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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Knee-Jerk Experience

So today's blog post is installment #4 of the saga that is my knee pain.  (You can read the other installments here, here, and here.)  This week's episode is about my visit to the orthopedist to see what he thought about my nagging knee.

I kind of started out in a bad mood, because my appointment was at 10:15 AM, which meant that I was going to get up and go to work for 2 hours then drive all the way back to this office.  (I normally like to make my appointments either really early or really late because of work, but this appointment was made for me by my PCP after my MRI appointment.  /digression)  And I found out that there is only one majority group of people who come to appointments like this in the middle of the day:  slightly older retired people. 

Most of the people I sat next to in the lobby sported a cane and white hair (if any).  I overheard some of their conversations about having their knees scoped, recovering from surgery, and (my favorite) "there's no arthritis in titanium".  The thought of having my knee scoped is about as pleasant as a root canal without a numbing shot.  I felt like I was looking into my very depressing future.

I sat there for over an hour, filling out paperwork, playing with my iPod, and waiting for my name to be called.  (However, the office did have free Wi-Fi, during which time I was able to download the Starbucks app.  I'm thinking we should petition all doctors' offices to have free Wi-Fi, no?)  They finally called my name, and I was escorted to another room.  During this time, I had a mild low (67 mg/dL) from the waiting and the fact it was getting close to my lunch hour.  I just knew I would meet the new doctor while chomping on some raspberry glucose tabs, but no such luck.

Then the doctor came in (with a medical student shadow, cool) and pulled out my MRI images.  He asked me about my pain, and I explained to him that I used to be a catcher and had been having pain off and on for about 8 months, mainly during cold weather, walking up and down stairs, and sitting still with crossed legs for a long time.  He said this pain is fairly common, especially in women because we generally have wider hips.  (Which is extremely evident on me, if you've ever seen my hips.  Which would be weird if we met and you remember what my hips looked like.  OK, nevermind, this is just getting awkward.)  And having wider hips makes the pressure on the knee disproportioned, and being a catcher probably didn't help either.  He showed me on the MRI where the radiologist thought my pain might be coming from, but he wasn't entirely convinced that it was degenerative meniscus.

"It hurts right here."  Around the bright white spot. 

So he prescribed that I do physical therapy for 4 weeks to try to correct the pressure on my knee, and a follow-up in 6 weeks.  This is where things start to get bad.  I go to the physical therapists' office next door to try to set up my times, and all they had available were "in the middle of work day" times.  I asked if there were any offices close to where I work and how long the sessions would be.  She told me they had offices downtown but the sessions are usually an hour or longer.  An hour or longer, for 3 times a week?!  I hardly have any sick time left due to usual diabetes management, I couldn't tack on physical therapy, too.  I told her that I would just have to call them later for some better times.

Between that, my glasses, and worrying about some blood pressures issues I've been having lately, I started to feel vulnerable and break down.  I called Trey after my appointment and, through my tears, attempted to tell him my diagnosis.  When he asked what was wrong I said, "I'm just tired of falling apart."  "OK, well just drive and collect yourself.  I'll talk to you later."  He knows that only continuing to talk about it was going to make me more upset.  So I took the 30 minute drive back to work to clear my mind and figure out what I wanted to do.

I got back to work, and while (finally) eating my lunch I tried to call some of the other physical therapy places listed on my prescription.  On the second place I called (the first was out to lunch), the nicest voice answered the phone.  When I told her I needed physical therapy but needed to do it either really early or really late, she informed me that they're open until 6 PM everyday and I should be able to get in.  Then she transferred me to the physical therapist who briefed me on what to do when I came in.  Even though it was only a phone call, it really lifted my spirits because they seemed so willing to work with me and around my schedule.  It was quite refreshing after the "you need to work around us" therapy center I came from. 

So that's the latest on le knee that's being a jerk right now (hello, post title).  I'm really hoping that I can fix this without scoping or surgery, and that I can learn some things I can do if the pain comes back again.  However, having titanium knees might be cool (and add to my bionic-womaness)!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Things on My Radar

Yesterday I had my yearly female appointment with my gynecologist.  Even though his office is labeled as OB/GYN, I like to invert the two and add an "O" making him my "GYNOOB" (pronounced "guy"-"noob"), cuz I'm mature like that. 

I know most women can't say this, but I love my gynecologist!  Of all my doctors, he is definitely the nicest and most encouraging one I have.  Yes, you may have to wait over an hour past your appointment time to see him, but it's worth it when he takes your time with you and treats you like you're the only patient in the world.  (And especially with this kind of appointment, sensitivity and patience is key.)

He always makes a point to ask me, with genuine sincerity, about my diabetes.  I usually tell him, "Fine," but I know I could say, "It's a pain in the arse," if I wanted to.  When he asked me what my last A1c was and I said 6.3, he looked up from his chart and smiled, "Good for you!  That's awesome!"  "Thanks, I just try to keep up with it," I shrugged. This (A1c) point led to an interesting topic between us:

Me:  "So, what would be your threshold for, say, pregnancy?"

Dr. (smiling):  "Oh that's a great topic!  I would want you to stay under 7.0, but that will be controlled by you and your endo.  Who are you seeing for that?"

Me:  "Dr. [insert name here], the one with the 'special' sense of humor."

Dr. (stomping his foot and laughing):  "That is so true, he's definitely unique."

Nice to know even another doctor notices my endo's dry personality.  Should make April feel better.  ;-)

So after this nice little chat and my *ahem* exam, he looked me in the eye and told me I was just as healthy as any other woman who desires children.  "That's what I wanted to hear," I said and he walked out the door.  And before I left the room, I paused and held onto his words like they were charms on a bracelet:  "just as healthy".  Even though we're not trying for a baby right now, I like knowing that we could.  Like the power of my diabetes is harnessed and chained, under my control.  I couldn't help feeling a little empowered, like some goddess of femininity wielding a pump and CGM.

Trey and I talk about having kids all the time, like they're already here or something.  And sometimes I forget that having diabetes makes that dream a little more of a nightmare.  I'm not afraid of the lab-rat-type testing I'll undergo, or even the constant warnings of complications due to high blood sugars.  The one thing I'm afraid of more than anything:  motherhood itself.  I know I want kids, and I desire them more than anything.  I get all teary-eyed at posts like this one and get chills thinking about someone calling me, "Mommy."  But I'm a little anxious about the 180 life-change that will follow.  It's the same anxiety I felt before college, getting married, buying a house, or adopting another dog.  It's the anxiety of not being prepared for something very important, only to realize there's NO WAY to be fully prepared to begin with.

It's so strange to desire something that you're terrified of, like WANTING to be bitten by a snake (who would want that?!).  To be responsible for a life, a soul, that will rely on you to know how to walk through this life.  Hoping that they find God's love, and praying you're not going to screw it up!  And wondering how can you love someone so much that you haven't even met!  (CC:  Facing the Giants)

I don't know, we're so far ahead of the literal pregnancy/diabetes stuff that I'm still focused on the big picture.  All I can say is that I'm excited and terrified, especially now that I've added a new label to my blog:  pregnancy.

Whoa!  Things are starting to get too real around here.  So to level things out, here's a picture of my dog gassing me with one of her rancid farts

Aaaaaaaand, we're back!  =)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Raiding the Candy Bowls

In my office, it seems to be standard operating procedure to have a candy bowl on your desk.  It certainly makes meetings in the boss' office a lot less stressful when you're sucking on a Werther's Original.  In my branch chief's office, he has 3 bowls:  one with mints, one with Chex Mix, and one with assorted chocolates including Snickers (my fav), Milky Way, and Twix.  His office is strategically placed across the hall from the coffee/break room.  So grabbing a snack after lunch or between coffee is very easy. 

Sometimes when I'm having a low blood sugar at work, and I don't want to have another toddler-size juice box, I will walk up and down the halls of my office raiding the public candy bowls.  It gives me a chance to catch up with my coworkers (read: socialize) while satisfying my hypoglycemia.  I've never told my coworkers that I'm having a low blood sugar when I'm raiding their stash, but some of them know I'm diabetic.  So occasionally I will get a glance from them as I grab 3 mini-Snickers and a nod, like they understand. 

But when the candy bowls start to get low (like on Fridays), I admit I start to get a little nervous.  I rely on these candy bowls too much for treating my lows.  Even if I have plenty of juice, I still like to know that I have some back up just in case.  But then I get a branch-wide email with subject title:  "Candy Bowls are Refilled!", and all is well. 

"Can you fax this for me and give me 15 grams of fast-acting carbs?"

Also, I love The Office!  Happy Friday!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Inside the Jackhammer Donut

Last Friday, I went to have an MRI done on my right knee that's been giving me pain for quite some time.  I arrived at the imaging place, filled out 3 pages of "new patient" forms, and took a seat.  Of course, I was able to snap a picture for the Waiting with Diabetes Flickr group.  (I've also noticed that I've already been to 4 doctor's appointments this year, which seems like way too many.) 

A nurse wearing Auburn (War Eagle!) scrubs called my name and she directed me to the back of the hallway towards this giant room with the MRI.  It looked like a monstrous donut with a bed inside the hole.  The nurse asked me to remove all of my jewelry, and I asked her, "So did they tell you about my hardware?"  She takes a look at my chart and says, "Oh, you wear an insulin pump?"  "And a constant glucose monitor, but I'd like to keep that in if I can.  It's kind of a pain to take out and insert."  I lifted up my shirt and showed her where I had the transmitter and sensor on my stomach with my huge Tegaderm patch over it.  She looked at it and said, "I think you can keep it on since we're examining your knee.  We can put you halfway in the MRI so it doesn't interfere with that."  I disconnected Arnold and shutdown Constance and put them in a toolbox with my purse, jacket, and jewelry. 

We go in the MRI room, and the nurse asked me to lay down on the bed and put my right knee in this foam contraption that would keep it still.  I felt like I was a mental patient being strapped down, except it was only my right knee--like it was demon possessed or something.  "OK, we'll slowly put you in the machine, but let me know if you feel any pulling on your stomach," the nurse said motioning to my sensor.  "OK," I said already tensing up, putting my hands over the sensor as if that was going to protect it.  She slowly rolled the bed into the donut hole until I was belt-high.  "Anything?" she asked.  "Nope."  "OK, I'm going to get you some headphones so you can listen to some music.  This thing sort of sounds like a jackhammer.  Try to lay as still as possible, it will last about 15 minutes." 

Just a little noisy. 

She gives me my headphones and I close my eyes, trying to concentrate on the station.  Then all of a sudden, a loud vibrating sound surrounds the room, like a mini-earthquake, and it was loud enough that I couldn't hear my music anymore.  It lasted about 5 minutes before it stopped.  I get about a minute reprieve before it started again, this time a little higher pitch.  I could feel my knee beginning to stiffen up, but I couldn't tell if it was from the MRI itself or the fact that I was clenching so bad.  This cycle continued two more times, mini-earthquake, silence, mini-earthquake, silence.  Then the music stops on my headphones, and I hear the door open.  "OK, that's it," the nurse said walking in.  I let out a breath I didn't notice I was holding. 

I get off the bed and "gear up," putting on all my jewelry and diabetes gadgets, like a cross between a police woman and Indiana Jones.  All I needed was a dark brown hat, I was already wearing a leather jacket.  Aaaaaanyway, I pay my copay and the receptionist told me they would forward the results to my doctor next week. 

Fast forward to this week, I get a call from the nurse at my PCP's office.  "Yeah, it looks like you do have some degenerative meniscus going on.  We'd like to schedule you to see an orthopedist.  Do you have one you'd like to see?"  "Ummm, no, I'm new to all of this."  She schedules me to go to an orthopedic center close to my house for next week.  After I get off the phone with her, I went to Google to figure out what exactly "degenerative meniscus" is.  From what I can decipher, the cartilage between my knee cap and my thigh bone is not as thick as it should be.  Thus, causing pressure and pain when I bend my knee.  My physics/engineer mind hypothesizes that the cartilage condenses in cold weather or when a low pressure system passes, because the pain hasn't been as bad this week with high pressure and temps in the upper 60s. 

So, that's it.  My pain has been justified by something, which gives me some relief that it's at least diagnosed.  But what frustrates me is that there appears to be no "fix" for this except to manage the pain until I have no cartilage left, which leads to knee surgery.  My mom tried to reassure me that they would probably give me some type of anti-inflammatory drug that I would have to take for the rest of my life.  Admittedly, I got a little upset and said, "I don't want to be dependent upon a drug for the rest of my life!  I'm already dependent on one to stay alive, I really don't want to add another.  I'm freakin' 26-years-old!"  I don't know why I got so upset, because it seems so silly over something like knee pain.  But I hate feeling like the only fix for this is another drug.  It's like my body hates me, it doesn't want to function properly if left by itself. 

I'm hoping the orthopedist will suggest some form of physical therapy first, to hopefully make my knee correct itself.  But between this knee pain and getting glasses, I'm feeling a little vulnerable.  If I start forgetting people's names or putting the milk in the dryer or something, I'm just gonna put my hair in a bun and call it a day. 

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Goodbye, Constance v1.0

Sunday morning after church, Trey and I headed to Target to get the things we needed for our Valentine's Dinner at home (which was awesome, by the way!).  As soon as we got in the car, Constance was blaring from my pocket like she was just being turned on.  "Holy random restart!" I said.  This was the 3rd time in twelve hours that she had voluntarily restarted herself.  She always got back on track when she came back on, but it was still weird, loud, and inconvenient. 

Halfway through our Target trip, she let out a loud, long shriek like she was screaming out her last breath.  I look down saw this weird error message:

The low prices were to die for!  *wah wah wah*

So I called Dexcom and before I could get to the 4th character in the error message they said, "Oh yeah, that's a hardware error.  We'll overnight you a new receiver."  Apparently, this error message is not all that uncommon.  I confirmed this with some conversations with my Twitter D-peeps yesterday. 

I've kept my sensor in my abdomen during this time because it was still going strong before Constance died, so I'd like to already have a "wet" sensor when my new receiver comes this afternoon.  And it's been a little weird going without a CGM these past two days after being a "real-time" diabetic for the past 7 months.  And it's been nice to not have that constant reminder that I'm diabetic or the incessant BEEEEEEEPing. 

But it didn't take long to remind me why I wanted a CGM in the first place.  I had to mentally take stock of how I felt anytime I had the urge to reach for my phantom CGM.  I was reminded of the cartoon flyer I received when I got out of the hospital, explaining the symptoms of hypoglycemia: 

I'm pretty sure this is in every "diagnosis packet". 

I started to develop what I call "Low-CD", which basically means having OCD anxiety about going low.  Anytime I had one of these symptoms, I wanted to check.  I was quickly running out of test strips (and patience).  One time I was sure I was low, but a test proved me wrong at 128 mg/dL.  Now, it could have been that I was falling from a higher BG, thus prompting some mild low symptoms.  It's for this reason that I want my CGM back, regardless of the constant BEEEEEEEPing. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Celebrating Us

Long before we were married, and even before diabetes entered the picture, Trey and I were just two broke college students.  For our first Valentine's Day as a couple, we ordered a pizza from our college meal plan and watched a Disney movie in his dorm.  We continued that tradition yesterday by ordering a large pizza with bacon and mushroom.  Our life is not so simple nowadays with both of us working engineering jobs, remodeling a house, and keeping up with 4 animals running around our house.  But I still love the simple ways we say, "I love you." 

Said dorm room. 

We both lean towards the "geek" side of the personality spectrum, and so for Valentine's Day I'd like to dig up a poem I sent to him on Valentine's Day four years ago. 

Love song for Geeks and Engineers. (Author Unknown)
I was alone and all was dark
Beneath me and above
My life was full of volts and amps
...But not the spark of love

But now that you are here with me
My heart is overjoyed
You turn the square of my heart
Into a sinusoid

You load things from my memory
Onto my system's bus
My life was once assembly code
Now it's C++

I love the way you solder things
My circuits you can fix
The voltage across your diode is
much more than just point six

With your amps and resistors
You have built my integrator
I cannot survive without you
You are my function generator

You have charged my life, increased my gain
And made my maths discreet
And now I'll end my poem here
Control, Alt, and Delete.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Sleeping Alone

Yesterday, Trey had to work on 2nd shift (2-12 PM, yuck!), which meant that I would be going to sleep alone.  I never like going to bed without him, I'm a huge cuddler.  (Reader:  *cough*  Ummm, Holly, that information is a little TMI.  What's the point?)  But the other reason I don't like going to bed alone is the whole diabetes/plummeting-scary-lows thing. 

I lived alone for about a year between my roommate moving out and getting married before Trey and I got married.  At that point, I had never heard of "dead in bed" syndrome nor did I have a CGM.  I also was not that great about checking my blood sugar before I went to sleep.  I was towing a dangerous line and didn't know it!  Admittedly,  I would snack heavy before bed, both for staving off any lows and simply out of enjoyment.  I probably went to bed high a lot of nights, but I hardly had any paralyzing/wake-me-up lows, either. 

Now that I have a husband and a CGM, I'm more aggressive about getting my night time basal rates on a streamline around the low 100s.  It's led to some sleepless nights correcting lows, but I always catch them in the 60s before it gets too bad.  Trey is usually the one who wakes me up from the CGM going off. 

But last night, I felt the anxiety kick in about going to bed without my trusty husband/CGM alerter.  So I reverted back to my old habits of snacking before bed:  cookies and milk.  I had overbolused for dinner, so I was plummeting towards the low 70s fast.  I set a temporary basal of 50% for 2 hours and tried to go to sleep.  Not an hour later, I woke up that I was still low.  So I got up and had some juice, with Roscoe not far behind.  I finally went to sleep around the time Trey was getting off work. 

Because he was too tired and I never hear the alarms, I woke up this morning to a 198 mg/dL.  A far cry from the 80s and 90s I have been seeing.  I knew this would happen, but at the same time I'm too scared of lows to simply trust my basal rates and IOB to level out.  And too many stories of diabetics dying in their sleep ring in my ear.  I simply can't go to sleep and feel confident that I'll wake up every time. 

Maybe one day I'll get to where I can sleep soundly without relying on my husband or my CGM, even though that's what they're there for.  Either way, I hate sleeping alone. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Oh My Knee

For the past 6 months or so, I have been battling some pain in my right knee.  It's like someone has stapled a brick to the top of my knee cap and it's pressing down.  I was a fast-pitch softball catcher for 10 years, so I figured the wear and tear on my knees was finally catching up to me.  The first appointment I had for it, the doctor had my knee X-rayed and found nothing.  Then I went several months without feeling anything again. 

But lately the pain has been constant.  I am taking my prescription Celebrex (don't worry, Constance-friendly) everyday like it's my vitamin, and it feels like it's barely putting a dent in the pain.  I am avoiding stairs as much as I can and crossing my legs when I'm sitting.  But the pain is still there. 

Last night, when I was working out on the Wii, I was trying to do some lunges.  And I could barely get my left knee down because the pain in my right knee was so bad.  And when I'm sitting on the couch, I usually prop my legs up on the coffee table in front of me, and last night I had to physically lift my right leg up and down from the floor. 

My (current) GP said that if my pain doesn't get better or gets worse that the next step is an MRI to confirm if I have arthritis in my knee.  I have done some research about all the different kinds of arthritis (just like diabetes, I had no idea of the several types! #themoreyouknow) and found that rheumatoid arthritis is a form of an autoimmune disease.  I have read that autoimmune disease run in companies of 2s or 3s, so I thought this could be the beginnings of that.  But further research seems to point to me having regular ole osteoarthritis, which is not as bad but still painful. 

The main issue I have with making an appointment is that it seems there is no "fix" for me knee, if it is confirmed as osteoarthritis, other than taking daily pain meds and wearing a brace when I exercise.  It frustrates me because I am 26-years-old!  I shouldn't be making statements like, "Oh, I can tell the weather's changing, I can feel it in my knee."  I try to blame everything on D, but in this case I am.  There's no way I should be feeling "old people pain" this early in life. 

I really hope I don't have to sport a 4-stand cane with tennis balls. 

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Daily Bread

My favorite verse in the entire Bible is Matthew 6:34 (Jesus speaking),

34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

I first fell in love with this verse when I was in college.  I was overwhelmed by a 19-hour class schedule while working a part-time job on campus.  I used this verse as inspiration to get things done that I could get done on that day, only.  If I started thinking about the future, getting a job, hopefully marrying my boyfriend, etc., I would get stressed out.  I had to bring my focus back to today, and only today.  

Then, at 22-years-old, I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes through a DKA and hospitalization.  This disease requires constant, daily (sometime hourly) attention.  It doesn't sleep, and sometimes keeps me from sleeping.  One good day could be immediately followed by a bad one (Hello, my most recent weekend).  That variability frustrates me so much that I sometimes throw Constance across the room and fall on the floor in tears.  I don't have the strength to handle this disease every. single. day.  

I'm currently trying to read through the Bible in one year, and right now I am in Exodus.  I'm at the part after the Israelites have left Egypt and begin wondering through the desert.  They become restless at the lack of food, so Moses goes to God on their behalf asking Him to provide.  God provides them with something called manna or "bread of Heaven", which is described as a wafer with honey flavor (yum).  The only rule that God gave them was that they could only eat the manna they were given for that day.  If they tried to store the manna for the next day, it would sour and grow worms (eww).  

I thought about this "daily bread" story and how it deals with diabetes.  My ultimate goals with this disease are to successfully have as many children as my husband and I decide (not diabetes) and live long enough to see our 50th wedding anniversary.  Those are the only two things that I selfishly want, and I admit that.  And I know I'm not guaranteed those things, but I still want them.  But thinking about trying to maintain an A1c under 6.5 for 9 months while handling intense hormone swings already has me exhausted.  And trying to make it over 50 years with diabetes without any complications is going to be a major statistical feat.  My goals are not unreachable, but I feel too weak to even try.  

But I do have the energy to handle diabetes today, no matter ITS mood.  And sometimes I need to have enough energy to handle diabetes this hour, even the next 30 minutes after treating a low.  When I have a reading over 300 mg/dL, my immediate reaction is to do a correction no matter my IOB and crank up my basal to 200%.  I want to come down ASAP because my mind immediately goes to that dreaded c-word, "complications".  It's so hard to take the emotions out of my sliding scale formula.  

I am so weak, and this disease trains the life out of me (literally).  But I have learned to cherish today, and lean on others to help me through like my husband, my pets, the DOC, and my Lord.  My only hope is that this post helps someone out there, because after Kerri's PostSecret post I know there are plenty of people who feel drained by this disease, too. 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spinning Diabetes?

The beauty of being on an insulin pump is the fact that I can turn down or turn off my insulin when I'm going to exercise.  And sometimes that exercise isn't "exercise," like grocery shopping or cleaning the house.  But I can still tailor my insulin needs depending upon my activity, not the other way around. 

That being said, there is still some research and tweaking to figuring out what basal setting work best for you and your activity.  I've wrote about finding a good basal setting for going walking with my dogs, and I've slowly started figuring out my basal settings for a few other things. 

  • Walking--8%, set 30 minutes before, during, and 30 minutes after.
  • Wii Fit--If only 30 minutes, no need to disconnect.  But if going for almost an hour, completely disconnect beforehand.
  • Cleaning--20%, try to set 30 minutes beforehand if I remember, but still working on that. 
  • Grocery Shopping--25% set 30 minutes before and during.  

And now that I've officially joined a gym, I need to figure out what basal settings I need for all those fun machines (elliptical, anyone), and I'm toying with the idea of doing the spinning class.  To be honest, this is kind of scaring the crap out of me.  Whenever I envision a spinning class, I see sweaty, exhausted bodies leaning over the handle bars like they're on a torture machine with a Nazi-like trainer at the front screaming, "Faster!".  So why do I want to try this class?  Because it is one of the best calorie-burning workouts!  And I'm trying to get rid of some of the fluffiness that my sedentary job has led me to.

So now I'm seeking out if there are any other diabetics out there have have successfully (or not) gone through a spinning class.  Even if you were unsuccessful and had to leave early with a debilitating low, tell me how it was and what you would do different.  I'd like to be as prepared as I can be.  My initial plan is to set my basal to 50% at least 30 minutes before the class (maybe an hour, I don't know), then completely disconnect during the glass.  I plan to have Constance front and center on the bike (if that's possible, but she'll be nearby that's for sure) and bring some Gatorade for the first few classes to make sure I have something quick to bring me up if I need it. 

Anyone else out there ever done a spinning class (D or non-D)?  What should I expect?  Am I crazy?  (Only in relation to this post, please.)

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Peanut Butter Buddy

I love my dogs!  I've always claimed to be more of a cat person, but there's just something about a dog.  The way they wag their tails incessantly when I come home, their cuddly antics whenever I sit on the couch, and their mental obsession with chasing the squirrels in the backyard.  They're goofy, lovable creatures that provide so much company and noise to our home. 

We currently have 2 dogs, Roscoe and Missy.  We got Missy last year as a playmate for Roscoe when we moved into our house.  But we got Roscoe about 2 years ago when he was an 8-week-old ball of fur. 

Let the "Awwwww"s commence . . . 

Roscoe was the first dog I've had that I've gone through the proper puppy training with.  Sure, I had dogs growing up, but they were either mainly outside dogs that didn't require much training or my parents took it over.  And I learned that there is a special bond that happens when you are training your dog.  I can't explain it, but there's a trust that develops and the dog would rely on you for everything, even its life. 

And mine. 

So I've always been diabetic with Roscoe, but I've never thought he caught on to Mommy's disease . . . until recently.  Roscoe always has to be in the same room where I am.  If I am cooking, he takes a spot on the floor in the doorway to the living room.  If I am folding clothes in the bedroom, he lays in his bed watching me until I leave the room.  Never in the way, just always around.  He's not like this with Trey, just me.  I thought this dog had some serious attachment issues, but there's possibly something more. 

For my nighttime lows where I am awoken by Constance, I make my way into the kitchen to pour a glass of juice.  Of course, Roscoe follows me and sits in the doorway wagging his tail.  Once I feel my body start to settle out from the shakes and my mind is clear, I retrieve the peanut butter from the cupboard to get some protein in me.  Well, Roscoe knows the smell of peanut butter, it's one of his favorite snacks.  He especially likes when I smear some over an apple slice or a baby carrot for him.  The dog loves peanut butter.  So when I get done eating my 2 spoonfuls of peanut butter, I point the spoon in his direction and let him finish it off. 

Lately, when I start to feel low (sometimes before Constance alerts me), Roscoe will come up to me and start wagging his tail.  "Why are you excited, Roscoe?"  BZZZZZZZZZ!!!!!!!!  "Low > 70 mg/dL"  Uh huh.  "Is it peanut butter time?"  His tail shakes faster and he lets out a little yelp.  I fear I am training this dog to get excited about my lows. 

I've heard of diabetic alert dogs, I even follow a great blog of one who looks just like Roscoe.  And I've heard of other domestic pets alerting their owners of nighttime lows.  But I never thought that one of my pets would be one of them.  I suppose one CGM is better than two, right?  Even if one is a 62 lb lab mutt with a whip for a tail. 

I can haz peanut butter? 

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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.