Friday, July 20, 2012

I'm Done

I will no longer be posting over here, so Purple Haze has come to an end. To all of those who left supportive comments, my heartfelt thanks. The first couple of years of posting here were entirely wonderful for me. I had never talked to another soul about db and the opening in my heart and soul were priceless. I will still be over at Tu Diabetes, where I feel at home. And, still working on my two other blogs, which are on using creativity to live simply, and finding the strength to cope with multiple life-threatening health conditions. Peace, joy, and fulfillment to you all.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Column 1 = date of the month Column 2 = high temp Column 3 = low temp
Yesterday, after being gone all day, I came home to this box of insulin sitting in my non-airconditioned foyer.

Monday, July 16, 2012

TD Chatroom to the Rescue

I woke up Saturday at 96. Fabulous. Since it was Saturday I planned to go back to sleep after taking my lantus. I take a split dose, so I injected 12 units and went back to bed. I woke up an hour later at 55 and had a juice box. Then I checked into the Tu Diabetes Chatroom and talked a bit, but got tired and went back to bed. An hour later I was at 40. Gosh, this was very strange for me. I almost never have problems with lows in the morning. Suddenly I thought maybe I'd reversed my vials and taken 12 unit of Humalog. I keep both insulin vials in a pouch on my kitchen table. I went into the kitchen, and the vial of Humalog was sitting out by the pouch. Not the Lantus. Shoot. I was in my "just standing there" phase, where you just stand and really don't know what to do or even which direction to walk. There have been times when I think I've just stood there for at least 30 minutes. Went back to the chatroom and my friend Marie was there and I told her what I thought might have happened. "Eat", she said. Well, I'd already had another juice box and two big handfuls of Skittles. Then my friends Doris and Linda came onboard, along with a new friend I'd met the night before, David SQ. "Eat", they said. My befuddled thinking was telling me that I didn't think I needed to eat. Well, the Skittles were gone and so I took 8 glucose tabs. It was suggested I have some treats but I can't keep anything of a treat nature because I'll snarf it down without restraint. "You need some protein". I forgot that I had some eggs, so put a couple on to boil. "Call someone". I called my sister but she doesn't get it. Lost cause. "Be sure the door is unlocked in case you have to call the paramedics". I certainly hadn't thought of that one. "Don't drive." "Go test now and come back and let us know where you're at."Don't go shopping until you're absolutely stable." I retested and was at 72 so signed off, telling everybody that I was going to also have some chicken and then wait awhile before I left. 30 minutes later I was at 170. Ok, I'm stable. I was walking down the stairs to the door and my mouth started getting numb. 42. Say what? Then I remembered that I had just gotten done telling everybody that I was going to a Thai restaurant for supper, but couldn't have any rice because it spikes me. Rice! Yes, I had a big box of Minute Rice and cooked a big pot and ate it. 30 minutes later, 55. Felt awful. Finally the rice kicked in and I was at 190. Feeling like I'd been through a war. I made it to the restaurant but was so exhausted it wasn't much fun. If you're not familiar with Tu Diabetes, go over and check it out. TD is a large community with many compassionate, selfless and knowledgeable people. Something for everyone. It has been an extraordinary blessing for a number of people, including myself. Now, had it not been for the chatroom, I might have just stood there and it could have ended badly. Maybe, maybe not. But the care and concern of these 4 people was priceless. Dang it, thought I had the paragraph problem solved. Guess not.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

A Long time

It was ten years ago this summer that I stopped driving. I always had used Honda Civics - they were reliable and got good mileage. My mechanic was always offering to buy them from me (that's a good sign, no?). My last one, Ignatius, was a deep hunter green. In late 2001, I had an exam with my retinal specialist. He said everything looked good. A month later, I woke up with what seemed like the contents of an entire pepper shaker inside my eye. I'd had a major hemorrhage and was immediately lasered. Usually, when the retina is lasered, the extra vessels shrink and die. But my extra vessels had latched onto the vitreous (the gel like material inside the eye) and as they shrank they pulled my retina off its backing, causing a full detachment. Since I was still bleeding, I did not realize the detachment had occurred, and at my follow-up visit they did an ultrasound and he grimly said to the nurse "it's off - let's get set up for surgery this afternoon". So, I was operated on and when I woke up he said "now you're gonna have to lay flat on your face, not moving, for 7 days". Say what? A nitrous oxide gas bubble had been placed in my eye, and in order for it to hold the retina in place my head had to be down so it would float to the top. I was sent home with an enormous bottle of percoset. I was in little pain, but I took them 'round the clock for sedation. They worked. I had not realized that the doc told my mother he hoped the eye would get back to "seeing shapes". On my first post-surgery visit, I read the middle line on the eye chart and he said, "you've gotta be kidding - you can actually read that?". Over the next few weeks my vision improved to 20/40 with corrective lenses. But I was bothered by one thing - it was sort of tunnel vision. I kept waiting for the peripheral vision to come back and then finally asked him. He told me that the edges of the retina had to be cut so there was a smooth surface for healing. The side vision was gone. It would not one back. And, by the way, no driving. I screamed "but I can see fine straight ahead". He agreed, but what would i do if I couldn't see a car that was in the next lane? Or worse yet, a pedestrian? The grief was severe. A big part of my life had been taken away. I sold Iggy to a friend's son who needed something reliable to drive to Alaska. He is still working well. I had always taken the bus to work, and enjoyed the time relaxing with a book or knitting. But to have no alternative took a lot of adapting. My life runs according to the bus schedule. I can no longer jump in the car and do an errand. I have to stop by the grocery store every day to carry just a bit at a time. I can no longer go to the regional parks where I enjoyed the solitude of being in nature. If I were to ever move, it would have to be in a neighborhood with good bus connections. When I go t the State Fair, I bump into people. When I'm with my niece, she has to walk a foot ahead of me or else I can't see her (and, of course, holding hands is not an option). What hurts a lot is when friends don't remember. My truest long-time friend phoned a couple weeks ago to say she'd seen some magnificent wild iris blooming in a bog in the distant suburbs and that I should check it out. How would I get there? Take a $100 cab ride? When my mother was dying, I had to go to visit her according to my sister's schedule, which wasn't very often. Had I been able to drive, I would have gone every weekend. Sometimes when I see a Honda Civic parked on the street it makes me shed a few tears And at the time I gave up the car, I had no idea what further losses were to follow. Nor do I now. I hate diabetes. PS - I just got a new IMac and it seems to have taken away all my paragraph breaks.

Sunday, July 01, 2012

The Family.

A couple weeks ago we had a wonderful 60th anniversary celebration for my aunt and uncle in my home town. They had no kids of their own so we put in a lot of effort to make it extra special.

Everything was flowing smoothly and suddenly I noticed that my dad's cousin D was there. She yelled hi to me across the room and I headed in the other direction.
D has a son, K, who was diagnosed the same year as me - 1974. I was 21 and he was 1. K had a stroke 10 years ago, which left him blind, and has been on dialysis for 6 years. He cannot get on the national donor registry because his health is too poor. They told him he'd have to find his own kidney.

I did not want to talke to D. I did not want to hear about K. Couldn't there be just one day when I wasn't reminded of the devastation that db has caused in my family?

I didn't realize that she had sat down and I walked right by the table. She said, "Kathy, come sit by me - let's catch up".

We started talking and she said she was thrilled to hear I'd gotten off dialysis. We talked about control in the old days and how K was in denial (well, just like I was). He is not getting the proper db care in the nursing home, where he is the youngest resident. She is looking to find him one with younger people and more things to do. I told her why I prefer a syringe over a pen, and how earlier that week I had 5 vials of insulin freeze when my fridge went wacky. She asked how much I was bolusing for the cake. We talked for nearly an hour, and, I then knew that she got it. She got it all.

She lives in northern Minn and I plan to start emailing her regularly. A blessing that serendipitously came my way.

Can you see the family resemblance here?

Here is a pic of the happy couple - notice that my uncle's rose is hanging upside down - it was all day. Sigh.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Lovin' the Questions

My longtime dear friend Zazzy has tagged me with some questions. Thanks, sister, for giving me something to write about!!

What is your favorite color?
Much as I feel I'm stuck in a rut, it's gotta be blue. All shades in general, but especially that sapphire blue tone that the sky gets just before sunrise in early spring and late autumn. When I was still working, I'd take the bus at 6:15 and was able to catch that color for a couple weeks. Sublime in every way.

What is your favorite animal?
Dogs. Big slobbering labradors. Tiny yippy lapdogs with ribbons in their hair. Stately standard poodles. Weiner dogs. Old jowly beagles. Armstrong, my neighborhood Afghan hound whose owner must spend a fortune in professional grooming. Pugs - I love their smashed in faces and curly tails.

What is your favorite drink?
Coke Zero with a lot of lemon. On rare occasions when I drink alcohol, champagne or a nice pinot grigio.

Facebook or Twitter?
Well, I've only done Facebook and I just love it.

Favorite passion?
Helping street people. Yes, I know this can get a bit subjective at times. And sometimes backfires like last week when I bought a man a turkey sandwich, apple and bottled water. He was sitting on the sidewalk outside the store. When I presented it to him he said he would have rather had ham and cheese; he couldn't eat the apple because his teeth were in poor shape; and he'd really like a cup of coffee (it was 91 degrees - go figure).

Giving or Receiving Presents?
Both!! I used to agonize over finding the perfect gift for someone, but now I don't. If I see something the person would like, I get it. There doesn't have to be an occasion attached for gifts.

Favorite Day
The Saturday of a three day weekend, when it seems like the entire city has emptied out and gone to their lake cabins up north. I love the feeling of quiet emptiness and the lack of lines at the hot breakfast places.

Favorite Flower
Purple iris. I have it tatooed on my belly. Many years ago I had a tai chi teacher who was also a florist. One day he brought each student a flower that he'd selected especially for them. He gave me the iris and said it represented the flower of a warrior, because its leaves were shaped like a sword. To this day, whenever I see one, I feel as if the Source is telling me that everything's gonna be okay.

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

My Creepy Arm

I met a former co-worker at the Mall of America for lunch today. She also is living with a cancer diagnosis so we had a lot to talk about. I was proud of myself because I spent no $.

I decided to take the train downtown, and just as I was boarding, heard a shrill voice, "yoohoo....Kathy". I knew immediately that it was S, a woman who's lived in my neighborhood for years. We've never had more than a 5 minute conversation on the street, but when I saw her coming my way, I wanted to bolt. I was about halfway through a good book Tales of a Female Nomad but now would be stuck in conversation with S for the entire 40 minute ride. In addition to being a chatterbox, she is a bit daft in the head. At times I've enjoyed her eccentricity, but in very small doses.

There was really no way to avoid sitting next to her. She started taking her purchases out and was going to explain each one. Suddenly, she let out a little scream.
S--Oh my gosh. What happened to your arm?
K--Remember I told you I was on dialysis? Well, this bump is the matured vein graft.
S--Oh you poor thing. ("You poor thing" is one of my least favorite phrases. I am not a "thing". I am a 59 year old woman who has made a remarkable recovery from a complex medical situaion.) How do you stand it?
K--Stand what?
S--Having people stare at your arm. It makes me creeped out just to look at it. Maybe you should wear long-sleeved t-shirts. I think they were on sale at Macy's.
What on earth would you do if a man asked you out?
K--I don't think that situation is likely to arise. (I didn't tell her about Stanley from the Y who wants to go to the Pub and play darts - he is about 80 and walks with 2 canes. I'd probably have to hold him up by his armpits as he took aim.)

We've had short sleeve weather for about a month, and I haven't noticed anybody staring at it. Last weekend we were at my cousin's daughter's graduation party in south Minn and no one said anything. My relatives are pretty blunt.

So, before I could let her ruin my day any further, I simply got off the train at the next stop. They run every 10 minutes, so the time sacrificed was well spent in getting to the next chapter of the book. Some people can't be reasoned with.

Keep calm and carry on.