My Sweet Tooth

Thursday, November 30, 2006 | 16 comment(s)

A diabetic with a sweet tooth.

What the Hell is that?!
The punch line to a cruel, cruel joke?
Some sort of practical joke Mother Nature decided to play on me?
Ummm, well, you can stop laughing now... It IS NOT funny.

I swear, sometimes I think I'm cursed by the gods.

I blame it on my parents.
I blame it on my grandparents.
Inveterate Sweet Eaters
Grandparents on both sides of the ol' family tree love(d) sweets.
Cake and with a nice cup coffee/tea was a well-rounded breakfast to them!

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I blame it on genetics.
For Both
The sweet tooth and the diabetes (although I'm the only "lucky" one in my family with the diabetes bit.

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I blame it on science.

I love:
Love is such a strong word
Desire (strongly)
Crave
Need
Ummm, yeah, those too

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  • Ice Cream
  • Cake (especially the frosting)
  • Brownies
  • Blondies
  • Cookies (almost any kind will do, really)
  • Candy bars
    • 3 Musketeers
    • Milky Way
    • Snickers
    • York Peppermint Patties
    • Twix bars
    • And my new favorite: Baby Ruths
  • Pop Tarts
  • Doughnuts
  • Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches
  • M&Ms
  • Peanut M&Ms, especially
  • Pie
    • Apple (warm, with vanilla ice cream, of course)
    • Pumpkin (like Nana used to make it)
    • Lemon Meringue


Please note, this list is not exhaustive, but I'm starting to salivate and feel guilty.

I love ice cream so much, I can't have it in the house, otherwise I'll eat it for breakfast. I have no self-control when it comes to these things sometimes. It's like I have these little conversations in my head about how I shouldn't be eating this, and then whammmo! Conversation ends and the next thing I know I'm standing at a McDonald's counter ordering a chocolate chip sundae. I feel powerless sometimes.

I have actually met people who have told me that they don't like sweets all that much. I just stare back at them with this puzzled look like they have an extra nose on their face. Unfathomable... Does not compute... Alien life-form standing in front of me... Smoke poors out of my ears and I collapse in a heap.

Now that I've got that off my chest, I have a plan.
Because I can't resist
A man, a plan, a canal, Panama!

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For the next 3 months, I am not (repeat (with emphasis this time): I AM NOT) going to eat any single
No loopholes here
Nor multiple items!

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item
EXCEPT
PB&Js...
I can't live without those. And I've counted the carbs carefully and have had great success in covering it appropriately, so I'm not going to give them up.

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on that list up there. I am making a promise to myself (and you are my witnesses) that I will not let any of those items cross my lips until after my next A1c test.

As I mentioned previously, I've put forth a lot of effort this past year to improve my control, but this has (always) been my Achilles heal. I am hell bent on getting an A1c reading below 6.5 in this coming year and this is easily the biggest thing in the way of my accomplishing this goal.

This is going to be a particularly difficult in the Holiday season that we have somehow found ourselves in the middle of again. I must admit, though, I made this promise to myself a week ago before taking it public and I've made it through Thanksgiving and a retirement
Note
Just because I'm being "good" and not eating cookies, or taking up residence at the chocholate fondue platter that was available, doesn't mean that all the cheese and crackers and nuts that I ate were carb-free! But I must of thought so though, 'cause I certainly didn't bolus for 'em and peaked at 261 post-party. Kind of a bummer.

Oh, and I don't remember when I was last accosted by the "diabetes police" but I was at the party for drinking a beer. Oh it just chafes my ass to have someone actually question my behavior while I am working diligently to curb my sweet tooth cravings.

Literally saying to myself, "Stay away from there, Kevin... Stay away... Go get yourself another handful of nuts..."

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party at work just fine.

All lows will be treated with glucose tabs and/or granola bars, OJ, pretzels, or fruit. A low blood sugar will no longer be an excuse to indulge.

So, anybody out there like to join me on this little holiday challenge?
(I can almost see your head shaking vigorously or exclaiming "Hell no! But good luck there buddy! I'm more than happy to sit this one out and watch from the side-lines.").

Jorge

Wednesday, November 22, 2006 | 8 comment(s)

It was one year ago tonight,
'Twas the Night Before Thanksgiving
When all through the house,
a new creature was stirring,
but he wasn't a mouse.

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that we adopted a beagle (with a little basset hound in him too). We adopted him through a rescue service called Homeward Trails that culls dogs from West Virginia and rural Virginia and brings them closer to a market where they might find a home. We were told that he was from West Virginia, about a year and a half old, was originally named Baily, but the woman fostering him at the time was calling him Chester.

So, of course, we named him Jorge.

We actually named him after our former neighbor, George, who was a single (as in, never married) retired man living in a condo next to us. He didn't own a dog of his own, but he walked a golden retriever named Cody that lived on our street. He was a curious fellow (in both the interesting/strange way and neighborly/inquisitive way) and Meg and I gave him the nickname "Curious Jorge." When we were moving out, George brought us a going away gift. It was two posed portraits of Cody.

Jorge has changed our lives. He can be a little bit of a pain in the ass sometimes, and we are definately less flexible than we were before. No more running off to the gym or to happy hours after work without a LOT of coordination. On a daily basis we go through negotiations on who will be on "morning duty" and then who will be on "evening duty." We try to stagger our departures to work by about an hour to try to minimize Jorge's time alone. A collegue pointed out: "So you're basically reducing the time you and Megan spend together so you can reduce the time Jorge's at home alone, huh?" Well you could put it that way, I guess, but we prefer not to think of it in those terms.

Jorge is basically a nose, a mouth, and a stomach, with a little bit of dog wrapped around it. He is extremely food oriented. This has been a good thing and a bad thing. Good in that he is pretty trainable. The coolest thing we've taught him to do is to let himself in through the back door and to then turn around and close the door behind him (it's a REALLY great party trick).

On the down side, he howls anytime a firetruck rolls by our house (which is often since we live a block away from a firehouse), ocassionally he barks in the middle of the night (we believe) because there's a racoon that lives somewhere in our backyard, and he likes to wake up early, and shake his head so vigorously that his ears clap (which then wakes us up).

But it's all been worth it. He is a joy in our lives and we feel lucky to have such happy and friendly dog.

Warning: The slide show you are about to see is disgustingly cute.
You have been warned.

To see our boy, Jorge, Click Here.





Thankful

'Tis the season for giving thanks and all that, and so I wanted to jot off a post about just that. Although, after the evening
What a Crappy Night
So.

I get out of work early for the Thanksgiving holiday, and I'm happy as a clam. I've got a shopping list that Meg just sent me to get a few things at the grocery so we can "be prepared" for some family guests staying with us and to prepare a little somethin' somethin' for the big T-day meal we'll all be going to tomorrow night.

I have to walk about 10 minutes to get to the parking lot my car is in, and it's raining, so I'm a little wet when I get there. I get situated in the car, dry off my glasses, open my diet coke and place it in the cup holder, turn the ignition, and NOTHING.

Approximately 6 hours earlier I was saying to myself as I pulled into the parking lot:
"Remember to turn off the lights."
"Remember to turn off the lights."
"Remember to turn off the lights."

I forgot to turn off my lights.

While I do like my little 1994 Honda Civic hatchback quite a lot, THE MOST ANNOYING thing about it is that it does not give you a warning that you've left your lights on. I've drained my battery 3 times in the last year because of this.

Thankfully, I found a police officer nearby and he is able to give me a jump, and then I'm off.

I get to the grocery store and the lot is packed and it's a zoo inside. They're flat out of pie crusts and cranberries (Meg is not going to be pleased). I wait in a very long line, check out and I'm heading out the door. It's still raining a little out. As I approach the cross-walk, I see a White Hummer slowing down.

I proceed into the cross walk.

I look over and notice that this Hummer isn't stopping.

I jumped back from the path of this TANK and the TANK crashes into my shopping cart and knocks it over.

I stand there trying to look into the passenger side window to get some recognition from the driver that he/she had just knocked over my shopping cart, but the woman behind the wheel pauses for just a second, looks the other way, and CONTINUES TO DRIVE!!

I am stunned.

She goes a TANK-length or more with my shopping cart under her TANK before she stops.

I run up to the passenger side door, yank it open and go BALLISTIC on her.

She apologizes.
She says she looked both ways.
Some guy starts to help me pick up the food that is now strewn under her TANK and behind her TANK.

She tries to explain to this by-stander that she didn't see me or the cart.

He replies (beautifully) "Of course you didn't see the cart, your car is too damn big."

I'm cursing at her and slap a busted yogurt in her hand.

I explain to her that she needs to mover her TANK so I can get the rest of my food out from under her TANK.

She pulls away.

And I am thankful that I wasn't run over by a Hummer this evening.

Please believe me
I am generally the most pacific person you would ever meet. Losing my temper twice in one week like I have is an extremely rare thing and very unlike me.

Honest.

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I've had, it's a little hard to be chipper, I was so enamored by the long list of little things that Jill over at navigum posted today, that I decided to copy her (and believe me, I had to use a lot of restraint not to plagerize several from her list, e.g., flannel sheets, Nephrons, friends of friends, mitochondria, and the sound of foriegn languages). And I agree, the whole health, family, and friends bit is so last year, it's ridiculous. (But I AM very thankful for them too).

So here are fifty little (and not so little things) that I'm thankful for:

  1. Jorge
  2. ergonomic keyboards
  3. rainbow trout
  4. bike lanes
  5. batteries
  6. new music
  7. Megan
  8. coincidences
  9. clementines
  10. ING Direct
  11. my guitar
  12. The Amazing Race
  13. Keen sandals
  14. manual transmissions
  15. thermal underwear
  16. hot showers
  17. Accucheck softclix
  18. my green and red lunch bag
  19. national parks
  20. power tools
  21. laughter
  22. DSL
  23. paid vacation
  24. skis
  25. color schemes
  26. Comcast On Demand
  27. Sage Firefox plug-in
  28. Diet Coke
  29. public transportation
  30. The Beatles
  31. PB&Js
  32. my slippers
  33. my orange hat
  34. dental floss
  35. Elements of Style
  36. guacamole
  37. sleeping bags
  38. Auto Hotkey
  39. sand
  40. almonds
  41. digital cameras
  42. nalgene water bottles
  43. multi-vitamins
  44. clipless bike pedals
  45. regular expressions
  46. silly salutations
  47. numbers
  48. socks right out of the dryer
  49. my backpack
  50. ordered lists

I hope you all have a very happy holiday.

Disappointment, perspective, balance

Monday, November 20, 2006 | 12 comment(s)

I got my A1c back on Thursday last week, but unfortunately, I've been so disappointed by the results and my appointment with my endocrinologist went so badly that I haven't been able to figure out what to say about it. So the best I could come up with is this ramble of a post.

I knew going in to the test that my glucometer readings were not all that different then they were before my last A1c
A Comparison

June Stats
days mg/dl # tests tests/day S.D.
7 145 145 20.7 65
14 151 270 19.3 67
30 148 563 18.8 62
60 150 1,141 19.0 62
90 150 1,658 18.4 65


November Stats
days mg/dl # tests tests/day S.D.
7 149 89 12.7 62
14 149 182 13.0 62
30 143 402 13.4 60
60 155 799 13.3 67
90 154 1,229 13.7 68

The most striking difference is that I've cut back the number of times I'm testing from almost 20 to just over 12 times per day. Other than that, the differences aren't all that significant, so I really didn't have any right to expect a lower A1c result on this test.

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test back in June, but for some (dumb) reason, I was hoping that my A1c would be lower and I would squeak through and hit the goal I have been striving for all year long: An A1c below 7.

Alas, it wasn't meant to be. My reading was a 7.1 -- unchanged from my previous reading in June.

I was completely deflated when my endo gave me the result.

My disappointment quickly turned into anger (which is really, really rare for me), and I became rather argumentative with my endocrinologist (who I haven't always gotten along with before). We then had a pretty heated argument. I was on the verge of storming out of the office at one point and she was on the verge of tears at another. It wasn't fun.

I tried to explain to her that criticizing me for having a "normal" range of 80-160 in my graphs is NOT constructive. She thinks that if I had the top of my range set at 140, I would have better control and perhaps lower my A1c. I, however, am absolutely certain that where my target range is pictorially is not at all correlated with my A1c readings. In fact, I think having too narrow a target range is counterproductive, actually. There's nothing that frustrates me more than seeing a cell in the OneTouch database all shaded red for a reading of 124.
124?!?!
That's a damn fine reading in my book! Regardless of the time of day! (That's why I created my own logbook and record things how I like 'em).

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She went on further to point out that I should be waking up with all my blood sugars between 70 and 100. That when someone is in the hospital, they try to keep all blood sugar readings below 110 (thanks, that's not very relevant right now, but I'll try to remember that the next time I'm hospitalized). That people with fasting blood sugar readings above 110 are being labeled "pre-diabetic" these days (again useless, NB: I AM ALREADY DIABETIC, NO "pre-" ABOUT IT!). And that I shouldn't have any post-prandial blood sugars above 140. She told me that while I think 70
I think to myself
"Of course she thinks 70 is a normal reading, that's because she's never been down at 50 or 40!"

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is a low reading, she thinks it's a normal reading. That blood sugar readings should have a standard deviation of 30. And the prescribed A1c target will likely be lowered to below 6 by clinical endocrinologist at some time in the near future. (Great, just great).

I expressed my confusion about the relationship between average glucometer readings and A1c results (like I've done before) and showed her the trends in my averages by time of day, and she actually told me that averages were not important, but that it was more important to focus on abnormal, individual readings in my logbook.

"Look here!" (she exclaimed while circling a peak on a line chart)
"Why were you at 256 at 10:30am on Monday last week?"

I DON'T KNOW! (Capitalization does not adequately express the decibels I'd like for that to be read at).
Shit happens!
What is this? The Spanish Inquisition?

Averages are what it's all about, in my book. And standard deviations too.

Toward the end of our appointment she told me not to focus so much on the numbers. That I'm a "model diabetic." That I'm doing well. And that I need to relax and not get so stress out ("Stress will raise your blood sugar levels" she so "helpfully" tells me). But what's the point of giving someone a goal and to then telling him/her not to worry about the numbers!?

She said I'm being a perfectionist.

Perhaps I am. So what?
Is that a bad thing, really?
Shouldn't we strive for perfection?
Isn't that what we are told (either implicitly or explicitly) to do?
And believe me you, there were 27+ years of my diabetic life where I wasn't a perfectionist, so I've got some makin' up to do!

Perhaps I'm overly obsessed with the numbers, but I can't help it. I'm an empirical kind of guy.

After a few days of thought, the dust has settled, and I've calmed down, I get to thinking:

On the one hand, 7.1 is NOT a bad A1c reading at all.
But on the other hand, that doesn't help ease my disappointment all that much.
I'm just so disappointed that I put forth all this effort and still wasn't able to hit the goal that was set out for me (thank you ADA & AACE), and that I more than fully took on. I feel like I failed.

But if I honestly ask myself: "Are there things I can improve upon?" The answer is a clear: "Hell yes."

But to what extent do I take it? When does the effort expended testing and logging blood sugars, counting carbs, denying food cravings, worrying about exercising, and working to be the "perfect diabetic" really start to diminish one's standard of living? Is it worth it? How can one know?

It's a matter of balance, for sure. But when do you say: "Okay, I can do this. I can sustain this level of attention to my diabetes, attain this level of control, and live the rest of my life on my own terms." Everyone comes to this equilibrium on their own terms, whether consciously or unconsciously.

Looking back on this year, I've made a lot of changes in my diet and carb counting, I now have accurate basal rates set in my pump, I'm exercising regularly, and these are clearly beneficial, and I should be proud of these achievements. And I realize that having consistent readings in the low 7s is a LOT better than the past 10 (or more) years of readings in the mid 8s.

But I think my game plan for the next year (starting now) is to attempt to take it up another level.

I have to get to an A1c below 6.5.
I have to know what it takes to achieve that goal.
And then I'll have to decide whether that kind of effort is something I'll want my life with diabetes to be like.

It may be that being that strict will be a completely miserable existence, and it just may be that 7.1 is the level of control that suits my equilibrium. I won't know for sure until I get to the other side and see what it's like there.

I'll be sure to keep you posted...

Test. Then Brush.

Friday, November 17, 2006 | 9 comment(s)

When will I ever learn?

I don't know how often this happens to me, but it's quite frequently.

I'll be getting ready for bed, go brush my teeth, then test my blood sugar just before going to bed to find out I'm low (like just now: 61 mg/dl). I then proceed to cover my minty-clean teeth with glucose tabs (grape flavored for me, please!). Or sometimes I'm just above being low (say somewhere sub-80) and I know that I should have a small snack otherwise I'm in for a low overnight. Both of these events make the brushing-of-the-teeth exercise I'd just performed pointless.

Some nights I have still have the energy to re-brush my teeth, other nights not-so-much. But on nights where glucose tabs
Note:
Eating glucose tabs in the middle of the night causes some of the worst morning breath ever. Serious yuck. Occasionally I'll get up and gargle some mouthwash after a low to try to prevent this awful morning mouth.

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are required, I try my damnedest to get back up and brush my teeth.

Test. Then brush.

It's a simple rule, really. I just need to follow it and then I'll save myself a lot of hassle.

Dear Friends and Family

Wednesday, November 08, 2006 | 11 comment(s)

Dear Friends and Family,

As some of you may know already, I have a blog.
This is it, and I'm pretty proud of it.

I know that some of you come here ocassionally to read about my life with diabetes, and that for some of you, this is probably your first time here. This post is written for you specifically, though, regardless of whether it's your first time here or 20th time here.

I want to tell you a little more about The Diabetes Online Community (otherwise known at The Diabetes OC). When I first started getting some signs of diabetic complications last year, I did what most anyone would do these days: I desperately searched the web for information about diabetes. It's hard to believe, but I had never really done this much before. In my search I came across a group of bloggers who called themselves the Diabetes Online Community. I read some posts that hit so close to home, it was shocking. For the first time in my life really, I didn't feel alone with my disease.

I don't know how many bloggers there were sharing their stories about life with diabetes and offering tips and support and encouragement and sympathy for others in similar sitations when I found the Diabetes OC, but there are currently over 140 folks doing this, and I am one of them. The people I have "met" here are smart, funny, brave, interesting, respectful, supportive, and diverse. And yet dispite this diversity, we all share in our daily struggle with diabetes.

Anyway, November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and today is something called D-blogger day. This is a day in which folks in the Diabetes Online Community make an effort to connect with each other through their blogs or to spread awareness about their life with diabetes.

When I first started blogging, I was very shy
A question for the OC
I'm curious: How open with friends and family are you about having a blog? Is this a place for your alter-ego to run wild, or do you share it with everyone you know?

Currently, the only strict line I have is not telling people I work with that I have a blog (even though there are a few that I'm pretty close with, and I feel like I could share it with them).

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about it and didn't tell but a handful of people about what I was doing. Slowly, I became more comfortable with sharing these details with the world and I have slowly told more and more people about my blog. Today, I sent out an email to an even broader group of friends to let them know about my blog. In doing so, I would like to invite them (you?) to read through my previous posts if you'd like, or to check in here ocassionally to see what's going on in my diabetic life.

But I'd also like to point out a few other things that fellow bloggers have either written themselves or have pointed others in the Online Community to. Most of us who read these blogs regularly have seen these already, but more people need to see them, and I'd like to share them with you.

These are poignant examples of what life with diabetes is like that I can't even come close to matching with my own words. Please take some time to check these out.


  • This is a photo collection entitled "A Lifetime of Diabetes" by Teresa Ollila. It is mostly portraits of kids living with diabetes and it is tremendously moving.


  • Here is a video by a ten year old kid named Calvin and what his life with diabetes is like. In all of 7 minutes, he portrays the day-to-day challenges of life with diabetes.


  • Ada writes a blog called "Aiming for Grace." She's a diabetic with a sense of style. For her 20th anniversary with diabetes, she made herself a book. She has a photograph and an insight for 20 things that life with diabetes has taught her. It is beautiful, and I encourage you to check it out.


  • This is a post by Kerri Morrone written last year on D-blog day. She is the author of the blog "Six Until Me." This was the first diabetes blog I found in the OC, and this post, "She Still Smiles", is a touching story of how she became diabetic, the challenges it placed in front of her, and the sense of strength she gained from it.


  • And last, but not least, this is a recent post by Sarah, a woman with diabetes who runs, loves to cook, and has two children. Gracie, her 3-year-old daughter, has just been diagnosed with diabetes and took her first insulin shot this week. Contemplating the challenges of daily blood glucose monitoring, insulin shots, carbohydrate counting, balancing exercise, and stress, and the fear of complications for one's own is a difficult task, but contemplating these for one's own child is unimaginably difficult.



Like Sarah points out: Insulin is not a cure. And although most of us have been jadded by the repeated promises of a cure being "just around the corner" or "within the next 5-years", we are certainly most hopeful for a cure to be found in Gracie's lifetime.

Thanks,
Kevin

Wow!

Wow!

I've seen a few Memes go around before I started blogging, and I kinda did one before, but I have never seen one spread like wild fire like this before! I have a weird system of writing / posting / blogging at night and on weekends, but reading and commenting during the week. So I basically missed the start of this thing on Friday afternoon, and then practically EVERYONE had a post of 5 random things about themselves on Monday morning! I felt like I completely missed the boat. Thankfully, I wasn't left out of the game of tag, and George (Jim?) got me.

So here are 5 random facts about me:
  1. I don't share this with many people, and as a guy, I'm slightly embarassed by this, but I have a weakness for romantic comedies. I might go so far as saying it's my favorite genre of movies. And high-quality ones are just the best (duh). I'm talking "Annie Hall", "When Harry Met Sally", "Notting Hill", "Love Actually." Screwball comedies are a close second, though: "The Philadelphia Story", "Bringing Up Baby", and "Adam's Rib" are brilliant films.

  2. My hair is thinning and I am seriously worried about going bald. It borders on obsession. It started thinning about a year ago, and I'm not sure it will stop. I talk about it all the time with Megan, and she just laughs at me like I'm crazy. She's also concerned that I'll offend men who really are bald or going bald if I even remotely mention my contention that I'm balding to them (I really don't mean to). I figure I'm just processing and prepping myself for a possible hair-less future. Call it vanity if you want (well, 'cause that's basically what it is), but I'm going to be devestated if I lose my hair.

  3. I've split the back of my head open twice. The first time was when I was 8 or 9 and my sister pushed me in the bathroom (I wanted to brush my teeth, she was washing her hair under the sink, I *might* have shoved her first (I don't remember), she bumped her head under the faucet, she turned and pushed me) and I toppled into the bathtub. We didn't go to school that day, and my Mom blew threw all kinds of red lights on the way to the hospital. The second time was in 7th grade when two kids thought they'd test out some new pro-wrestling moves on me in the hallway.

    There's a short (half-inch) horizontal scar from the first one, and a long (one-and-a-half-inch) vertical scar from the second one underneath my thinning hair.

    And just so you know, head wounds bleed a LOT.

  4. Apparently I'm loud in bed.
    Hey!
    Get your minds out of the gutter!

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    We sleep with a white-noise machine on at night. I fully assert, however, that I do not snore, I simply breathe. I breathe in a funny way perhaps, but it is not what you would classically describe as snoring. "Puffing" is a better explanation. Apparently, I inhale through my nose, but for some reason I can not exhale through my nose as well. The CO2 in my lungs gets trapped in my mouth until my cheeks bulge and finally my lips pop open with a loud "puffffff" sound. I've actually noticed this happening in that weird place between sleep and consciousness once or twice. But I stand firm: I do not snore (no nasal sounds what-so-ever), I simply breathe, and it drives Megan crazy.

  5. Unlike everyone else in this country (on this planet?), I don't like Johnny Cash. There, I've said it. I've seen "Walk the Line" and... Yup, still don't like him. Well, I wouldn't say him, exactly, I'm just not a fan of his music. I don't understand why everyone else thinks he's so great.

I'm not going to pretend like I'm not the last one to post my 5 random things, so I won't be tagging anyone.

Last Chance to Dance Trance

Friday, November 03, 2006 | 3 comment(s)

As I have mentioned before, I had set some goals for myself when I made some New Year's Resolutions last year. One of these was to get my A1c below 7.0 (Although, like Zak, I too had a "public" goal, and a more aggressive "private" goal of below 6.5 (Note, however, that neither of these goals are as low as Zak has set for himself)).

I bitched and moaned when I had my last A1c done and I didn't hit my goal. I hardly had much room to complain, though. I got a 7.1 when I had the A1c done at one lab, and a 7.0 when I had it done at another lab a week later. Some would say that I hit my goal, but I certainly wouldn't (especially since I'm really aiming for a 6.5). But what really got me was that the A1c reading didn't jive with what I was getting out of my average meter readings
Data
I put together a table of my average readings over the last 7, 14, 30, 60, and 90 days right after I had my blood drawn for the A1c test so I could compare the A1c result with my average meter readings, but managed to leave it on my computer at work. So, I'll share that later when I get my A1c result to see how it compares. My recollection is that my averages were not all that different from before. Some were better, some were worse, but basically in the high 140s / low 150s ranges.

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(at least according to some research that I found that had produced a regression estimate of the relationship between average glucometer results and A1c results).

I'm a little behind schedule in getting my blood drawn for this A1c. My last A1c was in June. If I were to have stuck to the once-every-3-months schedule, I should have had this one drawn in September. And then I could have had another test done in December.

I had originally gone to get it done last month (which would have been 4 months since my last A1c), but the lab script that I was given by my doc didn't have her signature on it and the lab wouldn't take my blood. Basically, a wasted morning. I then had to contact my doc's office (which took me several weeks to do, for no good reason), wait for the lab script to arrive, and then get around to actually going to get the blood drawn (again, I dragged my heels on this, for no good reason). Since I didn't get my ass in gear sooner, I'm down to this one last test to see if I can hit my goal for the year.

I'm a bit anxious about it.
I want it so badly.
I don't ask for much, honest.
Just this one little thing.
Please, oh please, hemoglobin gods, please??

I finally got around to going and getting the blood work done this morning. I've been going to the same place to get my blood drawn for these tests for quite some time now, and I had never seen the phlebotomist who called me back before. She was obviously new to the lab, but she seemed so nervous that I wouldn't have surprised if I was the first person she'd ever drawn blood from. When it counted, she did a fine job in the end, but she was kinda lacking the procedural comfort and confidence one looks for in a phlebotomist. You want someone that is friendly, but also has a level of confidence that somehow signals that they've done this a thousand times before and puts the patient completely at ease and worry-free that they were in for a botched job.
True Story
I clearly remember the day I got hooked up on my insulin pump. It was July 31st, 2000. Megan had just come back from a year of teaching English in Japan a two days earlier, and I had to spend a night in the hospital for the first 24 hours on my pump (I get the sense they don't do that anymore with new pump patients, huh?).

They had to stick "a line" in me so the would be able to quickly administer a shot of glucagon if anything went wrong with my initial pump profiles and I had a severe hypo. Meg and I were chatting with the phlebotomist about whether it was more difficult to draw blood from elderly patients or infants while he was preping to put a line in on the top of my right hand. We must have thrown him off, but he did have a cocky attitude and I think he even said "I never have trouble getting blood."

Well he did this time.

I watched as he put the needle in under the skin on the top of my hand and could clearly see that he missed my vein. What surprised me most was that he wasn't a quiter. He actually started raking the needle back and forth under my skin! He knicked the vein, but didn't have the needle in it, and I could see blood starting to pool just under my skin.

I fainted.

Luckily I was already sitting on a hospital bed and I just fell onto my back. I don't think I was out long, but I remember coming to and Meg was close to my face asking if I was alright. I sat up slowly, and looked around, and the dude wasn't there. He bolted! We waited a few minutes, Meg looked up and down the hall for him, I got up and washed my face and he was nowhere to be found. Seriously one of the most unresponsible things a phlebotomist could do, if you ask me.

I've never fainted again, but I've never really been all that comfortable watching the needle work since then either.

close


This one, however, was anything but confident and even had a slight tremble in her voice when she asked if I'd like to hang my coat up. Didn't really put me at ease, let me tell you. When I rolled up my sleeve and laid out my arm and there were no obvious veins bulging out, she said, "Is that the best you've got?" in a nervous voice.

She got out all the materials and spent a lot of time organizing them just so. She finally got into some surgical gloves and began to whipe down the crutch of my arm. Meanwhile, I've been squeezing my fist and flexing my forearm muscles to the best of my ability, hoping that I could produce a small blue line to help guide her.

Another (much more veteran) phlebotomist (who has "worked" on me before) was pacing behind her and watching every move over her shoulder. She mentioned that she should probably put a tourniquet on before going much further.

Good idea.

Since she placed the blue rubber tourniquet (which was neatly laid out next to my arm already) around my arm, sinched it down so tightly that she got her surgical gloves caught in the little knot. The tournequet was so damn tight, I literally lost sensation in my fingers. I was contemplating saying something to her, but didn't want to throw her off in any way. She stuck a vein on the first try and everything went smoothly. And I was very happy when pro-phlembotemist-watching-over-her-shoulder mentioned that she could undo the tourniquet now (she may have noticed my fingers turning blue from across the room).

So I drove to work on this sunny, crisp Fall morning with "Shake the Sheets" by Ted Leo + the Pharmacists blaring and I felt oddly optimistic. But I'm keeping my fingers crossed until I get my results back none-the-less.

Speaking of music... Any MMW fans out there?
(Perhaps)