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Rollercoasters, Silence, Midtable United, and Other Bits and Bobs

January 9, 2014

The worst way to feel about my diabetes treatment, I’ve learned over the years, is relaxed. I can never, ever assume that the way I treated my sugars will be effective next year, next month, next week, or maybe even tomorrow.

That’s why I like continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) as a concept (although I wish there were some improvements, like eliminating the sometimes jarring pain that can be associated with it); CGM  can help point out where patterns are occurring, and allow me to make adjustments to my basal rates to eliminate any problems that could come (like any of the long-term issues related with hyperglycemia, or, God forbid, any of the terrible things — like coma or death — that can come from hypoglycemia).

Since my last post, my sugars have been trending low. It could be a change in metabolism that’s associated with some of the changes I’ve made in the New Year (eating healthier, drinking more water, etc.). Whatever the cause, alarms have disturbed my sleep the past three nights. I’m adjusting my overnight basal rate for the second day in a row, hoping that I’m able to find the right balance this time. During the days, too, I’ve seen changes in my basal rate needs.

It started Monday, as I was at work. My boss came to my desk and we were talking about current projects and other stuff when my pump started its alarm. I thought, “This is weird. I didn’t even get a vibration that my sugar was low.” (I think it’s supposed to vibrate before it flips the “Sh*# Switch,” which is what I’ll henceforth call the annoying alarm that signals “THRESHOLD SUSPEND” in the pump. Basically, the name comes from the thought that the pump/CGM would sense my sugar was falling and say to itself “Sh#*! His sugar’s falling! Quick, flip the emergency switch to sound the alarm!”) However, I didn’t get any warning. Just the Sh#* Switch flipping.

According to my sensor, my sugar was at 59, and falling. (For those of you who don’t know, if my sugar were to drop just a slight bit lower, like, say, to the 40s, I would soon be unconscious.) I started eating peanut butter crackers that I keep in my desk and shut off my basal feed. Crisis averted. (Although I was embarrassed I had to interrupt my conversation with my boss to shut off the alarm and start eating crackers while I was talking to her. She didn’t bring the distraction up. She’s a good boss.

I altered my morning basal rate. I altered my overnight. The world was good.

Then, that night, around 1:30 a.m., the Sh#@ Switch was flipped again, waking me — and Meg — up from a sound sleep. I started slamming glucose tablets, kept next to the bed for just such an emergency, and set a temporary basal rate of 60% what I usually get. Crisis averted.

I altered my overnight basal rate. The world, again, was good.

Yesterday, in the afternoon, after having a great day of steady sugars that all resided in the Happy Green Zone (which I’ve learned to adjust and make more personal, where a sugar of 160 isn’t considered high), I was editing an article when, all of a sudden, out of nowhere, the Sh#@ Switch was flipped again. My CGM said my sugar was at 59, and dropping … fast. I ate about four packs of peanut butter crackers and suspended my basal feed until I could verify (via blood glucose reading) that my sugar was back over 90 and steady. It actually rebounded up to the mid-200s, but it was corrected after taking my dinner/corrective dose.

This one was frustrating, in particular, because my afternoon sugars had been steady for quite a while. I hadn’t had a problem with lows at that point of the day, and just don’t know why that one occurred. (This is the life of a diabetic. Sometimes aberrations occur. Sometimes there’s no reason; it just happens.)

Anyway, I steadied myself, went home, had a nice dinner and the world was good again.

Until 4 a.m., when the Sh#@ Switch was, again, flipped. Today I’ve cut back my overnight dose, again. Keep your fingers crossed for us.

By the way, a special shout out goes to my wife, Meg, who’s nothing but supportive during all these annoyances. She’s the best.

What does all this mean? Well, I’m consuming dramatically fewer carbs than I was over the holiday period. (Except for all the carbs I’m forced to eat to correct my sugar crashes.) I think my body just needs less insulin right now to maintain balanced sugars. It’s just a matter of figuring out what the right dose is throughout the day. I’ll get this figured out. And then I’ll just have to stay on my toes to be ready for any other changes it has to throw at me.

All is quiet on the Medtronic front. They haven’t let me down recently. Then again, they haven’t really done anything to fix the lack of trust I have in them, either. Actually, I haven’t heard from them since my conversation with the vice president of customer relations before the holidays. I was just thinking of this today, because there’s a person who works at Medtronic who’s supposed to be my personal contact and is supposed to make sure my transition is going smoothly. How can she know how I’m doing if she doesn’t bother to contact me?

(For the record, she’s let me down quite a bit, and I’ve made it pretty clear to a lot of people I feel let down by having her as my advocate with Medtronic.)

Still, don’t you think they’d want to contact their unhappy customers to make sure things are going well, to try to win them back? How difficult is it to send an email or, God forbid, make a phone call?

I haven’t been tweeting my blog posts to Medtronic for a little while. I would have thought their social media team would have been smart enough to have subscribed to my blog, just to see what I’m thinking. (Or check my Twitter feed, or send an email or, God forbid, give me a call.)

Maybe I overestimate their abilities and intelligence. Maybe I should only rely on myself. Maybe in four years there’ll be other options of incorporated pump therapy and CGM for me to choose from. Maybe then I’ll be able to leave Medtronic in the past and not have to worry about this nonsense.

Just know, in four years (when I’ll be eligible to get another pump paid for by insurance), I hope there will be better resources available to tell of horror stories, like mine, with diabetic supply companies, and also stories of great customer service, too.

I’ll keep dreaming, and learning how to use my pump without any help or support from the folks at Medtronic.

It’s just a shame that I’ll have to order my supplies from them.

This is where they have us (diabetics who use their products) trapped. They know I’m going to be a customer for four years, no matter how crappy the service. Either I’m going to buy reservoirs, infusion sets, sensors and other supplies from them, or I’ll buy their supplies from another source. Either way, they’re making lots of money off of me and my condition, no matter how ignorant they may be.

There’s got to be a way to improve this situation. I just wish I knew what the answer was.

Things are not going well for Manchester United. The most recent downturn coincided with my last post about them, where I suggested their form might be turning around. That, in retrospect, was not smart.

Since that post they’ve lost to Cardiff City away in the league, beat Bayer Leverkusen away in the Champions League, lost to Spurs at home in the league, Swansea at home in the FA Cup third round, and to Sunderland in the first leg of the League Cup semifinals away. They are currently in seventh place and look just terrible.

Still, I’m not terribly concerned.

Why? Because I had extremely low expectations for this year. Moyes has a pass. They have a few world-class players (De Gea, Van Persie, Januzaj, and Rooney, who probably still digs the hookers), and they can afford to miss out on the Champions League next year. (Not that I want this to happen, though. I still think they’ll go on a run in the second half of the season, as Moyes’ Everton teams always did.)

I’m not sure they’ll make a lot of moves in the January transfer window, but, if they do, they’d better buy quality. I don’t like all the reports still linking United with Wesley Sneijder. (Past his prime, and has a long history of animosity with Van Persie.)

Basically, I’ve given up on winning anything this year. Bask in it, Chelsea, Man City and Arsenal. (Liverpool will not win the league this year. They’re just not good enough, and it’s only a matter of time before Suarez does something stupid, petulant, dastardly or racist again.)

I have a former coworker. He is the Idiot. (I’ve written about him here. And here. And here.) I just thought of him today when someone was talking about self-help organizations, and, in particular, one that’s been linked to cult-like activities. (Here’s an interesting article listing cult-like business practices.)

Yup, you guessed it. Idiot was a member of said cult-like organization.

Idiot convinced one of my other coworkers to take part. After hearing them discuss the group once, I thought, “This is really shady.”

Idiot came over after our coworker left the workspace and said “I figured you’d be busy with your son and everything, but you’d get so much out of the seminars.”

“No,” I said.

Idiot digressed.

Anyway, I did some research. There’s lots of yelling. There’s lots of targeting of vulnerables. There’s lots of claims of “special knowledge.” There’s lots of intimidation. And there’s lots of financial pressure and manipulation.

This group must have seen Idiot coming from a mile away. I’m sure they have a wonderful relationship.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. May 15, 2014 12:38 pm

    You were spot on with your prediction regarding Liverpool’s chances of winning the Premier League this season, but who could have foreseen it would have been Gerrard rather than Suarez who would slip up.

    Best wishes from the blue half of Manchester.

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