Tagged: insulin pump

Busting the “BAD Diabetic” Mythe

the :"Bad Diabetic" Mythe

I am always intrigued when people report on a fellow family member or friend who is a “BAD” diabetic.   I tell them I have had diabetes for 45 years,  and then I  hear, well they are a “really BAD” diabetic.   People, all diabetes is BAD, and yes I know they are referring to the high blood sugars this individual frequently has, or how many time they have been hospitalized from hyper/hypoglycemic events.  This, however,  makes him/her and “UNEDUCATED” diabetic rather than a BAD diabetic.  Even with all my preaching, if my infusion site gets compromised by a patient pulling at my pump, and I cannot change it until much later, or if I’ve eaten something prepared at a restaurant that I was not aware should have been so laden with sugars or starches,  I too, can have a raging high blood sugar.   What makes one a “BAD” diabetic is not knowing why you’re hyperglycemic or worse, not checking your BS readings sooner to correct.

A patient of mine informed me his grandson was a bad diabetic.  This individual is in his early thirties, thin frame, and apparently healthy and active.    He tells me his sugars are always jumping around, usually extremely high.  He informs me they have been  this way for over 15 years, since his accident.  I inquire if he has looked into an insulin pump, he appears to be the perfect candidate.  He casually informs  me that he is  ”too active”  for a pump,  and of course my response is; that would make you the perfect person.   The next day,  I was informed he would not be visiting grandpa.  as he woke with his blood sugar in the 600s!!!  Not too sure how accurate this was, however, I asked if he was alright.  The grandparent reports ”Oh yeah”, he’s doing find, making himself some lunch and resting.  I inquired as to what this “child” cooks for himself and grand dad proudly reports he cooked himself some eggs, bacon, sausage, home fried potatoes and biscuits.  I innocently asked,  “for one meal?”  and he laughed and said “of course”,  and I cried on the inside.

This is the same grandson I offered my website card to, I offered to talk to him about using a pump and how he was the perfect candidate for one,  I offered an ear or advise any time he needed it and I was told he has someone who helps him.  I asked if it was an endocrinologist, or an internist or a diabetic educator and he reports no, it is the “guy who helps me with my prosthetic leg”, and again, I cried on the inside.

Like many diabetics I’ve come in contact with in the health field,  several are awesome, many more are not, and if it is due to being uneducated, I have a hard time with this as the information is out there, websites, classes, brochures, meetings and more.    As my last article reports (“Diabetes Health, You’re in Charge”, April 14, 2014),  more and more programs seek to educate diabetics and are covered by insurance.  Sadly to say, all that is left are the “LAZY” diabetics, who are complacent in their ignorance because it is easier, and as complications and disabilities set in, there are the  ObamaCare hand-0uts.   Preventative measures are priceless.   Personal responsibility has become a thing of the past, it doesn’t pay.  Becoming disabled and complaining that you didn’t know won’t, and shouldn’t,  work forever.  Educate yourself now, read those articles or  watch the  videos,  while you still have good vision.

Vacation Nightmare with the Pump!!!

Vacation Nightmare with Pump

I consider myself to be well organized in matters of my diabetes.  I have been doing basically the same routine for over 40 years, maybe only 15 years with the pump, and each time I have to readjust my routine, something goes awry.  Unfortunately this time I was on a cruise ship.

When packing, always make sure to have extra everything, which I do, and in my travel bag I have designated a baggie with extra infusion set, prep pads, and alcohol swabs, basically the things that have no expiration date.  On my most recent trip, I packed 2 extra cylinders of insulin for my pump, which must be kept refrigerated.  So once arriving at my mothers house in Fl. Lauderdale, into the fridge went my back-up insulin, as we were there several days ahead of cruising.  Morning of cruise arrived, we were packed and ready to go.  While waiting for our cabin to be ready,  we relaxed on the  back deck, already meeting some characters whom we would be sharing this adventure with.   Hours later, after enjoying our first of many great meals, it dawned on me, yeah you guessed it.  My extra insulin was still in my moms fridge.  Needless to say, panic set in, more for my poor husband than me.  I new I had enough in the pump for 3 days, surely we could buy some somewhere.

Next morning we visited the infirmary,  quickly being told that they had some, however, they did not sell whole bottles and it was costly.  The MD told us our first stop was on Cozumel, where he was sure the main pharmacy there would have some cheaper.  Apparently, money was not the object at this point, as my husband was ready to have me heliported back to Ft. Lauderdale.   After a 6 mile taxi ride into the main village, going from one so called “pharmacy” to the next, all within blocks of each other,  we soon realized they call any corner store that sells suntan lotion and toothpaste, a pharmacy.  Following another lead, we came upon a Medical Clinic, surely they would have some.  They did not.  The look on my husbands face made me so sad, that I had caused him all this grief and worry.  The clinic was kind enough to call the “Mega Pharmacy”  before we trekked over there, another 3miles away.  Success!!!

We made it there in no time as my husband’s pace seemed to have increased at this point.  We entered and spoke with the only clerk who understood us, it took them time to find, for some reason, but it was a trusted name brand of insulin.  NEXT!!!   The cost was very reasonable, as we are all aware, we in the states are getting ripped off for pharmaceuticals, this bottle cost me what my co-pay is with insurance, however, my credit card rejected payment due to “security reasons” and being used out of the usual territory.   NOTE TO SELF,  next time I travel I will call the credit card company first.  I couldn’t use my cell, too expensive, so we paid cash, a whopping $35.   Now  for the pilgrimage back to the ship,  after attaining some ice in a baggie to put insulin in for the long walk back, there was a sigh of relief.  I just didn’t inform my husband that the only canister I had was the one in the pump which are not meant to be refilled.  Once the  piston has pushed cork up to top, there is not an  empty compartment left for insulin.  (if you use a pump, you will appreciate this next move.)  In my McGyveresq thinking, I took an empty syringe, filled it with air and pushed it into canister several times, eventually the cork was pushed back to bottom and I was able to refill my canister for the end of the trip.

All  in all, I missed one day of using the pump, I simply took  many shots and lots of  finger sticks to check,  like the old days.    Blood sugars stayed 130 or lower and I was able to enjoy the rest of the trip, ready for my next vacation,  with better preparation.

Sweet Memories!

Sweet MemoriesUnfortunately, the meals we have eaten all of our lives, are now under fire.  Nutritional “gurus” tell us one thing one day, only to be changed by another “expert” the next.  Who”s right, who do we believe, and WHY is it so darn confusing.   In the old days, we trusted that our parents, who learned from their parents, who most,  lived to be  a ripe old age,  that putting a well rounded meal on the table included; meat, vegetable, potato and of course, bread.  On Sundays or special occasions, there was gravy for that  meat and  potatoes and sometimes even dessert.  I can remember having second helpings of a certain dish if I really like it, leaving the table uncomfortably stuffed,  and that was fine!!.  Oh my gosh, no wonder I was “chubby”.

I was diagnosed with Juvenile Diabetes, or Type 1,  while still in grammar school,  after a summer vacation at a friends cottage, eating nothing but peanut butter sandwiches and sodas.  I soon began drinking copious amounts of water,  being starved all the time, but losing weight!, which to me, was wonderful.  My mother decided to get me checked out.  Her suspicions were right, and to this day I’ll never know how she knew about the symptoms of Diabetes,  since there was no one in the family with it.   So, obviously, in our minds,  the above meal was not bad because there was no “sugar” in that food.  We bought a food scale to measure portions, but that was about all.  I remember eating Frosted Mini Wheat,  but it was the cinnamon frosting not the sugar frosting, so it was alright!   Wow!!  ”This isn’t so bad!”    It’s no wonder I never worried about lows in those days.

My life to me at that time changed, though still a young girl, it seemed to be nothing more than glass syringes and stainless steel needles,  urine dip sticks, and keeping records of food, times eaten, and  activity,  all to report to the MD who I would see every couple of months for insulin adjustments which were just a guess to him.  ”Let’s try this sliding scale for a while”,  meaning,  even if  my numbers were bad, stick it out for a few months.  Even after spending an entire week in Boston at the Joselin Clinic for Juvenile Diabetes,  sticking needles into oranges, and taking classes all day long, we still new little.  I remember way back then, asking my mother if I looked like the kind of kid who could kill herself, because I truly did  feel overwhelmed and devastated.  I never thought I’d say it but, thank God for blood glucose monitors.  I think I was in my early thirties when I got my first one, as once I left home, I had no insurance, and really no doctor.  I felt I was doing fine as I was, which I was, of course,  since I could not truly  keep trac. ,  I was great!  It was not until I got my first blood glucose monitor that I also had my first low blood sugar.   I was determined that I was not going to be a “diabetic”, but a person who had “diabetes”  (PWD).  I heard over and over that I could not do this activity, or that sport because I was diabetic, I was rejected from the army after passing  all the test, flunked the physical because of  insulin dependence.    I was told over and over again by MDs, that I need to keep my sugar as low as someone without diabetes.  So during one period of my life, I lived in a constant state of hypoglycemia, all the while increasing my hypoglycemic unawareness until I could actually function at work with BS  levels in the 30s.  After several severe episodes, where it was getting harder and harder for my husband to get glucose into me, we pushed for an insulin pump, which has been my husbands best friend ever since.

Today, I still wear the pump, for  my husband,  and I still have lows, however not as serious, but I feel I am in charge.  I white water raft Class V’s, skydive, roller blade and ride my own Harley.   It does takes me longer to shop for groceries these days, as I am a label reader and  of course I cheat,  however, I get my taste of what I want and I’m good.   My big NoNos are not just carbs, but HFCS, any of the fats, especially trans fats, (hydrogenated oil), and saturated fats,  as well as preservatives and things I can’t pronounce.  I am working on “Nutrition Labels”   101 for my next article.   Stay tuned.


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