Another round of random musings about Type I Diabetes

I really have no clear thought as to what I’m going to talk about, just random things with Type I Diabetes.

Alcohol.  They say if you’re a type 1 you shouldn’t drink it at all.  However, if you receive ‘Diabetes Forecast’ (the ADA magazine for diabetics) you’ll see in the latest issue there is a large article on drinking wine and the benefits of drinking a glass of wine a day.  So, what are you supposed to do?  Follow your doctor’s orders and not drink it at all or drink a glass of wine a day?  Well, the truth of the matter is, you can drink it.  You just have to be more careful since alcohol affects your blood sugar.  You’ve got to learn how it affects its and what you can do to counteract any of the issues you may see.  The best book I’ve seen on how to handle alcohol as a T1D is ‘How to Think Like a Pancreas.’  Sure the title sounds stupid, but it is one of the best books you can buy on how to live a normal life with T1D.

The OmniPod insulin pump.  I’ve got one of these and there are days I think it is the most wonderful device ever made and there are days I curse Insulet Corporation and all their engineers.  Recently (end of last month), I had 3 out of my 10 last pods die and it left me without any pods for a few days.  Luckily I still had a Lantus pen sitting in the fridge from when I was not using the OmniPod.

Calling up Insulet to report all the pods dying just gets annoying and on certain days I just get so pissed off I just chunk the pod into the garbage and don’t call Insulet cause I couldn’t stand talking to people with how angry it makes me the pods die.  I understand it’s a relatively new technology, but looking back over the time that I’ve used the OmniPod the amount of pods I’ve had to toss has been a lot higher than I would have liked.  A single pod every few months wouldn’t be that bad, but I’m seeing myself have around one pod a month fail during priming.  Which really sucks because at that point you really can’t pull out all of the insulin you put into the pod.  So you’re out a pod and some insulin at the same time.  Which, the insulin brings me into my next issue…

Insurance companies.  I think they’re made to kill Type I Diabetics either through bleeding us dry or not giving us the support we pay for.  It’s the whole reason I think insurance companies should never be a for-profit venture — they aren’t out to help people, they’re out to make money.  We’re just a number and a revenue stream to them.  God forbid you have an actual issue, they fight tooth and nail to prevent you from having it.  Maybe one day I’ll have to enumerate my dislike of my current insurance company; today just isn’t that day.

Bouncing back to things not insurance related and back to the whole blood-sugar management bit.  If you don’t already know, as a T1D you have two choices (well, three if you count doing nothing) to manage your blood sugar: multiple insulin types or the insulin pump.  The  multiple insulin types is what I was doing for a while.  It consisted of two insulins and using one to control my basal (or baseline insulin) and bolus (or mealtime insulin).  Normally it is done using Lantus (for basal) and Humalog (for bolus), these can be different, but these are what I used.  I didn’t mind using them, just carrying around insulin pens and the testing kit got to be a drag.  This led to my wanting to be on the insulin pump (and the fact I had a reaction to Lantus) I chose the OmniPod after examining all the other pumps since there was no tube and I only had to carry a testing kit.  Now, to the point I was getting to.

Whether you use the pump or pens, you have to constantly adjust your rates when you notice things are not the same.  It is even suggested you recalculate all your rates every six months regardless.  However, recently I’ve been noticing that my pre-meal, after-meal, and pre-bedtime blood sugar values are a lot higher than I would like.  So I’ve been making changes to my basal rates on my insulin pump hoping that these slight changes will fix it for me.  However, it isn’t looking like that is the case, so I need to run through the full testing (which is not fun since it requires skipping meals).

Finally, exercise.  This is the most important thing any diabetic can do to help themselves.  And sadly, I’ve been falling down on the job lately.  Work and school seem to take priority and I just haven’t carved out the time to work out like I should.  I don’t think this is a cause for my needing more insulin (I think it is related to the fact I’ve really come off the honeymoon phase for real and I’m now a brittle diabetic); but at the same time, working out does much more help than harm in the long run so I should be exercising.  I’m hoping that this week I’ll finally get back onto my workout routine and start making up for the few months that I’ve fallen down on the job because riding my bike 30 minutes or so a day isn’t going to cut it.

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