Wednesday, October 31, 2007

$120 later...

that's how much the tests cost me today at the university clinic. At my doctor's office they would have cost me n-o-t-h-i-n-g.

I am only taking partial responsibility for this fiasco, though.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


What do you do when you adore your physician, but despise his office personnel and the way it is run??

--warning: long whiny post ahead--

I have been trying to see my doc for about two weeks. I'm not crazy about taking time off from work (it has to be personal leave, not sick, and I just don't have enough right now for all my needs, so I've been putting off many appointments/tests). Last week I tried to get an appointment. The NP I have been seeing is no longer there, Dr.R was only going to be in half-a-day on Friday, and they weren't taking appointments until that morning.

ok... he/they changed the way they do appointments a couple years ago. they *will* make you appointments a couple days ahead, but not several weeks ahead, and even then, there are only a few. the rest are made the day of or the day before... this is REALLY difficult on people, like me, who not only have to be at work before his office opens, but live a half-hour and work an hour away from the office...

So, yesterday, I decide I would try to get an appointment this week. While talking with his nurse (I was SO happy she answered the call; she I also adore), we decided I should get the tests done first. My plan was to leave work at 3:30, fly down to the office and get the lab work done, i.e, have the blood drawn. There is really NO point to seeing him until the results are back anyway. On the way, however, #1Son's car breaks down on me. Fortunately, it is right south of the exit where we live, and I have plenty of time. Or so I thought. And so there would have been IF i hadn't told him the wrong exit (there are two, one at the north end of town, one at the south).

About 20 minutes *after* the sheriff's deputy stopped to see if everything was all right, #1Son arrived and jumped the car. It was 5:45 and I was still a half-hour from the office, so home we went.

Now, today, I felt really awkward going to my supervisor asking to leave early again for the same reason... but, today, we arrive in plenty of time. Except... they closed the lab at 4:30 because they are administering flu shots.

Let us all groan together

THEN the little witch at the reception window starts giving me grief: do I have orders, yadayadayada. I walk back over to #1Son, talking, and trying to figure out what to do... the only choice I can think of beside returning AGAIN tomorrow afternoon (which I really can't do anyway) is to get the test done at the university clinic. So, I walk back to the counter, waiting behind the man now at the window. Said witch *interrupts* what she and the other staffer are saying to this man to tell ME "Mam'm, there is no one here to ..." I said, "I just want to ask you a question. I'm waiting for my turn." Holy crap... I could not believe how rude she was! In a couple of moments, she opens the window on the other end of the area, complete with pained, and offended facial contortions.

What I needed to know was, if I had the tests done at the clinic on campus could they send the report? (She thought probably so.) Would they require me to have an order from my doctor? (She didn't know.). . . . you know what, I'm tired of telling it, and I know you are tired of reading it.

I finally got an order, but he/they didn't include the cholesterol test I wanted.

They gave me all kinds of hassel: why *I* didn't have the order. One even insisted that the doctor "always" gives me an order at the previous visit for what I would need next. (NEVER has he done this in the year and a half he's been treating me for DM!) None of them would listen long enough to comprehend that I had called, HIS NURSE had told me to come, knew what tests I needed and why. These goofballs have NO idea what I need, nor any inclination to go out of their way.

Damn. I don't want to change doctors, but I am SO tired of dealing with his staff. (I recongnized ONE woman in the front office.) This kind of thing happens over and over down there. So, now two trips down there, an hour of leave, and I still don't have the tests done. And I do not know when I will have time tomorrow to even get to the clinic...

I probably should have posted this over on my tudiabetes blog and not bothered y'all with it. My stomach was full of whatever it is that gets dumped in there when you get stressed; adrenaline?? I don't know but I was naseuous as could be by the time we left and starving (hadn't eaten since noon because I wasn't even sure if I should have been fasting for the cholesterol) -- all these things are SO SO good for someone with diabetes, donchaknow?

Time for class, chicos. Hasta.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

healthy attitudes?

This is a(nother long) diabetes-related rant post. No knitting or stitching or any kind of fun stuff. So, feel free to "mark as read" now... but the information may actually say as much about us all as people (or some of "us") in general in modern society than about those with diabetes in particular.

First, it's amazing how following the "doctor's orders" can make a difference in BSG readings. After only a few days of getting back to taking my meds as prescribed and cutting back my carbs (again), my numbers are back down and I am feeling better. I guess I was walking around in a "carb fog" and didn't realize it. The scale even went down a pound for a couple days -- I bounce 3 to 5 pounds some days, but I try to only weigh myself in the morning and no more than each morning. The greatest difficulty now (beside eating well) is remembering to take the metformin earlier in the evening so I don't wake up in the middle of the night with stomach pains. I thought it was the Vytorin and stopped taking it, but now I am beginning to believe it is the metformin.

Now to my real point: when my doctor first put the fear of god into me about how high my BSG had gotten, I was really scared. This was my third go-around with high BSG (gestational diabetes, and and then again in 1999 -- lost 20 pounds and everything went back to normal, hah hah). I took him and his instructions seriously and when I went back 2 weeks later, he looked at my numbers and started laughing. He asked me, "What did you do?" "I did what you told me to do."

If only everyone would, he said...

It's not easy to stay on track. And the U. of Chicago study mentioned the other day on Bernard Farrell's blog and on Daily Diabetic is scary -- there is a better article about the study at the University of Chicago Medical Center site.

The study is distressing because it speaks to our obsession with having a perfect life. Almost 20% of the participants would trade 8 to 10 years of life not to have to have to treat their diabetes:
"many patients found both complications and treatment onerous. Between 12 and 50 percent were willing to give up 8 of 10 years of life in perfect health to avoid life with complications. More surprising, between 10 and 18 percent of patients were willing to give up 8 of 10 years of healthy life to avoid life with treatments."
"Some patients, if you judge by their behavior, would rather be well on the road to future blindness, kidney failure or amputations then work hard now at their diabetes" (diabetes specialist Louis Philipson, MD, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago, who was not part of the research team).
I've not walked in a Type 1's shoes. I've been lucky so far to be able to control with only one med, diet and exercise. So, I certainly will not judge the participants. I can only hope that I never feel that hopeless.

An encouraging point in the report is that "Those who had experience with a specific medication or complication saw them as having less of an impact on quality of life than those without such direct experience." We always fear the unknown, and often unduly.

I would really like to read the full study article. If you happen to have access to Diabetes Care you can, too (that link will let anyone read the abstract, if you are interested). They have a three-month embargo, so I won't have access to it online for three months; campus library doesn't subscribe to the print version.

Monday, October 15, 2007

things i do for friends!

So... Rissa wants to buy something, and she needs some (more) enablement. BUT, she does so under the guise of "talk me out of it."

Now, you must remember that although I love having lots and lots of purses and bags and totes, I do not love to pay a lot for them, nor am I a name-brand person. I'd rather have ten purses for which I paid $10 each, than one for which I paid $100... because I like to c-h-a-n-g-e purses often!
[insert disappointing memories from childhood of not being able to afford John Tremain purses -- of which I can find nothing on the internet -- or Go-Go boots]
Just before we walk into Belks, she says, "If it's not still on 40% off, I'm not going to get it anyway." And, of course, it wasn't. So, we just turned around and left, right?

Of course, not! We wander around looking at all the purses (for me, it was curiosity about what I must be missing). Long story shortened: I left with this:

an "Authentic" Fossil Kendall Tote in Multi Print.
16" x 8.5" x 6" w/ 8.5" handle drop
cotton/canvas fabric w/ top-stitched embroidered accents
leather handles, bottom, and trim
two large interor compartments w/ center zip section; magnetic top closure
(for me, more of an overnight bag or tote; not a purse/handbag!)

Now, just who is enabling whom?

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Today is my parent's 60th wedding anniversary.
(Diamond is the traditional gift.)
Their wedding took place in my mother's parent's living room. My mother wore a light blue suit.* I have at least one imprinted napkin, and I think a favor from the event... seems like there is another momento, too, but right now I can't recall.

They honeymooned at the Fountainbleu hotel in Biloxi. It has been gone since long before Katrina, but it sat near where the bypass to I-10 comes (came? is it still there?) down to the Coast and swings out over the water. (Can you tell I don't know my geography down there very well?)

Mom's been gone almost eight years, but I wanted to acknowledge the day.

*interesting to me because I wore a light blue suit (which my mother made for me) to 'get away' from my first, not like THAT... I 'got away' from the marriage about three years later. also wore it on my one-year anniversary. See?

ohmygosh! look at the pointy collar and lapel! and you know what's really weird? that necklace was a gift from the man I almost married, not the one I did!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

¿tu diabetes?

SugarStats led me to another diabetes site, a social network, in fact. There's a new link to it and to SugarStats in the sidebar (Tu Diabetes is the trio or hands -- with pricked fingers.) It's a little unwieldy to get around, and it's quite slow moving from one page to another (maybe it's just my computer), but I hope to benefit by being there.

hay una versión española también:

ETA: My problems with TuDiabetes seem to have been related to something particular to Tuesday night -- last night things worked fine... by "unwieldy" I meant that the forums format was different than I expected. It is more like an aggregate reader...which is not bad, just different! :D I've added the forum RSS feeds to my Google Reader; I might like that better.

Monday, October 08, 2007


This morning my sugar was high. I always do badly on Sunday. Forgetting to take my medicine doesn't help matters. So, I ate a high-protein, no carb breakfast, and two hours later, it was still the same. Can you say "frustrated"??

I decided I should make a note somewhere about the circumstances of the high level, and opened the Journal feature of Outlook... except, I'm not always AT work when I take my sugar. I thought about my PDA... I even think I have loaded a program onto it for tracking BSG. But then I wondered if there was a place online (like the walking tracker) for tracking BSG. It would always be available, whether I was at home on my computer, or at work, or sitting at a hotspot.

"Google is your friend."

Sure enough, I found

SugarStats has both a free and a premium membership. I just signed up for the free; I haven't looked at the benefits of the premium yet. Just wanted to get some entries uploaded from my meter. Though I think being able to have the doctor download the information is one of the features of the premium membership. I also noticed that you can use Twitter to send an entry to SugarStats, so that takes care of the times when I don't have internet access.

I hope that having a place to keep notes of the situations when I take my BSG, and it's a little high (or low), will help me to see where I am having problems... ok, I *know* what the basic problem is: too many carbs, not enough proper eating, and too little exercise -- the same things that got me here in the first place, right? Well, I'm still happy to have an accountability place that is more convenient than a little notebook or my memory. SparkPeople just wasn't working for me.

Maybe this information will be helpful to others, too.

ETA (2:47PM): I even managed to figure out how to add an entry via Twitter!

Saturday, October 06, 2007

as promised

A few more photos!

I took photos of my progress on the twin leaf scarf before I ripped it. I like the pattern just fine (though I think I made a mistake about one repeat in), but I want a few more beads, and in different places. Because I'm using a smaller bead, they really do disappear. I am going to play with placing them along where the decreases are made, and I really think they would look better worked into the stitch rather than just pushed up along the working thread. We'll see if that looks better. I'd like to find a way to use the remaining red yarn, too, but I can't figure out how. Also, I may toy with the double decreases; I'm not sure I like the way they look.

Now, on to the green top... the last time I mentioned (and likely the last time I worked on this project) it, was February 13, 2006! I have only worked about two more pattern repeats since I picked it up last week, so it basically looks the same as when I stopped.

I know this pattern -- which is another leaf/fern one -- is from a knitting magazine. I'll have to find it though; I can't remember which one and a quick look at the Interweave Knits website didn't find it. I'm really about to the point where I am going to start the sleeves and yoke. For that, I am going to use the same shaping as the pattern I used for my hemp yarn sweater.

Friday, October 05, 2007

swallowtail photos

Both my Swallowtail shawls are finished, but unblocked. Because I had so much yarn leftover from the first one, I wanted to make the second one larger. I didn't want to have to fiddle with the math (unless absolutely necessitated by running out of yarn!), so I just switched to larger needles. The grey was knit using size 4US, the red with size 6US.

You can see the difference the needlesize made in the photo above (the grey shawl is on top of the red shawl), and the amount of yarn remaining from each ball of MistiAlpaca in the one below.

I found a sweet, narrow, lace scarf pattern at Jimmys Wool, and last night began it in the grey. I had a mixed bag of (mostly size 10, I think) white, pearl, and silver-lined beads which I strung with a mid-eye, two-pointed beading needle. The pattern calls for Blue Sky Alpaca & Silk, which is what I am using on my green top, so we'll have to see how it works out in the MistiAlpaca lace weight. I'm using the same size needle which is called for in the pattern. I would say for the Alpaca & Silk, though, that you would want at least size 8 beads. If I make enough progress on it today, I will post a photo tonight.

I also have photos of the green top to post tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

backin' up

It happens now and then... I get blue about having diabetes (or, if you prefer, "being diabetic" -- some people get weird about both descriptions). I've been over-indulging in carbs lately. Mostly in the evenings, snacking on things I shouldn't. I am VERY tired of eating peanuts and peanut butter and cheese... and, to be honest, I get tired of eating meat. With the salad scares lately, it's getting hard to find a decent salad out. Gods, how I hate iceberg lettuce! And I'm falling back into the habit of not eating regularly. So, my sugar is running a little high. And, so, of course, that is distressing. It's a frustrating cycle. I also know that my stress level affects my blood sugar, and there are a number of things keeping that elevated as well. As I've heard it said, "They call it 'comfort food' for a reason!"

I guess I just got lazy because I've had it under such good control for over a year. Then, a little here a little there, and soon I'm (halfway) back (with the MAJOR exception of sugared sodas and potatoes!!) to the carb-snacking I used to do. I was going to go the doctor tomorrow (campus is closing for the football game that's being broadcast by ESPN), but I'm afraid my AC1 would be high.

I'm not really whining. I thought if I put it out there, be honest and accept responsibility for the situation that perhaps I would be more motivated to get back on track. No one with diabetes wants their family and friends to act like "Diabetes Police" -- just understanding and support. In the end, I have to do it for me.

Did I mention I finished the red Swallowtail? Hmm.. yes, I did. I want to get back to another project (think I mentioned that as well), but it will take time to figure out where I was when I stopped. I believe I was going to use one more skein on the body (I'm working in the round, bottom-up) before I begin the little sleeves and yoke. I have class tonight, so will not likely be able to concentrate on knitting.