Lemonade Life

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Lessons Learned (again)

Lessons I learned (yet again) this weekend:

Lesson #1: Try to leave some bumper time between when you need to arrive and when you actually will arrive. That way when it takes you forty-seven minutes to drive six miles, you don't have to cancel lunch plans with a friend you haven't seen in a month and a half.

Lesson #2: Bringing a blood glucose meter is important no matter how long you plan to be away from your house. It's especially important if you plan to be away from your house for 48 hours. (Luckily I had my Ultra in my purse from awhile ago, so I stopped by Albertsons to buy 25 test strips for $26.99). And in the process of learning this lesson, I learned:

Lesson #3: Do not lock your keys in your car. Always check to make sure they are in your purse and not: on the seat, in the ignition, lying on the floor.

Lesson #4: Roadside assistance is worth the money.

Lesson #5: Don't wait six months to drive to your old house, ask a nice girl to let you inside to pick up your ballot and then get spooked when you hear footsteps, run outside and then realize you've left your keys on the table, which is inside the now locked house.

Lesson #6: Make sure that when you sleep, your pump is near your infusion set (unless you have a massively long pump cord). That way you won't wake up at 7:45 a.m. with the pump cord wrapped around your neck, the infusion set is ripped halfway off your stomach and your blood sugar is at 408 mg/dl.

Lesson #7: Don't think that by pressing really hard on the halfway-off infusion set that you can somehow magically get the cannula back into your skin. It won't work and you'll wake up four hours later at 446 mg/dl.

Lesson #8: Always pack an extra infusion set. In the event you do wake up with your pump trying to choke you and nauseatingly high blood sugars, you can do something besides immediately get dressed and drive two hours back home to put in a new one.

Don't worry, I didn't actually drive on a rising 446 mg/dl. I also - for whatever reason - had a bottle of insulin in my purse, along with a very much used syringe (what do you think I was using to poke my finger all day?).

And just in case there was any doubt, these lessons prove that I have indeed two chronic diseases: diabetes and absentmindedness.

Thursday, October 26, 2006


I am single. I have no children. And I live with my parents.

(Ok, so I'm like the epitome of uncool.)

And I have never been so thoroughly exhausted in my entire life.

Julia, I don't know how you do it.

Honestly, any parent of small children right now, I just don't understand how you can possibly function.

I've had no more than seven (more like six, actually) hours of sleep each night this week (Sunday thru Wednesday) and I can barely function. I swear I'm going to fall asleep while driving one of these days.

I'm still in my I'm-in-college-so-that-means-going-to-bed-at-1-a.m. mentally, except I have to wake up at six in the morning in order to get into the shower before my brother has to get up to take his shower.

I stop by Peets Coffee & Tea on my way to work (thank the Good Lord there is one in between my Quaint Bedroom Community and Big Bustling City) so that I can actually survive my commute into Portland and not fall asleep at the wheel, lose control of my vehicle, smash into the SUV in front of me before rolling off the cliff, crashing into various riverside mansions before rolling and plummeting into the Willamette River (and that's Wi-lamb-ETTE, not Willa-MET).

I'm at work from roughly eight fifteen in the morning (which is when I've been waking up for the past, like, year and a half) until one in the afternoon. I have an hour break for lunch (which is when I post messages on Diabetes Teen Talk, work on stories or finish homework), before I have class for two to four hours, depending on the day. Then I get to drive home, have dinner, and work on Diabetes Teen Talk and the Diabetes O.C. until I finally crash around 10:30.

But this week has been unique. Instead:

Monday: Spent another two hours with the Crisis Communication grad class where we had a conference call with the Press Secretary of NASA (!!!).

Tuesday: Attended a fundraiser for Rep. Darlene Hooley (D-OR), which featured guest Rep. Diana DeGette (D-CO), who is awesomazing (awesome + amazing). Her 12-year-old daughter, Franny, has diabetes and is on the Coszmo pump. Diana and I spent about fifteen minutes raving about the pumps to Darlene and Matt, a 22-year-old with diabetes I had just met.

Diana asked me how my control was on the pump, and I said it was mostly good except for a few bumps when I hit college. Not having parents around was difficult, I explained. Diana replied that her family jokes that when her husband dies, "Have you bolused yet?" will be written on his gravestone.

Wednesday: Went out for drinks with the girls since our 4 p.m. class was canceled. Actually stood outside of a bar at 3:45 p.m. waiting for the bar to open before deciding we were ridiculous and went to another bar that was already open.

It was 5 o'clock somewhere.

Tuesday: Visited JDRF to sign an expense report and return the office key. Went to a friend's house for an hour to watch CSI and eat left-over pasta casserole. Drove home for ten minutes to test my blood sugar because I had left my meter at home (I know. I know, I know, I know. But hey, I was 181. Not bad for having gone 13 hours without testing... come on, you know you're impressed). Then I went out to buy event decorations for next week and a pair of Old Navy pants. Finally arrived home at 9 p.m.

Most of those days were at least 12 hours long. Tuesday was 14 hours. Today was 15 hours, with one short stop at home.

How do you function? Diet Red Bull? Monster? An IV of caffeine?

Forget insulin, caffeine is starting to creep up on the list of Drugs I Need to Survive.

Monday, October 23, 2006

My First Day at Work

Today was my first day of work at Portland General Electric, where I will intern with the media relations and community relations departments.

I woke up at 6 a.m. and fought with my family for hot water before fighting traffic on the thirty minute commute from my Quaint Bedroom Community into the Bustling Big City Downtown.

I have my own cubicle and a badge.

I'm wearing my favorite "office outfit," which is a pair of black capris, a cami with a soft, translucent ivory t-shirt, and my Nicole sandals that I practically lived in this summer. My ever-present purple pump is clipped proud and hopefully not too loudly to my right pocket.

Everyone seems nice and I already feel comfortable enough to make fun of people. Always a good sign. I have to be in a place where I can tease mercilessly.

At 1:00 p.m., I step into the elevator to head to the Portland Center where I attend classes. I was more focused on my growling stomach (which feels like it may crawl out of my mouth and go find food itself if I don't eat soon) than on the people around me. I went in and turned to face the elevator.

Moments later I feel a tapping on my left arm. I turn and see an older gentleman. He's very tall, dressed in a dark, tailored suit.

Did I hit or step on him? Is there something on my sweater?

He fumbles with something with his left hand.

A chargoal gray Medtronic Minimed insulin pump.

"It's not often you see one of those," he says

"Awesome," I reply, grinning. Then the elevator stops, and chimes, "Second floor." Mr. Business Pumper gets off the elevator with a colleague. I continue down to the first floor.

Walking on the streets of Downtown Portland minutes later, I pass Mr. Business Pumper and his colleague.

We grin knowingly, sharing that connection that only two people with diabetes could share after nine simple words.

This is why I wear my insulin pump on the outside.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

How My Insurance Company is Finding New Reasons to Be Annoying

This post is not about rising insurance deductibles or never paying for more than one months supply of insulin or even refusing to subsidize the continuous glucose monitor.

Oh no. This is a far worse atrocity.

My insurance company (which has a remarkably similar name to Red Cross Red Shield) has created a new program to "help" people with diabetes.

It all started back in December 2005. I received a letter from my insurance company telling me that they have started a new program to help people with diabetes (like myself) to help "provide valuable tools to make the delivery of quality care easier." It's a free program, completely optional, and it supposed comes with a buttload of quality information.

Of course, I've already signed up for a retainer with Gary Scheiner, so I don't need any extra assistance. I promptly toss the letter in the recycling.

A few weeks later and I receive a call from one of these nurses. They leave a voice mail because I'm awful about hearing my phone when it's in my backpack. Upon listening to it, the registered nurse tells me that she's calling on behalf of the program and wants to ask me a few questions and see if I'm interested in the program.

I'm not, so I ignore the phone call.

A few days later, and she calls again. I miss the call. She calls again. I miss that one, too. She calls yet again. I see the number (the "415" is a dead giveaway now) and I just ignore it.

Finally, one day, I answer. The woman is very nice but obviously clueless. She asks me my age ("20"). She asks me which type of diabetes I have ("Type 1"). She asks me if I take insulin (::stifling laughter:: "Um, yes. I have Type 1 diabetes."). She asks me a few more questions like how often I test my blood sugar ("4-6 times a day") and if I see a doctor regularly ("Endocrinologist and diabetes educator". I'm not sure if I actually explained Gary's role, as his whole "unlimited access with questions" tends to baffle people. You mean you can just call or email him? Yep. Anytime? Uh huh.).

She then offers the Advicare program which I politely (albeit through clenched teeth) decline.

A sigh of relief. They're gone.

Fast forward to last week.

They're back. The "415" phone calls are back.

I have no idea if it's the same woman, because they all sound the same. It's someone from Advicare calling to check-in and they want to talk to me.

I don't need nor want to talk to them. They call during class, they call when I'm driving home, they call when I'm visiting with my friend from Georgia. They won't leave me alone.

"You wouldn't believe what they're saying," I tell Ashleigh. I listen to the most recent message and tell her what they've told me. "They want to see how I'm doing and if I'm 'feeling good'. The whole thing is ridiculous. She says she's just a registered nurse. I probably know more about diabetes than they do."

I don't want some strange registered nurse who doesn't know anything about me or my medical history making some kind of judgement on how I'm taking care of myself. Okay, I'm sure people who don't have regular access to an endocrinologist or diabetes educator might find this valuable, but I said no the first time. Why do you have to keep bothering me and calling me up?

Ashleigh laughs and says, "You should just say to them, "Don't you know who I am?"

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Life Update, or Why It Should Be Illegal for Allison to Go More Than One Week Without Updating

Hola amigos.

Did you miss me?

I missed you, too. I'm sorry it's been so long since I've updated. I've got a lot to go over so I better get started.

First, last Thursday a very good friend of mine (in fact, an online friend whom I "met" when I was 13 and officially met in Real Life in March 2005) flew to Oregon for her school's fall break. My friend, Ashleigh, and I spent most of the weekend touring Oregon and saw quite a bit. We went to Eugene and toured campus and had dinner with one of my college friends, went to the beach, a small coastal town, and a fort in Washington on Saturday, and spent the day in Portland on Sunday (and went to Powell's. You don't have to say it, I can sense the jealousy from here). It was so great, even though the weather was typical Oregon (read: crappy).

If you would like to see some photos of me, Ashleigh and the wonderful state of Oregon, visit my Adventures in Oregon photo gallery.

If any of you decide based on these photos and my glowing accounts of Oregon that you want to come visit, please contact me. I make an excellent tour guide.

Our next piece of news is another exciting one. I think some/most/a few of you know that one of the reasons I'm living in Portland at my parents (you do know I'm living in Portland at my parents, right? Right?) is because of the Portland Experience, which is the opportunity through the UO's School of Journalism to take my last two PR classes and have a paid internship.

Well, it's the end of week four and I still haven't started an internship.

You see, I had an interview in mid-July (three days before the CWD conference, in fact) at a Shall Remain Unnamed PR Agency and I was told the interview went well and they liked me. I was told that for the next 8 weeks.

No follow-up interviews. No word from the company. Nothing. Just the program coordinator saying, "They liked you. Let's wait."

Well, waiting brought me up to the week before school starts when this place finally said, "Let's do another interview." You know, two days before school starts... Unfortunately, I get sick, there's miscommunication with timing, and I have a sucky interview. I should have pulled out and told them I was sick, but I was so desperate that I figured since they liked me the first time, maybe I can pull it off.

I get a call three days later saying I don't have enough "technical background" for the project and that since they don't have much of a budget for an intern anyway, they're not going to hire me.

Well, crap.

So I've been waiting around and interning some more at JDRF for the past three weeks (missed the first week due to The Plague). No one was hiring interns. Couldn't get anywhere. Finally, we get word that Portland General Electric might be hiring.


Wait three days to hear from them about coming in for an interview. Go in for interview last Friday (while Ashleigh was here... abandoning my friend in the middle of a metropolitan downtown. I know, I'm a swell friend.) and, not being sick, I do really well (I think I impressed them with the whole "I created a website and then sold it to a media corporation" bit.).

Got the offer for an internship Tuesday. Into week four of the term, and I finally get my stinkin' internship.

I start Monday.

An interesting sidenote to the whole fact I'm working for Portland General Electric instead Shall Remain Unnamed PR Agency is that PGE is actually one of JDRF's corporate sponsors for the Walk, and had a very large Walk team this year. So this seems to be a much better fit anyway, seeing as we see eye-to-eye on the importance of a cure.

Coming Soon: Regence Blue Cross Blue Shield finds another way to make my life miserable - telemarketing nurses.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Yay, I'm going low! That means I'm healthy again!

Well, not right now specifically, but I've gone low a couple of times in the past few days, and that's very exciting for me.

I've spent literally the last two weeks chasing highs and I don't think I've been in the 100s for more than one reading in a row. It's ridiculous. I hate being sick.


But I'm going low again!

I don't think I've ever been so excited to see a 72 md/dl in my life.

I really need to get out more.

Speaking of getting out, did I ever tell you how our Walk went? It went very well. I've been waiting to get a final count, but it doesn't seem like that's really happening because I keep getting more donations. I got about 5 last week, after the Walk.

My friend Jane, her now ex-boyfriend, Jacob, my friend Jordan, my parents and younger brother, and I all went to Oaks Amusement Park for the Walk and it was awesome! A very nice day, considering the state we live in.

As of right this second, I have raised $2,030 and 46 people (I think... I didn't actually count the people part, but it's about mid-40s). Which is great! I've raised the largest amount of money EVER and this is four times as much as I raised last year. So I'm very excited and I want to thank all of the OC people who have donated. I really really really really like you all very much right now.


I'm still looking to get a few more donors. As you know, my goal was to raise 100 supporters. I think that was a bit of a lofty goal for me to attain this year, so I shrank it down about halfway to 50 people.

I'm at 46 people. I am 4 people away from my goal.

Would you like to be one of those 4 people?

It's really easy. All you have to do is go to my Walk Central page and make a donation of at least $1.

Please? For me?

I'll be your best friend...

Anyway, I sincerely appreciate all the donations that I have received so far and you all kick-ass. I make you honorary members of Team Lemonade.

::takes magic Lemonade wand and taps everyone on the head::

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Noncompliant Diabetics Have More Fun

By Nurse Sardonic and Nurse Mordant
St. Jude's Sacred Heart Medical Hospital of Mt. St. Cedar Sinai

A noncompliant diabetic.

Is it really such a bad thing?

Let's face it. Life is short. Taking care of diabetes can be a real drag. So why live your life worrying about eating right and exercising regularly when you're going to die anyway? You should spend as much time as possible having fun. Compliancy is for people who don't have anything better to do.

Here are some tips to make diabetes less of a focus in your life:

  • Whenever possible, use the way you physically feel as a measure for what your blood sugar level is.
  • Whatever your blood sugar level is, try to keep it there for as long as possible.
  • If you are low, you should always eat until you feel better.
  • The bottle of strips truly is infinite. There is never a need to grab another bottle before leaving the house. It also applies for insulin.
  • Lancets can used as many times as possible. Some things just get better with age.
  • Cookies and ice cream are called treats because they treat you good. Why give that up?
  • Exercise can cause lows.
  • A1cs are like grades. The higher, the better.
  • Logbooks just take up space anyway.
  • If it says to take your medication with food, a brownie is food.
  • An apple a day keeps the doctor away, but a cupcake a day keeps a smile on your face.
  • Getting a solid 8 hours of sleep is important. Better make sure you aren't going to go low with a nice big snack before bed.
  • Is there a doctor in the house? Not in your house he isn't. So why should you listen to him when he tells you what to do at home?
  • You are what you think. If you think you are 104, then you must be.
  • Testing is a sign of weakness.
  • If a little is good, a lot's better. Always round up with your insulin.
  • Tired of being nagged by your empty pump? Fill it with water to quiet that annoying beep.
  • If your blood sugar didn't come down the first time you bolused, it doesn't mean you need to change anything.
  • Don't be mean to your fingers. Prick them as infrequently as possible.
  • When your meter says "HI," be nice and say "hello" back.
  • Doctors say that a cure is five to ten years away, so by the time you have complications, they'll have a cure!
  • A blood sugar in the 80s or 90s is awfully close to a low. Better be proactive and have a cookie!
  • On Foot Care: If you can't feel them, they must be fine.
  • Your doctor is going to yell at you no matter what you do, so it doesn't really matter what you do or how often you do it.
  • It's all about which game you are playing. Think of it this way, 100 is a mediocre game in golf, but a 300 is a perfect game in bowling! Just change games!
  • If you don't like your current blood sugar reading, just shuffle the digits so they look nicer.
  • Why worry your friends and family with something they can't fix? Better keep your diabetes to yourself unless they accidentally see you giving yourself an injection.
  • If your friends see your medical supplies, just tell them you are a part of a confidential military experiment and you'd tell them, but then you'd have to kill them.
  • Snack on celery or carrots when you feel low. It will distract you from the symptoms and you won't gain weight!
  • Alcohol lowers blood sugar, so you don't need to take injections for food! Bottoms up!
  • Like the doctor always said, if it hurts to do something, stop doing it.
  • Trying is just the first step towards failure.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

God's Answer to "How Can I Avoid My Homework Just a Little Longer?"

1. Do you still have tonsils?

Yes. I plan to keep them there, seeing as how they haven't caused me any issues. If it ain't broke, don't fix.

2. Would you bungee jump?

Well, I would usually answer with a resounding "Hell No." But, after recently watching the Mandy Moore chick flick "Chasing Liberty," I would bungee jump if I had my arms wrapped around a brown-eyed, gorgeous Brit with a smile that melts you.

3. If You Could Do Anything In The World For A Living What Would It Be?

Have you ever seen that show on the Travel Channel with the adorable little blond woman who travels around the world visiting different hotels in different cities and gets paid to talk about how wonderful they are? Yeah, I want her job.

4. How many tattoos do you have?

Zero. For now.

5. Your favorite fictional animal?

I feel like I should give some kind of classy answer like Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, but honestly, I love Donkey from Shrek. He is awesome.

6. One person that never fails to make you laugh?

My friend Jordon. He should be a comedien, I swear. He's like the American college boy version of Eddie Izzard. He is the only person who can make fun of my diabetes and it still cracks me up.

7. Do you consider yourself well organized?

No. Never. Not under any circumstance.

8. Any Addictions?

No technical addiction, but I do have a fondness for the internet, coffee, chocolate, and the occasional cigarette.

9. From what news source do you receive the bulk of your news?

Watching the evening news. I grew up watching Peter Jennings. I know all the correspondants of 60 Minutes. I wanted to be Barbara Walters when I was 12.

10. Would you rather go to a carnival or circus?

Probably the carnival, as I have never been to a circus and have heard sketchy things about those trapeeze artists...

11. When you were twelve years old, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Barbara Walters. Or a teacher.

12. Best Movie You've Seen This Year?

I really loved V for Vendetta (so much that I wrote an entire post about it). I also loved The Constant Gardener. Man, I really like those hard-hitting, in-your-face, the-world-sucks movies, don't I?

I also like Little Miss Sunshine. Which, for a moment, I thought would redeem my "happy-go-lucky" persona until I remember what it was about. Oh well.

13.Favorite alcoholic drink

I'm too young to have a favorite alcoholic drink. I'm starting to have a fondness for a vodka cranberry.

14. What is the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?

Look at the time and determine how much longer I can sleep before I really need to get up.

15. Siblings?

One brother. And a host of adopted siblings. I swear, I collect family members.

16. What is the best thing about your job?

The fact that I have a job without having to go to work. I would probably be a consultant for dLife forever if it wasn't for the fact it doesn't pay health insurance (hey Tom, maybe we can work on that?).

17. Have you ever gone to therapy?

Yep. Four months of it. I'm not sure if it did much good, but hey, it's been a year and a half since the last time I cut myself. So it must have done something.

18. If you could have one super power what would it be?

Telekinesis. I think it would be a really cool parlour trick to freak people out.

19. Do you own any furniture from Ikea?

I own nothing from IKEA. I've never even been to an IKEA. The closest one is four hours away in Seattle. The next closest one is 11 hours away in Palo Alto. So no. I don't own any furniture from IKEA.

It's on my to-do list.

20. Have you ever gone camping?

Yes, I went camping all the time when I was growing up. It was a lot of fun and Oregon is quite possibly the best state to go camping.

21. Gas prices! First thought?

Yeah, they're coming down, but they are still too damn high.

22. Your favorite cartoon character?

Tommy Pickles from Rugrats. If he was real, I would take him home with me.

23. What was your first car?

An maroon '94 Nissan Sentra named Buffy.

It took awhile to name her too. My dad even suggested name her HAL, but I thought naming my car after a psychopathic computer that murdered the crew might not be a wise move.

24. Do you think marriage is an outdated ritual?


25. The Cosby Show or the Simpsons?

The Simpsons. It's a running joke in my family that my dad is Homer, my mom is Marge, my brother is Bart, I'm Lisa and our annoying but adorable cat is Maggie. In our warped little family mind, it works.

26. Do you go to church?

Yes. Not as often as I should, but I do go.

27. What famous person would you like to have dinner with?

The obvious answer: Jesus.

The not-so-obvious answer: Natalie Portman. She's been a role model to me since I was in high school.

28. What errand/chore do you despise?

Errand: Going to the gas station. The smell of gas practically gives me a migraine, and the prices really make me want to vomit.

Chore: I really hate cleaning out the refridgerator because I get stuck seeing all the molding, rotten food. Pink mashed potatoes should never ever being the same room with a living, breathing human being.

29. First thought when the alarm went off this morning?

"I really need to stop doing my homework at midnight."

30. Last time you puked from drinking?

This past New Year's Eve. I forgot to drink water with my five shots of vodka. Not pretty.

31. What is your heritage?

German, Swedish, English, Irish and Hungarian.

32. Favorite flower?

Stargazer lillies. I'm still contemplating getting a tattoo of them on my back.

33. Disney or Warner Bros?

I'm a Disney girl.

34. What is your best childhood memory?

Playing make believe with my best friend, Jenny. "Okay, now make believe that we're...."

35. Your favorite potato chip?

I'm not a huge potato chip fan. I guess I like Baked Lays of some variety. That's what I had a lunch today.

36. What is your favorite candy?

Anything with chocolate and peanut butter.

37. Do you burn or tan?

I'm from Oregon. I think that answers that question.

38. Astrological sign?

Leo. Except so not.

39. Do you own a gun?

Guns scare me. Gunshots scare me even more. I almost left the 4th of July celebration in Portland because the sound was freaking me out.

40. What do you think of hot dogs?

They try so hard to be likeable and yet they just can't win.

I almost feel sorry for them.