Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

This is PERFECT!! Show this to those people, in- and outside the medical field, who think managing diabetes is just a matter of following a particular method…
In case you need to print it out and show it to someone who might not understand just how incredibly easy it is to manage diabetes on a daily basis. (I can’t even type it without laughing.) I…

Source: Easy Flow Chart for High BG Management

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step into my shoes …

I often struggle to explain my “medical stuff” to people. Not that I go around dumping the whole morbid story on everyone I meet. But for those I am around often, they kinda need to know I have diabetes. For others, it just comes up in conversation.
Type 1 Diabetes

I don’t mind telling people and I appreciate folks who want to know and will allow me to educate them about diabetes. But it can be really hard to explain. It’s one of those things you can’t actually understand unless you’ve dealt with it. Sometimes it just takes having someone who knows explain it to them. Other people just won’t ever understand because they don’t have the ability to sympathize or put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
education
There are also the times you have to go to a new doctor. Then dumping the whole mess is pretty crucial, but there’s no real rhyme or reason to it so it comes out a big, jumbled pile of bits and pieces of my medical history. I start telling them one thing that relates to the reason I have come to them in the first place (ie: a sinus infection, etc) then they’ll ask another question or it will lead to needing to explain background. It’s just hard to relate 40-plus years of medical history in a few minutes, no matter how much training the “doctor” has, it just doesn’t happen quickly or easily.

    Let me stick an aside in here for anyone who happens to read this and has an inkling of what this is like, if you have a good way of doing this, could you please share? I’ve thought of trying to list everything on paper, but it’s not easy, especially at this point when I can’t even remember many of the doctors’ names or what they tested or diagnosed. I can’t remember what year things happened in unless it was major like the 2 weeks in the hospital with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in 1994. That I can remember since I spent another 2 years recovering from it. But the many, MANY times I’ve been to an allergist or ENT for ear and sinus infections and the various tests they ran and treatments they prescribed? Um, no. Sorry. My mind can’t hang onto that much stuff!

So yeah, in case I’ve never said before, I hate going to new doctors. I feel like I need a moving van to haul all my medical ‘baggage’ into the exam room. I have felt like the doctor was thinking, “What the heck? How many different diseases or medical procedures can one person have?” or “She has GOT to be making this up.” or “This lady and her ton of medical problems are more than I want to deal with.” Now, perhaps NO doctor has ever had those thoughts about me, however, if I were a betting person, I’d bet you that some of them did.
Insulin
Does that make me paranoid? Maybe, but here’s the thing that you won’t be able to understand if you don’t have a chronic auto-immune disease…going to a doctor, and I’m talking a general practitioner not a specialist, with more than a couple different complaints or health issues is like being an alien. Many doctors don’t want to deal with you. You are too complicated. Others immediately decide that you are somehow non-compliant, in other words, you’re not doing all you can to take care of yourself. You aren’t “trying hard enough”.

For instance, this new doc I went to see this week… well, she’s an ARNP but I really liked her. My mom and my youngest son had recommended her to me because she was so thorough and took her time with them. She did the same with me, but because I was there for a persistent cough, she started with that then started looking through the lab work I had in August. She was telling me everything looked good and asking me if I was on any meds for cholesterol since those labs were good, etc.. then she flipped a page and asked me if I was taking Metformin. Of course, I was puzzled about why she’d ask me if I was taking an oral medication for Type 2 diabetes when I’m on insulin and have Type 1 diabetes. I said no, thinking in the back of my mind that maybe there’s some other use for Metformin that she was going to suggest. Then she mentioned that I should be on it to help with my sugars. That’s when it dawned on me that she didn’t realize so I said, “That’s why I take insulin.”
real bad. really?
She flipped another couple pages and then began to profusely apologize. She is a really great, down-to-earth person who has a thick “southern” accent and talks really fast because, or so it seemed to me, her mind is going so fast her mouth can’t quite keep up. *smile* She made a “total fail” comment and just kept apologizing til I said, “Don’t worry about it. I come with a lot of baggage to go through.” and she said, “Well I sure appreciate all the grace you are giving me.”

However, when she then backed up to my lab work and began to retract all the “good job” comments she’d made to me just seconds ago, I felt myself getting really frustrated. And don’t get me wrong, I STILL really like this lady. I think she’s on the right track, is very thorough and wants to help me feel better and be healthier. But this is one of those things that has always just ticked me off so bad. Where she’d thought I had good lab results because they were all within normal range like for cholesterol and blood pressure and such…those were “normal people” parameters. Not diabetic ones. No, a diabetic has to have even lower levels, even better “scores” on these tests.

Yes, I have to test my blood sugar multiple times a day. I have to take shots and count every carbohydrate that I put in my mouth and dose medication for them. I can deal with that. But tell me that I have to have a cholesterol level that is 10-30 points lower than everyone else? That runs all over me and frustrates me more than the unfairness of my daily must-do’s to live.
math-bolus
Is that weird? Am I the only T1D who gets madder than a wet hen about this kind of thing? I dunno, but I left there feeling so conflicted.

This doc is sending me to an allergist she trusts to reevaluate my allergies and asthma issues. She suggested I see my chiropractor to help with the tightness (that she noticed while feeling my lymph nodes, by the way) in my neck and shoulders. She also suggested a $60/hour massage therapist…not gonna be affording that any time soon. When she looked at my feet, which many doctors don’t even do, she got pretty disturbed and told me I needed to wear tennis shoes and not my comfy Chacos and that I needed to go to a podiatrist and “get that skin off there”. I didn’t tell her that what she was seeing was much better than normal! My feet are always really dry with thick callouses and crevasses/folds. And I also didn’t tell her I’ve worn nothing but my Chacos all summer long and I’m not sure what I’ll wear when it gets too cold for them because they are THE MOST comfy shoes I’ve had in years! I’ve worn them hiking through the woods and in the river while kayaking. They are my favorites and I’m not giving them up for some less-than-comfy tennis shoes. So there.

Actually, her response to my diabetes was pretty much the usual for a GP who doesn’t deal solely with diabetics. The idea that all my labs and sugars should be perfect and that I should always maintain a perfect A1c is unrealistic at best and I’ll let her in on that when I go back in two weeks. Is it possible to attain perfect numbers? Yes, it is. Is it feasible to maintain them always? Nope.
perfect bg
Okay, so this has been a long rambly post about how I feel living my life with type 1 diabetes and all its lovely friends…Graves Disease, Neuropathy, Kidney Damage, Early Cataracts, Retina Degeneration. Those are the just a few of the ones who have already showed up to the party.

I don’t want pity. But understanding? That I will take with gusto and gratitude.

Thanks.

a stinky little story

Once upon a time, many years ago, I was a little girl.  Yes, I know, hard to imagine, right?  Just play along….

I was perhaps 11 or 12 years old.  My sister would have been 7 or 8 at this time, but that doesn’t matter because in this story, she was at Mamaw’s house anyhow.

So back to me.  This was back in the day of the stereo.  If you were born after 1990, you have no clue what this is.  Go google it.  But anyhow, I had a stereo and I usually kept the radio playing at night.  Not loud, but softly because it helped me sleep.  I had my own room with these heavy thermal drapes on the two windows, which would help block out the street lamp that was just outside one of them.  We didn’t live on a street, we lived in the woods actually, so we just called it a night light, but it was one of those huge bulbs up on a pole that came on at dusk and went off at dawn.  That window was right behind my stereo and at night, I would draw the curtains almost closed so that only a thin shaft of light could come into the room and I wasn’t in total darkness.

This is important, trust me.

During this time, my mother had a ceramic shop in the basement.  You might not know what this is either if you are a post-1990 model person.  You can google that too if you want, but as you might have guessed, it was a shop where people could buy and paint ceramic chachkies.  It was all the craze in the 80’s.  Often Mom would spend hours upon hours down there because she not only sold the ceramics, paints and brushes, she also poured and dried her own pieces.  She was big-time into it.

She also had this thing…she couldn’t bear for someone’s eyes to be poorly painted.  Not their personal, real eyes, but the eyes on the various and abundant so-called life-like pieces of ceramic she sold.  We had Indians and cartoon people, Smurfs and all sorts of animals… rabbits, tigers, bears, beagles… you name it.  A lot of times people would just ask Mom to paint the eyes for them.  The type of people who usually did this were those who were too lazy or afraid to try doing it themselves, and granted, Mom liked doing it. But I suspect there were a few who knew that after everyone had gone home, Mom would go around and “fix” eyes on all the pieces left behind.  I think they either figured why bother if she was gonna re-do them anyhow, or they wanted to humor her.  I honestly don’t know.  It makes me laugh now to think about it, but I wonder how many were insulted by her doing that or perhaps so shocked at how well they had done on those eyes after they looked so awful last week.  Bahaha!

So anyway, that’s where Mom was on the night in question.  Dad had long ago stopped trying to get her to go to bed before the early a.m. and he had to work, ya know, so he’d just go on to bed without her.

Sometime before she finally came up to bed, I heard him out in the front yard making a horrific noise.  My dad is not like normal people.  SERiously!  There are SO many ways that could apply, but in this instance what I mean is that when most people get an upset stomach, they would go to the bathroom and do their get-sick thing.  But my dad?  Nope.  He goes out in the front yard.  Why?  I have no clue.  Maybe he didn’t want Mom to hear him?  Maybe he didn’t want me to hear him?  Possibly, but if that were the case, he probably should have shut the front door behind him then only the light-sleeping neighbors may have been awakened, but as it was, he left the front door open while he was ralphing all over the great, big, unsuspecting world.

So, in a bit, he must have come in, locked the front door back (because we are BIG door-lockers in my family—you don’t want any criminals getting in, do ya?) and went back to bed…and that’s where we were that fated night.  Like I said, my sister was at Mamaw’s so she missed the whole debacle, but me?  I was RIGHT THERE in the middle of the whole thing.

Actually, the “whole thing” came to me.

I think it must have been around 3 a.m. when an odd sound woke me up.  Like I said, I slept with my radio playing but unless the station went out or they played one of those god-awful “test of the emergency broadcast system” things, it never woke me up so I listened.  It was a kind of scratching sound and I couldn’t tell exactly where it was coming from.

I sat up and looked around the dimly lit room as best I could and shortly, I saw something move in the floor near the edge of my bed.

Oh yeah.  This sleepy head was ALL wide-and-awake now, you betcha!  I looked and looked, but had lost sight of whatever it was.

So remember that window by the night light and that shaft of light that fell into my room?  Well, about that time, “whatever it was” walked through that shaft and right under my bed…and I saw, quite clearly what was in my room.

IT WAS A SKUNK!!!!   AND IT HAD JUST GONE UNDER MY BED, PEOPLE!!!!!

I am SO not kidding!!  There was a real, live skunk wandering around in my room!  By this time, i had started hollering at mom down the hall. Not screaming or anything, just calling out to her.  That part of the house was layed out like this::  (be kind now, I’m no draftsman, obviously!)

So Mom and Dad’s room was basically at the end of the hallway from mine.  I knew there was no way that Dad would ever wake up, so I didn’t even try him.  Finally Mom came plodding down the hallway.  I knew she hadn’t been in bed long, but also knew she’d come because, love her heart, she always did…with my diabetes and my sister’s epilepsy, she never knew what might be wrong if one of us called out, so I hated to wake her.  But I knew we HAD to do something to get Mr. Skunk OUT of my room!!  At that time, yes, I had no concept or concern for the rest of the house, I just wanted that thing out of my room!

When Mom got close to my room, I said, “Mom, don’t come in here, just reach in and turn on the light.”  I remember being fairly calm and I have no clue why or how I was, but I just knew that I HAD to keep her from walking into the room.  I’m not sure why I didn’t just turn on the lamp by my bed other than I was probably afraid to reach beyond it at this point.

To this, Mom said, “What?” and I know full well she was thinking Crap, her sugar’s probably low again!   But I said it again, as calmly and non-low-blood-sugary as I could, “Mom!!  DO NOT come in here, just reach in and flip on the light.”  And to my surprise, she did it.  By that time, my dad was awake and standing in the doorway too in all his glory (that’d be his underwear)… he was mumbling something as I told Mom, “There’s a skunk in here.  Under my bed.”  I am cracking up as I write this thinking what in the world must have been going through their heads when I said that.

Possibly something along the lines of, “Good lord!  Other parents have kids who get scared of monsters in their closets, but no, our kid has to have skunks under her bed.  Maybe her sugar is really, really low…”  *laughing so hard now*  I just can’t imagine what, if anything in that sleep state, went through their minds.

Thankfully…sorta… before they had time to question my sanity, Mr. Skunk came crawling out from under my bed and aimlessly wandered into my closet.  See?  I TOLD YOU there was a skunk in here!

Mom and Dad’s mouths kinda dropped open and Dad swears they didn’t do this, but I remember him looking at Mom, scratching his head all the while and they both turned and walked away, mumbling to each other.   They just left me sitting there in the middle of the bed.  So, I did the only thing I knew… I jumped off the end of my bed what felt like a full 15 feet out into the hallway and ran down to where they were by the front door.

Apparently, they had hatched a plan by this time because Dad seemed to be determined and awake now.  I don’t know why it sticks out in my mind so much…my dad always slept in his “draws”…his tighty-whiteys, but for some reason, I have vivid images of him moving around, dealing with this ridiculous situation in his ridiculous Undieman “costume” and I can NOT remember this whole incident without seeing him that way.  Most often I would be like but that’s what I remember and so it cracks me up!! Every. Single. Time!

It wasn’t exactly like this, but just so you’re with me on the crack-up scale::

this is sorta Undieman, but not my dad, for certain!

In my recollections, I call this Undieman VS Mr. Skunk: The Epic Battle.  Yes.  I do.

So I stood there with Mom in the foyer, Undieman went back toward my room, turning on the hall lights and reaching in to turn off the light in my room.

In just a few seconds, we heard BOOM, BOOM, BOOM as Undieman came running down the hallway toward his and Mom’s bedroom and SLAM! as he slapped the door shut and right on his heels was Mr. Skunk and we soon heard the sound of his claws scratching on the bedroom door as he tried furiously to get to Daddy!

Mom and I were stunned.  I know, this is one of those ROFLMBO moments.  Trust me, I am with you, but at that time, we were just floored.  In a few more seconds the digging stopped and we watched, mouths hanging open as Mr. Skunk plodded back towards my bedroom as if he’d just tossed a cat out of the house.

About that time, we heard Dad yelling to open the front door.  We seldom ever used that door.  This was your typical 1980’s style house with a front door back in the “L” of the house in a little nook that was dark and never used except for an occasional nocturnal, environmental puking session and my wedding.  (but that’s another story!)  But their master bathroom window opened up right adjacent to the door, so Undieman could give us instructions from his prison-slash-bathroom, which was pretty convenient after all.  He said he was going to try opening the door again, so we waited….

We could hear the click and rattle of the door knob and apparently so could Mr. Skunk because he came flying toward Undieman again when SLAM! Undieman smacked the door shut again and again, there was a minute of furious digging and then…silence as Mr. Skunk strolled back to my his room again.

U-man was back at the window telling us to make some noise so we might lure him toward the front door.  In a flash, (seriously, I don’t know where she got that thing so fast) Mom now had a heavy runner, you know, one of those long hallway rugs, holding it longways in front of her like a shield.  I was supposed to be behind her, but I stayed slightly beside her so I could see what was going on.  We eased down the hallway a bit and started talking, I guess.  I honestly don’t remember the noises we made… but as we did that, we backed up to our previous position by the open front door.

Soon, here came Mr. Skunk, slowly mosying his way towards us…none of us saying a word.  He stopped right in front of me and Mom and looked up at us as if to say, “How y’all doin’?” and turned to head out the door.

I have no idea what possessed my mother at this point.  Some fierce she-bear thing or just a sleep-deprived adrenaline-fueled break with reality but she hollered “GIT OUTTA MY HOUSE!” and snapped that rug at Mr. Skunk’s behind.

I am TOTALLY not kidding you.

My dad almost passed out.  I can see him peeking out that bathroom window with a look of horror on his face as he said, “Are you crazy, woman??!!”   You know he meant business because Daddy never called Mom “woman” like that.

Mr. Skunk, on the prowl for another outdoor ralpher.

And so, that is how this saga ends.  Mr. Skunk went on his way.  He lived to terrorize some other unsuspecting soul, I suppose.  Undieman hung up his invisible cape and never battled Mr. Skunk again.

Although, there was that time a bat got in his room….