Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Battling A Cold

Just got back from my PCP. No influenza 'A'. Just a virus with a bad cough. Whew! But boy, that nose swabbing is quite the experience. And yet I didn't flinch, cough, or complain... :)


I hate colds.

I hate them, because they throw a temporary cramp in my lifestyle; a kink in my hose. Not that I have a typical runny nose, cough, temperature cold. No, I have a deep cough that just won't go away. Worse, it keeps me up all night. Just when my mind wants to sleep, my body coughs a deep bellow that awakens everyone. Last night, I slept may be 3 hours. Of course I still managed to go in to work. My body feels fine aside from the cough. No achiness. Go figure.

And what about medicine for the 'ol diabetic? Good question. I've been taking Vick's 44 Cough and Cold syrup before bed and Robitussin expectorant during the day. All to no avail (although it worked wonders for my oldest son's and wife's colds). So now, off to my primary care physician to get rid of it once and for all.

Lastly, I can't tell you how many times I've been asked about getting the flu shot. Yes, I will be gettin' it on October 1st (it's through work & you can't beat free).

So...sorry for the bland post. Things will be better in the days to come.
Have hope and keep smiling!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

A New Diagnosis

What if someone you loved very much was diagnosed with diabetes? Maybe not even a loved one, but a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger? What would
you say?

What if that person was a child?

…a teenager?

…or an adult?

What would you say to the parents of a child, who have just spent several days in a hospital wondering--every waking moment--what the future holds for their child?

And what of a teenager who feels that their life is just starting and now they have to deal with this disease?

Or how about an adult who has tasted a “normal” life and doesn’t understand why?

What would you say?

Could you honestly look in to the eyes of a sleep-deprived parent and tell them, with a straight face, that everything was going to be okay?

When I was diagnosed as a child, with type 1 diabetes, negativity was the norm. There wasn’t much hope for living beyond 21. I was told to prepare for a slow death. Was I encouraged to do well? Sure, but I wouldn’t last with this disease as an adult. Thanks for playing.

My diagnosis was over 32 years ago. I am now 40. I’ve had my share of battles with diabetes, but (and note my words here), I still have the will to win. I still have the will to live a long, awesome life.

When I meet a newly diagnosed patient – especially a child – I ask them one question: What do you want to be when you grow up? Many sheepishly reply, “a doctor, nurse, police officer”, or the occasional “engineer”.

“Guess what?” I tell them with excitement. “You can! And don’t let diabetes stop you from being who you want to be.” Smiles follow and parents are relieved knowing that their precious child can live a long, productive life.

This writing is a gentle reminder that we, too, can be and can do anything we want when we properly manage our diabetes. The only boundaries we have are the ones we place on ourselves.

Properly manage your diabetes and…

...let your dreams take you wherever you want to go.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Diabetes History Quiz

I am not a physician, nor a medical professional, so please consult them if you have questions regarding your health.

Have fun!

1. Name the tool nurses and doctors used to show newly diagnosed patients how to give themselves a shot and, in some places, is still used today.

2. What is the name of the product used to test sugar AND ketones in your urine?

3. Name the lancet device that closely resembles a guillotine.

(still give me shivers...)

4. Can you name at least two brands of disposable insulin syringes that were available in the 70's?

5. Doctors and nurses taught a key phrase when mixing either Regular with NPH, Regular with Lente, or Regular with Ultra Lente. What was it?

6. Who were the two gentlemen who discovered insulin? (arguably the easiest question here)

7. According to Dr. Francine Kaufman, which country in the world far exceeds the United States in diabetes care for type 2s? Hint: Go to dLife.com and watch this episode.

8. Is it better to wash your hands, with soap and water, before taking a blood test or use an alcohol swab?

9. Can you name the physician who fought for many years advocating tight blood glucose control to prevent diabetes-related complications?

Last, but not least...
10. Name any blood glucose monitor that takes 5 seconds or less for a result to appear.

1. That tool was, and is, an orange
2. Keto Diastix
3. The Autolet lancet device
4. BD & Monoject
5. "clear before cloudy"
6. Frederick Banting and Charles Best
7. According to the episode, Finland outscores the United States in type 2 diabetes care
8. Either way is preferred, BUT your fingers should be completely dry before testing
9. Dr. Richard Bernstein
10. You name it!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Weekend Wrap Up

As many of my fellow diabetic or 'd' Tweeps already know, I've been taking care of my sick children and wife. Thankfully, this illness seems to be a bad cold and not the flu. I am very thankful and relieved.

Yet through the colds, we were able to sit in the family room and watch football; college and pro. Here's my college summary report including BG levels:

1. Fresno State vs Wisconsin - Wisconsin wins in double overtime. Being a "born and bred" Badger, I was a nervous wreck. My BGs did great until the end of the game and subsequent OTs. The game, and my BG levels, were on a roller coaster.

2. Notre Dame vs Michigan - As much as I like Michigan, I love Notre Dame more. Arguably, it was a fight to the very end (11 seconds left in the game!). My BG went from 114, with 5 minutes left in the game, to a 236 at the end (with no food in my system). I was a wreck. I quickly made a correction, then moved on to game 3.

3. South Carolina vs Georgia - Okay, I knew this was going to be close, but the total points blew me away. My BGs didn't sway too much, since we Georgia fans come to expect a close game. South Carolina should've won this game, hands down, but our Dawgs prevailed. In my opinion, nothing to be proud of...

4. Last, but not least, catching glimpses of the Mississippi State vs Auburn & USC vs Ohio State games. The Tigers man-handled the MS Bulldogs, while USC pulled out a win (30 seconds left?) over the Buckeyes. I felt bad for Ohio State, but USC is always fast and impressive.

Overall, my BG numbers were really good on Saturday (42,114, 236, 51, 96, 60, 57), with a Sunday morning wakeup of 89. I had pasta, for dinner on Saturday, so I knew my BGs would swing. The 236 came from the Notre Dame game (boo!). Many of my 'lows' came from excitement and not over-corrections. Go figure!

(Oh, and for you 'Huskers and 'Bama fans, I was catching highlights from these games as well.)

Ah life... It's great!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Uncle Vinnie

I have an alter ego, if you will, and his name is Uncle Vinnie. To get an image, think of the great Paul Sorvino in a dark suit, doing the Zaxby's commercials (or in Good Fellas, whichever comes to mind). Uncle Vinnie appears whenever some uneducated person makes a wisecrack or pushes their way in to my diabetes life.

For example, if I'm at a restaurant with my family and I want a glass of wine. The waiter/waitress notices me take my blood sugar. They realize that, yes, I'm a diabetic. But then they attempt to assert their "knowledge" on me by questioning my drink choice:

Waitperson: "Um, since you are a diabetic, um, isn't it bad to be drinking alcohol? I mean my great aunt Bertha died from diabetes 20 years ago. She had every appendage lopped off before she died."

Me as Uncle Vinnie: "I'm really sorry about your great aunt. However, I try to take care of myself and make sure my blood sugar numbers are in good shape. Now, if you don't mind, please bring us our chardonnay." I would snap my fingers, but I try to have some decency. :)

Our drinks usually appear within 2 minutes of said conversation.

But, there are some times Uncle Vinnie has to get rough with some folks. Another example, insurance companies who "think" they know what's best for you, but don't:

Insurance person: "Mr. Mansheim, you are only approved for 150 test strips a month."

Me: "I understand, BUT I test between 8-10 times a day. The math is approximately 240 strips. Could you please..."

Insurance person: "Well, you will need to consult your doctor before..."

Me as Uncle Vinnie: "Excuse me, NO, please contact the doctor and get the job done. Understand?"

Pharmacy calls me 10 minutes later with my test strips all ready with a nice ribbon around the package. Side note: Blue Cross, Blue Shield of Georgia did the opposite. They did all the work, including a call to my pharmacy, and followed up with a phone call to me. Now THAT was service.

However, yesterday's blog post from Kerri Sparling at SixUntilMe, really had me reaching for my black suit. Please read the post and the forum at TuDiabetes to get a better understanding. Essentially, a fellow diabetic was asked to remove her pump while swimming for fear of contaminating the neighborhood pool. The guilty party? Her home owner's association forced her to do it.

Uncle Vinnie ain't happy.

Uncle Vinnie is supposed to be in Jacksonville sometime mid-October. This woman, "Shipaddict", lives only 3 hours away from Jacksonville. Guess what Shipaddict? If this issue isn't resolved by the time I come to Jacksonville, I will make a visit and deal with the matter "personally". No one threatens a diabetic and gets away with it. Nobody.

Aside from that, Uncle Vinnie rarely has to show "his self". I try to handle situations with respect and patience. Even though it is 2009, there are still many people who simply don't understand this disease.

Then again, there are days I don't either...