What Would You Sacrifice for the One You Love?

I’m just going to start out by saying I’ve been a little cranky and off edge the past few days. Maybe it’s because my husband and I have been changing the way we eat? It was three weeks ago that I was sitting on the couch thinking “I really want some ice cream”, and stopping myself because I was also feeling sludgey. So I’m cranky and irritated and maybe I’ll step on a few toes or hurt someone’s feelings. I don’t know!

I am part of a few online groups for diabetes. One is for the Tandem T:Slim pump. The other is for the Livongo One Touch Meter. I’m not diabetic, but there are a lot of parents of diabetics, I am not sure how many spouses of diabetics are lurking around there. We were talking about the benefits of the One Touch Meter. It’s amazing that the meter uploads to a cloud. If you are below 50 or above 400 (2.8 to 22.2 for those outside the US), a Livongo Health Coach will contact you to make sure you are okay. You can also set your account up to notify your spouse, parents, etc. Twice I have received a text to indicate that my husband was below 50. I don’t mind this at all! It’s a feature I love!

One of the other group members said that her significant other was receiving notifications for her low blood sugars, but turned it off, because he was tired of getting woken up at night. It seems that she was having too many and it was disturbing his sleep.

I’m disturbed by his attitude. Your supposed loved one is having a low blood sugar and you are worried about your sleep? Just as a reminder, the symptoms of a low blood sugar are:

  • confusion
  • heart palpitations
  • anxiety
  • shakiness
  • slurred speech
  • blurred vision

A diabetic suffering from hyperglycemia may also have the following “symptoms”:

  • excess sweating
  • excess hunger (explains why my husband will eat through the kitchen if I’m not managing. LOL)
  • FAINTING
  • BLACK OUT

Those last two seem more like problems than symptoms. Sometimes I get so very tired of helping my husband manage diabetes, but it’s not because of him, it’s because of IT. It can be frustrating to deal with one low on top of another, or many lows, many nights in a row. I get that. I don’t get the attitude of “it’s your problem, please don’t wake me”. Now if this other member had said something along the lines of “It’s usually okay, I am able to manage my lows relatively easy”, it would be one thing, but it was apparent that she was hurt by his attitude.

There have been a handful of times that I have heard stumbling around, or doors opening at night (and I’m deaf!) and woken up to check on things. My husband was having a low blood sugar and didn’t want to bother/ wake me. (that didn’t work out) It is much easier for ME, in my sleepy stupor to find him something to eat or drink than it is for him in his low blood sugar and sleepy stupor. No matter how tired I am, no matter how many nights in a row it happens, I will wake up and help him every single time. I am shocked that this isn’t a common theme among significant others or spouses.

My mom said it’s because I am caring and compassionate and that I go above and beyond in the care of my husband and his disease. My actions should be so typical among all of us that they are not noticeable. What I am doing shouldn’t be considered anything special, because it’s just me loving my husband and standing by his side, no matter when.

Is this really a foreign concept to people?

I told this lady she could call me and I would stay up all night with her. My cousin recently had a dream about my husband and his diabetes. I had a GPS device that showed all the diabetics in the area who were having low blood sugars. I was panicking and telling her “I have to get these off my screen! I need to help them all”. I really would. Not because I am anything special, but because diabetes is a huge beast to manage on your own, and everyone can use support. Especially your loved ones.

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I Love the Pump

It’s been over a month of pumping now. Can I just say how much I love this thing? I don’t know how my husband feels about it. ha ha, yes I do. He is wondering why we had to wait so long to get it. (ahem, the price could have something to do with that!)

Chad had cataract surgery today. We tested his blood sugar up the wazoo, reduced his basal flow on the pump, and he stayed in the normal range the entire time! When the nurses would come in and ask if anyone had done a blood sugar check, I would say “Yep, 143” or whatever it was. I wasn’t waiting around. 🙂

Another new love? The Livongo Blood Glucose Monitor. Omigosh! We have only had it since Tuesday and I really, REALLY like this thing. It is 3g connected (I think). Each time he tests, it uploads to his online account. Yesterday, he hadn’t called me for lunch like normal. I texted, no reply. I finally realized that I could look online and see if he had tested prior to lunch. He hadn’t, so I knew he hadn’t eaten and I could (lovingly) nag him. That’s not all. UNLIMITED test strips. They start you out with 300 test strips, but if you use more, they send you more. All this for $25 a month for to years? Yes, yes, and yes!

Between the unlimited use of the test strips and his pump, I am feeling really hopeful about getting this diabetes beast better managed!

What’s new with you?

Four Weeks In

Today marks four weeks that my husband has been on an insulin pump. Four weeks out of nearly 45 years of diabetes. Wow.

I can honestly say that I wish we had had the money and the education to start this process when we first looked into it. We attended a pump information session about 10 years ago and it just didn’t work out. The counting carbs was a foreign concept to both of us. It seemed too difficult to take on that task in addition to all the regular life stuff that we had going on. Also, 10 years ago, the cost of a pump seemed prohibitive. Now, thanks to http://www.ynab.com I feel confident that we can come up with our portion of the pump cost.

We have been carb  counting for the past two or three years. I remember going into a Borders book store and looking through all of the diabetes related books. I settled on “Think Like a Pancreas”. The author, Gary Schreiner, is a fellow diabetic. He was able to explain some complicated terms in ways I could understand. Two and a half years ago, our precious BONUS baby was born. My husband was 47, and he knew that he needed to start taking his health seriously if he was going to live better, just so he could be with her for as long as possible. She is a miracle. 🙂 So armed with the info in Think Like a Pancreas, we started counting carbs. Now it seems like we’ve always done it.

We have finally figured out my husband’s night time basal rates. I can not express enough what a relief it is to feel confident that his blood sugar is not dropping when we should be resting. I admit that I still check on him at night. Most diabetics and loved ones of diabetics know about the cold, clammy sweat that accompanies a sudden drop in blood sugars. So I do the sweat test. 🙂 I feel like I have won the lottery every morning when he wakes up with a blood sugar that mirrors the one he went to bed with!

We are still tweaking his day time basal rates. We tested one segment of time on Saturday. In order to test the basal rates, you have to check your blood sugar every 2 hours, and not eat for 8 – 12 hours. This is so you know that your sugars are staying in the normal range without having to consume carbs. At about 4 hours, his blood sugar dipped a bit below 80, so we stopped the test, he ate, and we adjusted his basal for that time period. Now we just need another weekend so we can test it again.

I can not express enough how much I love this pump! It has simplified the procedure for my husband. He doesn’t have to do any mental math before dosing. He doesn’t have to remember if he has insulin left in his system, because the pump tracks it for him. In fact, the other night, he tested his blood sugar and when he put it into the pump for recording purposes, it warned him that with the insulin that was still calculated in his system, and his blood sugar, he was at risk for going low. WOW! Mind blown.

We still don’t know how much we are going to owe on the pump. Insurance gave us an estimate of benefits, but we have not received a final bill yet. I am making and selling handmade necklaces and bracelets to help ease the burden of the final cost. If you are interested in seeing them, shout out!

Hi, Hi, Hi

Or high, high, high, Whatever the case may be.

Chad had a doctor appointment yesterday. He got a cortisone shot in his hip, because he had what presented itself to be bursitis. His blood sugars have been pretty good, but after the appointment, he had a tough time keeping it below 300. It was fine at lunch, then skyrocketed after that. We could say it might be what he had for lunch, but it was left over dinner, so who knows. He was thinking it might be the cortisone shot.

Last night he took about 20 units of insulin to compensate for the high blood sugar and the birthday cupcakes we had for our 10 year old. This is way more than he usually takes, so I got up at 2AM to test his blood sugar. It had dropped a little, but it sky rocketed again this morning, and was still high near lunch time. He called his doctor and they said “Don’t eat carbs and go for a walk”. He texted me along with a “WTF” for emphasis and I said “Well,  that sounds like a pretty good plan, actually”. So he ditched the left over lasagna from his lunch, but ate everything else. He texted a bit ago and said his blood sugar was 160-something. So that stinky old doctor’s advice must’ve worked.

I told him to be patient and ride it out, because panicking creates the yo-yo affect, Sky rocket, plummet, over compensate, repeat steps, which is just frustrating. You really do have to be patient  with diabetes (when it’s not an emergency, OMG get the Glucagon situation). It’s hard to ride it out though, because we’re human and we want things to be better five minutes ago.

The good news is that his A1C is down to 6.8%! His doctor was impressed with his A1C and cholesterol numbers. His kidney function has declined a bit in the past year. I really wish they would give more information than just “kidney function is declining”. WHAT DOES THAT MEAN? I’m assuming that if it was  an emergency, they would say more?

And the pump lady called to set up an appointment. We are one step closer to pumping that man up. 🙂

Game Changers for Diabetics

You might find this link interesting:

http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/new-smart-insulin-patch-could-be-game-changer

I don’t get too excited about things, yet, because I know it can take years and years, but I thought this was interesting. Anything to make those frequent shots better is a win in my book. I can’t imagine what it is like for my husband or for any of the other diabetics, tied to a significant other, not of their choosing. Diabetes is a stalker that will not be ignored, only accommodated.

Anyway, check out the link, ignore the name of the website, and tell me what you think.