Monday, September 28, 2009

Diabetes Shots

I have quick sugar-up items stashed in various places around my house. At work, at the beginning of each month, my work building passes out candy to each office. A couple months ago, they gave us Smarties, which are basically pure sugar compressed into tiny circles of fun. I kept grabbing handfuls of them from the receptionist’s desk, and began stashing them throughout my office, then my work bag, and eventually at home. These wound up in the silverware drawer in the kitchen. Forks, can-openers and Smarties. The house of a diabetic.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Diabetes Shots

My computer. A diabetes essential. I’m a MAC girl all the way and my laptop was a gift to myself shortly after diagnosis. I mostly use it for the internet (to post my blog, Facebook, stalk celebrities on Twitter, e-mail friends), but I also keep a file for my medical records, checklists for grocery shopping and packing and random notes, projects, pictures and thoughts. On my screen? A really pretty flower garden in London. I like the pink pom-pom blooms. They make me happy.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Operator Error

I’ve been keeping a log of what I eat, how much insulin I’m giving myself, what my numbers are and when, in preparation for my endo appointment next week.

And because I’m that kind of person, I’ve color-coded the numbers that are too low and the ones that are, for me, too high, so they jump out immediately at me.

And you know what I’ve noticed? Yes, there are a couple of wacky instances where the numbers did what they wanted despite my best efforts, but more often than not, I’m the one who caused the numbers, especially the high ones.

I can see the trends, and I go high when two things happen:
1. I underestimate the carb count of something.
2. I don’t give myself any insulin for what I’ve eaten.

Let’s review.

1. I underestimate the carb count of something. I know how to read a label. I have a scale. Sometimes, though, if I’m tired and I just want to sit in my chair with a bag of bbq potato chips and watch television, I don’t weigh. I guess I’ll eat about 2 carb units worth, shoot up, then just shovel the chips in until I’m bbq’d out. Did I eat 2 carb units? Did I eat 3 carb units? Did I eat 1? Who knows. What I really need to do is just take a bowl from the cabinet, put it on the scale directly below said cabinet and weigh. Seriously. Not that hard.

Next big thing: I like to bake. While I try to stick with recipes that list some sort of carb count, I don’t always. So I wind up guessing. And it usually takes me until the last brownie to find the right carb count. You’d think I’d write this down, to remember for next time, but I don’t. And you’d think I’d realize that if a container of harmless yogurt has 1 carb unit, the brownie most certainly has more than two, or three.

2. I don’t give myself any insulin for what I’ve eaten. If I’m really low, I’ll drink a juice or eat an applesauce, about 1 carb unit, and not shoot for it. This is fine. It brings my number up to a yes-I-think-I-can-think-now number, without pushing it too far over the limit.

But when my numbers are not low, when they are normal and I want to eat, I must shoot. This is 101, right? But it’s so easy just to grab that handful of Tootsie Rolls, or eat a tapioca pudding cup without even thinking. I don’t know why or how my mind/body justifies this, but it does. And I consciously do not shoot. And when I’m done eating, I think somehow, magically, the carbs won’t count. And then I test, and I’m high, and I know if I had simply done the shooting to cover the food, I would have been normal.

I’m not beating myself up, but I am giving myself a slap on the wrist or a flick on the side of the head. I’m responsible. It’s my body, they’re my numbers and it’s just a little stupid of me, I think, to be this slack with something that only takes an extra minute or two to control. Seeing those numbers on the page makes me realize how much I really am being lax, and I’m going to make a conscious effort to do better; I know I won’t always, but I think I should at least try.

As always, more to come…

*P.S. Never write a blog when you’re zoned out from sinuses, or sinus meds or slightly low blood sugar—or especially all three. I had to look up how to spell “conscious” three times, even though I’ve known how to spell it since the third grade, possibly the second… Cheese and crackers, one carb unit, one unit of insulin…

Monday, September 21, 2009

Diabetes Shots

I’m using my old Lantus OptiClick pen case for my Novolog pens. The case is bulky (because that nasty OptiClick pen was bulky) and too big for what I need it for, but I just don’t seem to ever remember to look for a better version. There are two pens in there because I left my kit at work one night, and had to bust out a new pen at home. I’m hoping I can use up the insulin in both of them and not have to throw one away because it’s gone wonky.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Diabetes Shots

Massively worded, tiny-sized type, origami-folded instructions and disclaimers that come inside my Lantus and Novolog boxes. I’ve read each one once, the first time I took each form of insulin. Now I just think of them as padding, so my Lantus glass vials and my Novolog pens don’t roll around inside the box.

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Don’t Feel 98

And, no, I’m not talking about my age (because sometimes I do feel like I’m almost a 100 years old…I digress).

I’m incredibly irritated right now—by the last e-mail someone sent me, by the magazines that are too close to my arm right now, by the marker that’s in front of the keyboard, by the fact that I keep having to delete typos and start over, by my palm, which stings from where I just tested it, convinced it was going to show me I’m dive-bombing into the 70s and below.

But I’m 98. And 15 minutes ago, I was 101, and an hour before that I was 120. So I’m not rapidly descending as far as I know.

But my head has that fuzzy halo. And I’m as cranky as Mr. Wilson. So my logical conclusion is that my meter is wrong, wrong, wrong. That my body is wrong, wrong, wrong. That the numbers aren’t computing to what’s actually happening.

And I have no choice but to break out the Wee Brie and crackers and have at it.

You have to play diabetes by the numbers, but sometimes you have to play by the instinct, too. Or the crankiness factor.

As always, more to come…

Diabetes Shots

Colored paperclips: check. Large paperclips: check. Smarties: check. Standard office supply, no?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Diabetes Shots

A V8, and I do, almost every single morning. I figure it gives me a little more nutrition than I might normally get and, for some very odd reason, regular drinking of said product keeps my acid reflux at bay. Go figure. Also, point to make: I hate tomatoes of any kind and it took me over a month to be able to drink V8 without holding my nose. Now I swill it like I’m a frat boy at a kegger with a warm beer—I swallow as fast as I can and don’t dwell on the taste.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I kinda forgot I have an endo appointment in three weeks. I’d really like to bring in some good information, since this will be my first visit after being on the Novolog since Easter. (I had one quickie appointment about three weeks after going on it, just to make sure it wasn’t causing an allergic reaction/too much/too little/killing me—usual stuff.)

Unfortunately, I suck at the logging thing. My meter will keep my readings as long as I test often enough. HOWEVER, the diabetic world doesn’t seem to like to be compatible with MAC, and I’m not giving up my MAC, so I have to manually flip through the meter with a pencil and notebook to log them.

I also want to log how many carbs I’m eating and how many units I’m giving myself, and mesh them with my meter readings. Which means keeping track of the times I’m eating and shooting, so I can sync with my meter readings. Ack. It all sounds so horribly complicated and so time consuming and mind numbing. (Whine, whine, whine, bitch, bitch, bitch.)

So, as of tomorrow (because doing it today seems awfully daunting, and I haven’t picked out a pretty notebook yet), I’ll be in log mode, trying to write down all the tiny little details. And I’ll also wait to start until tomorrow, because I just realized my meter gained about 20 minutes of time somewhere along the way (scary; what else did it gain?) and the whole timing thing will be off if I don’t fix it before I start logging.

I’m off to change the meter time and find my notebook. I saw some really cool handmade ones somewhere. Life is always better with pretty paper.

As always, more to come…

Monday, September 7, 2009

Diabetes Shots

I have many different boxes for my diabetes stuff, including a set of wooden boxes from Ikea. Some of the boxes hold office supplies, since the boxes are in my home office, but this one contains my Accu-Chek Multiclix lancets, my Freestyle test strips, extra batteries for my meter and my dog’s Percorten, which she gets injected with once a month for her Addison’s. My disease, her disease—it’s all good.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Attention, Please

I can be easily distracted. I admit this freely, and I think I may have even demonstrated this once or twice (okay, maybe three times) in my writing on this blog (my love of parentheses feeding this habit).

One would think, though, that in certain situations, my distractions would be limited and my focus would be 100 percent—say, upon jabbing a needle into my stomach. One would be wrong.

I’m standing in my kitchen, shooting up for the pizza that just arrived. I dial my Novolog pen for a large dose and insert the needle into my gut. Flish-flash and something on the television in my living room catches my eye. I look up and in some sort of instinctual linear movement, I lift my hand slightly as well. I look back down a split second later to see the needle hovering just above my body, insulin dripping from the tip. I check my stomach and see a slightly raised circle of skin—insulin that has pooled just beneath the surface instead of being fully injected into the fat region.

I hate when this happens. It looks creepy and it feels creepy. The first time I did it, I panicked for hours, thinking I had created some horrific medical disaster that could only end in severe trauma. I learned that the insulin eventually sinks in; it just takes a little bit longer.

I don’t panic anymore, but I do think it’s a little dumb on my part, possibly a lot dumb. It takes, what, five seconds to shoot insulin from the pen into my body? And I can’t stay with the task on hand for the full five? I can only handle two, maybe three seconds at best?

The only explanation I can offer is that it’s become so routine to shoot, I don’t think about the physical act of doing it as much as I used to. This is a good thing, in that shots have never been fun for me (are they for anyone?), so the fact that I don’t have to screw up courage to jab myself is a plus. This is a bad thing, in that it’s a waste of insulin, and the insulin that does make it to its destination isn’t absorbed as well as it should be.

What’s a girl to do? Well, other than turn the television off before I dial? Focus. (Folk us. Wee folk. Folk lore. Lore. Lora. Hey, that’s me.)

As always, more to come…

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Diabetes Shots

This is my trusty blood kit that goes everywhere with me. My main meter is a Freestyle Flash, but my lancing device is an Accu-Chek Multiclix, thanks to the Diabetes Online Community. I HATED the Freestyle lancing device, which gave me huge, gaping wounds and I mentioned it in a blog. The Accu-Chek came highly recommended and I’ve never looked back.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Strip Show

It’s time to play the diabetes strip game. That’s where you surf the Internet to find the most reputable place selling your brand of meter test strips for the lowest price.

For one, brief, shining moment, I had an insurance Camelot and I could get 100 test strips a month for a co-pay of $10. All good things must come to an end, though, and my new insurance has a different policy on “non-formulary” items. It now costs me $50 for 100 strips at the pharmacy. Still not a bad price, but I hate the pharmacy and I hate that I have one more prescription. I’d much rather just order all my “non-formulary” items online, where I can get them in bulk and get them for about the same price. If I look.

I’ve been using for a while; they seem to have everything I need and at good prices. Shipping is free when you order above a certain dollar amount (not hard to do when buying test strips), and you can earn “dollars” that you can apply to future orders, which means I almost always get four or five bucks off my total. They’re really reliable, too, and they’ve only messed up one order one time and immediately fixed it.

Every now and then, though, you gotta do the comparison-shopping thing. Who knows? Maybe someone got a good price on a huge box of test strips and they’re selling them off cheap, or someone has a good heart and is selling them for what they’re worth, not what the mark-up is.

Here are this week’s findings. Each price is based on 50 strips. Stunning, really, when you see the varying prices…

Health Warehouse: $28 $59.99
WalMart: $103.04
American Diabetes Wholesale: $28.78
Allegro Medical: $32.95
Walgreens: $114.99
Overstock Drugstore: $29.98
OTC Wholesale: $31.99
Hocks: $27.99

Hocks is still my winner, although there are a couple of other places that come close—but they don’t let me earn dollars and some have a shipping charge as well. I’ll also order my pen needles and my syringes at the same time—they have a really good inventory. And, I can get 200 alcohol swabs for $2.39. AND, they have Sugar-Free Tums!

I’m not being paid by Hocks to write this. It’s just that I’ve been all over the Internet for the last six years (except for my time in Camelot), always looking for the best prices and decent service, and I was hoping to save someone else a little time and trouble. Hocks doesn’t always come up in searches for Freestyle test strips, so someone might miss them.

And, of course, I’m always open to hearing if someone else has found a gem of a place to order diabetic supplies in bulk, online, for cheap.

We gotta stick together. These strip shows don’t come cheap—a dollar here, a dollar there…

As always, more to come…