors of pseudo-safari shirts. Something like what UN aid workers in Darfur might be wearing. Cotton canvas, with roll up sleeves that button mid-bicep if I take the time to carefully roll up the cuffs, which I generally don’t. Interesting chest pockets for stuff I don’t carry. No epaulets, thank God, that would be just tooooooo much. I’ve got ever-so-pale grey, ever-so-pale green, ever-so-pale blue, and several colors of ever-so-pale earth-tones from adobe to nearly white with khaki in-between.

So before the story goes on I have to make a confession. I did something a bit unethical. How big a sin it is I’ll leave up to you. Shortly after the dummy OmniPod incident I mentioned last week their rep came calling. So I said something like I couldn’t possibly recommend a device this different to my patients unless I tried it out myself first…

And they said: “No problem, what are you doing Wednesday?”

And just like that I was pumping again. Pumping tubeless. I asked for, and received, six weeks worth of pods. I chose six weeks because that is the minimum amount of time to be fair to a device. Sometimes you have a great honeymoon and a lousy marriage. Other times you have a lousy honeymoon and a great marriage. Six weeks gives you time to work out bugs or recover from blinding euphoria.

So after much back and forth and discussions with Debbie, we decided together that it was unethical for me to blog my experiences starting out on the system. I did not buy it. It was not loaned to me for review. It was loaned to me to experience and decide if it has value for my patients, which it does. We’ve scripted out three of them so far and I called various colleagues and said “don’t script any pumps until we can talk. Everything has changed.”

But as regular readers know, I can find plenty of fault with even the best-engineered of devices. The same is true of the OmniPod. It does have its problems and issues, but they are far, far, far, far out-weighed by its advantages. I believe that in time all pumps will be tubeless or extinct.

Bottom line: the OmniPod is a very diabetic-friendly device. And I’m getting one of my very own as soon as our new health insurance kicks in (more on that in some future post).

Nuff said on that. Back to pants. So my loaner pump’s case is the one that carries the test strips and stuff you also need. It’s a bit large and has a Velcro strap to attach to your belt. One-half-of-a-square-inch of Velcro. As I already have my trusty Guardian on my waist I wore the OmniPod case over my wallet on the small of my back. Made me a nervous wreck for two days. I didn’t want to lose an insulin pump that did not belong to me. It was also less than comfortable in the car too.

On the weekend I drove to Wal-Mart in search of cargo pants. I expected them to look baggy and awful, but for now….

Actually, I found a line by Wrangler that have a nice cut. Seventeen bucks. They come in dark tan, light tan, black, and pale grey camo. They fit great in the waist, my butt looks pretty good if I say so myself, and they are very comfy to wear. By shear coincidence, they look perfect with my UN Aid worker shirts. Maybe this is how uncertified diabetes educators look.

I was pretty happy. At first. Now I love boots. But they do not love me. Especially when my sugar is doing the funky-chicken dance, I get horrible foot cramps. I’ve noticed these are worse when I wear boots; so as much as I hate them, I wear tennis shoes. Tennis shoes with blue jeans make you a 60% fashion victim, which I can live with. Tennis shoes with cargo pants make you a 95% fashion victim.

Deb said: “You look like a dufus.”

Ouch. When your own wife thinks you look like a dufus, you are in trouble.

Deb looked me up-and-down critically and said, “I think loafers might do the trick, I’ll check Zappos on the internet for you.”

Of course, that would involve shipping time, forcing me to either pony up nearly as much as the shoes cost for overnight shipping or looking like a dufus for a week. Plus they might not fit right or be uncomfortable or…

On my way home from work I detoured 20 miles in the wrong direction to Famous Footwear; located conveniently across the street from Starbucks.

There were an abundance to choose from. At the checkout counter I told the girl, My fashion consultant isn’t with me today. If my wife hates them can I return them?

“Sure, so long as they aren’t worn outside you can return them in 30 days.”

My wife says I look like a dufus in cargo pants and tennis shoes.

“You’re wife said that to you? Wow, that’s harsh.”

Of course now that fall is nipping at our heals it will soon be time for light jackets to fight the morning chill. Ut-oh. Will my baggy photo-J coats make me look like a dufus with my cargo pants?

Where the hell was that Burlington Coat Factory again?


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with the shoe store girl: That's harsh. My kids don't always like what I wear- like crocs, fanny pack,or visor.It is not all the time, and I am not trying to make a fashion statement. I missed the photo on this one.

7:23 PM  

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