Monthly Archives: January 2013

The Boys

Standard

There are these two little boys who come to my church, one three and one six, both of whom are fascinated with watching me check my sugar. The three-year-old will come up to me and say, “Do this!” He’ll then use one index finger to poke the side of his other index finger, like he’s poking his finger with a lancet.

“Do you want to watch me check my sugar?” I’ll ask.

“Yeah.”

So I’ll take out my meter case and he and his brother will hover around me as I explain each step.

“Ok, now I’m going to poke my finger.”

“Does it hurt?” “Do you need a bandaid?”

“No, it doesn’t hurt at all,” I say and smile. “Now I’m going to put the blood on the strip.”

“Ok.”

The number flashes on the screen and I explain to them that the number is in range or it’s a little high or a little low and the  boys nod knowingly and say “yeah,” as if they know what the numbers mean.

“You should get her to poke your finger next!” said their dad one day.

“No!!!” they squealed, running away giggling.

Murphy’s Law, Corollary 234 for People with Diabetes

Standard

Murphy’s Law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong. 

Corollary 234 for People with Diabetes: When your insulin pump battery is low, it will die at the most inconvenient time. 

As I settled into my seat after the hymn and pulled out my Bible as the chapel message began, my pump began to beep at me frantically: “Change my battery! Change me! Change me!”

A friend leaned over and asked, “Are you ok?” I nodded and briefly explained that my pump battery needed changing as I pulled out my meter case and dug around for my backup battery. I disconnected the pump and went to remove the battery cap.

The chapel speaker announced his text and people began flipping through the pages of their Bibles.

Then I remembered I needed a penny to unscrew the battery cap. And I remembered that my penny-for-changing-the-pump-battery was in my other case.

Time to improvise.

I decided to use one of my keys. The key chain jangled as I struggled to unscrew the cap and the key awkwardly scraped against the reservoir cap. A couple of other friends looked over to see if I was ok. I put the battery in backwards at first (I always put the battery in backwards the first time), and then had to unscrew the cap again. Finally, I was successful and I tried to regain the thread of the chapel message.

Walking to lunch afterwards, I put my hand in my jacket pocket.

I found a penny.

 

What Diabetes Looks Like: Big Bags and Little Bags

Standard

Although a small thing, buying an Xpress Wallet from Myabetic was one of the best decisions I’ve made about how to manage my diabetes. I didn’t realize how burdened I felt by the need to constantly carry a purse until the day my new case came in and I walked out the door to a meeting with just my meter case, id card, and keys. I also realized that I mainly carried my purse so I could tuck my meter case out of sight, something I no longer felt compelled to do. I left my new case out on the table beside me when I ate in the dining common, like my other friends left out their little zippy pouches for their cell phones. My diabetes didn’t need to be something ugly that I hid without even thinking about it.

But that subtle feeling of irritation at needing to carry “all this junk” crept back in shortly afterwords. My first action was counter-intuitive, but necessary: I bought a bigger bag.

the mother of all bags

the mother of all bags

it's not only bigger, but also structured, something appeals to my ever-so-slightly OCD self

it’s not only bigger than my last bag, but also more structured, something appeals to my ever-so-slightly OCD self

I had been making due all last semester with medium-sized unstructured purse, and as a result I carried my computer and a stack of books in my arms and toted a purse. What I needed was a school bag. Buying the school bag, believe it or not, relieved a significant amount of stress and crankiness.  But I still wanted a smaller bag that carried just the stuff I needed, something that fit a little more than my meter case.

And then Myabetic released its new Marie wallet. 

Myabetic's Marie wallet and meter case

It’s a little longer than my Xpress wallet so it fits a tad bit more inside, allowing me to stick a tube of glucose tablets and my lipgloss in my case with my testing supplies.

Since my switch to OneTouch test strips, I've been using my Ping's meter remote, Idris. My Accu-Chek Gandalf Lathspell hangs out in a drawer with my back up OneTouch mini, Wyrd

Since my switch to OneTouch test strips, I’ve been using my Ping’s meter remote, Idris. My Accu-Chek meter, Gandalf Lathspell, hangs out in a drawer with my back up OneTouch mini, Wyrd, and Fortuna, the Freestyle Lite meter I used when I was first diagnosed.

The front of the bag is a built in wallet.

Marie 2

And there’s a back pocket big enough for my cell phone. I clip my keys on the outside, attach the detachable strap, and go.

Big Bag and Little Bag

Big Bag and Little Bag

Perfect.

When I showed the bag to my friend L for the first time, she told me that her parents had recently asked her how I was doing. Her response? “Nel’s styling her diabetes.”

Why yes, yes I am.

Why I Blog

Standard

I have to honest with you: when I came back to school this semester, I toyed with closing my blog.

To be more accurate, I toyed with simply letting it sit, un-updated and gathering dust. Trying to update it seemed futile: keeping anything like a regular posting schedule was well nigh impossible with last semester’s hectic schedule and while I anticipated blogging at least a little over my four-week Christmas break, my habits were so lazy and inconsistent that I almost forgot I had a blog or even a computer. (I think I checked my email twice and only checked Facebook when someone else asked me to.)

That aside, I began wondering if I wanted to talk about diabetes anymore. My diabetes was almost the only thing I talked about over the summer as I was adjusting physically and emotionally. Once the semester started, I had other things to occupy my time and thoughts, things that were important to me like my classes and my students and my career goals. Maybe that was the way it should be. Maybe that was the way I wanted things.

So I thought about putting my diabetes in a little box in a corner and letting the blog just sit here.

And then a student came to see me during my office hour today, a transfer student brimming with questions and fears about English class. I had just sent out an email that morning letting students know that I would need to cancel an office hour next week for a doctor’s appointment, my overdue visit to the endocrinologist, so her first question was “Are you sick?”

“Oh no,”I replied. “It’s just a check up appointment. I have type 1 diabetes.”

Her face lit up and she threw her hands up in the air. “I have type 1 diabetes too!”

I already knew she had diabetes: I had students fill out info cards during the first class of the semester and she included a brief note about her diabetes at the bottom. And I was planning on telling her that I had diabetes too. But her excitement when I told her took me off guard. I realized in that moment how isolated she must have felt dealing with this disease in a new place.

I remembered that I chose to be transparent about my diabetes so that those who don’t deal with this condition have a better idea of what it’s like and so that those who also deal with it don’t need to feel alone. I chose to be open about my diabetes because others chose to be open about theirs, and as a result I’ve never felt alone with my diabetes or uninformed about my diabetes.

And I’d like to give a small something back.

That’s why I blog.