Alright blogland, I have been MIA lately and there has been a lot going on. I will give you the crash update through everything so I can get to some big (for me at least) news! I have been fighting a slew of different colds and things pretty much all winter- nothing too scary a few days in the 300’s on and off but nothing more than moderate ketones and everything responded fairly well to insulin etc etc. Right now I am pretty sure I am bordering on a sinus infection which is a huge bummer and a pain in the ass but again I am muddling through it. <– I feel this deserves a little explanation. I should go to the doctor and get some antibiotics to help with this but this is the real world and I don’t have insurance (or a job currently) so I don’t really go to the doctor, other than for my diabetes. The diabetes center here knows I can’t pay so they just add it to my tab (bill me).
I had some work on and off. I returned to an old job at the local ski area for the February vacation rush teaching alpine ski lessons. Judah went to work with Marshall on these days and it became very apparent to me how much I really do depend on him for the best control. Obviously teaching ski lessons is a lot of work, particularly when working with beginners and children who need a lot of physical interaction to learn the mechanics and sensations that give the best control. In other words, I was low a lot. I went through several tubes of glucose tablets, several bottles of liquid glucose, at least an entire box of capri sun, granola bars, and oodles of candy during that week. I tried adjusting my basal rates only to have highs at night followed by lows all day. One day I even ended up in ski patrol (I walked in on my own power, but it was low power), for nearly two hours trying to correct a low that wouldn’t give. After 60g of fast acting carbs a friend on ski patrol (who informed everyone on the mountain if I needed help he was to be informed- he’s also an EMT) insisted that I eat a HUGE PB sandwich and drink a 16 oz. glass of orange juice with no bolus. I thought he was crazy… but I’ll be honest felt like shit and gave in. I never spiked from all that carb intake, not at all, went up to 125 mg/dl I think. All I have to say is I am glad that he treated the way he did because I never would have done that and clearly it’s exactly what I needed. Everyone just kept telling me, “You need a pump, you’ll do much better with a pump.” Now in all honesty, what the hell do they know?! Do they do what I do every day…? However, I completely understand that these are meant to be encouraging words. The only reason they even know what an insulin pump is in most cases is because one of the girls who works in the ski school has one! (Super cool to be able to chat with another T1D)
The following week I spent four days house/pet sitting for some friends and Judah didn’t jive with their dogs (honestly, he was a jerk. I am pretty sure that it was because I was having a BAD day and he felt the need to protect, but none the less- totally inappropriate.) and he stayed with my parents (along with the other two dogs) and Marshall stayed with me (to babysit me every night). I was high for most of this time, 200’s & 300’s, and again noticed that Judah is a very important part of my control.
Well, last week I had a doctor’s appointment at the diabetes center. I went to the office and had all the normal pre-visit finger stick test and what not and then went into the exam room and waited. Well it wasn’t Doc. Smile who came in, it was someone knew, with a young someone else in tow. New Doc. (actually nurse practitioner CDE and a few other letter I don’t know what they mean) had a more extroverted personality than Doc. Smile and I immediately knew I liked her. The truth is I knew this because I was sitting in the waiting room when she first entered the office that morning and she hurried by with her lab coat on a hanger slung over her shoulder, pulling a wheely case with things stacked on top of it. Then she slowly came back into the door way without her wheely case and smiled at Judah, who was laying on the floor. She told me that he was beautiful and I offered to let her pet him. She did and commented on what a nice and handsome guy he was, well- I was sold.
After talking to New Doc. and having a much more conversational type relationship right off the bat (love that!) and telling her the reader’s digest version of my whole diagnosis story, I presented her with a form from Omni Pod. I was looking into finding assistance with getting an insulin pump through an assistance program or something. Well New Doc. informed me that if I was totally sold on the Omni Pod then she would fill out the paper work, but that she liked some other pumps better. I explained there were two reasons for my interest in the Omni Pod; water proof (most of my summer is spent in the water) and the fact that they might (possibly) be able to help me financially. Well New Doc. informed me that disconnecting for activities is totally do-able and that briefly reconnecting to administer a bolus is an easy way to get around that. Next she told me the one thing that would quickly and easily change my mind, “It’s not a very green piece of equipment, I mean you throw away one of those pods every three days and it has 4 batteries in it, as well as a bunch of other little parts and pieces…” How did she walk in here knowing exactly what to say?! Well let’s face it, I’m a hippie at heart and always have been- so she got me on that one…
Not that the idea of an insulin pump is a “green” idea, there is a lot of material and packaging that gets thrown out all the time, but if I can do my small part to minimize the diabetes paraphernalia entering the trash I will. This is when I confessed, “I just don’t have any health coverage and I feel like the pump is the missing link in my treatment program right now. I want and need the flexibility to be active, or not. I need to be able to NOT eat when I am not hungry instead of knowing I’ll crash if I don’t and doing it anyway…” So just like that my pump dreams were dashed… or perhaps not.
“Well, what if I told you I have some donated insulin pumps, one that’s still in it’s original box?”
“That sounds amazing but I also have to consider the cost of supplies, I’m really not in a position to add to my costs.”
“I have supplies too, a lot of them.”
“Well, what do I have to do?”
“Can you come back next Thursday?”
I was totally in shock, “Yeah…”
“Alright well you come back next Thursday and we’ll hook you up. Let me make sure that I have a two hour appointment.”
Just like that she whisked out of the room only to return moments later telling me that in fact I would be getting a pump on Thursday! It’s now Wednesday afternoon and I am so excited I doubt whether I will sleep much if at all tonight. The truth is I wasn’t expecting to be able to get my hands on a pump until after I found a job with insurance coverage, this was the most pleasant surprise I have had in a really long time (other than the tulips Marshall brought me last week!).
Not only did I walk out of that appointment with the promise of an insulin pump in my near future but I left with more information and ideas than every other appointment I have had since diagnosis combined. I think Doc. Smile was so worried about overwhelming me that perhaps she wasn’t as open with me as I think she could have been. New Doc. had a real life story or example about everything I had experienced or asked about and she was totally willing to call out the weaknesses in the system, the D community, and the medical professionals out in the world. It was refreshing and exciting. I don’t think I have even once been excited about going to a doctor’s appointment, never mind a D appointment, but I can’t wait to see New Doc. again! Of course the promise of a pump helps with that, but I found her honesty and humor totally infectious and it made me feel better about like with T1D- that is certainly a first.
Marshall isn’t as excited about the prospect of the pump as I am. The thought of malfunctions terrifies him (and me) and now he has a whole bunch of new shit to learn. I will say this for him however, he is definitely in. He wants me to get on the pump because he knows it is what I want. Although he will have a new piece of equipment to use and a whole new process to learn when it comes to taking care of me I think that he knows this little piece of equipment will bring me one step closer to “normal” (whatever that is).
So tomorrow at 1pm I will enter the world of insulin pumpers, and I can’t wait!