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A Quarter Of A Century

Twenty Five years ago today I was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. 

Since that Monday evening I have had insulin injected into my body by either shots or insulin pumps. I have pricked my finger and attempted to manage this disease all 9125 days.

For many years my management was horrible and almost non existant. Finding other people with diabetes online made all the difference in the world. As did the new medicines and devices I use.

Still my life is not what I planned for it to be. Diabetes forced me to travel down a path I was not prepared for and has continually made that path difficult, but not impossible.

Twenty Five years doesn't feel as great as I sort of hoped it would. It only brings up the sad moments I have had and the fear of what the future holds, or doesn't. 

In my life, diabetes makes the future less mysterious and all the more scary. 

Happy diaversary to me.


My Scariest Moment Yet

It was 4AM on Sunday, August 16th. My wife woke up to use the restroom and upon returning to bed noticed that I had the blankets thrown off of me and I was covered in sweat. She knew I was low and grabbed my glucometer to check my bg. 

She tried to wake me up so I could prick my own finger but I was not responsive so she did it.


She tried to wake me up and tore open a packet of glucose gel to try and get me to take. My teeth were clenched together and I would not open my mouth. My wife grabbed the glucagon shot and woke my son up to call 911 while she gave me the dose. 

Not knowing how quickly I would recover she stuck the needle in my thigh and injected the dose into me. My son handing the phone to her and she told the emergency operator what was happening. In just a few minutes the paramedics showed up to work on me. 

The first thing they did was a finger stick.


They gave me a bag of Dextrose through an IV and decided to take me to the hospital since I was still unresponsive.

At this point I believe I can tell you the first thing I remember.

I was having a really creepy dream that was unlike anything I have ever experienced. The right upper corner of my vision had images flashing like a movie theater in the distance. The images were changing so quickly that I could not make sense of any of it. Noises were also coming into my ears in pulses that I could not understand. I remember thinking that this was something I had never experienced and this nightmare was one I was going to have to just ride out. There was no way for my brain to slow down and make sense of what this was. It was terrifying. 

"Is this really happening?" I heard myself say to someone standing over me. They were really tall because they had to bend over or else they would hit there heads on the ceiling! 

"Yes, we are taking you to the hospital." I could feel movement and hear creaking of the ambulance shocks. Maybe it was speed bumps or a drive way? 

A second later I was in another room. BEEP. People were bustling around me. BEEP BEEP. Talking to each other although I could not understand what any of them were saying. BEEP. Above me I saw a surgical lamp. The light was off but on the inside of the BEEP shade I saw a warning label. Numbers and statistics were being shared around the room. BEEP BEEP. I tried to read that warning label but I couldn't make out the words except "WARNING." 

"Warning: This light will remain hot even after the light is off." 

I kept reading that warning over and over. It was keeping me in that room and not letting me sink into the abyss I just came from. The beeping was going but I understood that I was in the hospital. Something happened, but what?

Just then I hear my wife's voice and instantly I start sobbing. "What happened?" I asked through tears and she said that I was low and would not wake up.

The emergency room workers asked me questions and I answered them as completely and accurately as possible. Thinking the more I say will help ground me and keep me alert. It was a weird defence mechanism. 

They checked my bg and it was in the 300's although I felt still terribly low. The doctors and staff let me rest while my wife came and talked to me. She started telling me what happened and I could not believe it. When she told me about the way I was clenching my jaw I realized how sore my face felt. And also that I was still holding my mouth shut with the same intesity she described. 

A nurse came by about an hour later and checked my bg. It was 127. She thought that was strange, as did I so she cleaned another finger and tried again. 130. She walked around my bed and cleaned a finger off of my other hand. 129. 

That drop in bg got me sent up to ICU. While I was there the doctor on duty came by to meet me. He told me that he was going to keep me in ICU for the next few hours to make sure my bg was stable. He also said he wanted to keep my bg around 200 for the next 24 hours for some reason. 

After around 4 hours I was moved up to the Cardiac Care Unit for observation. After a few hours there the doctor came back around and was happy that my bg was pretty much in the low 200's for the last few checks the nurses had done.

"Alright Mr. Simmons, we are going to run you through the night in the 200's and tomorrow we will send you home as long as we don't have any drops happen okay?" 

What are you gonna do right? I felt like I could go home but I knew it wouldn't hurt to stay overnight and I didn't want to put my wife through any more drama if something did happen. 

Around 4PM  the next day I was released to go home. My bg had been pretty much the same all night so  the doctor felt it was okay for me to go home 

The next day I made an appointment to see my doctor. That was an eye opening appointment that I will have to tell in another post since this one is already a novel. 

Anyhow, this event has really gotten to me. The thought of how close I came to checking out, how blessed and lucky I am to have a wife who knew what was happening and responded so quickly. How lucky I am she woke up when she did. Who knows what would have happened if she didn't?

Actually, we all know which is why it was so scary.


Burnt - #DOCBurnout2015

Oh how fitting a day to post this. 

Friends, I have been burned out. Not just in the DOC but all over my D life. Diabetes has been a complete asshole lately. 

Never in my almost 25 years having diabetes has it been this unpredictable, this bizarre. So much so that I have almost given up on ever bolusing before a meal and would rather play catch up correcting. 

And even correcting is not working at all like any other time in my life. 

So getting online and reading about diabetes is hard to do when you feel like you are failing beyond belief. Sometimes it is hard to hear people say, "you're not a failure." 

Is it depression? Maybe. Maybe a form of it. I am more angry and fed up than I am depressed in the sense of feeling sad. It is not sadnesss, it is anger.

The stupid thing is that I KNOW the DOC can pull me out of this. That I am not alone. That maybe if I read somewhere that someone else was having such a horrible time in their diabetes life right now it would help by reminding me that I am, in fact, not alone. And yet I am choosing it, or at least did up until now.

So when I heard about the #DOCBurnout2015 day I knew I wanted to post about it.

And of course, now I feel better.

Also this kitten on my new glucometer helps.



Doctors Are People Too!

That sentence seems like one nobody needs to say. I mean, of course doctors are people too. Why would you need to remind us of that?

I probably don’t need to but a reminder of that fact was delivered to me the other day and it sort of freaked me out.

My wife and I are not the most traditional people in the world but there are a few old school things we just cannot shake. In this case, I am talking about the answering machine and home phone. Yes we have cell phones but that home number with an answering machine is still collecting messages from telemarketers and bill collectors. As well as sick doctors.

The other night we get home and see the indicator light on the machine blinking. When I listen to the messages I find out that my doctor is in the hospital having emergency surgery for a ruptured appendix!


The message also instructed me on who to call if I need to get to the doctors while he is out.

When I think about my doctor I always assume he is healthy. Of course this is something that happens. Of course doctors get sick and need emergency services sometimes. Of course because doctors are people too!

That statement usually reminds me of the mistakes doctors can make and how they are not perfect.

They have their own health to think about as well as their own patients. There is something very comforting about seeing a doctor as a person just like me and not some super human that has all the answers. 

I trust my doctor because he has earned it, just like any person I trust. It doesn’t just come with that prefix before his name. And with that trust comes a relationship that is good for my health. He can talk to me about my life and my health and I am willing to share honestly and follow his lead knowing he is doing his best to take care of me. And also knowing that not everything he tells me to do will be the right thing but I trust he is doing his best.

After all, doctors are people too!

I hope you start feeling better soon Dr. Awesome!


Diabetes Blog Week Day 4 - Changes

Today let's talk about changes, in one of two ways.  Either tell us what you'd most like to see change about diabetes, in any way.  This can be management tools, devices, medications, people's perceptions, your own feelings – anything at all that you feel could use changing.  OR reflect back on some changes you or your loved one has seen or been through since being diagnosed with diabetes.  Were they expected or did they surprise you?

The first thing that comes to mind is changing the power numbers have over us.

When I check my bg and see a number I don't like people around will usually ask, "well what is it supposed to be?" I always want to say, "It's supposed to be that I don't have diabetes!" But I don't. 

For years I would check my blood maybe once a month. Maybe. Seeing a number that was "not where it was supposed to be" made me feel like a failure and an idiot. I need no help feeling that way so better to just ignore it. Yeah right!

The turning point for me was ending up in the hospital with DKA due to stomach flu. It was at that point I knew I needed to get over this whole denial thing (which was not as easy as I just made it sound) and figure out how I needed to handle this diabetes thing (see last parenthetical note). 

After I got out of the hospital I found an endo and he checked my A1C which was 12.5. At the time I had no idea what an A1C was so after he explained it to me and how important it was for me to check my bg's, I started on my journey to the DOC. 

My feeling now is this, there is no such thing as a bad number! Or actually, I would say the only bad number is the one you don't know. 

If someone tells me they have a bad A1C, I tell them, "If you know your A1C then it is a good number. The only bad A1C is the one you don't know!" 

Same goes for bg tests. We should get a pat on the back before the "test" since really that is where the pass/fail mark it. If you have a machine and you have strips for it, then the "test" should not be about the number so much as just getting the number.

A+ on your bg test! Now here is your number! 

This is something I feel needs to change. We need those bg numbers and A1C's to design a plan that keeps us as healthy as possible. Those numbers are the markers along the way while we journey through life diabetes. They make sure we are not straying too far off path and staying safe. 

Numbers should not determine if we are good or bad or failing or succeeding or anything like that! Knowing your numbers is where we should be focusing. The data we get from those "tests" are just the information we need to make the next decision about our health. 

So please, give yourself a high five everytime you go to a doctor appointment. Toss up some confetti when you get your labwork done! And pat yourself on the back whenever you check your bg*! You've earned it!

*You may want to check your shirt for blood spots at the end of the day.