Assertion and Karma.

16 06 2012

Yesterday, I graduated from high school. After graduation, my school has “Project Graduation” where they send the graduates to an indoor water park from 10 pm until 5 am the next morning. At first, I was hesitant about going. I’m not a big fan of water parks to begin with and adding diabetes into the mix just makes water parks into one big hassle. I thought there would be other things to do besides go in the water and since it is the last chance to do something as a class before we move separate ways, I decided on going. My friend even agreed on not going in the water with me.

I carpool to the school with my two best friends. The bus assignments were first come, first served, so in order to be on the same bus, my friends and I had to get in line at the same time. Inside the school, the chaperons were doing a bag check. They told us to go to an available table and hurry up, rather than holding up the line. Thus, my 2 best friends and I were all at separate tables to get our bags checked.

As the woman is fishing through my drawstring bag, I’m rehearsing my diabetes explanations in my head that I have memorized and perfected oh so well over the years. They ignore my lancing device and my blood glucose meter, probably because they don’t know what they are and assume they’re not a threat. I think I’m in the clear when the woman pulls out my emergency applesauce from my bag. I usually opt for applesauce to bring my blood glucose level up because it’s easy to swallow and tastes so damn good. I don’t need water with it, like I would if I brought chalky glucose tabs with me everywhere.

She says, “you’re not allowed to have this,” with a puzzled expression on her face as to why a student would “break” the rules by bringing applesauce.

I open my mouth, ready to deliver my monologue. “I’m diabetic.”

She then asked, “do you have paperwork?” in an accusatory tone, assuming I’m a lying rebel trying to sneak applesauce on the bus.

Thinking she caught me red-handed, I then throw her a curveball. “I have a 504 plan.”

Still frustrated with me she sighs and says, “well you’re going to have to talk to a nurse.”

To which I reply, “Why? It’s just glucose, and I need it in case my blood sugar gets low and it’s not like it’s medicine or anything.”

Then she replies, “well you are not allowed to bring food on this trip so you’re going to have to talk to a nurse.”

I scan the hallway for my friends who are probably anxiously waiting for me to get the hell over there. My friend shows me a blue wristband around her wrist. “Are you on the blue bus?”

I look at mine. “Crap, they put me on green.”

I turn back to the woman, who clearly isn’t letting me go and is obviously getting an ego trip by getting to boss around a helpless teen with a chronic disease. “So where’s the nurse?”

She pauses, thinks, and says, “there is no nurse on this trip.”

I roll my eyes. “So can I go?”

Another chaperon comes over and tells her that since it’s in a sealed container, I’m allowed to have it.

Finally.

I then walk down the hall, hoping to find friends on my bus.

One of the chaperons looks at my wrist and frantically says, “You’re on green. Hurry up, the bus is already leaving. Why didn’t you get on when we told you to?”

I roll my eyes and jog outside to find the bus still being loaded. Thankfully, two of my friends, one that I came with, one that I didn’t, were on this bus. I tell them what happened and my cheery, just-graduated, vibe had turned to a pissed-off diabetic vibe.

The bus ride was around an hour long.

As we’re getting towards the end of the bus rise, I realize that I’m feeling a little low. I pull out my kit, test, and sure enough 34 mg/dL.

Ready to claw the eyes out of the next chaperon I see, I gobble down my applesauce in a matter of seconds. The low doesn’t really set in until after I finish.

When we arrive at the water park, my friend Gabby (who told me she’d prefer to not be anonymous on my blog) said that she was going to help me find food as soon as possible. We get inside and immediately ask someone and they point us to the “snack table”. This sad excuse for a snack table had a small bowl of apples and some Nutrigrain bars. I grab a Nutrigrain bar and inhale it and my eyes wander to the soda fountain. A cup of orange soda would definitely spike my blood sugar to a not-about-to-go-into-a-seizure-and-die state. I walk over to the soda fountain and I see lids and straws but no cups. After muttering a few obscenities, I go over to the table with coffee and snag an empty Starbucks coffee cup and fill it with orange soda. A wild chaperon appears and does all but scream at me at the top of her lungs. Apparently, you are only allowed to put coffee in the coffee cups, and the soda cups will be brought out at 11:30 with pizza. I tell her I’m diabetic and I guess I won that round because I didn’t give up my soda.

With a reasonable amount of sugar about to circulate through my bloodstream, I assess the situation. Turns out, all of my friends want to go in the water. Considering how I was just barely in the stable zone, I tell them that I can’t go in the water.

And in that moment, I felt like absolute shit.

I hate how diabetes makes me that friend.

The one that holds everyone else up from having a good time. The burden of a friend. The baggage.

The last thing I wanted was to ruin everyone else’s night.

It’s not my fault, but that doesn’t stop me from feeling like it is.

That’s what diabetes does to you.

No matter how many times I said I was sorry, it didn’t feel like it sunk in to anyone.

In that moment, I hated everything. I wanted to go home. I wanted to sink into my mattress and sleep for days.

I was walking around with one of my friends and I could tell she was itching to go into the water. At one point, I turned to look for someone, and when I turned back around, she was walking in the opposite direction, about to get in the water. I wandered around feeling helpless until I found someone else to sit with.

Thankfully, though, the whole night wasn’t like that. Gabby, who I can honestly say, is truly the best friend I have, hung out with me and stayed by my side. She was the only one who got it. I wasn’t being a debby-downer, I just couldn’t go in the water. I didn’t make her night boring either, by just sitting around. We took green screen pictures with other friends, played some arcade games, and found ourselves in the middle of a very heated game of bingo. My card was Gabby’s favorite number. It was freaky. It was so meant to be. In a room of about 20 other heated bingo players from my high school, I won my very first round. G57 and there I was, squealing “Bingo!” The prizes were college t-shirts, and since they didn’t have one from my school, I got Gabby’s school and gave it to her.

What goes around, comes around.

After bingo, it was time for everyone to see a hypnotist. The same hypnotist performed at my college orientation 2 weeks earlier. It was a blast. We were all cracking up the entire time. It was the first time the class of 2012 really felt united to me.

After that, we went into a banquet room and had a dance party before our 3 am breakfast. It was amazing. Pretty much everyone was in sweats because they had all just changed out of their bathing suits. No one cared about how they looked. Clothes were casual, makeup was smudged, hair was messy. Status didn’t matter. We all had just graduated.

During breakfast, there was a raffle. We all got 2 tickets, one for small prizes and one for the big prizes at the end. They called out more than half of the blue tickets to get gift cards from local businesses around our town. As much as I didn’t expect to win anything, I was hoping to. Almost everyone at my table got their tickets called, myself included. I won a $20 Dairy Queen gift card.

We knew the big prize would be a tv, but it turned out, there were actually about 6 tvs. We all held our breath, hoping to hear our numbers. After a couple tvs were giving out I began to lose hope. Then, “420……0……..9……..0.” WAIT THAT’S ME. IS IT REALLY? YES IT IS.

The DJ’s rule was that you had to dance when receiving your prize, which I of course did. I won a 19″ HD LCD Sansui flat screen.

I don’t even think it’s necessary to describe how I felt in words.

Overall, project graduation went from one of the worst nights of my life to one of the best.

Although diabetes got in the way, great friends helped me through it.

What goes around, comes around.

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Hiatus: A Summary

12 06 2012

Some of you may have noticed that I took an unexpected hiatus over the past 2 1/2 weeks. I am a graduating senior, so there were many important things I have had to take care of in the past few weeks. Unfortunately, my blog was left on the back burner. I am sorry for this and I truly hope I haven’t lost any readers because of this.

The past few weeks consisted of: my cousin’s Sweet 16, Memorial Day, the Senior Breakfast, the Halo Awards for CT Theatre, Senior Prom, my college orientation, the Connecticut High School Musical Theatre Awards, final projects, the theatre showcase, the theatre banquet, etc.

Whew. Now that I think about it, I have done a lot. I haven’t really had any time to breathe, let alone blog.

I’ll summarize all the diabetes-related snippets in this post.

Senior Prom: I bought a thigh pump band to wear under my gown, as mentioned in a previous post. The thigh band was an absolute bitch. (Pardon my French.) I secured the velcro around my thigh as tight as humanly possible. It felt like a tourniquet. Insert Hunger Games reference here. No, but kidding aside, I lost some feeling in my leg. If I made it any less tighter than humanly possible, though, it would slide off faster than I could curse. I could feel the goddamned thing gradually loosening and sliding down my leg as I was taking pictures on the town green. It got worse, though, at prom. Getting in and out of the limo proved itself to be increasingly more difficult while trying to keep something strapped to your thigh. After getting out of the limo and walking into the building where our prom took place, it began its descend. By the time I made it to the table, it was near my ankle and the stretched tubing was tugging at my site. I limped over to the bathroom with a friend to fix it. Then it hit me. Shit, I don’t think I ever told my date I’m diabetic. I’m usually really comfortable telling people I’m diabetic because I’m so used to telling people. For some reason or another, this was different. I wanted to feel sexy and free [of diabetes]. There’s something unappealing about stabbing yourself with needles and having to assess every morsel of food you eat mathematically. The thought of telling him made me queasy. I wanted to have a normal teenage girl’s fairy tale kind of prom. I wanted to lock diabetes in a closet for the night. The indissoluble presence of diabetes utterly interfered with that wish. I couldn’t let loose at any point in time, because I couldn’t stop thinking about the godforsaken ball-and-chain I had strapped to a tourniquet on my thigh that I had to conceal. But don’t get me wrong, diabetes aside, the night was fabulous.

College Orientation: As the adult that I am, I don’t like being told to do things, especially by my mother, especially regarding diabetes, especially in public. Moments after entering my orientation dorm with my randomly assigned orientation roommate, my mom says, “Do your numbers”. (In my house, “Do your numbers” is momspeak for “Test your blood sugar”.) Great first impression, mom. We’ve been in this room for two and a half seconds and you’ve already told me to do something which makes me seem irresponsible and forgetful and now she’s going to question it, rather than me being able to tell her myself. Thanks. Thanks a lot. Before I have a chance to say anything, “Oh, you’re diabetic?” I look down sheepishly as I take out my supplies, “Yup, (pause), how’d you know?” Then she replies, “My ex-boyfriend was diabetic.” “Oh.” Then my mom asks what the number is and I tell her it’s 300-and-something and the roommate says, “Oh, you’re high.” I try to determine if it is possible to melt through the bed and down two floors in order to escape from that awkward situation. Nevertheless, I couldn’t, so I just had to change the subject.

Ok, so diabetes is poop.

I always wish to present myself well, whether it be in a beautiful gown at prom or when meeting new people at orientation. Diabetes presents itself like an obnoxious rash or two-year-old leeched to my ankle. It always tries to ruin everything that makes me happy. Now, I don’t let diabetes win. I don’t let it succeed in ruining everything that makes life beautiful. But diabetes does make everything increasingly difficult. That’s one thing I can never change, no matter how much I want to.





A Good Day

25 05 2012

The 143 that flashed on my meter this afternoon holds a double meaning.
143 is a modern way of saying “I love you”, in case you didn’t know.
It’s because there’s 1 letter in “I”, 4 letters in “love, and 3 letters in “you”.

(Sidenote: disregard the clock on my meter, it’s never right).

Today I was on my senior class outing. It was at this “resort” that reminded me of a summer camp. I don’t know how to explain it. There were sports, games, swimming pools, airbrush tattoos, a lake, a DJ, and lots and lots (and lots) of food.

Lots and lots (and lots) of food means lots and lots and lots of carbs and lots and lots and lots of insulin. It’s a diabetic’s nightmare. Should I eat nachos and ice cream and popcorn and cake or low-carb snacks like, uhh, celery? I bet you’ll have no difficulty guessing what I chose.

It’s a Russian Roulette-style guessing game when it comes to eating at all-you-can-eat buffets. “I think I’ll do 20.” “40 sounds good.” “The is probably 15.”

Over the years, I’ve gotten really good at guessing, but still, every time it’s just a guess and there is a large amount of risk involved. “Is the iced tea sweetened? It tastes sweet. What if it’s a sweetener? It’s probably not.” The elongated thought processes lead to me just going with my gut (literally) and going on with my day. If I get high, I’ll get high. And I’ll correct for it.

What happens when you throw exercise into the mix? I literally spent all day at this outing on my feet. That’ll cause my blood sugars to go down. I naturally underbolus, as an instinct to prevent lows, so I’ll probably be good.

In the midst of all this, I really don’t wanna think about having diabetes. I don’t wanna act like I have diabetes. I don’t even want to have diabetes. I wish I could’ve left diabetes behind on the school bus. I don’t wanna drop everything I’m doing to test. I’m just going to hope for the best and test if I feel symptoms.

And that’s exactly what I did. Midway through the day I tested, expecting 50 mg/dL or 350 mg/dL. I was utterly, pleasantly, stunned when 143 mg/dL flashed on my meter.

Sometimes good things happen.

Today was a good day.





‘…oh yeah…’

17 05 2012

Once I became open about having diabetes, circa freshman year, I accidently started assuming that everyone just knows I have diabetes. A blessing and a curse about diabetes is that you don’t wear it on your sleeve. For the most part, diabetes is pretty easy to conceal, so people don’t frequently look at you and think something’s wrong with you. There are many exceptions to this statement though, such as a very visible insulin pump + tubing, giving an injection in public, pricking your finger, going low in public, etc. But that’s besides the point. It can be a curse at times too, because people like to think that life with diabetes is pretty easy to manage if there aren’t visible signs of “disease”. But that’s even more off topic.

Today I had to take 2 advanced placement exams, back to back. I met with my guidance counselor last week to discuss my accommodations. She said they would be the same as they were for SATs. Surprisingly enough, I didn’t have any accommodations for SATs. I was sure as hell lucky that nothing happened diabetes-wise during the SATs because I would’ve been screwed. She asked if I needed extra time or needed to split the 2 tests up, by taking the second one on a make-up day. I didn’t need either of those things. (And the whole extra time issue is an entirely different blog post waiting to be written). All I needed was to ensure that I’m allowed ample bathroom breaks and food & water in the classroom.

Turns out the AP organization doesn’t allow any special treatment for students with needs. So if I did need extra time, I wouldn’t have gotten it anyway. She did say, however, that I am able to have food & water with me in the classroom while other students are not, I can have my diabetes supplies with me, and I am allowed to use the bathroom.

I show up this morning (7:30 yuck) and outside of the classrooms set aside for testing,  there are areas to put your backpacks and boxes to put food and beverages in. I bring all my stuff in with me. I’m used to being the odd one out due to diabetes so it’s no big deal. When the proctor’s reading the rules and regulations, one of them is no food, drinks, or backpacks allowed in the classroom and anyone who has any of those things should put them in the hall now.

Then he looks at me.

“I’m diabetic.”

“Well everyone else put their bags outside.”

“I need my stuff with me.”

“Ok.”

We didn’t get into a huge fight, which I was anticipating the moment his eyes met mine. He didn’t argue with me. I didn’t have to tell him I have a 504.

It just ended there.

At the end of the test, he apologized and said he was glad I told him and spoke up for myself.

He was just doing his job. It wasn’t hurtful. He just didn’t know. Guidance hadn’t written a note to the proctor that there’d be a diabetic student in the classroom who has accommodations.

So it goes.





Baggage

12 05 2012

So yesterday after school, I went to a picnic for my school’s Best Friends Club and then went to the gym with a couple friends. I’ve been running really high (300s-400s mg/dL or 16-27 mmol) during the week from late morning til the afternoon. After a few site changes, I’ve concluded that I need to adjust my basals or maybe my sensitivity rate. Anyway, it’s been really annoying. I’ll test well before lunch and give myself a correction and by lunch, I’ll still be high. Bleh.

At lunchtime, I was 480 mg/dL (26.7 mmol), and not feeling so great. I sucked it up, made it through the day, and went to the picnic. Some of the dd kids were extremely active, so there was a lot of running around. Over the course of 90 minutes, we played tag, duck duck goose, red light green light, frisbee, catch, etc. There was socializing and snacks, and I bolused accordingly.

My friend picked me and another friend up at the picnic and we ran a few errands before going to the gym. We made it to the gym, got changed, I bought a water bottle, and we headed over to the ellipticals. After less than 10 minutes on the elliptical, I felt unusually weak and shaky. I knew it wasn’t from the exercise, because I had it on a low setting and I hadn’t been on that long. I stopped the machine and told my friends I felt low and I was going to the locker room to test. My friend asked if I wanted her to come with me and I couldn’t really think straight so I just said “I don’t know”. She said I was scaring her and I told her “I think I’m fine” so I stumbled my way back into the locker room. I dialed my combination in, dropped the lock, picked the lock back up, and fumbled through my bag til I found my blood glucose kit. I sat down on the bench, tested, and sure enough I was 34 mg/dL (1.8 mmol).

I put my stuff back in the locker and walked over to the ellipticals. “Guys I’m low”. They asked if I’d be ok and I said I needed to go into my friend’s car and get some candy out of my bag. They asked how long it would take to bring my sugars back up and when I told them at least a half hour, we decided to leave. After gobbling down some sour patch kids, I realized how guilty I felt.

Now it wasn’t my fault we had to leave, it was diabetes’s fault. But it is my diabetes and, therefore, my fault. Even though lows come out of nowhere sometimes, I still could’ve been more careful to prevent the low. It was an unusual day so I should’ve tested more. I should’ve been more on top of it. It was my fault my friends had to sacrifice their afternoon at the gym. It was my fault we wasted all that time and gas.

Diabetes is a burden, and in many cases, it makes me feel like a burden. I hate having this excess baggage. I hate that my baggage has to interfere with my life and my friends. I hate being the diabetic one. I hate being responsible for ruining things.

I have to get over it. As much as I hate diabetes, it is a part of me.

And I can’t hold grudges against myself.





The Elephant in the … Bra?

10 05 2012

My senior prom is coming up and I have a gorgeous dress with gorgeous shoes to match.

The absolute last thing on my mind throughout this process has been diabetes.

Today I went to get my dress tailored (I’m 5′ 2.75″ and gowns are meant for girls who are 5′ 10″) and out of habit, I clipped my pump onto the middle of my bra. The entire pump was showing. Granted, the dress is a little low cut and I’m getting some more fabric in the front, but the pump has never felt this bulky and obnoxious before. I unhooked my pump and put it with my clothes while the tailor did her examination.

I love wearing dresses and I always just cram my pump into my bra. For the case of prom, though, I’m going to have to wear a thigh band. I have never worn one and I don’t currently own one so hopefully I can get one shipped before prom.

Does anyone have any recommendations for pump thigh bands that are well-made and efficiently shipped? Suggestions would be terrific.





Diabetic Chain Gang

4 05 2012

Like this except less business-like

Ok, here’s the prequel. On Wednesday, I had a consistent 380 mg/dl to 388 mg/dl blood sugar for a solid two hours at school so I came to the conclusion that my pump site had failed. During study hall, I called my mom to ask her to pick me up so I could change my site. Due to school policy, you can’t exactly leave until you’ve gone to the nurse’s office and they determine you can go home. I exited the cafeteria, where seniors go for study hall, in stealth mode, and made my way to the nurse’s office. I told them what was going on and they said I could sit on a chair while I wait for my mom.

Moments later, the only other diabetic student at my high school stumbles into the room and crashes onto the seat next to me. A teacher who had accompanied him said “I caught this one in the hall,” to which he replied, “I was stumbling around like a drunk person“. I giggled because I know the  feeling.

While the nurse was getting him some juice, he turned to me and said, “63, you?”
I replied, “388. Site failure.”
“Do you have the tingly feeling in your legs?”
“Yup.”
“So you’re getting scooped up?”
“Yeah.”
“Maybe I should rip my site out so I can go home.”
“I think school will be over by the time you go high enough.”
Laughs.

He chugs the juice and we chat about site preferences while his blood sugar goes up.
“C’mon 64, c’mon 64.”
It was 60.

A little bit later, he’s 72 so we part ways.

Eventually my mom shows up and as I’m getting in the car, I’m still laughing to myself.