Saturday, May 14, 2011

Saturday Snapshots–DBW #6

Saturday snapshots - Saturday 5/14: Today is the only day I’ve brought back a fun topic from last year. Inspired by the Diabetes 365 project, let’s snap a few more d-related pictures and share them again. Post as many or as few as you’d like. Be creative! Feel free to blog your thoughts on or explanations of your pictures. Or leave out the written words and let the pictures speak for themselves.

There’s just too much stuff in my life that relates to diabetes so I either had to make a music video or put all the stuff in one place to snap the picture.  I went with the video. 

I put captions over the pictures so you know what I was photographing since I just walked around the house with a camera snapping away.  Anyone reading this who has diabetes or knows someone with diabetes will pretty much understand the video.  For my regular readers, most of you don’t have diabetes or know someone with it other than me!  So I will explain what’s happening. 

Let’s start with the G spot.  That may have been too piquant a description but I thought it was funny.  Really I should call it the T spot since I don’t typically call my meter a glucometer, I call it a tester because that’s what it does.  I keep it on the counter when I’m home.  It sits in front of the toaster or on the opposite counter corner.  I know where it is, everyone else in my family knows where it is, and if I can’t find it then it’s a problem!  I do love being able to tell one of my kids to grab it for me though.  I’d hate to lose the perma dent in my couch to get up to grab it myself! 

I test my blood sugar several times a day.  My prescription is written for 10 tests a day.  I test before meals, two hours after meals, before bed, and any other time I feel the need.  It’s a lot of boxes for one month but that’s life.  Oh, and I save the used test strips in the little pouch in my meter case.  I don’t know why.  I think it’s because I’m lazy when I do have easy access to a garbage can but it’s a great place to keep it when I don’t.  What I photographed was about 10 days worth of used strips.  Gross!  I usually don’t wait that long before dumping the pouch in the trash.  I have read that other diabetics put their used test strips in a sharps container.  I don’t understand that.  Nobody ever told me I shouldn’t put them in the trash.  I throw tissues in the trash that cleaned up a bloody nose or a gushing finger or bloody pump site.  I don’t see what the difference is. 

Let’s move on to the pump supplies.  I wear a Paradigm 522 from Mini Med.  It holds 1.8 ml of insulin.  This is exciting to me since I used to use the bigger pump that held 3.0 ml of insulin.  The smaller model means I’m using less insulin which means I am in better control overall.  Can I ever get off of insulin?  No.  My pancreas is broken, so to speak.  It doesn’t produce any insulin which is an essential hormone for digesting food. 

That reminds me, Heath wanted me to use the song Pancreas by Weird Al Yankovich.  We were listening to the song together and I finally looked at him and said, “But my pancreas doesn’t work.”  He got this classic look on his face as if the lyrics had never dawned on him before.  In his defense, he hadn’t heard the song in years.  He just remembered that there is a song called Pancreas and how great would that be for a music montage?  I told him that Weird Al loves his pancreas and never leaves home without it because this is what happens when it doesn’t work, and I gestured to the pictures.  So I went with my first choice, Roll With the Punches by Lenka.  Because that’s what I do.  I have Type 1 diabetes, hypothyroidism, anxiety, and a host of other non medicated issues!  It’s my life.  I can pretty much do what everyone else does, just in a different way (Opening credits of Little People Big World on TLC). 

Back to the pump.  So how the pump works is I put in the amount of insulin I would use over a 2-3 day period of time in the reservoir.  The insulin is delivered to my abdomen (because I haven’t really tried any other spot except my hip and it was literally a pain in the butt!) via a tiny plastic tube that is attached to my body.  This is called the infusion set and it’s inserted by pushing a button on a plastic device that shoots a small needle into my skin so the tiny, flexible, plastic cannula is inside me.  Then the needle is pulled out and discarded in . . .

The sharps container!  Did you see all my sharps containers?  I properly dispose of the used needle and the weird cap thing that has a needle in it so I can get the insulin from the vial into the reservoir.  But here’s the problem.  The Quick Set infusion sets I use produce a lot of bulky sharps.  The needle is folded into itself after use and what’s left is this rather large plastic thing.  The infusion sets I used to use left a thin blow gun dart looking thing.  It took up much less real estate in my sharps containers.  That real sharps container I photographed didn’t get full for several years on the other infusion sets.  It filled up after a couple months on the new improved and much more comfortable infusion sets.  Also nobody nearby seems to take sharps containers.  I read of someone dropping off full All bottles at their pharmacy.  I should try the pharmacy since my endo’s office won’t take it.  So until I decide to get around to disposing of my sharps I will continue to fill random food containers. 

My insulin prescription is written for 100 units a day.  I usually use less than 50 units in a day but it depends on the day and what I’m eating.  Weekends are always high insulin consumption days for me.  I have so much extra insulin.  When I saw my doctor the other day I told him I have a lot and I wondered if he should redo the prescription.  He said that it’s easier to do the 100 units and it’s better to have too much than too little insulin.  So I get 3 vials a month and have several months worth just sitting around.  This video proved to me that I am on my way with emergency preparedness for my meds and supplies. 

The CGM is a sensor that sits in the fatty tissue of the body such as the abdomen, hips, butt, thighs, or back of the arms (my preference) and senses blood sugar.  It updates this information on the pump every 5 minutes.  It’s pretty cool but I’m still not impressed.  The sensor can stay in place for up to a week or more.  It’s not infusing anything so it can stay in one spot longer.  I thought of linking to past posts about the CGM but it was a learning process and the information was wrong in a few of those posts until I learned over several months of trials and then finally getting my own so there’s too many posts to link to. 

What else?  I called one book the Guilt Bible because I thought I was doing fine with my management skills until I read that.  It depressed me as I read about diabetes related complications.  It freaked me out when I read about babies and I seriously wondered if I would have had children had I known that info beforehand.  It overwhelmed me at times with all that I need to think about in a day, which is a stupid reaction since I already do those things.  I felt like the book had an intense Debbie Downer way of looking at things.  I understand the risks of low blood sugar while caring for an infant but I didn’t need a book to make me feel like the worst was inevitable.  I was not a fan of the book.  Plus, it was given to me by someone who has the same intense The Sky is Falling sort of outlook on life and life with diabetes.  No thank you.  I’m psycho enough without that kind of encouragement! 

Which brings me to my last point.  My pills.  I take Zoloft because I finally decided to do something to dial down my crazy.  For new readers, I’ve written a lot about that since it’s a recent prescription.  I also take Synthroid for my hypothyroidism and Zestril because my doctor told me to!  How’s that for blind obedience?  No, it’s a complicated drug that takes care of a lot of things.  It lowers my blood pressure, which isn’t an issue for me but it also protects my organs from the effects of diabetes.  I don’t remember the deal with this one.  I was put on it as a teenager and was yelled at big time when I stopped refilling my prescription.  Then I was allowed to go off of it for the child bearing years and I was put back on a couple years ago since the child bearing years are over for me. 

Between the horrific birth defects Zoloft and Zestril cause to unborn babies I cannot get pregnant.  The tubal ligation is supposed to be a pretty effective means of sterilization but lately I’ve heard a lot of stories of people getting pregnant after the procedure!  That’s not comforting at all.  Here’s hoping my tubes were tied in a really tight knot! 

So that’s my life as a diabetic in a nutshell.  Yeah right!  I don’t want to beg for comments but I know that my blog does not always attract diabetic readers so if you have questions, please ask.  I’ve done my best with the writing prompts this year to really explain diabetes and my perspective on living with it.

4 thoughts:

meanderings said...

Great video!
And yup, the storage issues for all the d-stuff is always a pain.
Nice to meet you!

The Piquant Storyteller said...

Thanks! It's nice to meet you too. But you didn't leave any forwarding info when you moved your blog. Or was I not paying enough attention?

Karen G said...

I love that you made a video montage of all the pictures - great idea. And the song? Just perfect!!

The Piquant Storyteller said...

Thanks again Karen! I had a lot of fun making this video. After I made it I thought maybe just maybe I could step outside the box and record my husband changing my pump site. Maybe. We'll see!