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What Does the DOC Mean to You?

This video is one of the last ones I did for Animas, but it’s one of my favorites because it features some of the friendliest faces in the Diabetes Online Community.

Much love to the folks who offered to share their perspectives on the diabetes community, and thanks for being part of the family.

If you are up for chiming in: What does the DOC mean to you?

Lucky.

Low blood sugars have become moments that scare me more now than they did when I was younger, mostly because the symptoms of my lows have all but disappeared until I’m deep into the 40’s. It’s shocking to my system to have that gentle lag and foggy confusion suddenly open into the abyss of a properly symptomatic low, bringing about the sweat and shaking, confusion and disorientation.

But lately, I’ve been thinking about how lucky I am to have the ability to go low. Hear me out on this … it makes sense in the long run.

During the course of any given day, I’m able to deliver a basal rate of insulin that keeps my blood sugars under control, and I can take a bolus of insulin to cover any meals I’m eating. I have the option to correct a blood sugar of 140 mg/dL back down to 100 mg/dL with precision dosing from an insulin pump, insulin pen, or even a syringe. I can micro-manage my blood sugars throughout the day in efforts to achieve an A1C and time-in-range that gives me the best chance of good health for a long time.

It’s not a question of “will I or won’t I get insulin today?” My biggest worry is how in-range my numbers have been. Diabetes, no matter where you live, is not a pleasant disease, but in a country where my access to insulin is not a panic point, I realize how lucky I am.

And I know what I can do to help those who aren’t as lucky.

Yes, more of this Spare a Rose stuff.  But you guys. It takes just a minute to make a donation to Spare a Rose, benefiting Life for a Child. Hang on … I just did it.

I made good on my promise to donate a rose for yesterday’s Super Bowl game (during which I paid little attention to the game itself and was a bit more confused by how many babies truly are credited back to Super Bowl shaggings). A five dollar donation is one full month of life for a child with diabetes in a developing country.

Can you spare one rose today?

 

It’s All About That Rose, That Rose … So Spare It.

Today, people will be watching a football game and cheering on their favorite team (and my mother will be in a sports fan version of mourning because the Patriots are not playing).  I want to remind you that it’s all fun and Big Games until someone loses an islet.

(Yes, another diabetes post.  On a diabetes blog!  Go figure.)

Even though the Superbowl is today, my eye is still on the Spare a Rose prize.  Please throw some support towards the Spare a Rose campaign.  With this one, we can all win big.

For a little extra fun, join the discussion on Facebook about Team Game or Team Commercials, pick a team, and donate an extra rose if your team “wins.”  Or loses.  Either way, it will be a nice change to pace to watch a pile of people battling on Facebook about something other than politics.

Airplane Site Changes: A Grost.

Earlier this week, I flew to San Diego to visit with the team at Tandem and brainstorm some plans for 2016.  It was a quick trip (managed to land right when that weird storm was picking up speed – made for a very exciting landing and also reinforced my hatred of flying), but a productive one.

On Tuesday morning, before leaving for the airport, I needed to change my pump site.  In the winter, my skin has a tendency to become scalier and more irritated than in the warmer months, so skin real estate is a real issue, and site rotation is important, yet it’s challenging to find a place that wasn’t already somewhat rotten.

Against my better judgement (and mostly because I was in a hurry), I made the mistake of inserting my infusion set onto the back of my hip.  Normally, this placement is awesome and totally out of the way, but that morning, I managed to stick the site exactly where my waistband was situated.  It was also exactly where I would put my hands when pulling my pants on or off, making it a high traffic site.  But whatever – I was in a hurry, the skin was good there, and I’d just be really, really careful when sitting / visiting the ladies room / getting dressed.

I made it about six hours before I ripped the site off completely.

This moment happened at the end of my five hour flight home from San Diego, as the plane was starting to land.  Thanks to a paranoia about blot clots (hat tip to that pesky Factor V Leiden bastard), I drink a lot of water on long flights and get up from my seat very often.  (Apologies to anyone who has ever sat next to me on a plane.)  I wanted to duck into the bathroom very quickly before the plane landed, and in my haste, ripped the pump site out with swift precision.

Blood streamed down the side of my hip. Not optimal.  In a panic, I looked at the bathroom walls and door to make sure my grossness was contained, and thankfully it was, except now I had bloody paper towels and the plane was descending quickly and fuck I needed a new site in a hurry.  After cleaning myself off (stuffing the bloody paper towels into my pocket because I didn’t want to throw them in the garbage), I went back to my seat and said a silent thank you to my always-over packed carry-on.  A large Ziploc plastic bag that carried snacks and glucose tabs was emptied out and became the medical waste bag.  As the flight attendants were preparing the cabin for landing, I grabbed my extra infusion set and stuck it into my stomach without anyone noticing.  A quick fill of the cannula and I was back in business.  My horrible paper towels and infusion set garbage were contained and concealed without issue.

THIS IS WHY I OVERPACK.  Every time.  I get some flack for keeping an infusion set in my purse all the time and for carrying insulin pens, too, because rarely, rarely is there an issue.  I could not have foreseen the need to change out my site at my seat on the plane (fuck you, Miss Manners), but when I ripped out my site, it was less jarring to discreetly change my site than to spend the next two hours driving home to Rhode Island from Boston without insulin.

The moral of this story?  Insulin is necessary on the ground and at 37,000 feet.  Be prepared when you travel.  And for crying out loud, bring back ups because Insets are only available in first class.

Hypo Kick.

“I heard the alarms going off, yeah.  But what woke me up completely was when you started screaming,” Chris said over breakfast.

“Oh yeah.  That was a thing,” I agreed, remembering that moment clearly.

On the whole, I’m a very quiet sleeper.  I don’t snore, I don’t move around much while I sleep, and generally I’m silent, except for the occasional whimper (apparently I make small yapper-type dog noises while falling asleep).

That explains why my terrified screams  jolted my husband awake last night.

Dexcom alarms started going off around 2 am, at which point I woke up, had a juice box and some raisins, and went back to sleep.  But it wasn’t a restful sleep, still punctuated by the low blood sugar alarms blaring into the night.  I woke up to the low alarm five minutes later, decided to wait a little longer to see if my blood sugar was going to climb, fell back asleep, the alarm went off … this cycle of interrupted sleep and CGM soundtrack went on for the better part of an hour.

But eventually, I was back up to 75 mg/dL, so I thought I was fine.

Only the snack wasn’t cutting it, and my blood sugar started to tumble yet again.  My Dexcom started bleating out alarms once again, but I wasn’t awake.  I was dreaming, actively, only in my dream, I was aware that I was low.  And also that I was asleep.  I don’t remember the storyline of my hypo-induced nightmare, but during the course of it I realized I was low and, if I didn’t wake up, I would be in some serious trouble.  Dreaming Kerri decided that, in order to wake up Actual Kerri, she needed to scream.  Loudly.  It was the kick my Inception-influenced mind needed to bring me fully into consciousness.

So she did.  I did.  (The pronouns are starting to tangle.)

“AAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!  AAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!”

“What?  WHAT?!”

I clumsily reached past my blaring phone towards my meter, with 48 mg/dL the result on the screen.

“I’m very low.  Could I have juice, please?”

(Our communication skills about lows, especially 3 am ones, has been diluted down to screams, jolts, and polite, disembodied-voice requests juice.)

A full glass of juice and two hours after the lows started, it was done and sleep finally returned.  But my dreams were still strange, still restless, still confused, and when I woke up to ready my daughter for school, I wasn’t entirely sure if I was really awake.

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