Monday, February 27, 2006

You look good...

I work for a very small company. In all, there are 7 of us. Eight, if you count the guy that rents the spare office. Since we are so small, the medical employee benefits are questionable at best. Luckily I am fully covered by my husband’s insurance plan. With their plan, we are covered by 2 insurance companies. One pays X percentage, and the other pays most of the balance of the bill. It does involve faxing papers and keeping records of who has been reimbursed, but my Type 1 personality (thanks, Lyrehca) easily can handle that. I feel tremendously grateful for, not only for the intensely amazing husband, but for his pretty cool company too.

I think my company is worried at what would happen if I were to get pregnant. Cause you know, first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes….. an insulin pump, a renewed commitment to striving for great control, my slightly OCD personality focused completely on diabetes, and a trip to Italy (random but true) and then maybe a baby…

But they don’t know that. So, Mr. President decided to bring in someone to offer short term disability and a host of other additional insurance plans. SCORE! Short term (STD) would be a huge help for me to add to my insurance artillery. I eagerly signed up to meet with the insurance guy. And when he arrived, indeed, he was exactly what I pictured as an insurance salesman. Middle aged, balding and moderately overweight. Because I’ve been down the insurance road before, I immediately offer up my diagnosis and tell him to feel free to skip the spiel for everything but the STD.

He looks at me like he is not sure whether or not to cry or run from the room in fear.

"YOU have diabetes? You must be mistaken."

“Um, no, I’m pretty sure of it. Type 1, almost 25 years, healthy as can be, I can provide my A1c results as proof, if needed” I say with a smile on my face. “So, short term…”

He looks like he is going to say something, so I stop talking.

"WOW, you look good, for, you know, a diabetic"

(Oh, God, I feel a “my great aunt melba died from diabetes” story coming on)

“I mean, just look at you. You’re…. well, you look… well, healthy……. for a diabetic

Never. Never in my life have I felt the overwhelming urge to attack another human being. What did he expect? Should I be limbless, blind and sickly? Should I not even be allowed to work
because of the “illness”? How ever do I live day to day?! I was appalled. Trying to hold back my innate sarcasm and utter distain for this man, I said “yep, I’m probably the healthiest person here” So, what do I need to do for the Short Term.”

“I feel badly but, sorry lady, people like you, um, you don’t pass our minimum heath requirements”

I got up from the table, and walked back to my desk.

People like me….. Minimum health requirements?

I submit, Exhibit A and Exhibit B

24 years and going strong living with diabetes, healthy, happy, and loving every moment of life, all the while, feeling sorry, for people who just don’t seem to ever have a spark in their eye or spring in their step. While challenging, my diabetes is a part of my reality and my life, in a word, is awesome (in the truest sense of the word)

So, look again Mr. Insurance guy, the only guy I feel badly for in this room, … is you.

T minus 16 H

The “pump lady” FINALLY called me Friday to let me know that I was scheduled for the class on Tuesday and that Dr. Fabulous wanted me to do my saline start the same day. I wonder if he thinks I will back out and change my mind…. So tomorrow I get hooked up with Bonnie. (yes, I named my pump after Bonnie “Blue” Butler from Gone with the Wind- my favorite movie.)

Do you see the resemblance?

I know it will be better to just get it over with and get on this thing. Millions of PWD can’t be wrong, right?

Friday, February 24, 2006


Last night I get a call, from a number that I recognize as being from Joslin. Phew! Thank God she is calling me back….Hello! Hello? and then I hear…

“This is an automated appointment reminder for K..A..R..E..N... for Tuesday February 28th. Class begins at 1pm until 5 pm. Please sure to bring…..”

So I wait, there must be a way to press a button and get to a live person…. I try 0 and get “Joslin is currently closed, If this is a life threatening emergency, please hang up and call 911”

The good news is that I am signed up for the next step class. And, well, I guess that’s it for good news.

What do you think constitutes a life threatening emergency, and do you think they'd call me back if I had one?

Thursday, February 23, 2006

One ringgy dingie

The phone.

I really don’t like the phone. Until recently, I avoided making phone calls (other than for work) at all costs. When planning my wedding, if a vendor did not have email, I would not hire them. Strange, I know. But within the last year, my phone phobia has started to drift away. So clearly, I understand about people who don’t like the phone. But this is getting ridiculous.

Oh, the esteemed Joslin clinic, as the infamous Paul Madden would call it “THE Joslin”, the Diabetes Mecca, and apparently, a haven for those who don’t like the phone. I am trying to be a good patient and “work the system.” I know I have to sit in a room full of people who don’t know the difference between the CHO in peanut butter and a plate of fruit, and would choose the plate of fruit if given the choice because it’s “healthier.” I know that I have to take the baby steps in place because it’s policy and as my husband says "I have to learn to play by the rules." But honestly, if I don’t get a call soon, I will put myself on the pump….

“Hi, my pump will be here Friday, please call me and let me know what the next steps are. Thanks so much”

days pass…

“Hi, my pump is here and I am excited for the next steps, please give me a call so that I can get the needed appointments”

days pass...

“Hi, I read on the website that you offer your pump class every other Tuesday, just wanted to find out when the next one is so I can start this process’

And then finally, I email my doc. He is fabulous. He has seen me on a moment’s notice when I was at Joslin for another appointment, to “save me the trip” and who has bought me Starbucks when I had to wait too long to see him. (This is where the hubie get's the impression that I don't play by the rules) The doctor, in turn, emailed the pump coordinator who called me.

“I did not get any of your voicemails, please call me so we can schedule you for a class”

So I happily call her back, AGH! Voice mail.

So I call the Adult Diabetes Nurse, “I don’t do pumps, try this person…” AGH! Same voice mail.

“Hi, just returning your call, please call me, or email, email works, anything really. The number again is …”


So I sit and wait. Patiently, by my phone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006


It’s really that anticipation that get’s ya. The ups guy came in and dropped off my 1ft x 1ft square brown box, along with a desk one of my colleagues ordered. (I didn’t really care for the desk) And just like that the pump was here. I waited till I got home to open it (admittedly after a glass of wine) just incase it was a bit overwhelming.

I looked at the packages and boxes. I was intrigued that the packing peanuts are the kind you can wet and they disappear. My husband was intrigued that the minimed offices are right down the road from his corporate headquarters. You know, incase he needs to send someone to “get things done” in person… not sure what exactly he thinks will happen. But it was cute to see him get involved. After all of the boxes were opened and on the coffee table, all I could think about was that I didn’t get any of the IV prep that they said should be in the package. No panicky outbreaks, no tears or nerves. Yup, that was a blue minimed 715 insulin pump. Just like the one I ordered. After we inspected the contents of the box we found a corner of our living room and put the pump away.

I was amazed at how easy it was, how less scary the whole thing was, once my pump was here. Of course, those infusion sets are still nicely packaged and no where near by body- so like everything in life, my attitude may change.

Friday, February 17, 2006

It begins.

I don't know life without the betes.

My mom said she knew something was wrong with me, but it was not till her 6 year old little girl ran past all of the presents that Santa brought and actually emptied the water dispenser on the fridge because she drank it all, that she was able to do something about it.

I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes December 26, 1982. I remember going to doctor Ederidge's office- he always had plenty of
Highlights Magazines to look through while we waited. I loved highlights; there were puzzles and fun stories about all of the cool things you could do as a kid. I can remember being in the office, and my mom sobbing asking how long I had to live. (we've learned a lot about diabetes since then) I was quickly escorted back to those fabulous highlights magazines while mom "talked with the doctor."

Against the doctor's advice, we stopped home on the way to the hospital. Mom wanted me to have my new jammies, the pink ones with the feet, and I wanted to get my roller-skates which Santa had just brought to me. I was actually kind of excited that my older brother didn't get to come "meet the nice people" where we were going, but I was upset that it turned out that I could not bring my new roller skates.

I don't remember much else except being very excited about the tub of goodies that they gave me to distract me from having blood drawn. "You mean I get to keep the baby powder and these groovy non-skid socks?" I passed out shortly after that, and life was never the same. But you know, when I think about it, I could not fathom what my life would be like if I had not spent my Christmas vacation of 1982 at Strong Memorial Hospital.

By all accounts I "adjusted" to life with diabetes quite well. I attribute that to the fact that I am a
Barton Girl. Tried and true, even down to my red cross tattoo on my bum, my best times growing up were at camp. Somewhere between the camp dances and moving from a green cap to a blue cap in the pool, I managed to learn how to treat a low and what the difference was between NPH and Lente. I also learned all sorts of tricks about living with diabetes (how to drink and not pass out from a low, and how/when to tell a boyfriend about the 'betes) I always said that having diabetes has brought me to some of the best experiences and best friends in my life.

Yet here I am, almost 24 years later, scared to death. You see I am checking out the window every 5 minutes waiting to see the UPS truck (both FedEx and DHL have passed by within the last few hours for anyone keeping track.) My
MiniMed 715 is supposed to arrive today. The big day is compounded by the fact that I've tried the pump before. I am one of those few people that didn't like it. Granted, I was in college at the time so that may have contributed to the feelings, but that makes this time just a tad bit harder. But with a half forced smile, and a positive attitude I know that this time will be different. This is a means to an end, and that end being a beautiful, healthy, not weighing more than a Thanksgiving Day turkey, baby. Not right away, in about a year or so, but I’ve never let diabetes stand in my way and I am certainly not going to start now. So I am going on the pump at the recommendation of my doctors, fine tuning my A1c, so that when my non-diabetes side of my brain agrees with my husband’s, we won’t have anything standing in our way. (although, I always joked that I will know that God has a sense of humor if I have fertility issues….so we’ll see)

I finally got around to making my own blog after reading so many of the great OC pages. I’m not sure that anyone other than myself will be reading these pages, but it makes sense for me, to throw all of the questions out there, cause it’s not doing any good bottled up inside…

For all of those who I've anonymously read, I thank you for putting your thoughts and feelings out there to comfort those who you will never know were benefited.

So here we go…. As soon as the UPS guy gets here …