Monday, March 26, 2007


What a ride the last two weeks.

I have been running in overdrive at school. I’ve been swamped with new assessments, lots and lots of paperwork, and major meltdowns from kids. I’m pretty confident that all of the special education staff has been feeling this way. At the end of the day we all look at each other and just shake our heads. (or laugh like crazy—one extreme of emotion or another)

Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly make it another day, it was the end of the week and time for spring break. Ahhhh!

I spent the week at the Gunflint Lodge outside of Grand Marais, MN. It’s just across the lake from Canada. (funny thing…on the menu at the lodge, domestic beers were listed. The last one in the list was Labatt, which is a Canadian beer. Next to the name it said “domestic because we’re nearly in Canada.”)

It was fabulous. Renewing and invigorating. I took a lantern-lit sleigh ride through the woods in the middle of a lightening storm. I read a book. I walked in the woods and watched the deer eat corn out the front window of the cabin. I went in the indoor hot tub a bunch of times, and I ate great meals cooked for me at the lodge. (AND I didn’t have to plan them, buy the groceries, or wash the dishes. Sweet.) Dixie loved romping through the woods and chasing after bunnies and the many deer. Yahoo vacation.

Diabetes was in good form. No major lows, no pumps sites falling out. Dixie had a pretty light workweek too. That’s nice because she also really needed a vacation. The last week at school she was also dragging. We were quite the pair.

Now it’s back to the grind. Here we go again…


The more bonded I am to Dixie, the more I understand her alerting behavior. It’s important for us to be together all the time so that she has many opportunities to learn all the ways I am when I am low. People often ask why I don’t leave Dixie at home when I go shopping or out for dinner. It makes perfect cognitive sense to leave her. I made it all these years without her help. It isn’t about how I can do without her; it’s about us being a team.

Friday, March 9, 2007

Seven things

Seven Things To Do Before I Die:

1. Learn to roughly speak Mandarin Chinese. Why not?
2. Help each of the kids I work with feel special and like superstars.
3. Spend a month in the BWCA.
4. Manage to get an A1c under 6.0 without having a million reactions in the process.
5. Be patient. Teach the children patience
6. Learn to play the trumpet.
7. Go to Morimoto’s restaurant in Philadelphia. (I have this weird obsession with Iron Chef)

Seven Things I Cannot Do:

1. Stop worrying.
2. Be handy around the house.
3. Put together puzzles with more than 15 pieces.
4. Go a week without doing a white load of laundry.
5. Not be a backseat driver
6. Ignore Dixie
7. Give a short answer.

Seven Things I Say:

1. Dam diabetes!
2. You know who I don’t miss? (said to my colleague about some people at my old job)
3. Seriously?!
4. Oogly Googly
5. You know who I hate? (It really means, you know who is bothering me today? I’m not a hateful person)
6. I can’t… I have diabetes. (my FAVORITE line when someone asks me to do something I don’t want to do!)
7. Hot Diggity!

Seven Books That I Love:

1. Harry Potter and the Sorcerers Stone
2. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
3. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
4. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
6. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Price
7. Distant Fires by Scott Anderson

(Can you tell that I really don’t read recreationally very much. I read with kids at school, and have really come to enjoy good children’s literature. I had to write each Harry Potter book out so I had enough to fill seven spots!)

Seven Movies That I've Loved:

1. Indian Summer
2. Hoosiers
3. Meatballs (I loved it as a kid!)
4. Remember the Titans
5. Hockey Night (a small class hockey movie made in Canada)
6. Private Benjamin
7. The Cure

People I Tag:

Seriously…anyone who hasn’t done this yet. Giddy up!


Favorite food:
Chicken and brown rice

Favorite toy:
Currently, a stuffed shark

Favorite person:
Molly ☺

Favorite Treat:
Dried chicken wrapped apple

Favorite hobby:
Rolling in the snow

Dogs I tag:
Any who have time to answer this. Woof!

Monday, March 5, 2007

Squirt died

This was a week of challenges. Mostly it was a Tuesday of challenges.

I was at work on Tuesday. I had just finished eating lunch and was ready to bolus. I had delayed my bolus because I was a little low. I realized that my insulin cartridge was low, and would need to be changed before I could bolus. I took out the near empty cartridge and replaced it with a full one, and started the rewind. My pump alerted and said “battery depleted.” I dug out a new battery and changed that. I started the cartridge changing over again. Again “battery depleted” appeared on the screen. I was sure that both batteries were new, but tried a third one. Same message. Then my pump started squealing a high pitch noise and a “call for service” message appeared. I dialed the Smith Medical number on the back of the pump. I was put on hold. This continued for 15 minutes and then my cell phone rang.

My mom was calling from an ambulance. Earlier that day she was diagnosed with pleurisy. The clinic called her a couple hours later and said that she needed a CT scan to check for blood clots. She went to a local clinic. They saw a pulmonary embolism on the scan and called an ambulance right away. She was transported to a local hospital. I decided that I needed to leave school right away and get home to figure out the pump and mom’s situation.

I sat on hold with the pump company the entire 20 minute commute home. Still no answer.

I got a hold of mom and she had finally gotten and room assignment and was stable. O.k. Deep breath. All is safe.

I called my endo to figure out a shot plan. (I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have a shot plan. I had an old bottle of Levimir in the fridge that I had taken camping this past summer) My endo was on vacation. The doc on call was going to call me back to help me figure out a plan.

I called the pump company and sat on hold again. Finally got a rep on the line. She went through a sequence on things and then said “…your pump is dead. You need a new one. Should I Fed Ex it to you, or do you want to come and pick it up?” (Poor Squirt- that's my pump's name) Are you kidding… several shots in and I was ready for a new pump. The rep said that it would take a couple hours to get one. I talked to my mom. She was doing fine, had i.v’s going with blood thinners. I waited the 2 hours, and then headed over to Smith Medical. (which, fortunately, was only 15 minutes away from my house. YES!! I knew that “picking a local company” would end up paying off for me.) The woman was so nice. She took my old pump and synced it to the new one. I reconnected and was on my way across town.

I went to my mom’s house, picked up her jammies, books, toiletries, etc. and then headed back downtown to visit and drop off her things. I got back home around 9:30pm and collapsed from all the craziness of the day.

I went to work on Wednesday. After work I drove across town to pick up mom’s car at the clinc that she had been at when the ambulance was called. I drove her car to her house, and then drove back home.

Thursday was a late start day at school. We had meetings in the morning. The weather was really kicking up. The kids arrived two hours late. As they were walking in the door, we were told that we were having an early release. The kids had an hour of instruction, had lunch, and then went home. My commute home took twice the normal time.

Friday, school was called off. Amen. Even with all of the shoveling, it was a welcome relief to have a day to myself. Dixie and I got some much needed rest.

I’m thankful that everything turned out all right. Mom is out of the hospital, I have a new pump, and Dixie and I have rested.

Chrissy asked: “Please do tell us how you train Dixie to hit the alarm button, if you are NOT having a hypo. Or do you do it when you ARE having a hypo and prewarn the people who take the messages? Do you have to plan a little hypo?

Dixie was taught how to activate the button in several steps. First she learned how to “touch” a button. Then, she learned how to “push the button.” This translated into pushing all sorts of buttons. (like the handicapped button to open a door) Last, she practiced pushing the life alert button when I was low. The hope is that if I would be low and unresponsive, she would try every “trick in her bag.” (the big trick would be hitting the button…actually she doesn’t usually hit the button, she chomps on it)

It’s funny, when I was working with Dixie at the training place, I told the staff there that I would induce a slight low blood sugar by bolusing some insulin, so that Dixie could practice “alerting.” They agreed to let me try. Even then, with our relationship being so new, Dixie knew that I knew I was low. She would position herself in her “protective” way in front of me, but she would not show any alerting behaviors when I induced. The same is true with the button. If I “induce a low,” she won’t fall for it.

Dang, she’s smart.