Show and Tell

I recently recieved a phone call from a little 6 year old voice.  It was excited but nervous and I could hear each little breath catch as it was drawn in, “Hi, Auntie Em- this is D-man*.  Could Judah and um, and you come to my school… uh on Friday?  For my show and tell?  Mommy will pick me up…”  Now I can hear my sister in the bakground, “No, tell her, ‘My mommy will pick you up’ “

“My mommy will pick me up…”

“No D-man, ‘pick you up’.”

“That’s what I said, ‘pick me up’.”  Then my sister laughed and picked up the phone, “Hi Em.  Did you get that?”

“Yes, that’s fine.  I’m in, see you Friday.”

So Friday came and we headed to the school.  Now, this was a little bit of an unfair situation for Judah.  I have a terrible back problem and it’s been flaring up pretty severly lately (The result of a nasty ski crash when I was 13, additionally I’ve gained weight recently and added too much stress on it I’m  sure…).  Needless to say Judah hasn’t had enough exercise lately.  That coupled with the fact that I have been learning about the pump (definite learning curve…) and testing A LOT trying to see the exact patterns (I begin to get more and more interested in a CGM, I want to see the graph!) I haven’t been doing much training with him either.  Now, I am going to take him to a kindergarden class.  Oh, boy…

He was actually pretty good.  Excited, certainly but he did alright considering he was sitting in the circle on the floor with the kids.  (As a matter of fact we were sitting between D-man and a little girl whose parents I am good friends with, so he knew her too.)  He was fidgety and wanted to go see the guinea pig on the other side of the room (the last time we were there, he really didn’t care that the guinea pig was there) but he wasn’t crazy.  He did his tricks, he let the kids pet him and was a doll even as they stepped on his tail and fought over who could touch the soft part of his ears.

Well it turns out that we were in for a little more of an adventure, we ended up in two more classrooms and Judah got loves from A LOT of kids that day.  He was a pretty happy husky, even when an entire third grade class engulfed him at once for petting.  He sat there with his head back, eyes closed and a big husky smile of his face.  He wasn’t perfect- at least not by my standards but he was GREAT and it was a great tool to teach.  I gave a brief and simple explaination of diabetes, showed them my insulin pump, explained why I took insulin, how I could get sick if I had too much or not enough sugar in my blood, what Judah does for me.  I explained how to behave when you see service dogs in public, why you behave that way.  Covered a lot of stuff briefly but managed to not lose anyone’s interest before I answered questions.

It was a very fun day.  After the third classroom Judah was a bit over stimulated but held himself together until I released him from ‘work’ at the car and he bathed my nephews in kisses.  It was a good day for all involved I think-  I hope to do more of it in the near future. 🙂


Education Never Ends

I have wanted to be posting here so much!  Learning how to use the pump has been quite an adventure and I have wanted to share my journey but I am struggling with a back issue (chronic problem, having a ‘flare up’ you might say) and it makes it hard for me to sit for very long (or lay, or stand… or breathe, or move- you get the point).  So typing at the computer for any length of time is pretty much laughable at this point (I am writing this post in little steps and then posting it when it is finished).

My numbers have been running a little higher than I have liked since switching to the pump (though they say high is better than low) but I am slowly working my way back to where I want to be.  I exchanged e-mails with Pump Doc (this is officially “new doc’s” name, she is a serious authority on this stuff and it’s awesome) about somethings and she quickly sent me back a few suggestions making sure I only try these things one at a time so I can actually figure out the culprit.  My concerns were that I was hovering higher than I wanted, as I mentioned before, but also that it has been taking a full 4 hours for my glucose to come back down after meals.  At two hours postprandial (after meal, you know it’s bad when I start talking like “one of them”, I am so obsessed with diabetes…) I am as high as 220! e.g. Yesterday I ate 26 carb breakfast, two hours post I was 211 but 4 hours later with no additional correction I was 105 and steady… Rrrrr

Pump Doc returned my e-mail with multiple suggestions and plans of attack <– This is the reason I love her, she trusts me.  She believes that I am capable of using my judgement and picking a plan of action, then of assessing the results and making a decision, thank you!  She does all that and still makes herself available through both her work and home e-mail as well as her cell phone number (with the instructions to text anytime) so that when I am really stumped I don’t have to wing it… how glorious!  At my last appointment she said, “I am so glad we found each other.”  I wanted to kiss her, she has seriously changed my life in the less than one month I have been her patient and I hope she realizes that I am so glad we found each other.  It is nice to have a doctor that recognizes I am not an idiot, I do care about my diabetes and I can make competent decisions about my care with the proper guidance.  Hallelujah!

So for now I am going to increase my basals my 10% for sections of the day where I have been consistently high and see how that helps my numbers (I also need to do some fasting tests overnight, but that is my plan anyway).  Once I get those basals settled in a bit more I will tackle the meal time issues, re-checking my ratios and correction factor.  I think I could have figured all this out on my own but was having trouble in so many different areas I was getting discouraged and I love my pump so the last thing I want is to feel badly about it.  It is nice to have someone who knows give you the push in the right direction or even just say, “Yes, that’s the right choice” when you aren’t feeling sure of yourself.  That is the kind of relationship I want with my doctor and I think I may have finally found it… *fingers crossed*

So all and all things are going alright, I have definitely noticed far less “roller coaster” blood sugars since being on the pump- still highs and lows (that’s sorts the gig with the big D) but they happen more progressively rather than flying up or down.  The fact that they happen more progressively gives me much better odds at preventing it because when Judah alerts (or I happen to catch one) I can treat the high or low and the sugar is changing slow enough that the insulin or glucose can actually catch up.  Before my pumping days (do I sound like a pro yet?) when I would treat it would often be happening so fast that it was either too far ahead of the insulin so I would stay higher longer waiting for the insulin to work OR I would over correct the low trying to get the numbers up and then end up high in the end anyway.  This is certainly a far less frustrating way of  treating diabetes (at least for me).

I have already had to fight off some misconceptions about the pump though.  The other night while we were at a friends house, Judah alerted and I tested high (nearly 200).  So I took my pump out of my pocket and showed Marshall my glucose reading, “Wow, that’s kinda high…” and I gave a correction bolus.  One of the people at the house said, “Isn’t the point of that thing that it regulates your blood sugar?”  Now I’ll be honest, statements like this make my blood boil.  It may seem like an innocent question but after over a year of fighting people off who think that I take insulin because I am too lazy to change my diet I find ignorance and assumptions about diabetes infuriating.  Perhaps a better approach in a situation like this is to ask how the pump works, rather than assume when you obviously have no idea.  I managed to take a deep breath and explain that in fact I regulate my blood sugar and that the pump is just a delivery method.  Then had to combat the, “Well than what’s the point of that” looks that manifest after that explanation.  Then Marshall, knowing how irritated I was getting I’m sure, began to try and deflect a little for me.  He began to explain how long lasting insulin puts you on a fixed amount for 24 hours and the beauty of the pump is that you can set it to specific amounts for different times of day and turn it down or off for activity.  I also added that I program in all my ratios and correction factors and it does the math as well as keeping track of active insulin so I don’t stack to much.  The response was, “Whatever makes it easier I guess.”

Really?!  I can’t stand people who have NO IDEA what it is like to live with a chronic disease make statements and judgements like that.  They have no idea what it is like to live with the pressure of all the possibilities for bad things to happen every day.  You are damn straight, “Whatever makes it easier”.  This isn’t counting calories to lose a few pounds or estimating portion sizes so my jeans fit better.  This is counting carbs FOR MY LIFE.  I don’t think that self pity is a good thing but I also don’t think that is what I am doing.  I feel like I do a pretty decent job (always room for improvement, obviously) at taking this D monster by the horns and doing with it what I like- but I also think it is important not to forget the reality of the situation.  When you push those thoughts back in your mind you start to let the little things slide- and it all adds up in the end.  I wish that articles would more clearly distinguish between the types of diabetes when they talk about people curing it with diet or the stigma about insulin use.  I also wish Halle Berry had never mad some stupid misinformed statement about curing herself of type 1 diabetes because apparently people are talking about this now…  I mean seriously?  Someone with all those resources and she doesn’t know the difference?  No one ever actually tested her to see if her pancreas was working?  I don’t think that celebrities should be held to any higher standard than we are, so yeah it would make me mad if anyone said that- never mind someone who has the ridiculous power to influence the masses.  Alas, I suppose I can only influence the people who I meet and even then, only the ones who are willing to learn.

Be Honest, Be Aware and Spread the Word

Had my 1 week follow up yesterday at the diabetes center to check how I was doing with my new pump.  The verdict is GREAT!  Truth be told I was a little ashamed of my numbers and my carb intake over the past week…  I am pretty hard on myself anyway but the amount of food I consumed this week was ridiculous, seriously.  Of course, most of it was late at night and I went straight to be after stuffing my face with crackers and/or granola (stupid I know) so, as expected, I was high over night and in the morning.  Judah spent most of the nights sitting, leaned up against the wall watching me in his ever vigilant way, occasionally rousting me for a bolus and then returning to his sentry position.  He is such a good boy, does his job even when I don’t do mine.

I expressed my dismay about my numbers and the quality of carbs that I had eaten and New Doc. just smiled and said, trust me, this is a great first week on the pump, you know what you need to do.  I am not worried about you.”  Hmm, does she know how totally obsessive and what a control freak I am already?  Does she know me so well enough already that she knows I won’t allow this ridiculous pattern continue?  I never realized the degree to which so many people ignore or down play diabetes, but apparently A LOT of people don’t work very hard, aren’t willing to make sacrifices, won’t follow doctor’s recommendations, and have virtually no fear of the long term complications that are a result of not being obsessed with diabetes.  Now I know that a lot of times upon diagnosis they tell people not to worry, and that if they do these things (insert things here) then they will live a normal life.  I have said it before and I will say it again, that is not true!  I know it’s scary to think about and I know it isn’t what people want to here, but if you have diabetes, it requires you immediate and constant attention.  I will try to avoid long winded descriptions of the different types of diabetes and state that for the purposes of this post I am addressing type 1 diabetes.  Telling someone who has to inject themselves 4+ times a day with a hormone they will DIE without (and DIE with too much of) is not normal, sorry.  I am not saying that a diabetic can’t live a fantastic, full life, on the contrary my point is that they way they will be able to live this wonderful full life is to recognize and respect their disease and conquer that shit!

It is important that people truly understand the FULL SCOPE of what diabetes means.  It means that food, stress, sleep, exercise, weather, excitement, and your body (along with a bagillion other things, yeah I made that word up… what of it?) are all your enemy, and you must conquer them.  It means that before and after everything you must test your blood sugar and when you think you finally have a handle on it, everything changes and you start over again.  The trick is not letting it get the better of you, have more good days then bad days, and don’t forget to love.  Love yourself,  your supporters, your tools, and of course, your dog 🙂 .  Know you limits and work to stretch them, but be prepared- always be prepared.  Don’t get lazy either, don’t ever say “close enough”, it isn’t close enough unless it’s right on.  I am not saying beat yourself up about it, but recognize when something needs to change or didn’t work the way it should have.  Remember those things and use them to your advantage.

I was shocked to learn that many adults allow high blood sugars to get dangerously high before taking action, I’ll be honest, if it’s above 140 mg/dl I treat it, plain and simple.  Obviously if I have just eaten or have IOB (insulin on board) I use my common sense but if it’s above 140 it causes damage in the long term, so get that out of here!  Some people I have talked to (through a group on facebook) feel that the long term complications aren’t of a concern and while I respect everyone’s right to live and treat their disease however they choose I find it frightening that they don’t consider those possibilities.  I just want to say to them, “But don’t you plan to live a long time?!  How can you not worry about how this changes your future?!”  I bite my tongue though, it isn’t my treatment so it isn’t my say.  I know that it may seem that I have a doom and gloom approach to how I feel about my diabetes, but I feel that it is important to be aware and never forget.  When you forget, you get lazy and you avoid.

I am not saying that I am not every naughty (obviously I am, I am no skinny girl), but I find it so important to remind myself that it all has consequences that will affect the people I love someday.  That’s how I keep my motivation, I remember that Marshall loves me and has earned the right to a life with the best me I can offer.  I remember that we have dreams and goals and that it isn’t fair to not consider him in the way I live because he so willingly considers me.  I decided from the beginning that the way I would manage this was to learn as much as I could and never stop asking questions.  It has led me to be a lot more outgoing about my disease than I thought I would be, but I try to remind myself that I am helping anyone who comes after me to be better understood.

After having a great chat with my New Doc and her sidekick, I was asked if I would be willing to accompany the staff of the diabetes center to the local high school to do a wellness fair!  I was both flattered and excited.  They wanted someone who was a little younger (thank ladies! 😉 ) who could relate to the kids well and lets be honest, Judah makes kids more interested and more at ease.  Here’s one way that having an “attractive nuisance” attached to me will work for my benefit.  I am very excited about the wellness fair and I hope that it is the first of many opportunities to reach out in the D community as well as spread awareness and education.  Will definitely keep you all posted.  Also hope to put out some product review posts about all the D paraphernalia I have used/ am using, I have tried so much stuff thought it would be nice to share.

Us and Them*

*Thank you Pink Floyd 🙂

I have often touched on how differently people respond to Judah’s presence in a more populated area versus where we actually live (out in the woods).  This is very true, out in the ‘boonies’ people tend to be more critical and questioning than in the ‘city’ areas we go to.  <– I don’t really do cities and definitely haven’t done anything big since Judah has been a working dog but Portland, Maine and Concord, New Hampshire have a much more understanding and welcoming approach to my service dog than I get in Ossipee, New Hampshire or Porter, Maine.  It’s nothing you can really blame them for, it’s mostly through a lack of education and exposure- not through malice (usually).  Very rarely do I have a business question his validity, it’s more often other patrons to establishments I am in.  It’s a combination of curiosity, confusion and sometimes (realistically, often) a sense of entitlement.

I try to be as nice and willing to share and educate as possible.  If someone asks me a question I try to answer it as kindly and I try to be as informational as possible, most often it leaves people wanting to know more.  Marshall wants me to  have business cards printed up with the blog’s address, definition of a service dog and similar information so that I can give a more abbreviated explanation and move on.  I see where he is coming from, there are days when the last thing I want to do is stop and explain:

why I have a service dog (because I have a disability),

what he does (alerts to my blood sugars being out of range, he will alert someone else if I don’t treat the issue, he will get me juice etc. etc. etc.),

how I didn’t buy him from a program (he was my pet and began to alert on his own, then he specialized his training and put him to work),

yes- he is a legitimate service dog (if this is confusing please see this post),

and a slew of other questions that often lead to people wanting to know some pretty personal medical information.

A business card would certainly help me to create a better buffer… the more I write about it the more I like the idea.  Looks like Marshall was right again… damn it.

There are times however that no matter how nice I try to be people made up their minds about Judah and Me before they even spoke to us.  Over time I have learned that it isn’t worth trying to change their minds- state the facts and move on.  I am glad that I have been blessed with the ability to read people well and I tend to know what I am dealing with before it’s an issue.  I am also excellent at deflecting people, kill them with kindness- I love making people confused by their anger at how nice I am.  Sometimes people take one look at me (a seemingly healthy young woman) and my dog (a husky mix, not your ‘typical’ working dog breed) and assume the entire scene is a farce.  Those people are the ones that seem to be out to get you.
They come over and ask questions like, “How does he service you?”, “Where do I get a vest for my dog so he can come everywhere with me.”, “You don’t look blind what do you need a dog for?”.  Or after I explain what he does they give me something like, “So you don’t have very good control of your diabetes then?”, “You need him so you can eat whatever you want then?”, “I don’t think dogs can really do stuff like that, I mean it’s just a dog.” etc etc.  When I start to get responses like that I usually try to find a graceful exit, often times that is facilitated by Marshall giving a disapproving stare (he can be pretty intimidating when he wants to be).  I find that I meet more people with this attitude in my rural area than I do out in the bigger world.  I am not sure why.
Part of me thinks it has to do with exposure, people in more populated areas are more used to seeing service dogs or service dogs in training (which is what people assume Judah is because I don’t look disabled).  So, because they are used to seeing it they are far less likely to have doubts or to feel the need to interact.  The other part of me thinks
it has to do with the whole mentality of the area.  Out here in the boonies people know each other more, they recognize cars, kids and dogs.  Out here people know things about each other and a service dog without everyone knowing all about it deserves scrutiny… at least that’s what they think.
I’ll be honest I’ll take scrutiny from the woods people over a house with no yard any day.  I have made it my mission to educate as much as I can when I am out and about in my ‘hood’.  I explain to people what Judah does, how he helps me, why it makes a difference and anything else I can without completely giving up my day.  Hopefully soon I will be going to one of the local schools to talk about life changes, disabilities and working with Judah.  I hope that it will be the first in a long line of speaking engagements and educational opportunities.
I hope to always live out here in the woods, even if that means I have to spend the rest of my days explaining my dog and his great work.  Perhaps someday though, people will understand the value of a dog like him and the independence he can give to a person that wants nothing more than to live the fullest life possible.

Pump It Up! Or In I Suppose…

All right I have reached a new phase of my D-life.  This is the step that I thought was a dream for the distant future.  However it is, in fact, a reality.  I am now a “pumper”.  On Thursday (April 4th) I had my second appointment with New Doc. (I haven’t found the perfect blog alias for her yet… any suggestions?) and while it began a little late it was the most exciting appointment to date.  I of course, do not have a car right now and live in the middle of no where New Hampshire so I hitched a ride to “town” with my mother.  Judah and I went for a walk when we first arrived and then went to a local coffee shop for coffee and my worst D breakfast ever.  A bagel, whole wheat everything fresh made daily to be more specific.  Yum.  I still haven’t figured out how to bolus for this glorious breakfast gift from the universe however and got to spend the rest of the time until my appointment trying to get my sugar back down so it would be ‘perfect’ for the pump switch over.

After a glucose of 300 mg/dl, 2 corrections and a couple walks around the block the time was fast approaching to head up to the hospital, where the diabetes center is located.  I was glad to have had so much time before my appointment to run through the range of emotions before it was time to sit down and get to business.  I had spent the last week studying up on Medtronic and insulin pumps.  I tried to do the training on their website but, well, the short version is without the serial number from your pump and a registered account you can’t do jack on their website, including ordering accessories. <– This is totally lame, just saying.  I did however get access to their written instruction packet and some youtube videos that were extremely helpful.  I was so excited all week long about getting a pump, about how it was going to change things, it was positively fantastic.  Then, we were heading out the door Thursday morning Marshall found me sitting at the top of the stairs in a bit of a fog.  He snickered at me and asked, “Are you scared now?”

“I think so.”  I can only imagine the blank stare I was giving him, I felt hot and cold all at the same time.

“Ah baby, you’ll be alright, this is a good thing.”

“I know, but it’s scary too.  I mean if something goes wrong with it while I am sleeping… BAM, I wake up in DKA.”

“You know that in reality that could happen any time.  You wanted this and it’s gonna be great.”

Insert hug on the stairs here. *Side not; I love hugs on the stairs, they make me feel tall (I’m 5 feet).  “Alright, I gotta go.  Love!”

I spent the rest of the morning on a little bit of a roller coaster thinking about how great it would be and how bad it could be if something went wrong.  I walked, watched a movie sprawled out in the sun, walked some more and somehow made a 12 oz coffee last until Noon.

My mom gave me a lift up to the office and I made my way inside.  I was pretty early and sat in the waiting room with Judah.  After New Doc. and her Newbie (nice girl, and Judah has a crush on her) had scarfed down some lunch I was brought into a room and the appointment began.  I was a little more ahead of the game than I think anyone was expecting so New Doc was able to teach Newbie about the pump as well.  I told her the ratios that I use and different times of day I tend to trend high or low.  We did the math, decided on my basal rates and put in my ratios.  Talked about how to set temp basals and how to respond to different alarms and situations.  I was feeling good, didn’t have many questions and was ready to hook it up.  Then there it was, bump bump.  “What is it?”  There were those Almond eyes staring at me, concerned.  Both ladies stop and look, as I pull out my kit and test.

“Good boy, good low.”

“What was it?” Asked New Doc.

“69, good low Judah.”

“OH, wow.  Good boy!”  Well of course this is followed by praise all around the room, treating of the low and the usual hypo aftermath.

Finally, the time had come.  Filled the reservoir and primed the pump.  She walked me through how to prep and insert a sight and I was off to the races.  Put in the sight, no problem, didn’t even feel it.  Fixed prime and we were pumpin’ baby!  We went over some final things, she filled a box with supplies, a new meter, test strips, and some new fast acting glucose samples and I was off.  I was on cloud 9 for the rest of the day and the whole next day.  On the second full day my bubble was burst it just made me think of this post, perhaps I too thought the pump meant everything would be perfect forever…?) a little when I fought with highs all day but I’m still feeling good about it.

Even meeting with someone about a possible job tomorrow!  Not sure how I am getting home from said meeting but I have a ride there!  Hopefully the weather will be nice, and we can walk. 😛

Here We Go!

Alright the time has come, I am about to head to the diabetes center and get hooked up to my insulin pump!  I promise to keep you updated and tell you all about it when I get home, perhaps after celebrating! 🙂  Judah will probably find this entire afternoon incredibly boring but I hope he appreciates what this means for us, he may not have to spend quite so many night staying up and staring at me while I sleep because my sugar is all over the place… oh won’t that be grand!


So Much Going On!

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!