sparkle, my d-mascot #hawmc day 24

April 24, 2012

I’m no artist–not a visual artist, anyway. You need a light mezzo-soprano for a symphonic choir? Sure, I’m your girl. Broadway belt of “Defying Gravity” or “Take Me or Leave Me?” All over it. Singing, acting, playing the piano…that’s me. Drawing, painting, taking photos, graphic design, other awesome talents of creating wonderful images that I totally appreciate and honor in others? Nonexistent right here. But I’ll do the best I can for this prompt.

So, here’s my health mascot. Her name is Sparkle, obviously. Not an original idea, mind you. Sprinkles, the diabetes advocacy unicorn, got there first. And Kim did a really cool overview of why everyone with diabetes needs their own unicorn. Truth.

Sparkle, the smartDpants mascot

I came across this particular mascot quite randomly in a gift shop at Philadelphia International Airport. I was  looking around for a gift for my daughter, Ms. Diva, who was 5 years old at the time. This just spoke to me, from a corner of the shop…but Ms. Diva isn’t really into unicorns. (She’s very much a dinosaur girl.)

Sparkle has her own fuzzy and glittery bag, which I love–she can take care of herself, carries her own shelter, she can even zip herself in and take a nap as needed.

Because naps are most definitely needed. As is shelter, of course (glittery and pink, sure!). And bringing what we need with us, so that we can take care of ourselves. This photo of Sparkle reminds me that I have whatever I need with me–whether that’s diabetes supplies (most of the time!!), or my own brain and spirit.

Sparkle and her lovely bag also remind me that it’s okay to let others support and carry me sometimes. That one is much harder for me to keep in mind and follow through, but it’s good to be reminded that I don’t have to do it all myself, all the time.

And that I should hunker down, surround myself with pretty comfort, and take a nap more often.

Thanks, Sparkle. Sweet, bolusworthy advocacy dreams.

wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge prompt for Day 24:  Health Mascot. Give yourself, your condition, or your health focus a mascot. Is it a real person? Fictional? Mythical being? Describe them. Bonus points if you provide a visual!

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arduously, painfully boring d #hawmc day 18

April 18, 2012

“There is only one thing that Lena could do. She could be so arduously, painfully boring that Effie would leave the next day. And that, at least, came naturally.” (Ann Brashares, Sisterhood Everlasting, p.143)

Type 1 diabetes is naturally arduously, painfully boring. It bores me to tears. From the day I was diagnosed on June 13, 1980, through my pre-teen, teenage, young adult years, and well into my 30’s, it bored the daylights out of me. Before I was exposed (and thrilled by, believe it or don’t) the data of my diabetes experience, I could not have cared less about doing all the things associated with caring for myself, over and over and over. Painfully boring! And it never ended! All of the monotonous things to care for myself STILL never end, but at least I’ve found some aspects of it that make me wonder…and wondering makes me question…and questioning makes me collect and compile and describe and list the data, and try to analyze it so I can tweak my care regimen and improve, sometimes. And that is good.

Some really rough numbers to illuminate the arduous and painful boringness of my type 1 diabetes:

I started testing my blood in about 1982. Let’s use an average of 3 blood tests/day from 1982-1990; 2 tests/day from 1990-96; 3 tests/day from 1997-2009, and 15 tests/day from 2010-present day. That’s about 41,000 blood tests. Just thinking about it puts me to sleep!

Incidently, it would also be 41,000+ lancets for each one of those blood tests IF I changed my lancet every time I tested. But I don’t. It’s too boring. 😉

Between the many years of hardly any or just flat out no blood sugar control, and the last couple years of attempted very tight control, my blood sugar is low–less than 70mg/dl–probably an average of about once a day. Over the last almost-32 years, that’s roughly 11,680 lows that needed treatment with carbohydrates. We’ll just ignore all the times that I overtreated lows due to my body feeling like it needed to inhale everything with sugar in my reach, and assume treatment with 15 grams of carbohydrate for each of those lows. That’s 175, 200 grams of carbs.

Okay, that number might be a little interesting (or gigantic and disgusting if you think about the entire amount at once). But the need to constantly feed, or treat, the lows, is boring. Especially since it works best for me to treat every low with the same kind of sugar (juicy juice apple juice box) so that I can track the results. Insanely boring, is what that is.

On the other hand, searching for new or different food to give me 15 carbs to treat my low is arduously boring and causes a whole lot of pain too. It takes too much energy to try and think of something else that works, and works well.

I’m just going to SWAG this next one and say that I’ve probably spent close to 384 hours (1 hour/month x 12 months x 32 years) on the phone with insurance companies and durable medical equipment/supply company billing departments, arguing about  prescriptions or pump supplies or test strips or insulin or endocrinologists or eye doctors or other services that were covered, at least to some extent, by my insurance coverage at that time, but billed incorrectly or just not billed to insurance, or not coded correctly, or just forgotten along the way by the insurance company.

Zzzzzzzzzzz…sorry, so boring. Again. And neverendingly so.

I feel really lucky that within the last couple of years, I’ve realized that what’s interesting–at least to me–is finding the trends in my diabetes numbers. What time of day am I high? Low? How many days in a row? But in order to do that, I have to go through the boring stuff and remember to test, and fill in my logsheet, and take time to look at it and figure out which options might work.

Remembering the interesting parts, and taking the time to find them interesting, helps me not blam my head against the wall with the arduously painfully boring d-stuff.

Cupcakes, glitter, unicorns and rainbows help too.

This post was for Day 18 of wego Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge. Open a book. Choose a book and open it to a random page and point to a phrase. Use that phrase to get you writing today. Free write for 15-20 without stopping.


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