Thursday, November 29, 2007

Endo Office Screw Up.

I was running out of test strips. I have a doctor's appointment on Tuesday. I knew I couldn't make it until then to get another prescription for my strips, so I called my doctor's office to ask them to call in some test strips. I didn't recognize the lady I spoke with. I'm not sure if she was new or just not someone with whom I normally deal. Either way, I gave her my name & told her I needed test strips called in. She said she would have it done.
"No problem," I think to myself.
Several hours later my phone rings. It's my drug store. I recently transferred to a new drug store, so they don't have any of my old prescriptions on file. They called to ask me what kind of meter I had. "Strange," I think to myself. But I tell them and they say they will be ready soon.
When I got off work I had a friend in to visit from out of town. We made a quick run to the drug store. When I got there, the pharmacist tells me there are lancets and alcohol pads in the bag also. I told him I don't need them. He said, "They called in testing supplies, so that's why we added them. We will take them off." He was very nice. I should have suspected something when he said that. But I took the bag and paid my money. I was in a hurry and excited to have friends visiting and I made the ultimate mistake: I didn't look in the bag.
About 3 hours later, as we were settling in for the night, I opened my bad and found inside..... (imagine suspenseful music playing here): two boxes of test strips. Total test strips: 100. I test 10 times per day minimum. This will last me for a total of 10 days. I nearly had a mental breakdown at that point. I was yelling and saying lots of things I'm not exactly proud of.
Here are the things I know: my insurance won't pay for anymore strips for 30 days. That means I have 20 days of strips that I will have to pay for out of pocket. 20 days x 10 strips = 200 strips x $1.00 per strip = $200. Right before Christmas. I can't afford that when it's not Christmas. Let alone now.
After I calmed down I got to thinking. The lady with whom I spoke on the phone obviously didn't look at my chart. She just called the drug store and said "testing supplies". The drug store just did what they were supposed to do. They filled for the average recommendation of testing per day, which is 4 times per day. They were most certainly not at fault. I was partially at fault for not looking in the bag before I left. The lady at the doctor's office was really at fault for not pulling up my file to see what to call in.
This morning I made a call to the drug store to ask them if anything could be done. The lady I spoke with there was very helpful and told me that she would call my doctor's office and confirm my number of tests per day and then call my insurance company to get an override to pay for more strips. My only worry at that point is that I pay a $40 co-pay on my strips since they are non-preferred on my insurance. Am I going to have to pay another $40 because my doctor's office screwed up?
Basically I have decided that when I go to the drug store, if they ask me to pay again, I am going to have them hold the strips until Tuesday afternoon. At that point I am going to go to my doctor's office and ask for 200 strips. We know they all get sample strips. I am not going to pay for something that they were at fault for.
I will find out something in the morning about the strips when I call the drugstore. Hopefully, all will have worked out.
This is just frustrating. Part of me will be glad when Medtronic changes their meter that goes with the pump from BD to OneTouch. I like the OneTouch much better and they are preferred strips on my insurance, which means only a $20 co-pay. I also wonder if I should say something to the office staff when I go into my appointment on Tuesday morning.
I hate dealing with insurance and doctor's offices and co-pays and premiums and other insurance related and diabetes related stupidity.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving.

I just want to say Happy Thanksgiving to all you blog readers out there. It is a time for family and friends and remembering what's important in life. I am currently decorating a cake & preparing to cook Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow to celebrate with my dad and his family. We are very thankful this year that my Grandmother is out of the nursing home. While she's not doing as well as we'd like, she is doing much much better and we are so glad to have her home.
On Thanksgiving, after we eat and rest and clean the kitchen, I am heading to a friend's house for the long weekend. We are going to try to shop some and just hang out. I have taken Monday off work, simply to extend the time a little.
I have to say that I am truly thankful for my health with 22 years of diabetes under my belt. I am thankful more than they will every know, for my family and my friends. I don't know what I'd do without them.
And I have a new item to add to my thankful list this year. I am thankful for all of you in the Diabetes OC. Since I discovered this world back in April, my life has improved in many ways. I am so blessed by each and every one of you. You bring me back to myself, when diabetes tries to make me forget who I am. You live your days with me, checking blood sugars, going to doctor's appointments, and sharing our lows and high (both literal and figurative).
I truly hope you all have a joy filled Thanksgiving filled with friends and family and wonderful food. And don't forget to count those carbs! :)

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


Beth at In Search of Balance, had tagged me with the lovely seven meme. This is a first for me. So, here are the rules:

The Rules:
1. Link to the person’s blog who tagged you.
2. Post these rules on your blog.
3. List seven random and/or weird facts about yourself.
4. Tag seven random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
5. Let each person know that they have been tagged by posting a comment on their blog.

1. I was adopted at birth (pretty cool, huh Beth?) and have actually met my biological mother & her family. I went to visit them when I was 18.
2. I once was hit on by a telemarketer who was trying to sell me a long distance plan. He couldn't get over my Tennessee accent. It took me 10 minutes to get off the phone with him since I didn't want to be mean and just hang up on him.
3. I am probably the only person I know who is very "county" and yet LOVES Broadway.
4. If I were not a diabetic, I would still drink diet drinks. I don't like the taste of most non-diet drinks (that comes from 22 years of diabetes).
5. I once stood out in the COLD weather (Pittsburgh in December) at 4:00 in the morning to buy tickets to a play that I wouldn't see. I was helping out a friend.
6. I am not dating anyone & don't have any prospects for marriage, but due to my best friend getting married in May, I already have my wedding dress, theme, and some decorations picked out. Pretty pathetic, I know.
7. I am short! Not even 5 feet tall. 4' 11" if you want to get technical. And one of my best friends is 6' 4". We look funny standing next to each other. Total opposites.

Now for the tagging 7 others.... it took me a while to find 7 people who don't have a tagged blog up. So, if you get double tagged, I'm sorry.
Here they are:
Jillian at Diabetor and Me, Paige at TN Mountain Cur, Ed at Ring the Bolus, Jim at Jimmy Fitz, Scott at Scott's Diabetes Journal, Seonaid at Diabetes Blog, and George at The B.A.D. Diabetic. Sorry if you guys have already been tagged and I didn't realize it.
Have fun.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend of Shopping

I went shopping on Saturday in Knoxville, which is about an hour and a half from where I live. I went with a dear friend of mine, whom I will call D, who is a Type 2 diabetic. We were friend before her diagnosis, but since then, there are things that I can discuss with her that we couldn't talk about before. It brings to light different things in our friendship. Even though I am Type 1 & she is Type 2, there is still an underlying connection there. We can discuss A1c's, blood sugar levels, and what different foods do to our BG levels. It's nice to have that connection with another person.

I have that connection on a regular basis with those of you in the OC, but I have to say, a real, flesh and bone human that I can talk with face-to-face is also really nice.

In some ways I am jealous of those of you who have gotten to meet each other. I want to do that someday.

D & I went to a health food store in Knoxville, called Earth Fare. I live in a really, really small town, so I don't get the chance to shop at places like that very often. I bought several things, but I have to say I walked out of the store with one bag that ended up costing $36. That's sad. So in a way, I guess it's a good thing that I live in a very small town. Otherwise I would be broke from grocery shopping.... oh wait, I am already broke from grocery shopping, so I guess I would just be in the poor house all the way around then. :)

We also went to a mall, Best Buy (I love the Best Buy!), and another little shop. I spent way too much money, but got several people's Christmas presents out of the way, so I guess it was a good thing in a way.

The best part of my day, however, was lunch. D's birthday was on the 14th (WDD!) and I took her out for lunch as my present to her. That is kind of our present to each other on our birthday's. We went to P.F. Chang's China Bistro. I know there is one in Nashville and one in Maryland, so I am pretty sure it is a large chain. I have been there several times and absolutely LOVE it! I can't remember what D ordered (although I can tell you it was good). But I got Ginger Chicken and Broccoli. I have to say, it was one of the best things I have ever gotten off their menu. The food is always fabulous, but Ginger Chicken made it to the top of my order list. I highly recommend that you try it if you get the chance. It's a little pricey, but more than worth it. The also offer you the choice of white & brown rice with your meal, so you can eat healthier if you choose. (I was a bad diabetic: I had white rice.)

On a side note, I just looked up P.F. Chang's on the internet and they have their entire menu listed on the website with nutritional values! If I'd known that, I would have had an easier time with my carb counting.... I'll have to remember that for my next visit.

Overall, I had a good day. Decent blood sugars all day long and lots of fun that was non-diabetes related.

On another note: My niece has been back in the hospital for fluid around her heart. I am pretty sure, though not positive because I haven't talked to them in a couple of days, that she got out of the hospital today. The put her in on Thursday and they had to drain the fluid and she was in ICU for a while. So, once again, please keep her and my family in your prayers. This cancer is not being a nice thing. But she is a strong person and has a good attitude and we believe she can beat this thing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

World Diabetes Day 2007

Today is World Diabetes Day 2007. I didn't do anything special on this day. I should have, and feel like others may have done more than I. It passed, just like any other day for me. My hope, however, is that others that don't have to live with diabetes every day, had their eyes opened to the struggle that so many in the world make every single day.

Some of you were in another country, watching the lights make the world aware of the day. Some of you were able to highlight the effect that diabetes has on the people around the diabetic. Some wrote beautiful posts about diabetes and how it exists in your world. There was even a post with everyone's favorite diabetes spokesperson.

All over the world, buildings lit up, people joined together and spoke out about diabetes. Even though I feel like I should have done something on this day, I know that there are others out there, like me, who woke up this morning wishing that there was no need for a World Diabetes Day. Knowing that today was going to be a bad day blood sugar wise (and it was. Believe me, it was.) and wishing that there was no diabetes.

Today was another day that I don't get a day off. I don't get a break. I don't get to eat what I want without a care. I don't get to go more than 4 hours without a test. To be honest, I didn't even want to test today. It seemed too much for me. Too hard. Too time consuming. But I did it, although not as often as I should have.

My hope is not only that people become aware of diabetes and its global effect, but that there is a CURE in the near future. So I can have my day off. Twenty-two years is a long time to not get a day off. I'd really like that chance.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

The Bee & Me

I have discussed my diagnosis before. I talked about how my mother found out I was diabetic and what bits and pieces that I remember from that awful time in my life. But I don't think I have ever talked about this little guy:
This is a bee. I think. Actually I'm not sure that it isn't the love child of a bee and a troll. It's been through a lot of stuff. A four year old can do that to a toy. He (she?) was bought for me when I was diagnosed. I'm not sure if it was purchased in the hospital gift store, or my parents got it somewhere else and brought it to me.
I do know that I remember holding it while I was held down to get shots in the hospital. I remember it being a bribe of sorts for me not to cry. (It didn't work.) But I remember this little bee. It made me smile.
I found it the other night, in an old trunk (one I actually took to diabetes camp!) with a bunch of stuff from my childhood. I was thinking about this little bee, and I remembered that I had kept it. When I found it, I couldn't help but think about how it looked just like I remembered it. It took me back to being four years old and holding it while I lay on my stomach in a hospital bed in Cookeville, Tennessee just after my diagnosis. I can almost feel the hot tears running down my face.
But that's not the only time I remember it. I remember having it at home, playing in the bathtub (I always had lots of toys in the bathtub). I remember it getting water stuck in it and my dad taking his pocket knife to cut the hole in the bottom of it bigger, so the water could drain out. That hole is still there, of course.
This little bee went through a lot with me. And as I got older, I remembered it and kept it. When I was putting pieces of my childhood in that trunk as a teenager, in went the bee. Lots of things didn't make it into that trunk. But that bee made it. It is part of my memory of my diagnosis.
I can't tell you how long I carried around that bee, just that it survived my childhood. Not many toys can say that with any child.
So I got the bee out and took his (her?) picture to post on here. I wanted to share it with you because I know that others have some similar memories. I would love to hear about yours.
As a side note, I took the bee to my mother's house on Friday night. I asked her if she remembered it. She remembered the bee, but not when or how I had gotten it. Amazing what children remember. That little bee is something I won't ever forget.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Happy D-Blog Day!!!

Happy D-Blog Day! This is my first year to celebrate D-Blog Day. And I have to say that I am so very happy that I am here, in this great community, to share with you in our hurts, our fears, our triumphs, and our every day lives. I came to the OC when I felt like I didn't have anyone who understood what I was going through. I had spent time trying to explain my fears and frustrations with friends, and try as they might, they just couldn't completely understand. I am so thankful that I stumbled across dLife one day, which lead me to Kerri, who opened the door for so many of the wonderful on-line friends I have made.
You have changed my world in so many ways. My world was hollow at times. Lonely and sometimes scary. I wanted to find people who were living what I was living. Part of my didn't believe there were others who were living what I was.
Now my life is better. I won't say complete, because that will only come with a CURE! But it is better. When I am frustrated at the general public, you understand. When I am sick from a midnight low, you understand. When I get on my education soapbox, you understand. This is because you live it with me. You make me feel normal. You make me feel understood. You make me know that I can get up each day and smile and be thankful for a good day. If it's a bad day, you sympathize and tell me, "there's always tomorrow".
All in all, this online-community has saved me untold dollars in therapy (I'm really not kidding. I was considering seeing a therapist before I found this "world"), introduced me to people I would have never met otherwise, and let me be me without fear of judgement or condemnation.
Thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Head in the Sand: The Morning After

Last night I made chicken vegetable soup. It's just starting to cool down here in Tennessee and soup was the perfect meal for the weather. Not to mention the fact that I am running dangerously low on groceries and I'm too lazy to go to the supermarket until I absolutely have to. I had all the ingredients to to make this soup last night and I have to say, it was delicious.

I always find it a little hard to estimate my carbs for homemade soup. I usually take a wild guess and watch my blood sugars really closely for the next several hours. If it seems like I did okay, I use that same estimation the next time I eat the soup. Usually it isn't a very difficult thing for me to do.

So there I was, eating my soup. I had estimated my carbs at around 25 grams because I knew that I would have seconds and the soup had diced potatoes, corn, and peas. And seconds I did have. Two hours after dinner my blood sugar was 84. This almost panicked me into eating something else, or turning my pump off, but I instead decided to keep a closer eye on the blood sugars to see if they were going to keep falling, or hold steady. I was (of course) hoping for the holding steady.

Three hours after dinner: 85

Four hours after dinner: 82
Bedtime (about 4 and 1/2 hrs after): 80
I still had 1.1 units of active insulin left, according to my bolus wizard on my pump. This doesn't usually worry me because my blood sugar tends to increase after I go to sleep. My basal rate even increases, especially closer to morning to deal with the lovely dawn phenomenon.
I went to be feeling confident I would awake around 100.

Fast forward to the middle of the night (around 3:50 according to my meter; I checked the time this morning). I woke up, wide awake. This never happens to me. I felt almost frozen. Something is very wrong. I willed myself to open my eyes all the way, trying to get a bearing on my surroundings. I'm scared. I can't reach the two feet to my left to turn on my lamp, so I reach on the opposite side of my bed, where I lay my meter every night. Thankfully, there's a tiny flashlight on my meter case; my meter doesn't have a back light.

My head is spinning and I think to myself "This isn't right." And it wasn't. I was 55. I reached for the juice box I keep on my nightstand. I fumble with the straw and think that I just want to go back to sleep. I drain the juice box and lay there, box in hand, knowing that even though my blood sugar is low, it won't stay that way. The 25 grams of carbs in the juice box will bring me back up. I closed my eyes and drift back to sleep.

My alarm went off this morning & I pried my eyes open, hoping that it wouldn't be as bad as I knew it would be. It was. I have a splitting headache & when I turn my lamp on, my eyes squint to keep out the pain. It's almost like a hangover, minus the throwing up part. I grabbed my meter and checked my blood sugar. It's 122. I've survived the night, but from past experiences, I know I'm in for a long day.
I haven't had a low in the night in months. I don't know why I always wake myself up. Actually, I do: God, plain & simple. He's always taken care of me when I couldn't take care of myself. There always seems to be someone around who knows what's wrong and knows what to do when I don't, or I'm not able to care for myself.
Back to my day: I stumble around getting ready for work, feeling like death warmed over. All I really want to is go lay back down and go back to sleep. I contemplate calling in to work today, but know I have a full schedule of appointments that other's in my office would have to see or reschedule. I don't want to do that to them.
So I went to work. I took some ibuprofen to help with the headache. It didn't help much. I felt like I'd stuck my head in a pile of sand. My eyes were gritty feeling, no matter how much I rubbed them. They were heavy, feeling like sandbags were weighing the lids down.

But I worked. I worked all day and by around 4:00 this afternoon I felt somewhat like a human-being again. My eyes don't feel so much like I stuck my head in the sand anymore.

Today, while I was working, I thought about Kerri's experience with a low a few nights ago. I know exactly how she feels. I should have taken that swig of juice before I went to bed. But for once, it would have been nice to not have to worry about diabetes. A blood sugar of 84 is normal. Why can't I be normal and stay that way?? Kerri has Chris to help her out, but she seems to wake herself up most of the time. I always do. Or God does, I guess it depends on how you want to look at it.
As short tempered and ill as I was today, I worked all day. Tomorrow, after a good night's sleep and decent blood sugar readings, I will be in a better mood, I will feel better, and I will still be thankful that I'm here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Hamburger Meat

That's what my mother always said my fingertips looked like when I was little. She didn't say it in a mean way. But she always said it sympathetically. Like she felt so sorry for me. Which I know she did. She felt so helpless to not be able to fix her little girl.
When I was diagnosed in 1985, testing was so much different. We didn't have the luxury of micro fine lancets, or lancet devices with different depths on them. They hurt. A lot. And they bled. A lot. And sometimes, especially to a little four year old, it felt like the lancet was going to go straight through my finger.
This left many many ugly red and brown dots on my fingertips. That's why my mother said it reminded her of hamburger meat. I, myself, still look at my fingertips and think to my self "Look. Hamburger meat." It makes me want to cry sometimes, knowing that I will probably never have beautifully manicured hands and soft fingertips that are free of callouses and tiny red spots. I don't think about it often, but today was a day I thought about it a great deal.
I was visiting Kerri over at Six Until Me. Her post today started out with a picture of her fingertips. I laughed. They were MY fingertips!!! How'd she get a picture of MY fingertips?? At that moment I felt loved, understood, and absolutely not alone in this fight against diabetes.
Then, this evening, I stopped by Amylia's blog, Amazing Grace. Yesterday she had posted a picture for diabetes 365. This was also a picture of her (my???) fingertips holding a cell phone. Again, I felt connected. This time to someone on the other side of the world. Again, I felt loved, understood, and absolutely not alone.
I live with diabetes every day. It's a part of nearly every decision I make. I don't complain about it very often. After all, what would the point of that be?? I just live with it. I test, I get turned down for short term disability policies, I go to doctor's offices where they know me by name, I count every gram of food that enters my body. It's just part of me and my life.
But sometimes, you can't help but feel different and alone. Today was not one of those days. So I'd like to thank Amylia and Kerri. Even though I've never met either of them (I would count myself blessed to be able to meet either of them), I feel like I know them. We share a common thread. We share a life. We share our fingertips.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Why are people so stupid?

Seriously? Why? I was reading in Countdown Magazine, that I picked up at the Middle TN JDRF Walk To Cure Diabetes, that 7% of the population is affected by diabetes. They say by 2020 that the number will be 33%. That's one-third. One third of the nation that has Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Why do people not seem concerned by this? Why do people not want to learn about this disease that affects so many people? I know that it's hard to be concerned by something that doesn't affect you. But so many people THINK that they know about diabetes because their second cousin's grandpa had it. Or their friend from 30 years ago had it. And they spout off stupidity because of it. No, I won't "outgrow" diabetes. I can't. I have Type 1. I have a friend who had Type 2 and was on an insulin pump for years. The last time I spoke with her she'd lost so much weight that she wasn't on insulin at all anymore. But she's still Type 2. If someone tries to tell me about their sickness, I try to listen. Even if it doesn't really affect me. Who knows what I might learn? When I found out my niece had cancer, I waited to find out what KIND of cancer. Then I researched it. Then I talked about it with her. I tried to inform myself. Why is that so hard for the general public? I know I have been on these rants before, and I am truly sorry if I am annoying anyone who's reading this, but it is constantly on my mind. I want to EDUCATE people. And I don't know how to do it!