Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Design malfunction

I still haven't gotten my syringes from the new pharmacy. They ordered two kinds, but both turned out to be the wrong one. They've tried again to order the right kind and they think it will be in today. Why does this happen? It's definitely not their fault.

Why BD really needs to rethink how they package insulin syringes:

Here are the three kinds of (supposedly helpfully color-coded) syringes that my old pharmacy gave me when I started on insulin. I do not blame them one bit for being confused. The bottom one is the right kind of syringe.

The top and bottom bags are actually exactly the same color

This is the truly inexplicable part, though, and the one that gives the pharmacy the most trouble:

What?! This is (presumably) why the syringes I use aren't in the nationwide Walgreens computer. They're a newer model and I'm guessing the system wouldn't let them have anything duplicated when they tried to add them. This means that every time there's a question about the syringes at the pharmacy, I have to bring in a box to show them because they can't even pull up the right kind to order. This was even more...interesting when I was trying to get the first box!

I want to send this to BD with some, er, suggestions, but they don't have email and I don't have a color printer. So, it will take a little more doing.

Monday, September 25, 2006


It looks like my cat is not diabetic. I felt relief after the meter counted down and displayed 83. Of course I don't want my cat to be "sick," but I was also overwhelmed after reading about feline diabetes. Some people manage it a bit like I manage my own. I admit to not being able to picture finding more time in my day to do this. J.'s already qualified, too, but he subscribes to the less daily management school already. My husband is already very busy, and while he knows a lot, he doesn't have the "feel" for it. Obviously we'd do it if we had to, though. Let's just say that it was enough trying to get enough blood from him. I watched the videos and read the instructions that said how easy it was and that they do it once or twice daily. It wasn't easy, and it took almost an hour! Luckily it didn't seem to hurt him; he just didn't like the noise in his ear. I'm still puzzled as to why our kitty is drinking so much water every 15 minutes, though. It doesn't seem particularly dry in here, and we came from such a dry climate. It might be time for that vet once we find a place and can unpack our things.

I am reminded of the...precariousness of things after I tried to refill my syringes at the pharmacy last Thursday. Surely I can't be the only one who uses them! But even in Seattle, they have to be special-ordered. They're still not in and I'm in danger of running out now. I know I can reuse them, and I will if I have to, but I hate to do it. Injections are already painful for me (because of a nerve condition), so I'd rather not make it worse. Anyway, here's a diabetic moment from a couple weeks ago:

Last night we went to a restaurant that was far away from home and when we got out of the car, J. discovered that his insulin had fallen out of his bag earlier. Before we would have had to drive home and look for it. Instead he just used mine.*

At the restaurant there was this high school kid sitting by himself, just staring at us. This went on for about 30 minutes. I figured he must have seen the syringes or something. After he left, I saw a pile of empty Equal packets sitting on the table. Aha.

* this only works because I haven't reused syringes since before I opened this bottle since I can afford to buy them out of pocket now.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

The continued adventures

We're keeping the cats in a converted large dog carrier. We added a shelf covered in carpet in between the two halves. It's pretty roomy - in fact, they have almost more room than we do! Because we were travelling, we had to use a ball water bottle. At first they couldn't stand the indignity, but now they're still loudly using it. I guess changing the water in the bowl twice a day isn't enough for them.

This is how I woke up several times during the night hearing Kech drinking. Since we've been spending more time in the hotel room, I've seen him doing it a lot during the day, too. I asked my husband (who changes the box) if he'd been peeing a lot and he exclaimed, "someone has!" We had thought he started peeing on the floor just before we moved due to stress. This is how I came to be spending my Sunday morning researching how to test a blood sugar on a cat.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Back to the city

We've been driving all over the city lately, trying to find places we used to love. Some are gone, but many are still here and haven't changed, thankfully. Seattle has so many different types of areas - some remind me of Chicago. some San Francisco, some Salt Lake City. I never noticed it before, so it's been fun to explore the city. Unfortunately, none of our explorations have resulted in finding a house yet. There is a place in the running, though, and we may go for it. I love the back yard (pretending I can't hear the freeway noise), the inside is large and bright (assuming you don't look at the carpet), and it's located off the street, which is very nice. To be fair, it sounds like they can be convinced to replace the carpet. The price is still a bit steep, but then we looked at the other options: not available until November (oops, did we forget to mention that); located right on a busy street; requires going up a steep hill and then down a steep hill; smells like a combination of mold and yak urine; landlord fails to understand the concept of paying cash. Paying a little more starts to sound a lot more appealing.

Sadly, since the printer had to be packed it's more difficult for me to work on things like getting an appointment with a new endo until we find a place to live. I have the place in mind; I just need to provide them with information. Not to mention that I will have to provide them with much more than they asked for, including helpful charts and graphs. If I just sent them them what they asked for (last three progress reports, last A1c), they'd either be left scratching their heads or I'd end up with an appointment in about a year. Since I'm thinking about pumping, that would be bad.

Another thing about living in a larger city is the price of test strips. In Tucson I could find the best price for OneTouch Ultra at Walmart (sorry!) until last month when the price went up everywhere. Then Walgreens (surprise!) had the best price. Here in Seattle I'm seeing prices about $14 more for the box of 100. So, I decided to take advantage of not living in a desert and ordered supplies online. We'll see how that goes.

I should mention that the reason any of this is possible is because we made a profit from selling our house. We are very lucky in that regard. Also that we were able to get Cobra coverage.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Green again

Well, here we are in Seattle again. It's been a bit strange; in some cases I feel like I'm looking at it through an ultrafocused lens, and in some places it feels like we never left. Almost like Tucson was a dream. I don't really understand this feeling yet.

Throwing out the old bottle of Novolog and moving to a 1/12 ratio (from 1/14) for the rest of the trip seems to have fixed things for me. I'm back on 1/14 and putting all my carb counting skills to maximum use, since we're eating out a lot. I'm finally getting the hang of eating more than 49 grams of carbs - I can't take more than 3.5 units an hour unless I'm eating something really high GI. So, basically, I have to take 3.5 units before eating, then 1.5 - 2 units every 30-45 minutes until I get to the right total. This works out pretty well. I'd just been running into issues with (1) remembering to take the injections and (2) calculating the injections correctly. I'm pretty bad at doing arithmetic in my head. BTW I have to do this routine because otherwise (1) my bG ends up too low or (2) too high and it takes the rest of the day to get it down again, leaving me feeling utterly exhausted and bad.

I decided to test drive Calorie King's mobile software on my Palm TX before we went on the trip. It's a pretty good-sized database, although I have had to enter my own foods since I guess I eat a lot of unusual things. I will pay for it when the two weeks is up - it's $29.95 for the Palm version.  To solve the problem with calculating the insulin doses, I am trying out Diabetes Pilot. So far I am finding that their food database does not match my needs (about 95% of the things I've looked up are not in there) and it's too difficult for me to add everything like each bG reading in manually. If it could talk to my meter, that would be another story. I'm wavering between doing it so I can get the pretty graphs and just not having enough time. Still, it's already saved me from calculating the wrong dose twice, so I think I'm going to buy it as well. It's $39.99 for the desktop and $24.99 for the handheld software.

This study that says diabetes takes up to 1 hour a day away from kids made me laugh ruefully. 

Sunday, September 17, 2006

On the road

Well, time will tell if I'm having my first experience with a bad vial of insulin. I noticed yesterday that the floor of the car was a bit warm, but certainly not hot or anything like that. I've also been using the ice pack that comes with my bag, which is specifically for insulin. We can't seem to keep the cooler really cold, though - it may be broken, so the ice pack has gotten increasingly warmer.

Anyway, that brings me to my first experience with rage bolusing. I figured I could be getting unexpected highs because of sitting in car all day, but when it didn't respond to more insulin...I took some more. Luckily, I only went down to 70 and didn't have any serious lows. After this happened twice in a row, I took more insulin with meals, but was still unexpectedly high. So I'm throwing out the old vial and opening the new one. I hope this one doesn't go bad because I don't have any more. Hopefully the new vial will solve the problem!

Friday, September 15, 2006

On moving

Well, we're gearing up to leave Tucson and return to Seattle. I'm not sure if it's triumphantly, but given the circumstances under which we left, I suppose it is. I always figured we would return to Seattle, but I wasn't sure how. I had severe asthma, I had been cold all the time, and it was difficult to afford housing. Things have certainly changed. My asthma is now well-controlled, I found out that I have dysautonomia and have been treated for it, and we can afford to rent a house north of Seattle. So that leaves all the wonderful things about Seattle that we hated to leave.

I will miss Tucson, though. The beautiful sunsets, the smell of creosote, the torrential monsoon downpour where you can drive out through the other side, the perfect weather at 6 am, Mexican food. Sure, Seattle has Agua Verde, but it just isn't the same. I am not a desert person at heart, though. I've missed the green for four years. Let's not talk about what the heat does to my condition.

This is my first road trip on insulin. Our housemate, J., is a Type 1 and has come with us on many road trips, though. Still, I'm left with questions to answer. Where will I put the insulin? (Neither of us has a Frio). How am I supposed to dispose of syringes? J. actually called the garbage company here and asked them when he moved here, and they ordered him to just throw them in the trash with no sharps container! Strange, but true.

So, onward, to a new journey.


This is a first post

And so I jump into the blogging world a bit late. I had thought about doing this before, when I was going through the endless nightmare (well, to me, anyway) of trying nothing (thanks, Dr. A!) and all the "usual" treatments. It was just such a negative time, though. Not because of the diagnosis; I had no problem with that (stay with me), but becuase of the utter lack of treatment options for someone like me. Well, there weren't someones like me; that was the problem. I first asked for insulin in January, but I didn't get it until June. It has completely changed my life. I'm not tired all the time, like I was for years before diagnosis (hmm)! I can correct a high before it saps all the energy out of me! It's definitely complicated for me, but I am so willing to do it. I find it sad and wrong when people tell me (and they do tell me) that I shouldn't be on insulin.

So, more about me. My diabetes manifests itself in a strange way. If I don't eat anything, my blood sugar will stay the same for a long time but eventually drop. When I do eat, I'm much like a Type 1. I don't understand it and neither do my doctors. It sounds a bit like MODY, but not entirely. I could try to get the genetic testing and hope I have one of the six genes they know about. It wouldn't change my treatment, though. I already feel like I'm explaining too much, but there's not really a shorthand for "I'm a freak!" Just kidding. Um, hi? How about that Blogger Beta? *ducking*