Tuesday, August 30, 2011

In The Dark

Could something like a hurricane affect Vince’s Diabetes? Maybe, maybe not. It would have depended if Diabetes decided to cooperate. So did it with Hurricane Irene? Yes and No. Never a straight answer with Diabetes, is it?
When the worst of the storm was over, on Sunday, Vince was sore, but all in all his pain faired pretty well, considering all of the rain. Our power went out that morning at 9:30AM, so he just rested and slept off and on most of the day. Sunday was a site and sensor change day, so early in the evening, before it got dark, we changed his site and put on a new sensor with plenty of time to calibrate before the sun went down. At this point, his sugar was hovering around 80 and his sensor was not working due to the site change. I had to leave to transfer our food to his Mom’s refrigerator in hopes of saving it, so before I left, I made sure he was sipping some regular sweetened tea and we decided to try to get the sensor to work when I got home, giving it about another hour to set. Apparently, I picked a bad spot on his stomach because it was still not working when I got back. About 2 hours later (total) we decided to start all over. By this point it was dark. After eating by candle light and flash light, we got out a new sensor and I carefully took off the old one and put on the new. About 15 minutes later, it was ready to go. By this point it was around 8:30PM and with no power, Vince was not going to stay up late. Knowing the sensor was going to wake us up in about 2 hours, we took the flash light and the candle/lighter (just in case we needed it) and headed to bed. Around 11:30PM we were awoken by the power coming back on. I then fell asleep and woke up at 1:30AM and found Vince was not in bed. I found him in the living room drinking some soda. He said he went low. I made sure his sensor was up and running and I went back to bed. In the morning, I tested him before leaving and a 90 came on the screen. Not too bad considering we did all the site changes and soda sipping in the dark.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Giving Vince Credit

We have been working on how we can relieve some of my stress and how Vince can make himself feel needed and useful again. It's so hard when you are as young as him (now 31) and you are so limited. This isn't how he ever imagined his life, or mine for that matter. In fact, off the subject a little bit here, but a few weeks ago Vince and I had similar dreams two nights in a row. One night he dreamt that he went back to work, but couldn't do anything because of his pain and weakness. He didn't mention this dream to me until the next night when I told him about a dream that I had where he applied for an exterminating job and got the job but never told the manager of his conditions and then had trouble standing up from the chair he was in. I think it just shows how much I want him to have a normal life, and also how much he wants to work and be normal. He tells me and his mom all the time how much he enjoyed his (short) career and how he would give anything to get it back. It's so sad. It's not fair. Not fair to him and not fair to me as his wife. Only (now) 27 years old and being the breadwinner of the house, taking care of a sick husband all while trying to figure out how to have a family. Sure, there are a lot of options, but why can't just one thing be easy for us? Because life is not fair and it just plain sucks. There is no better answer. Okay, I went off on a rant there for a little bit, but back to what I wanted to post about. We have found some household chores that Vince can do, and it has been a big help to me. Through talking with our therapist, I have realized that although I have to take over 99% of the duties in our life and in our home, it seems that maybe I have taken over the last 1% out of habit. It is easier for me just to do it all since I have to do almost all of it anyway. But in doing this, it seems that I have become overwhelmed and Vince is left with low self esteem and a feeling of uselessness. You see, when Vince was working, it was all he could do to get out of bed, go to work, and get back home. He didn't have any energy left in him to do any of the household things so I took over in hopes that he would work as long as he could, which he did. Now that he isn't working, although he has a lot of physical barriers, there are a few simple things we have discovered he can do and wants to do! I have discovered that he is a great duster and a great waste basket emptier. He is also now in charge of feeding the cat, putting away his clothes after I do the wash, and dust mopping the kitchen floor. These may sound like very simple things, which they are, but these are the things that he is capable of doing and it gives him some sense of responsibility back. He is starting to feel better knowing he is helping me in ways that he is able to. I still have a lot on my plate but these are a few less things that I have to worry about, and it's been a great help! We are continuing to look for different things that he can help with. 

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Disaster Avoided

Yesterday was a site and sensor change day. At around 7:30PM, off came the old site and sensor and inserted were fresh new ones. About two hours later the sensor was calibrated and Vince was good to go for aprox 6 hours until the next calibration time. Around 3:30AM I awoke to the beeps. I nudged Vince to tend to the alarm but he was too drowsy so he asked for my help. I got up, turned on the light and saw it was asking for a meter BG. This means a finger stick reading to calibrate the new sensor. I stuck his finger and a 46 appeared on the screen. CRAP! We were not alerted to the potential low because it was calibration time and we were sleeping through the alarm for a little while. I asked Vince if he felt low and he said no. I gave him some iced tea and some candy fruit slices and we went back to bed. Sometime later after calming my nerves, I fell asleep, only to be awoken again by the alarm which still thought he was low. I tested him again at 6:30AM before I went to work and he was 189. It calibrated again. He should be good now I thought.
What would have happened if he didn’t have the sensor on? What if the beeping didn’t wake us? Even though it didn’t wake us to tell us that he was low, it still woke us up enough to figure it out. Would this have been a potential disaster night? Would he have had a night like before the sensor and passed out from the low? Could have been.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Doctor's Visits: The Good and the Bad

Today was a day full of doctor visits. We started bright and early at the eye doctor for Vince's three month check up. Everything checked out good and they said Vince's left eye (the better of the two) has actually slightly improved, going from 20/40 to 20/30 since his visit 3 months ago. The right eye is stable at some number that I am not even sure of. I think I heard a 20/200 or 20/400 or something at a past doctor appointment but it is so far gone, that they don't even give it a true number. They just concentrate on keeping the other eye at it's best. Again they asked about Vince's A1C and were happy with where it is at. 
After that we were off to the pain doctor. We updated the doctor about the medication that Vince decided to stop taking and the doctor agreed that it was way to much medication to take and not see results. We talked about the pain medication as well. We expressed Vince's desire to get off the pain medication(s) but we also admitted that the pain has not subsided enough to do that. The doctor suggested raising the long acting pain medication and lowering the fast acting pain medication in hopes that he won't have so many highs and lows with the breakthrough pain. I am never happy when I hear of anything being raised but if it means less of the short acting med and better pain control, then I suppose it is worth it. We will see in the next month or so how it goes.
We had some time to waste until the next stop, so we went to the drug store to drop off the new pain medication prescription and then went to lunch. After a nice lunch, it was off to the pulminologist for a breathing test and a second visit with this new doctor. After the test, Vince and I sat down with the doctor and showed him some of the records that he asked Vince to keep over the last month or so with the breathing tool at home. He said it showed there was a slight issue. The doctor then took a look at the results from the test they gave Vince at todays visit. He said it is showing slight asthma and explained the readings to us. He first suggested that Vince continue using the albuteral inhaler as needed just as he has been doing, but after listening to his chest he said Vince should be on something a bit more to prevent the wheezing. We immediately spoke up about the steroid issue and said absolutely not. He agreed. He then suggested Singular which is not a steroid and will probably help to prevent the wheezing. He said the asthma has probably come about due to Vince's weight. We explained that he has lost about 40 pounds in the last 4-5 months or so and asked if that continues, will it go away. He believes it will. So we left with one more medication and yet another reason for weight loss. Since I know I am gaining as well, It is definitely time to crack down, but of course that is easier said than done. Especially when you are looking at two major emotional eaters, but all we can do is try, right? After a long day, I dropped Vince off at home for a nap and then headed back out to get our car inspected. A day off without rest for me but we got a lot done.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Second Black Bag

Vince and I have decided that it would be a good idea to have more of a back up plan on hand while out and about. I don't think we need it most of the time, but that one time we do, we would be glad we had it. I am not a fan of keeping diabetic supplies and snacks in the car due to the extreme temperatures so I have made a second blag bag for him. It is small enough for me to keep in my purse at all times, so we are always prepared. Here is a picture. Notice the note card? I had this crazy thought that I would have a car accident and when the EMT's would look through my purse, they would see the diabetes supplies and think I was diabetic. Or the thought that if both of us were in the car, they may think I am the diabetic instead of Vince. I think I am being a little silly though since he has an insulin pump attached to him LOL But I always say, better safe than sorry, right?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Life In A Bag

It’s 11:30PM and Vince and I are on our way to the airport to pick up my mom whose flight that was supposed to arrive at the decent hour of 6:30PM was cancelled and she was put on this late night flight. It’s way past my “bedtime” and I have to get up for work early in the morning. I am already worried about how I will make it through a Monday on such little sleep so we rush out the door to get her and get home as quickly as possible. We run out the door in our pajamas and hop in the car. It should be a just over an hour, there and back. About 15 minutes down the road, I realize Vince didn’t grab his black bag on the way out the door. I didn’t say anything at first. I was thinking, what can happen in 1 hour (or so)? It’s all highway there, and we would just be sitting in the car waiting for her to come out, and all highway back. What if he goes low? No glucose! Note to self, put glucose in my purse, since I always have that with me in the car. Could I pull of the highway to a gas station if needed? Probably wouldn’t want to do that at this time of night in the city. Would I pull over and call 911? Or would I wait until we get to the airport and see if there is a vending machine? If not, I suppose I could ask people around us if they have sugar, right? Maybe my mom will have something in her bag he could eat? I doubt it since you are limited as to what can be brought on planes these days. At this point, I mention to Vince that he didn’t bring his bag. He tells me that he checked his sugar before we left (which I didn’t realize) and that it was 167. Whew, we should be fine. Sometimes I need to remember that Vince takes care of himself and that I don’t need to worry as much as I do, but that is easier said than done. When at the airport, the CGM high alarm sounds and he takes a bolus. I said, are you sure you want to do that? He said it jumped to 300 and he had to. I agree. We also agree I should have glucose in my purse for next time just in case. The high alarm rings all the way home but this is one time that I don’t mind that he spiked high, since we were not prepared for a low. At least he had insulin on hand in his handy dandy pump! By the time we got home, it was an hour and a half later, and Vince was sitting in the car the entire time. His legs were not in great shape so I helped him into the house. Other than sore legs, the airport run didn’t turn into a potential low sugar no black bag disaster.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Where Did That Come From?

As I drove home from work, a thought crept into my mind. A thought that I have worked very hard to push far away as much as possible. It was the "what if Vince dies" thought. I am not sure where this came from today. I had a decent day at work. No episodes at home with Vince. But still, as I drove home to Vince, I caught myself thinking about what would happen if he died. He normally naps in the afternoon, so as I am driving, I am thinking that I will go home to wake him. And then it starts. What if I walk in the house and find him not breathing? Who would I call for help? 911 I suppose, and then family? I am certified for CPR (a great perk at work) but do I remember how to perform it? I have the manual in the magazine rack in the bathroom. But if it was an emergency, I am sure I wouldn't be able to do it. What if I do it wrong? I guess something would be better than nothing, right? What if he doesn't make it? How will I go on without him emotionally? I don't think I could even go home. No, definitely not. Where would I go? Everything around me would have "Vince" written all over it. How would I survive financially? I suppose there is always life insurance. Would I even want the money for myself? No, it would be better for him to just be here, darn it! I guess I could get a second job. I wouldn't have anything to be home for anyway at that point. Then I finally realize what is going through my head, and I snap myself out of it. I ask myself where that came from and I don't have an answer. I used to sit at my desk at work and stare at the photos I have on my desk of me and him, and think about all of the same questions and fears. I have been good lately at not letting myself go there, but it seems every once in a while, my mind ignores me and goes there anyway. I would think that any married person would have this fear, but it seems that for me, it is more serious situations and more often. The only thing I can imagine is that the one time when I awoke in bed with him, years ago, to find him unconscious. Since then, the fear has been real.