a little fun

Wednesday, December 20, 2006 | 5 comment(s)


As promised, here are two links that have thoroughly amused me in the past week or so, and I am happy to share them with y'all.

First, in the holiday song spirit, check this out: O Holy Crap
"...just when you think it couldn't possibly get any worse, it does. By a lot."

And second, here is a really cool blog that I've stumbled upon recently.
These are so cool.
Who knew Venn diagrams on 3x5 cards could be so much fun?
Jessica Hagy rocks.

I hope you enjoy these both and that I've convinced you that my posts are not all doom and gloom.

We're taking off for the holiday first thing tomorrow morning.

We've been doing the same "holiday loop" every year now for the past 8 or 9 years now. Meg's family is from the Pittsburgh area, so we head up there for a few days before Christmas. We open gifts on Christmas morning with her and then get on the road and trek across the great (wide) state of Pennsylvania to make it to Christmas dinner at my mother's house outside of Philly.

Every year we stop and have Christmas lunch at the Roy Rogers on the turnpike (I'm already looking forward to the Gold Rush Chicken Sandwich!). It's kinda sad, but it's become such a tradition for Meg and me, that I've grown to like it.

Then we drive back home to DC sometime after Christmas. We usually have a little celebration with my Dad's side of the family the day after Christmas, but this year, that's being post-poned until the following weekend. So, yup, we'll be driving back up to Philly again next weekend.

The holidays make my ass numb.

I hope you all have a happy, healthy holiday and I look forward to catching up with everyone in the new year!

numero dos

On with the bad day number two.
This was on Monday, so I'll keep it short.

I had my 6 month follow-up after my laser surgery with my endocrinologist.

The first part of the exam involves a basic vision test. I've had the same glasses with the same prescription for 3 or 4 years now. At times I've been told that I could use a slightly stronger prescription, but that I probably wouldn't notice much difference. So I've never done anything about it. This time around, it was apparent that the vision in my right eye had gotten a little worse (20/25) but that my left eye remained stable (20/20) (NB: both of these were tested with glasses on).

Somewhat ironically, though, while the right eye looked beautiful on the retina-side, the left eye was not-so-hot.

I could tell right away.

The doc was all:

"This looks great"

...when he was checking out my right eye.

Then he started inspecting my left eye and he fell silent.

He said there were three new microaneurysms
Small buldges in the capillary due to a weakness in the blood vessel wall.

showing up smack-dab in the middle of my macula.
The central region of the retina where the primary focal vision takes place.


He had pictures taken so he could show me what he saw. Sure enough, there were three little dots in a nice little curve around the center of my retina.

He said these are completely new, but that there's not much to do right now.

I'll go back in six months and to check whether if they've changed.

If the microanurysms rupture, he said I may notice some distortion in the vision in my left eye or some significant floaters. If this should happen, I should come in sooner than the six month mark (ya don't say?). Otherwise they could remain stable for years or if they started to leak, may require a different type of laser treatment -- Lasers that are much finer and targeted just at these three microanurysms to seal them up.

I was so hoping for a clean report.
Ahh well, just another bump in this already bumpy road, I guess.

Tomorrow, I promise something fun to share.

Two (bad) days

Monday, December 18, 2006 | 7 comment(s)

I'd like for this to be a happier, more upbeat post, but unfortunately, it's not.

Yesterday (Sunday) was a very sucky blood sugar day.

It actually started on Saturday night. Meg and I spent Saturday in the city doing some Christmas shopping and each of us getting haircuts (as odd as that sounds). We decided to stop in at a favorite Italian restaurant of ours. Meg gets the same dish there every time: bow tie pasta with prosciutto and mushrooms in a cream sauce. I don't eat the fungus, so I can't really speak to the spell it has cast on my wife, but she loves it.

I ordered penne pasta with "Mariscos del Adriático"
That is
"Seafood from the Adriatic Sea." Though I seriously doubt those shrimp and scallops and mussels were all the way from Adriatic sea (at least I hope not!).

and severly underestimated the duration that the carbs would affect my blood sugars.

I thought I had done a pretty good job of estimating when 2 hours post-meal I was at 126, but then at 3 hours post, I was at 168 and at 4 hours post I was at 273. I know that I gave at least a portion of the bolus as a square wave, and I know that I corrected like crazy once I was at 273 before going to bed. I even woke up in the middle of the night (circa 3am) and rang in at 134. I was pretty psyched and even in my sleepiness, I gave myself a tiny half-unit bolus so I would wake up below 100 on Sunday morning.

But no, that was not to be.

I got to sleep in a little on Sunday morning (which was nice), but woke up at 285(!!!!!) at 9:15am. WTF? Not a nice way to start a day.

And the day sucked from there on out, really.

Had a steep decent from there down to 72 mg/dl by 1pm, hung in the mid-100s through the late afternoon (which isn't really all that bad), but then topped out at 489 at the end of the day.

Here it is in all its roller-coaster glory.

We were on our way out to dinner at a friends place at 6:30pm and I ate a granola bar and only bolused for half of it because I knew we wouldn't be eating for some time. This makes no sense. This is old-school diabetes therapy thinking. Old habits are hard to break sometimes, though.

When I snuck off to test my blood sugar before the meal, I was pretty surprised by the 346 reading. I chalked it up to the half-ass bolus for the granola bar (though that really couldn't have caused it, and I should have been suspicious then) and gave a boatload of insulin to correct and account for the (now) small dinner I was going to eat. We ordered out Indian food, and I ate nothing but meat basically, and the smallest piece of Naan. Oh and I drank a beer and a half. After dinner, creme brulée, cookies, some sort of chocolate/pecan tart, AND pumpkin cheesecake was served. I ate none of it. I sipped my beer and as everyone else was eating their desserts, I started to develop an upset stomach.

I thought that maybe one of the mussels I'd eaten wasn't quite right. By the time we were walking out to the car, I tested again, and my blood sugar basically didn't budge: 352. I was pretty nauseous and asked Meg to drive home. When we got home, I thought I was going to be sick. After pacing around and drinking a little water, my stomach calmed down. I started to get ready for bed and tested my blood sugar again.


Not cool.

Then it was like the missing piece to a puzzle finally fell into place:

"Something is wrong!"
"Check out your site, Kevin!"

I inspected my site, and sure enough: the little blue arrows were not lined up, and furthermore, I could see that the cannula was full of blood. These were such rookie mistakes. I should have been on this at the first reading over 300. I was so disappointed with myself. I wanted to at least have eaten some of that pumpkin cheesecake to end up in the stratosphere like this!

I tested for ketones (oddly there were none), I switched out the site, took (another) boatload of insulin, and finally fell asleep when I was "all the way down" at 437. I woke up the next morning at 196 -- not as bad as Sunday morning, but still a pretty shitty way to start the week.

I hate this so much.

I'm trying so hard, being so damned disciplined, and then this sneaks up on me and pulls the rug out from under my efforts. I feel like such a whiner, but I'm going to say it anyway: It's just not fair.

I actually have a second bad day of news to share, but I've yammered on long enough -- tune in for more bad news tomorrow!!

The Dessert Room

Saturday, December 16, 2006 | 7 comment(s)

Thursday night we went to Megan's office holiday party. It was a nice affair, in a semi-fancy location in Dupont Circle full of food, drink, dancing, and mingling with colleagues and friends.

The evening started off with Meg and I coordinating our departure times to arrive at the party at approximately the same time. This was all and good, and although we "arrived" at similar times, the problem was, when I got there, I still had to find a parking spot.

This literally took half an hour.

Dupont Circle is the neighborhood that Meg and I moved out of a year and a half ago, and I feel like some sort of old-timer crack-pot when I catch myself thinking thoughts (let alone actually uttering them) like:

"My God! Parking has gotten so much worse!" or
"Back when we were living here, sure, you had to drive around a little but I could usually find a spot in 10 or 15 minutes."

Alas, my parking karma was abscent. I was getting to the point where I wanted to just drive home. Cities are wonderful places to live for pedestrians, but not so friendly on the suburb-living, car-driving chumps like me now.

I had been to this party many times before.
A Little Backstory
Megan's current employer is my former-employer, and oddly enough, it's Megan's former employer, too.

Sounds confusing, huh?

DC is a small, incestuous place sometimes.

Meg and I met at our first jobs out of college. And while I certainly wouldn't recommend dating someone who has an office right next to your own, it somehow worked out for us. I guess we knew it was a risk worth taking. Ahhh, young research assistants in love...

I was there for almost 7 years, and Meg was there for 3 or more before traveling to Japan and then holding a few jobs back here in DC. Last year she took a job back with our former employer.

It is always nice going back there to visit with friends, and the holiday party is something that I usually look forward to.

But somehow I had forgotten how things were arranged. All I knew was that I was getting stressed out looking for parking and giving myself pep talks about how I'm not going to break my my no-sweets challenge that I've set for myself.

After getting in there, saying hello to a bunch of people, and finding Megan, I was able to get some food (the scallops wrapped in bacon were Awesome). We mingled, caught up with some old friends, met some of Meg's new co-workers, and was having a nice time.

Then the time of the night came when... people started talking about dessert.

The desserts at this function are spread out on a table that I would guess (from memory) is about 20 feet long. The table and spread is so big, it actually gets a room of its own. I would be in a conversation with someone, and then they'd say: "Well, I haven't made a trip through the dessert room, yet, so..." and then off they'd go. Or other's would venture out of the dessert room with a plate full of goodies, and rave about all that was up for offer.

I came to realize what a blessing it was to have these delectibles off in a room of their own. My goal for the evening became exponentially easier:

Simply (at all costs) STAY OUT OF THE DESSERT ROOM.

Outta sight, outta mind (except for the people straying out of that room with cookies and cakes on their plates and raving about it). I think they should actually make a rule that if you want to eat dessert, you should have to enter the dessert room, choose as many items as you'd like, you can even go back for seconds (or thirds!), but you must consume your dessert IN THE DESSERT ROOM. Please, there are diabetics out in the other room, fighting urges.

I am happy to report, I was successful.

As the evening wore on, dancing steps up, drink tickets are transferred in a "grey market", and young research assistants are dancing with senior researchers. I have flashbacks of being young and the plans we used to make regarding which bar we'd be heading out to after the party, and I feel old and any urge to dance I might have had is completely drained out and I turned into a wallflower.
Meg likes to dance. In fact, when we were first courting many moons ago, we danced and danced at a string of holiday parties that eventually lead to us "getting together."

I wouldn't call myself "a dancer" per se, but there are times when I like to get out there and cut-the-rug. I don't know what the exact requirements are, but there is some settings or group of people that instill a fun urge to dance in me, and other times/places that simple do not.

Holiday parties are never places that make me want to dance. Although, there was a time, I suppose when that wasn't true (see two paragraphs above). I think more specifically, OFFICE holiday parties are places where I never feel like dancing.

It's an awkward place to be -- I hate being a wallflower, but I also hate being coerced to dance when the mood isn't there.


Aside from driving around for almost a half hour looking for a parking spot and the awkward dancing/nostalgia/wallflower experience, it was a very nice evening and another successful avoidence of sweets. I'm starting to feel like I'm coming down the home stretch of holiday parties (aka, the (last?) temptation of sweets, the dessert gauntlet, the smorgasbord of cakes and cookies). It's only been a few weeks since I've been off sweets and already I've found myself calculating *exactly* when my next A1c test will be (first week of February).


I have noticed a significant improvement in my overall blood sugar readings, which I think I can attribute to the lack of sweets entering my mouth. My averages have fallen by about 10 mg/dl and my standard deviations have consistently been below 60.

So, overall, I'm pretty please.


Thursday, December 07, 2006 | 9 comment(s)

Errrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr, indeed.

89¢ down the drain.