Ten more things

In the spirit of the Ten Things I posted last month, I’ve decided to follow the same path and write about a few more other things that are going on in quick, digestible paragraphs.  It’s easy to read, and – to be honest – easy to write.

Each could probably merit a post of its own, but I just haven’t got the time to do it, so I present you with the Cliffs Notes.

 

~~ UN ~~

doctor-scaleI’ve mentioned this before — my weight has never really been a problem for me.  But now I’m starting to notice a bit of a change. My belt is moving to the next notch. When showering, I feel a bit more roundness, and my site inserters are rocking a bit more when placed on the non-flat surface. And at my last endo appointment, the scale crossed over to the next decade, causing the big weight on the bottom rail to slide over one more notch. That hasn’t happened for as long as I can remember. This must be what happens when you turn 40. I want to reverse this trend before it becomes noticeable – but having never done it before in my life, it’s tough to figure out how. But at least I now feel a bit more “normal”.

 

~~ DEUX ~~

TastyKakeWhile at the supermarket on Monday night, I felt a low coming on, so I bought this. (it’s not every day that I get to eat TastyKakes, and at $2.50 it’s a bargain!).  It’s now Wednesday evening, and I’ve eaten 5 of the 6 packs. All because of lows. I wonder if this type of behavior is what’s leading to the item above. (Also, I’ve been keeping the box underneath the passenger seat of my car, because I’m ashamed to bring the treat inside of the house — do you think something’s wrong with me?)

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DENIED!

It’s been quite awhile since I made the decision to keep the 530G/Enlite (pump/CGM) system. If you followed me through the process earlier in the year, you know it was not an easy decision. Not by a long shot.

But I gave it every benefit of the doubt during my trial, and the Medtronic team tried really hard to get me to like it.  And you know what? It worked. Over the past several months, I’ve really grown to like the system and have been very comfortable with my decision.

The sensor works well for me, and I understand how to make it well. The pump is comfortable and familiar, and talks to all of my other devices. The CGM is not as lumpy as its biggest competitor, and when I get out of the pool or ocean and back in range of the receiver-pump, it backfills the last 40 minutes of readings so i know what’s going on. The ISIGs give me a window into the CGM’s workings and lets me know if my sensor is performing well even if it’s got a bad calibration. The proprietary non-Luer connector makes the reservoir easier to fill than with the more common method. The pump’s raised blister-like buttons make it easy to operate without looking at it (don’t try this at home). And the clear/white case gives it a cool and modern look that I had never before anticipated – nor cared about. And CareLink!

Try to take it away and replace it with another pump or CGM, and you’ll be in for a fight.

And now, after all of the angst and turmoil of my trial, they’re telling me I can’t keep it.

They is my insurance company — an insurance company that has treated me fairly since I first got on one of their policies 17 years ago. I’ve changed employers, plans, and coverages, but always were fortunate to have the same company administering them. They, through my current (wife’s) employer-sponsored plan, have been really good at providing coverage to keep me healthy rather than simply keep me alive until the next open-enrollment period.

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Pump start, 2006

 

This started out as a comment to Chris’s blog post yesterday, asking for stories on how we were first transitioned in to using a pump.  Because I rambled a bit longer than is appropriate for a comment (as I tend to do), I decided to share it here.  Have your own pump-start story? Please post it over there, on A Consequence of Hypoglycemia.

* * *

Measure point-1u pump

My first pump: The Medtronic/Minimed 515 with the ugly blue button.

From the time my first pump-ever insulin pump arrived at my door to the time I got to pop in the battery and start using it  was about a month. BUT – there was good reason for that. I was preparing to go on a European vacation, and then was starting a new job when I returned. For obvious reasons, I didn’t want to “plug-in” and leave the country, and also for obvious reasons, I didn’t want to start my new pump on Day One, Week One of the new job; thing would be too hectic and I wanted to be “settled in” for a bit. So I waited until Day One of Week Two to begin my training. (Meanwhile, during that month, Medtronic had introduced the first pump with an integrated CGM – the 522 – leaving my brand-new-never-used model obsolete. I figured it was just bad luck, and didn’t know enough to see if I could trade mine for the newer one).

The CDE from my endo’s office, who is also a Type 1 and also a “certified” Medtronic trainer, came to my apartment to train me and get me started on saline. Previously in the office, she had counseled told me about what a pump can do, but not yet on how to make it do it. This is what the training was for.

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Six word essay

Everybody’s got something. I have diabetes.

* * *

What’s this all about? Read this.

Ten things

I

A few months ago, I asked an older gentleman working at Home Depot for help finding detergent for my power-washer so I could do some outdoor cleaning. After showing me to the appropriate product, he asked if that was an insulin pump on my hip. He told me his doctor was pressuring him to get one, but he is resisting and using shots (just one type of insulin, he wasn’t sure what). He has lots of lows as a result. Not wanting to be presumptuous, I asked if he was Type 1 or Type 2. He told me he didn’t know. That makes me sad that he’s being pushed to use this kind of advanced treatment without even being told what it is he’s treating. I feel there aren’t enough doctors who explain the condition before jumping to the treatment, and if doctors spent more time making sure patients understood, everyone would be a lot better off. (BTW – that detergent bottle is still sitting in the garage — unopened).

II

A few weeks ago, I was at a water park and saw a kid, maybe eight years old, with a QuickSet on his upper arm (tubing and pump disconnected) and a Dexcom G4 on his belly. He was with his parents and seemed a bit shy. After some hesitation (on my part), I approached him, reached into my pocket, and decided to show him my pump (without the official hashtag). He didn’t care. Rather than express some sort of connection at seeing someone else with an insulin pump, I think he was ashamed that someone proved his paraphernalia was noticeable. He then put on a life vest (I got the sense it was to cover everything up, not to help him with buoyancy) and went towards the water. His mom and I chatted briefly, then we parted ways. I learned that if someone is uncomfortable with their diabetes-stuff, pointing it out may not always be a good idea.

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