Moments of Wonderful

…rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Moments of Wonderful - …rather than a lifetime of nothing special. A diabetes blog.

Diabetes under 2 – from someone slightly older

A few months after I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, I moved back home so I wouldn’t have to work multiple jobs while in graduate school (thanks Mom!). I was still getting used to the highs and lows of diabetes at that time and because I was taking the notoriously difficult NPH, the lows came pretty often.*

*side note: I used to think diabetes meant a person was low every day at lunch tie because I was – EVERY DAY!

One night around the holidays I was just hanging out on the couch when I suddenly felt low – desperately low. I yelled for my mom to come help me. She told me that she would be right there after she finished moving the clothes from the washer to the dryer. My (low) brain told me I couldn’t wait that long so by the time she found me I was halfway through a gift box of chocolates intended to be given a few days later to a friend. All that chocolate was not the best low treatment and I am sure now that I could have waited two more minutes for some help.

I had difficulty communicating my need for help during a low blood sugar at 22+ years old so I can’t imagine trying to communicate diabetes needs with someone who doesn’t yet have any words. That’s why I was so in awe listening to the parents in the newest group video from the You Can Do This Project. These parents all managed diabetes in their children under the age of 2.

I loved listening to the wisdom and words of encouragement and support from this group and think that they have great advice to share with anyone living with diabetes, no matter the age at diagnosis.

More than a desk

I had a new desk delivered to me at work yesterday. I started my job almost 3 months ago now and I have been looking forward to this new furniture almost since the first day.

As they were bringing in the boxes, one of the deliverymen asked about the organization. I explained what we do, and he explained that he was asking because he has diabetes.

He went on to explain that he was diagnosed about 10 years ago. His doctor originally thought he had type 2 diabetes but his blood glucose “skyrocketed” the first time he accidentally went a day without insulin and his diagnosis was changed shortly after that.

He had no idea what locations were on his delivery route yesterday and had never heard of our organization. I don’t believe situations like that are random or just happened by chance and I am thankful that I was able to share my story with him and connect him with some resources.

more than a desk

Because when you live with diabetes, even a desk delivery is never just a desk delivery.

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

I have posted this cartoon every Thanksgiving for the past few years and it still makes me laugh. This is my second gluten free Thanksgiving and I definitely think that is a bigger challenge than figuring out the carb counts. I’m bringing gluten free cornbread, gluten free chocolate chip peanut butter cookie bites, and a Waldorf salad to the family meal.

I hope everyone has a great day and stays in their desired BG range – and gives themselves a break if that doesn’t happen. The Black Friday shopping exercise will help get everything back in line tomorrow.

Wishing you a low carb Thanksgiving!

The case to make diabete-ezy

Last week I got a message on facebook wondering if I could help out the friend of a friend who was in town and in need of infusion sets. I was more than happy to help considering I have been on trips where I (separately): forgot reservoirs/cartridges, forgot insulin, left my only meter in a hotel room, lost my lancing device, and had a Dexcom receiver self-destruct two days before Christmas.

I think part of my problem in traveling with diabetes is the difficulty in finding the perfect case to carry my medications and supplies. During Friends for Life last July I noticed a new case at the Medtronic booth, and a few months later I had the opportunity to give it a try.

diabete-ezy caseI have only used it on a weekend road trip, but I like that the hard shell case would also hold up in my carry on bags on a flight. I don’t know exactly how to describe it because it is just hard enough that my supplies won’t get dented or damaged inside but it still has a little give to it (1).

There are some many pockets zippers and elastics bands when I open the cover (2) that I hardly know what to do with all of them (here’s a link to the company website that ACTUALLY shows what fits where). If I used insulin pens, I am sure that some of the bands would be more handy for storage. As of now, on the left it holds: my contact information, a spare battery, the different tapes for my infusion sets and CGM sites, an ice pack (not insulated but was a short trip), and an insulin vial. The center elastic band holds a spare vial of test strips. On the left I included my ketone meter and the scissors for my tape. The ketone meter sits on one of the Velcro patches. There’s also a small zippered pouch that I suppose I could use for spare lancet drums or to hold used test strips on future trips.

Perhaps the best feature of the whole case is the large underneath compartment (3). So far, I have been able to fit a few pump infusion sites, a few pump reservoirs/cartridges, more tape, and a CGM sensor.

I saw a conversation recently in the CGM in the Cloud group on Facebook that some families use the smaller version of the case to hold their child’s CGM rig in their backpack.

I’m really hoping that by having most of my supplies in one place I can break the bad habit of leaving something behind, especially for the upcoming holiday season.
Disclosure: I received the Diabete-ezy case from Medtronic Diabetes a few weeks after speaking to a representative about it at the Friends for Life conference. I was not asked to write about it, and the thoughts and opinions in this post remain my own. The Diabete-ezy case can be purchase directly from the Medtronic store here (which now includes guest checkout for those of us who are not pump customers).

Wordless Wednesday – New

new Dexcom

New Dexcom. That didn’t take very long at all thanks to a fast response from the doctor’s office and a quick working supply company. Now to test out the new slimmer transmitter with the new software algorithm. I was running the new algorithm on my old system but I didn’t really notice much of a difference. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing because I’ve never really had noticeable accuracy issues either.  But better is better, right?

Starting over… again

The warranty on a Dexcom transmitter is six months. The warranty on a Dexcom receiver is one year. I have passed the end of the warranty on my transmitter and am closing in on the deadline for the receiver. I feel like my diabetes devices are living on borrowed time (see also: my momentary panic after my presentation this week).

My new insurance became effective at the beginning of the month, so one of my first actions was to call Dexcom. Due to changing jobs and changing insurance companies at those jobs, I have now attempted ordering a Dexcom system from four different insurance companies.

waka waka - dexcom beepMy favorite (read: not) part of the process is that every time it is just as if I have never had a Dexcom before. Each company needed a new prescription from the doctor. Each company needed a new assignment of benefits, because they’ve all used third party providers who need permission to charge me if insurance doesn’t pay. They also have all needed a certificate of medical necessity – because maybe the doctor will decide it ISN’T necessary anymore, especially after writing the prescription.

If I remember correctly, in addition to the standard paperwork, the first company needed a BG log with some high and low values recorded. The second company and third companies had no additional hoops, although the second company unsuccessfully tried to deny the claim a few months later.

This week I started jumping through the hoops for the fourth company. New prescription. New certificate of medical necessity. New assignment of benefits. And for additional fun, this company is requiring chart notes. I’d love to see those –

“This patient has type 1 diabetes. Sometimes her blood sugar is low. Sometimes her blood sugar is high. She wears the Dexcom CGM system 24/7. It helps. Here is her A1c. Here is her Dexcom data. This device is cheaper than paying for a hospital visit. Please authorize.”

I am obviously being sarcastic, but I really would like to know what is required in a doctor’s chart notes to authorize a CGM system. I wish there wasn’t such fraud in our healthcare system that makes the insurance companies feel like these steps are necessary.

The countdown started on Tuesday. I wonder how long it will take for me to get my system and I hope it happens before the transmitter is finished.

It’s everywhere

I had the opportunity through work yesterday (reminder: disclosure) to present to a group of over 100 school nurses. Similar to the post by Christel a few weeks ago, the presentation started with a description of the types of diabetes medications and devices a person with type 1 diabetes would use on a daily basis and the cost for each of the items. Since I personally own spares of just about everything, I was able to pack a small backpack with examples so that they could become familiar with the items before seeing it on a child in their office.

these test strips are GOLD!The part of the presentation that surprised me was when I asked how many of them had a child with type 1 diabetes at their school. As members of the fifth largest school district in the country, almost everyone in the room raised their hand.

I didn’t go to huge schools while growing up – a few hundred in my elementary and middle schools, and a graduating class of about 500 in my high school – but I did not know a single person with diabetes. I don’t think there are too many school-aged children who can say that now and while I suppose it’s good for awareness, otherwise this is not a good thing. I wish we could figure out what is causing this increase!

I was back in my office a few hours after the presentation and I thought I heard my Dexcom vibrate. A quick glance at the Nightscout app on my watch didn’t show anything that would inspire a vibrate alarm. A coworker was standing in my doorway and mentioned her cell phone so I decided it must have actually been her phone. A few minutes later I heard the vibration again at this time it was followed by the tell-tale beep. Again, nothing on the watch that would explain it. I checked my actual Dexcom receiver and everything looked normal. The confusion was building! I was panicked that my out of warranty transmitter was sending out final warning signals.

pumping very expensive insulinThankfully another set of vibrations and beeps redirected me to the actual source of the beeps and buzzes. It wasn’t coming from my purse but from the small backpack next to it. I had given the nurses my old Dexcom receiver, transmitter, and a very expired sensor to look at. I guess one of them had been a little curious, because someone had turned the receiver on and “started” the sensor. Two hours later, the receiver was letting me know it was ready for the calibration values.

The good news is that the audience was involved and curious during my presentation and the even better news is that a Dexcom receiver that hasn’t been turned on for 3 months still has a little life left in it.

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