Friday, July 24, 2009

Bad day

So a couple weeks back I did something really stupid. I went to work . . . and left my insulin at home. Yeah, I told you it was stupid. Problem is I don't work in a normal office job where I could just take my lunch break and run home and get it. Nope. I work in a hospital where I can't exactly leave my patients and go home. The best part is that I didn't realize I had done this until after I had eaten lunch. See, I was low before lunch and feeling super shaky, so I decided to eat first and then take my insulin, just to let the food get a little head start. (In the past, when I don't do this, I sometimes feel low forever since my insulin is kicking in before or at the same time as my meal.)

So I head back to work and plan on giving myself a shot once I'm back on the floor. Problem is? No Apidra. I have my Lantus, but not my short-acting insulin, the one I take with meals. Then I remember taking it out of the bag the night before so I could take a correction bolus before bed. I could just picture it sitting on my nightstand, mocking me.

In the past I've worked at hospitals that keep insulin in their medication refrigerators. But my unit is the NICU and babies don't get the same insulin we do, so I would always just walk over to Labor/Delivery or Mother/Baby and draw up what I needed. Everyone knew that I was diabetic, I'd worked there for years . . . no harm, no foul. No such luck at this new job. Someone suggested that I talk to our resident PharmD, maybe she could hook me up with some Humalog or even Regular insulin, just to tide me over. Again, no luck. She did suggest calling the outpatient pharmacy in the hospital (the place where patients who are being discharged can fill their prescriptions before going home). I called them but Apidra is so new, they don't carry it. But they do carry Humalog! Except that to get it I would have to call my old pharmacy, transfer the script, have it filled for hefty price, yadda yadda . . . lotta hoops to jump. Dammit.

At this point, at least 10 nurses had found out what was going on and everyone was scrambling to try to help. One older nurse was even diabetic and took shots! But she used 70/30. Seriously? I don't even remember what the deal with 70/30 is anymore. But at least they were trying to help. Which, while I do appreciate it, also made me feel like the village idiot. Because this lovely incident was they way that most of them found out I had diabetes in the first place. Great impression, right? Then they'd ask how long I'd had it. "Uh, 18 years. . . " I tried to explain no matter how routine something becomes after years of doing it, mistakes are bound to happen. How often do people forget their purses? Or lock their keys in their car? Not often, but when it happens you feel like quite the dumbass.

I finally was at my wits end and decided to just beg the charge nurse to let me just run home to get my insulin. Unfortunately, the unit was particularly busy that day and one of the other nurses had already left because of an emergency with her son. So they really couldn't spare losing another of us. I put one last call into the outpatient pharmacy, just to try to hash out what they could do for me. Turns out they had transferred my prescription and they could get me ONE bottle of Humalog for $25. I was relieved I had options but really annoyed at the idea of paying $25 for one bottle of insulin that I'll never use again. Whatever, I was so over it by this point. My bloodsugar was 439, I felt like absolute shit, not to mention like an idiot and at this point I had put almost 3 hours into this stupid debacle. I was miffed. Even more so when I thought about the fact that I work in a hospital that has tons of insulin available. Just none for me.

So I told the nearby nurses I was walking over to the outpatient pharmacy. It took about 20 minutes roundtrip to go get my insulin and get back. (What can I say? It's a big campus.) At that point I was sweaty, feeling heavy and lethargic and developing and nasty sweet, metallic taste in my mouth. In other words, I was feeling like actual ass. When the person behind the register handed me the bag, I tore it open, drew up my dose and shot up before I even pulled out my wallet to pay. He looked at me like I was some nut-job druggie jonesing for a high. I smiled weakly and apologized.

So, yeah, that was my bad day. And probably what started me thinking about the things I was talking about in my previous post. I mean, who else has to actually go through crap like that? Plus it was the perfect storm of events. On a slow day where we were fully staffed it probably wouldn't have been a big deal to just run home. Annoying, but a hell of a lot less complicated then the 3-hour odyssey that actually took place.

Maybe I should have stood up for myself and just said "Look, I'm diabetic, I left my medication at home and it's an emergency. I'm going to run home and I will be back as soon as I can." I really probably should have. But, to me, it doesn't seem like an emergency. I've been high before. I've even been over 400 before and nothing terrible happens. I feel like crap, then I fix it, then it's over. Then I worry about what havoc it wreaked on my body that I may only find out about in years to come, but that's my paranoia for you. So I just feel like a drama queen trying to convince other people that anything related to my diabetes is an emergency. But after that mess, hopefully, I've learned my lesson and will just stick up for myself and not feel obligated to place my health so low on the totem pole so as not to ruffle any feathers.

Am I the only one stuff like this has happensd to? Any other stories of diabetes-related brainfarts out there? Mad scrambles for supplies? Please share, because I feel dumb.

Don't judge me,
~Layne

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Suckage . . .

Recently I've realized that sometimes I just can't tell people the ugly truth, even when I really, really want to. For example, those days when everything that can go wrong does diabetes-wise (like running out of strips, highs and lows that won't quit, etc) and someone asks "How's it going?" What I really want to do is launch into a rant about how I'm a woman on the verge who really just wants to flush her meter and call it a day. And yet. . . . I can't, or anyway, I don't.

Another classic is when someone finds out for the first time that I'm diabetic and they say something like "How do you give yourself shots?! That must really suck?" I won't bother to go into how it drives me nuts when people comment on how they couldn't give themselves shots. Like I choose to do it. Like I'm the brave soul who stepped up, sacrificed myself and opted to take the diabetes so that some other schmuck who didn't like giving themselves shots could be spared from it?!?! WTF?? But I digress . . . Some days I do want to say YES!! I do hate this crap. Yes!! This does suck. And then I would lauch into a diatribe of all the stuff that drives me up a wall. It would be very cathartic, really.

But I don't. I smile and say "it's not fun but I'm used to it, blah, blah, blah." That's kinda what people expect to hear, after all. They expect a brave front from folks in general. It's kinda like the "How are you doing?" question. What does everyone say? "Fine." And if you say anything else you are usually met with polite tolerance, at best. People want simple and they want happy. They do NOT want the truth. Especially when it comes to something like diabetes, something they really don't understand to begin with. They want to hear that I'm okay, I'm brave, I'm used to it and I don't feel any different from anyone else despite my diagnosis.

But sometimes that's just not the truth. Some days it's really hard to pretend that I don't see the differences between me and everyone else. To feel bitter that those around me have an advantage. That there is life beyond and even without diabetes. There are people who don't have to worry about using their last needle and not realizing it until it's too late. They don't have to worry about getting low in the middle of work and scrambling to find a snack. They don't have to angst over whether to get that really yummy carb-laden non-virgin drink because really it's a choice between temptation versus blood-sugar hell. And then having friends ask why didn't you get that yummy drink you were drooling over? Again, I can't tell them the real answer because then I either sound like I'm making excuses or make them feel bad about asking in the first place. And mostly it just sucks on those days when it dawns on me that the vast majority of folks don't deal with the crap that I do. That my normal isn't their normal. That my normal could be better, calmer, less stressful if it weren't for my stupid pancreas being all effed up.

I'm exaggerating, of course. I don't know for sure that people would make a face, turn and run if I told them the "truth." But I'm assuming most don't really wanna hear it. Because it's hard to hear stuff like that and, honestly, would they even understand if I did go into it? I can always talk to my husband. He's really good about understanding that I have those days when it gets to me and I need to vent. But what about the times when I feel like having a diabetes-related conniption and I'm at work or out with friends. And I just feel like I can't talk about it. Not only do they just not get it but it kinda feels like whining.

I think that's the heart of it. If I say it's all okay then I'm brave and strong and whatever. But if you catch me on a bad day? Can I say no really, it sucks? I've actually had people say to me after they've seen me wince from a shot, "So you still feel those? I figured you'd just be used to it by now." Well, um, NO! I mean it's not the end of the world but occassionally those suckers hurt like hell. So allow me to utter certain choice expletives or screw up my face funny when a stinger catches me by surprise!!

I know most people figure I've had it so damn long I should just be used to it. And most days I am. But guess what? I'm human and the frustration, unfairness and the overall suckage of the situation gets to me every now and then. But I also wonder if saying so would make me sound like a complete and total baby. I feel like venting would be a sign of weakness. As a kid, I was allowed to be bummed about diabetes. But as an adult? Who's had it for 18 years? Is it kosher to still be bummed? To still have down days? Will people get it when I do and not think I'm a huge wimp who just needs to get over it? Who knows?

I'm starting to think maybe I care too much about what other people think. But on the other hand, most everyone out there wants people to understand where they are coming from. So I'm just putting that out into the universe. It's just a rant but it's also something I've been thinking about lately. Otherwise, I've been okay on the diabetes front. Had some insurance issues that were driving me bonkers but that was balanced with an A1C that I was pretty stoked about. (6.5!! YAY!!)

Over and out,
~Layne