Thursday, February 18, 2010

i am a 'model patient'?

One of the nurses said this to another practioner in my appointment today. She liked the steady stream of 5.7 mmol/L blood sugars on my printed reports. I didn't think much of it until I walked down the hall of medical offices and passed a room where an older woman was sitting alone with her head in her hands. 'You look how I feel when my blood sugars are high,' I thought- tired, frustrated. I could be wrong, but her body language read that she did not get the same smile, nod and 'model patient' badge that I got. So, then, I wondered what monicker she got to bear: A difficult patient? A non-compliant patient? A bad patient? Honestly, I like the positive feedback, but at the same time I kind of feel badly about my little 'model patient' label. Though it seems nice on the surface, the alternatives that it offers are really rather nasty ways of perceiving people. And, while, perhaps practitioners don't come out and say these alternatives to service-users, I've worked in settings where I've seen the attitudes of those alternatives pervail in conversations despite being unnamed. And, I know from being the patient, instead of just being tired and frustrated, you get to add 'judged' to the list.

Somewhat ironically I left the building and wandered into a near Darwin Award moment when I found myself in the middle of a seemingly endless row of suburban houses, diving into a massive low with enough insulin on board for an entire meal and only a yogurt drink in hand...

Win some, lose some I guess.

Sunday, February 14, 2010


let it slide,
let your troubles fall behind you
let it shine
until you feel it all around you
and i don't mind
if it's me you need to turn to we'll get by,
it's the heart that really matters in the end
~ Rob Thomas

Three years ago February 14th was two days before my grandpa died. I knew it was coming. By that point he couldn't eat solid food... actually, he could barely eat any food. I made him an origami elephant as a Valentine. It took me forever. By the time I was done I had folded and unfolded the paper in so many ways, the paper was worn at the edges. I moved in with grandparents on my dad's side when I was seven years old. I grew up with my grandpa. In a lot of ways he was like my dad. I watched tv with him everyday- The Fugitive, The Rockford Files, The Avengers... He watched me grow up. He said, "An elephant never forgets." So, I gave him an elephant so he would know I would never forget the various bumps and folds of the past throughout the various bumps and folds of the future. wrote the other day:

"Here’s the deal:
Grab a pad of post-its or other pretty paper.
Leave your message (it can be anything) of love for someone to find.
Then trust it is found at exactly the right moment by the perfect person."

Obligingly, I grabbed my Post-It notes and Sharpie marker and headed out into the cold late afternoon of this Valentine's Day
. I wrote down messages of 'you are loveable' and placed them on benches and bus stops, subway entrances and mailboxes, little-tyke bikes and phone booths. I thought about all the people I know going through a rough time this season. I thought about the various times I had been made to feel totally unloveable growing up. And then I thought about the time that I went over to my parents house to keep my grandpa company as he was sick. I fell asleep beside him and when I woke up I caught him watching me as I slept. I remember thinking 'this is your gift to me'- to make me realize I am wanted and needed and absolutely loveable. I merely passed on the sentiment today and I hope that someone else who needs it now does find it at exactly the right moment.

Ps- I should mention that I was introduced to this fabulous idea by my twitter friend @chronicbabe, who can also be found at

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snowageddo... Oh, wait...

There is no snow here this season. Just cold- so I only have Coldageddon advice: keep your pump tucked inside your jacket so it can be nice and warm... (at least if it's Animas.) Mine decides to lose its prime when going from the cold outside to the warm inside. Apparently it is a common enough problem that customer support knows about it... The obvious annoyance is that if you don't realize it's lost its prime then you don't get insulin and your blood sugars have a field day. Yes: field. day. I've started the practice of checking my pump when I get in from the outdoors, just in case. I love my pump/kin, but it's one annoyance I could do without.

If you do live with snow, you should read about Diabetesaliciousness experiences of this year's Snowmageddon.

Monday, February 1, 2010

Ode to fallen Insulin Pump Tubing

Kitten thought my insulin pump tubing was yarn.
Kitten played with tubing.
Kitten gnawed on tubing.

Beware of kittens.