April 14, 2005

In which I prove yet again my difficulties with the physical world

As my friend Scott notes, one of the beauties and perils of the pump is that it obeys its human, to which I would add another: once a person is used to operating it, it's easy. Really, really easy. And things that are easy to do are easy, for a head-in-the-clouds person like me, to forget to do.

Yesterday I hummed along as usual through my morning breakfast-making routine. Tea, check. Toast, check. Peanut butter, check. Oatmeal and milk, check. BG test, check. Carry all to the computer without dropping anything, check. (Is anyone really surprised that I eat at the computer? Didn't think so.) Munch, munch, munch. Happy Violet with her 48 grams of carbs. Just another morning.

Two hours later I did the follow-up BG test: 340.

For many of us, 340 is not an earth-shaking event. It happens for all kinds of reasons: stress, wrong food, certain kinds of exercise, eating too much when you go low and feel like you're gonna die if you don't have cereal NOW. But as a somewhat recently diagnosed type 1, I'm still in the honeymoon period, meaning that my pancreas still makes some insulin. That helps quite a bit with my BG control. I see numbers in the 200s with some regularity, but I don't get higher than that unless something's really out of whack.

So for me, 340 is a freak out, do backup tests on 2 different meters, talk to myself in worried tones kinda number. My first thought was that something had gone wrong with my infusion set. Had Charlotte given me an alarm that I hadn't noticed? No, no alarm. Well, let's try a correction and see what happens. I'll just check to see how much insulin Charlotte says is still in my system from breakfast--

Oh. Charlotte says there is no insulin in my system from breakfast. Well, that's just not possible. I took 8 units 2 hours ago, so there should be at least--

Oh. Charlotte says I didn't take 8 units 2 hours ago. She says I didn't take ANY units 2 hours ago.

She says, in fact, that I haven't taken any insulin (except my usual ongoing trickle) since last night.


I forgot my breakfast insulin.

Hello? Earth to Violet? How do you FORGET a life-sustaining drug?

Well, if it's in the form of a shot it's a lot harder. One tends to notice the whole stabbing-one's-abdomen thing, or the absence thereof. But with Charlotte all I have to do is push a few buttons. And in yesterday's oatmeal-induced bliss, I just never pushed em.

340, by the way, turned out to mean a day of nausea and sleepiness. Plus, not surprisingly, a rebound low when I overdid the correction...

April 7, 2005

In which I get over myself, for unfortunate reasons

Well. I’m not sure what to say here about my visit with Mr. Brooklyn because it was so packed with intense, unexpected events that my anxieties re: Charlotte fade to nothing in comparison to the non-Charlotte-related things that actually happened. That’s not meant dismissively; the anxiety was a big part of the trip, even though Mr. Brooklyn’s reactions to the pump proved to be much as the kind commenters predicted below. He was utterly unfazed by any aspect of my bionicness—so much so, in fact, that I wondered if he was pretending. Nope, he wasn’t.

So: three cheers for Mr. Brooklyn, yay yay yay! But to my surprise, I nevertheless still had to overcome my own hang-ups about how I feel about my pumping self (damn). I thought they’d evaporate once I knew he was okay with dating a cyborg. In a twisted way, I guess I should celebrate my independence: my conflicted self-esteem is dependent on my OWN feelings, not those of some man! Ha!

Hmm. A dubious victory at best. Anyhow, the aforementioned intense, unexpected events, beside which the body image issues seem pathetic and laughable, are all off topic for this blog except one: Mr. Brooklyn appears to have prediabetes. I say “appears” because we made this discovery through the scientifically invalid process of testing him with my meter. Home BG meters are nowhere near as accurate as laboratory bloodwork. I’ve read, though I can’t recall where, that a home meter can be off as much as 5-10% in normal circumstances, i.e., when the meter is working as it’s supposed to. So it’s an unsound practice, generally speaking, to randomly test your loved ones and conclude that they have medical problems based on those results.

That said…we tested him a lot over several days—fasting, postprandial, etc. And he was well into the prediabetes range for whatever test we did (see the above link to ADA info for those ranges) every time except one, which was slightly into the diabetic range. Given that my meter and test strips appear to be working fine, I think there’s a serious likelihood that he’s prediabetic. In fact, even subtracting a 10% potential error from every test we did, each result still falls into the prediabetes range. Not good.

Those familiar with type 2 know that finding out you have prediabetes is a hell of a lot better than the alternative, which almost inevitably is finding out—often years later, with the onset of complications—that you have the real deal. Prediabetes is a sort of metabolic godsend in that if you take action, through exercise and diet modification, you MAY be able to “prevent or delay” (that’s the ADA again) the onset of type 2. So Mr. Brooklyn has here a warning sign, and if he responds by changing his lifestyle in significant and rather painful ways, he might not develop type 2. That makes him a lot more fortunate than the 16 million Americans who already have it.

OK, there’s the logic. Now the emotion: I don’t feel fortunate and I don’t feel that he’s fortunate either. I am SICK of diabetes affecting me and my people and zillions of other folks as well. I am pissed and frightened and tired. He doesn’t deserve this any more than I deserve my type 1. I want it all to go away. Right now.

I also want, with terrifying fervor, to control his response to this situation, to ensure that he does what needs to be done in spite of how horribly difficult it will be. I can’t do that, of course. All I can do is support him—from very far away—and hope for the best. And realize that we'll deal with it together, if it comes to that.