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

My Photo
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!).

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Insulin pump Alzheimer’s

See anything wrong with these two pictures?

In exhibit A, you’ll see the frickin’ tSlim is showing that there is 0.73 units of insulin “on board,” with a three hour and 34 minute active curve. So I must have taken SOME insulin today.

However, in exhibit B, you’ll see the pump has no memory of this. Or any other insulin today. Or any in the last week. Or in the last two weeks. Or even in the last month.

In the history section of the pump there is NOTHING. The delivery summary, bolus, basal, load, and BG history screens all say “no recent events” or “n/a.” The stupid pump has no recollection of anything that happened since I hooked her back up post-Snap. Apparently my pump can’t even remember being born.


My first clue as to what happened was in the alarm history, where I have a “Data Error Alert number 4” Message. The Complete History menu adds one little tidbit. Right before that data error there’s another alarm that says the pump’s data log was corrupted.

Lovely. Just fucking lovely. 

Of course, in the back of my mind I can’t help but wonder what else might have been corrupted at the same time.

Checking the manual, on page 124, I’m told that this alarm happens when the pump  “encounters” a “condition” that “causes a potential loss of data.” Ya think? The manual helpfully suggests I make sure the data in my personal profile is “accurate” after getting such an alarm. You know, all those little things like how much insulin the pump is delivering into my body and such. Of course, when was the last time any of you wrote down your pump settings?

So I call Tandem.

And I work my way through the automated “press 1 if…” menus. And after a time I actually get a perfectly lovely human being who is one of us.

And after giving her my pump’s serial number and answering the typical 20-questions she tells me she’s never heard of such a thing and puts me on hold to check with the higher-ups.

Tandem has quite excellent planetarium-style hold music.

In the end I’m told that what’s happened is “quite odd,” and that my human’s supervisor had only heard of it happening one other time, “back in the early days.”

Uh... Wait a minute.

How long has this pump been around? Does something so new qualify for even having “early days?” To me early days is Wyatt Earp, the Wright Flyer, or maybe Sputnik. But not last year.

Anyway, of course, they want the pump back for analysis and will send me a replacement. Deja-Medtroinc. Long time readers will know what I'm talking about. Will I keep wearing this pump until the reinforcements show up? No. Not this time.

Truth be told, I was taking it off when the lightning struck. Driven insane by the number of “are you sure” screens between me and my insulin, I had decided to whip out my pen and my RapidCalc Ap again for a time. I was trying to look up my daily basal totals to calculate a Levemir shot for this evening, when the pump crapped out on me.

I don’t know if that’s a good omen or a bad omen--but I guess it’s good timing.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Manview: What it feels like to be accused of sexual harassment

Male employee to female coworker of equal status: “Hey, I like your outfit today. It looks really cute on you.”

Is this sexual harassment?

Maybe so. Maybe not. It depends on where the woman’s head is at, right? She might be delighted that anyone noticed her new duds. She might be pleased someone found her cute. On the other hand, she might find it mildly unprofessional. Or she might feel objectified and be totally fucking outraged that the male coworker is looking at her body. She might even take it as a sexual come-on. And how she’d take the same comment might change from one day to the next depending on what else is going on in her life. And, of course, she might be happy to get the compliment from one male coworker and not so pleased to receive it from another.

This is why some people believe that men and women shouldn’t be allowed to work together. This week, I might just agree with that line of thinking.

Why? Because apparently something I said to someone at some point over the past 12 months so upset that person that they filed a grievance against me for the “use of sexually harassing language.” Mind you, no one bothered to tell me about it at the time. Whoever it was never spoke to me about it. No one in management ever asked me about her (or his, I suppose) allegation. But the human resources department at one of the organizations that I used to work for under contract dutifully filed the report away, and come contract renewal time it was decided that I was more out of control than Bob Filner, Anthony Weiner, Bob Packwood and the Boys from Tailhook combined, and they declined to rehire me.

Poof!  Five year’s work gone. No due process. No chance to respond. It’s not even she-said, he-said. I never got a say at all.

Now I confess: I have a foul mouth. Maybe that insulted someone. And I’m told that I flirt as easily as a breathe, without even really being aware that I’m doing it. Maybe someone took it the wrong way. I don’t know, but the whole incident has left me in a dark place

It’s ironic, in general, other men don’t like to spend time with me as they say I’m too much of a feminist. I love and respect women and enjoy their minds, their hearts, and their company. Most of my friends are women. I certainly don’t perceive myself as a sexually harassing kind of man. In fact, the thought horrifies me. Sexual harassment, as I always thought of it, is just one step away from rape.

Of course, it might be all smoke and mirrors. Maybe I didn’t say anything that upset anyone at all. Maybe one of those licensed people who has issues with people like me in healthcare saw a way to get my unlicensed ass out of the picture by knowing how the system works, and laid a cleaver trap.

I’ll never know, and I’m left not knowing if I’m a worse person than I perceive I am—or if I’m the victim of miscommunication, misperception, or character assassination. And I feel worse than awful about the fact that regardless of “facts,” there’s a possibility that I actually made some one feel harassed. I didn’t mean to harass anyone, but I realize that someone else’s reality may be different from mine. Like the example I started off with, I don’t consider a compliment to be a harassment—but the complementee may view it differently.

So I’m out a big piece of my family income without ever having the opportunity to defend myself. But that’s not the worst part. The worst part is that I can no longer do some of the work that I loved and excelled at because no one bothered to find out what this was about, to clarify it, find out the facts, and if necessary, make me aware of it so that if I was treating someone else in a way that made them uncomfortable I could go forward acting differently around them.

Or maybe that’s not the worst part, either.

No, the worst part is what this has done to my soul. I’ll never know what really happened. Now I’m questioning myself about what kind of person I really am, and how other people see me.

That’s the worst part.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Oh, snap! No Snap for me!

I wore the final Snap body I was given as part of my review to nearly the last drop of insulin. With 2.3 units of insulin left in the penfill, and stranded in Lake Havasu, Arizona, in 117 degree heat (a long story I don’t want to talk about), I threw in the towel and got my tslim back out.

The fancy-pants touch screen pump had been placed in “stasis” weeks before to keep it from driving me bonkers alarming all the time. But now, with a potential diabetes emergency looming, I couldn’t get the little fucker to come back out of its induced coma.

Yeah. I had a backup flex pen of Humalog with me.

And, yeah, I had a vial of Novolog with at least one syringe. But clearly, this wasn’t going to be any fun.

With my iPad Mini screaming at me (in red letters) that I needed to plug in at once, and with no plug in sight, I frantically emailed SOS calls to everyone I knew at Tandem.

Of course, despite drilling the fact into all my pumping patients, it never occurred to me to just call the friggin’ helpline number on the back of the pump.

Luckily for me, my final message got through, and Craig Crease, Tandem’s chief sales dude for the Western United States, emailed instructions to my wife, who was able to reach me on my cell before it’s battery died too. He told me what to do to wake the pump back up. He also (paraphrasing) asked why the F I didn’t just call the helpline? And he was also a gentleman and restrained himself from saying it served me right for being a traitor and going off to date another pump for six weeks.

So how does it feel to be back on the Tandem after a break? Actually, not as bad as I thought it would be. Its heavier. Its slower to use for every operation. And much, much slower to load, and I have to refill it more often. On the bright side, it is a bit sexier. Would I rather be Snapping? You bet your ass I would. But that’s not to be my fate.

I tried to get my insurance to cover the Snap, but the Asante folks don’t have any relationships with New Mexico insurance plans at this time. They will “get to” me, but “it will likely not be for a bit.” Read that as a couple of years. Then they gave me the address to send the loaner controller back to.

So I’ll miss “my” Snap. It was the first pump I’ve actually liked since the CoZmo. Even though it has some faults, it is simple and fast to use, and it made my hectic, pathetic life just a tiny bit better.

But as well all know, life with diabetes sucks. And that’s all there is to it.