Sunday, June 13, 2010

Post #23

Dave Barry took a break from writing for several years.  Now he’s back to writing articles for a syndication company.  Robert Fulghum writes on his website.  After receiving many negative reactions about his new prospective book, he decided to take a break.  He stopped writing for three months.  At least that was the plan anyway.  He still wrote in notebooks the same way he always had.  Orson Scott Card took 20 years to complete his book Lost Boys.  Some people liked the original short story better and some really embraced the full novel. 

Sometimes writers get writer’s block and take a break.  Maybe that’s all I’m doing.  But maybe dissolving The Piquant Storyteller blog is for the better.  After all, not every spin off is successful.  Frasier, the spin off of Cheers, is the only sitcom I can think of that successfully took an existing character and moved on to another equally dynamic show.  The Piquant Storyteller is a spin off of my original blog. 

It started out as a passion for writing.  Then it turned into a desire to find a different audience for one small sliver of posts I would write on my personal blog.  I did.  I found everything I was looking for before I started this project.  Writers, interesting bloggers, adult Type 1 diabetics. 

What I learned from having two blogs is that I enjoy being a personal blogger.  My niche on this blog was too broad, if you could call it a niche at all.  I love being a wife and mother.  I love writing about my life.  So I essentially ended up with two personal blogs.  One I was myself as I have always been for three years and the other I stifled myself trying to be the model blogger following all the blogging rules. 

I advertised myself as The Piquant Storyteller.  After all was said and done I was more of a Timid Storyteller, not posting things for fear of offending someone!  Which is about as piquant as stale bread. 

It’s summer and I want to spend time with my kids.  We have big plans to just have fun this summer.  Babysitting a Twitter account and a spin off blog has become more time consuming and  more work than it needs to be.  So I am retiring The Piquant Storyteller blog.  For now anyway.  Never say never.  I may pull a Michael Jordan (#23) and come out of retirement. 

For now I will be doing all my writing, creative, ranting, or otherwise, on my original personal blog.  I appreciate all the support I have had from the readers I have found through this blog and Twitter.  Thank you.  You are welcome to follow the real me on my blog Based on a True Story.  The Piquant Storyteller is now retired. 

Thursday, June 10, 2010

What Was That?

Her heart was starting to beat faster as the anxiety set in.  She snuggled deeper into her husband’s chest, comforted by the warmth of his body.  She sighed deeply telling herself she would be fine as soon as she got there.  Agoraphobia would not get the best of her tonight. 

It was midnight and worrying about going someplace she had never been before was not going to help.  She had committed so she was going.  End of story.  Time for sleep.

Thud.  Bumpbumpbump.

All sense of serenity vanished.  Eyes widened that were almost asleep.

“Pete!”

“I don’t know what that was.”

They settled back into the pillows hoping it was just a child kicking the wall in their sleep.  But it didn’t seem like that’s all it was.  They both played the sound over again in their minds and cautiously got out of bed at the same time. 

Pete stood in the hallway listening at the door of the boys’ bedroom.  Kristi stared intently at him.  He slowly opened the door and she heard the floor boards creak as he checked on the snoozing kids.  Moments later he was back out.

“Neither one of them were even close to the wall.  They’re both asleep though.”  He turned as if ready to head back to bed.  The panic started to rise in Kristi’s chest as she stared at their daughter’s door.  The feeling to check on the little girl was intense.

Pete and Kristi only had to look at each other to know what the other was thinking.  He started to say he was afraid to open the door because it stuck and made a loud scraping sound that may wake the little girl.

Kristi was already at the door whispering that she knew a trick to open it quietly.  She lifted up as she turned the handle and the door opened almost silently.  She stealthily crossed the room to see their daughter lying flat on her back, legs stretched out over toys and blankets, near the wall. 

Maybe it was the little girl kicking the wall after all.  But the sounds didn’t seem right.  Pete and Kristi went back to bed, this time leaving the door open.  Pete suggested maybe it was a small earthquake.  He checked his Blackberry for info with no luck. 

Kristi’s mind wandered back in time to high school when she lived with her grandparents.  A strange earthquake happened in the early morning.  At the time Kristi was sure it was her grandma stomping through the house slamming cupboard doors in the kitchen.  Grandma was always so tiny but noisier than a bumbling elephant when she walked. 

The next morning Grandma and Grandpa both swore they weren’t up in the night.  The newscasters reported an earthquake where those who felt it described it as a feeling of someone in the house. 

The strange thudding and bumping seemed so eerily similar to that high school earthquake.  It had to have been an earthquake.  The kids were all safe.  Pete and Kristi attempted sleep again. 

THUD.  Pad pad pad. 

Kristi’s heart ached it was beating so hard.  She could barely breathe. 

Without moving Pete hissed, “Now you’re turning me into an anxious mess!”

“I’m sorry!”  Kristi breathed back.

Creeeeeeaaaaaaaak.

“Who’s there!”  Pete’s voice came out deeper than usual.

“Connor.  I need to go potty.”

“Go potty then!”  Kristi managed to keep the waver out of her voice. 

The toilet immediately flushed, small footsteps quickly padded off, the door creaked again and shut hard. 

Was that all that was going on all along?  Kristi could not suppress the panic.  Everything goes to bed at midnight, including rational thoughts.  Kristi knew nobody was in the house but she couldn’t shake the thought. 

Her mind wandered to a scene about a year ago.  She was bringing the kids home from the playground.  One was being obstinate and arguing with her.  She couldn’t remember why.  She just knew it was a chaotic moment with three young kids.  She pushed the button on the garage door opener and noticed the strange man for the first time.  He had been looking over the fence into the next door neighbor’s yard.  When the garage opened he was surprised and quickly walked across the street to speed walk past Kristi and her kids and around the corner. 

She never thought it was strange until she got all her kids back inside.  Then  it hit her.  What was he doing?  Why was he wearing khaki pants and a white golf shirt like some salesman but get so skittish over an opening garage?  What was he doing looking over the fence where there was no gate?  The pit in her stomach was heavy.

She got the kids eating lunch and walked to the former highway patrolman’s house to ask for advice.  He wasn’t home.  Pete had told Bill about the incident the next time he saw him.  Bill shared a story of a home invasion where a woman called him while she was hiding in her bedroom.  Bill, the cop, flushed the guy out of the house.  The robber jumped over the wall by the canal to meet up with Bill’s shotgun aimed at the robber’s face. 

Kristi could not stop thinking about these stories.  It was unlikely someone would break in.  Unfortunately, if anyone did they would be disappointed there was nothing worth stealing! 

Pete’s sense of ESP kicked in again and he asked if Kristi wanted to check the house.  Yes please!  They went together and checked that every door was locked.  Pete even locked the deadbolt on the door that leads to the garage, for good measure. 

Eventually sleep overcame the family.  The next morning it was a dim memory that felt more like a bad dream than reality. 

Thursday, May 27, 2010

It’s a crazy idea that just might work

Let go.  Easier said than done but today I realized that’s what I have to do. 

Today I visited my endocrinologist.  My A1c is 7.1, which is down one whole point from the last time I had the test done.  It’s supposed to be below 7.  My endo told me the result and said that he was happy with it because it’s moving in the right direction.  The rest of the test results from my blood work were fine.  My kidneys are fine, my liver is fine, my cholesterol is fine.  The A1c is not great but it’s coming down. 

He told me I looked good on paper.  So I asked why I don’t feel as good as I look on paper.  I told him I feel like I keep fighting with my blood sugars every day. 

“Why are you fighting?”

When he asked that question it was like all the noise suddenly stopped.  The sail was effectively taken out of my wind and I just sat there wondering why I fight everything so hard. 

I told him about last week.  How I had never bolused early for a meal but because I was so frustrated by my numbers I tried it.  It was magic.  For three or four days in a row my blood sugars were perfect.  I was on Cloud 9.  What a simple change that seemed to make all the difference. 

But then the magic stopped.  One day was perfect and the next day I did everything the same.  Except my blood sugars were all over the place but mostly high.  What happened?

He didn’t have an answer.  There is no answer.  It’s diabetes.  If it made sense like math, with only one right answer, diabetics would be fine. 

He said that everyone is different.  Some people are really sensitive to stress or things like that.  Maybe that’s what was causing the fluctuations in my blood sugar readings.  I admitted that I am an anxious person.  It’s who I am.  He basically responded that I need to stop worrying so much about my blood sugars. 

He told me that if I let it all get to me and start making changes every time I see something I don’t like I will be changing settings constantly.  I’ve done that!  He told me to just go with the flow and ride it out before I get so upset over things. 

“You’re getting better.  You should be proud of yourself.” 

The drive home was self reflective.  It usually is in one way or another.  Somehow his words made so much sense.  I have tried everything I can think of to isolate variables and figure out what is going on.  He’s right.  Why am I fighting?  I should be proud of what I have done.  I have worked hard and I deserve to congratulate myself on my accomplishments and forget about the rest of it.  He also said that nobody is perfect and to think that I am perfect means I’m nobody because nobody is perfect.  

I am giving myself permission to stop thinking.  The more I think about diabetes the more I get depressed and cry about it. 

This song says it all.  I chose this version because the lyrics are on screen.

 

 

I can do this.  I’ve done so many other things.  All I have to do is let go of the power struggle with myself. 

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Pitfalls of Cell Phone Technology

Technology.  It’s wonderful and it’s a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Take phones for example.  The telephone has made some dramatic changes in a relatively short amount of time.  Everyone has their own phone number now.  No more sharing phone lines and listening for the right ring combination.  Can you imagine sitting by the phone waiting for it to ring only to have the ring combination be for your neighbor?

Not that long ago talking on the phone meant being chained to a small area with a cord.  Now we have cordless phones that don’t work when the power goes out. 

Cell phones were invented after the idea was conceived on Star Trek.  That alone is amazing.  A popular science fiction television show was the inspiration for cellular technology. 

I am grateful for cell phones.  Houston Cellular helped me pay my bills my sophomore year of college.  I was a telemarketer trying to get people to buy cell phones over the phone.  After a long day of classes I called mostly older people trying to convince them that a cell phone was a good idea.  Emergency use and only paying for minutes used were my best rebuttals.  By the middle of the six hour shift I could barely say the word cellular correctly.  All that aside, I hit goal more often than I missed it.  Then I was moved onto other projects and Bell South’s Houston Cellular faded away. 

Cell phones are interesting.  Some people only have cell phones.  Some people refuse to use one because that’s just another way for them to be reached. 

My pet peeve with cell phones is the voice mail.  This is what usually happens to me.  I call someone and they, of course, are unavailable.  First of all, isn’t that the point of a cell phone?  That it’s permanently attached to your hip?  Isn’t that why you gave me your cell number saying it’s the best way to reach you?  What are the chances I manage to call you every time you’re in the bathroom?

While their message plays I’m frantically trying to think of what to say.  I always get voice mail when I was really hoping to just talk to the person.  Sometimes I pray for voice mail and that’s when I get the live person.  Murphy’s Law.  I come up with something to say and then I have to wait another 10 minutes. 

What is up with voice mail instructions?  “The person you are trying to reach is not available.”  I know.  The person just said that and now I need a computer voice to tell me again!  “Please record your message after the tone.”  Again, I was just told that by the person I was trying to reach!  Then the arbitrary stuff.  The stuff that makes me completely lose my train of thought because it takes so long for the computer voice to get through it all. 

“To leave a call back number press 5.  To send a numeric page press the letter B.  Press the pound key if you feel heavy after you eat a large meal.  Press the star key if you would like to speak to a Hollywood star.  Press 2 if your eyes are green.  After your message you can press 1 to listen to your message and if you like it you can press Y to send it.  Or you can simply hang up.  Press zero if you can’t remember what to do.  Or stay on the line for more options.  (Pause pause pause) Press the umlaut key if you want to hear these options again.  Oh you don’t have an umlaut key?  Please wait for the tone.”

Good heavens!  By the time all that is finished my message sounds like this:

“Uh . . . um . . . I can’t remember who I’m calling or why . . . wait!  I got it!  This is Tristan and I’m calling you because”

beep

Cut off again!  Then the computer voice comes back on and gives me another 10 minutes of instructions on keeping or re-recording the message and how to book a flight to the Bermuda Triangle in case I didn’t get how to delete the message. 

The message is sent.  Then I sink into a heap on the floor. 

This is why I never give out my cell number.  I certainly wouldn’t want to inflict the computer voice on a dog I didn’t like.  Besides, I never answer my phone and rarely have it charged.  Technology really is wonderful and a pain in the butt all at the same time. 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Ignorance is Bliss

What you don’t know won’t hurt you.  I promise. 

Remember when you were a kid and you hadn’t a care in the world?  You would eat the dirt out of your mother’s potted plants.  What happened?  Nothing.  Your mom told you to stop eating the dirt because it was gross, and while you were at it stop eating the dog’s food too because it’s for the dog! 

So you went outside to play with your friends.  You all sat around the sandbox oblivious to whether or not cats used it as a litter box.  Your friends would eat the sand and told you to try.  So you did but it was crunchier than the rich plant soil you just enjoyed.  “No thank you,” you said, “I like dirt better.”

Remember how you would drink water from the creek?  What happened?  Not a thing. 

You used to eat paste.  You thought it was delicious.  What happened there?  Nothing.  Well, there was that one time you smeared it on the faucet of the drinking fountain and nobody wanted to get a drink anymore.  But nobody knew who did it.  And nobody got hurt. 

Remember when you would play cops and robbers?  Your brother would tie you to the basketball standard with a jump rope and rub your arms until they were red and burned.  That was as violent as any kid got because nobody spent hours in front of the TV playing video games and watching shows that glorify violence, murder, and sex, only to watch the news and see how their peers were shooting each other. 

The news today is filled with random deplorable violence.  Murder happens regularly enough they compare homicide numbers over the years or even months. 

The fluffy news stories now include dramatic music and shocking reports that canned food is causing cancer and Type 2 diabetes among other things.  Don’t buy canned food!  Let us reiterate that you should never buy any food produced anywhere outside your neighborhood.  If you live in another country, by all means, eat the food produced there.  But if you live across the street, that’s not local enough. 

Senator Diane Feinstein:  This is a concern of mine.  I don’t eat canned food.  I don’t even buy canned food anymore.   I urge you not to buy canned food.

Reading between the lines – If you are poor you will not survive this new nutrition scare.

Cell phones are dangerous.  They make men impotent and women get breast cancer.  The radiation emitted will slowly kill you.  Don’t use a cell phone. 

A study shows that people are happy at 50.  Before the age of 50 people are stressed out.  You wonder if it’s an instantaneous deal.  At 12:01 am on a person’s 50th birthday are they suddenly overcome with overwhelming happiness and a washing away of all stress?  You start to worry because you won’t be 50 for 20-30 more years! 

A reprieve from the scary news brings a daunting commercial about termites and how easy it is for them to take over your home, your life, and start a relationship with your significant other. 

The news is back and the reporter is in a neighborhood talking to a police officer. 

Reporter:  Can you tell us what’s going on?
Cop:  No, I can’t discuss any details at this time.
Reporter:  It smells like marijuana.  Like a lot. 
Cop:  Yes . . . the smell is hard to miss . . .

“The state received tons of rain but why is the governor saying we are still in a drought?  Is politics behind this?”  You wonder if maybe conserving water may not be a bad idea regardless of political indoctrination. 

“Attention Facebook and/or Twitter users.  Don’t give out personal information!”  You smack your forehead.  Oh no.  What was I thinking?

Another commercial makes you feel guilty for owning any appliance that comes with a remote.  Turn it off!  Turn it all off!  If you see a glowing light even after it’s off then that means your remote will work so you must unplug everything. 

The next commercial shows a girl blow drying her hair with a fan and a boy peering at the ocean in his refrigerator.  A seagull flies at his face and his mom gives him a dirty look for keeping the door open.  Wait.  That last part wasn’t part of the commercial.  But it should have been. 

You don’t know what to think.  You grab your remote to turn off the TV.  Screaming in agony you pull the plug.  Soon you feel that creepy crawly feeling like something is on you. 

TERMITES! 

You swear you see their brown nasty bodies.  It’s hard to tell in the dark.  You imagine hoards of them coming up the drains like the drains vomited up termites.  The walls are suddenly covered in ants sacrificing a spider to appease the Orkin gods. 

You pull out all the canned food and open each one.  You leave the cans for the pests hoping the BPA will kill bugs faster than it supposedly messes up humans. 

You reach for your cell phone to call for help.  Instead you stare at it like a hot potato and throw it at the wall.  The ants scatter as the radiation singes their bodies.  You run from your house in your underwear waving your arms above your head yelling like a banshee. 

All of this could have been avoided if you would have just stayed ignorant.  What you don’t know won’t hurt.  I promise. 

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Dream a little dream

Day 7 - Dream a little dream - life after a cure. To wrap up Diabetes Blog Week, let’s pretend a cure has been found. We are all given a tiny little pill to swallow and *poof* our pancreases are back in working order. No side effects. No more insulin resistance. No more diabetes. Tell us what your life is now like. Or take us through your first day celebrating life without the Big D. Blog about how you imagine you would feel if you no longer were a Person With Diabetes.

When I was about 12 years old I was walking up my street.  I saw a bumper sticker on the back of a neighbor’s truck that had a profound impact on me.  I don’t remember exactly what it said but I remember the sentiment was that child abuse was to be abhored.  I hated so much of my life but something changed, like someone flipped a switch.  In that moment my jaw was set.  I made up my mind about the rest of my life.  The cycle would stop with me. 

I had dreams of what I would say to my father the day I turned 18.  Little did I know my life would change sooner than I planned when my mom left, taking her children with her.  I turned 15 a couple weeks later. 

There was a strange absence.  There was no party and true laughter returned much later, and sooner, than I imagined it would.  My new life and the welcome hole in it surprisingly took some getting used to.  People expected us to act a certain way because of the divorce.  Nearly everyone was surprised to hear why since we never talked about it.  The truth changed people’s perspective for better or worse and new expectations were often born. 

The idea of a miraculous cure for diabetes almost feels the same way to me.  Of course I want it but it would be strange.  It would take a lot of getting used to. 

Physical changes would be immediate.  All prescriptions related to diabetes would be unnecessary.  Insulin, test strips, zestril (an ace inhibitor that protects organs), lancets, pump supplies like infusion sets and reservoirs, adhesive tape to hold the infusion set in place as well as the CGM sensor.  Wow, I have prescriptions for a lot of things!  Chances are I forgot something too. 

More physical changes would include freedom from a pump, continuous glucose monitor sensor, testing blood sugar, counting carbs, any math at all with insulin, timing, eating, exercising, etc. 

There would be no more reason to have stashes of glucose tabs or food all over the house.  I may even say goodbye to my purse.  I am not a purse person and only bought one because it was easier to carry my meter and snacks in.  That thing holds my life in it when we go anywhere! 

I’m probably forgetting physical changes.  There would be no more marks on my fingers from testing my blood sugar, no more red splotches all over my abdomen from old infusion set sites.  No more dry skin, no more itching.  No more irritated sites underneath tape.  Is it possible I’m allergic to insulin?  My mom wonders that but I think I just am an extremely sensitive person when it comes to having a plastic cannula stuck in my stomach for a couple days at a time covered by tape.  No more bruises or physical marks of any kind left from diabetes. 

This CGM-003_thumb would never be worn again.  I guess I did have a picture to share yesterday!  I wear my continuous glucose monitor sensor on my arm because it was so uncomfortable on my stomach.  I barely feel it on my arms and it’s out of the way.  I do get really sick of all the gasping “What happened to your arm!!!!!” questions when I wear it though.  So a cure would mean never wearing it again.

Yes, those physical changes would be monumental and very welcome.  It would be so strange though.  It’s my routine to take care of the demands of diabetes.  I don’t see myself changing my eating habits.  I’m pretty sure I would do carb math in my head long after a cure.  I know a cure would not change my feelings about pizza or doughnuts!  Sorry to my husband and kids.  It’s a taste issue over insulin to carb math. 

A machine would no longer dictate hunger.  I was 10 years old when I was diagnosed, old enough to remember what it was like to not have diabetes but I was also young enough that I honestly don’t remember what hunger feels like.  My glucometer tells me whether or not I should have a snack. 

I could exercise whenever I wanted to without having to play the blood sugar numbers game first.  I could go to bed without wondering if I should eat first.  I could sleep through the night. 

So many immediate physical changes.  It’s hard enough to write all the minute details of diabetes to even imagine life without them. 

The emotional changes would be something else.  That part of a cure is what made me share a moment from my childhood.  I do everything in my power to be normal.  Yes, I’m diabetic and I work hard to manage it well but I don’t like to think about it.  I’m not the diabetic lady.  I’m me.  Diabetes will not keep me from being who I am. 

So the physical changes from a diabetes cure would be as public as those needs are now.  I imagine people focusing on that.  Oh, you’re cured now.  Now you don’t have to do . . . all the things I described.  But the emotional part.  The part I share fully with my husband and bits and pieces of with other people when I feel it’s appropriate, would be the part nobody would think of.  Like when the nightmarish pieces of my childhood ended.  Nobody thought about that part.  Everyone just thought the crappy part is over. 

And they were right but there’s more to it than that.  I’m 32 years old, haven’t spoken to my father at all in over 10 years, I know I’ve forgiven him but I’m still terrified to run into him somewhere, and I still think about it all.  I never imagined I would be an adult and still have to think about it but I do a lot.  I dread the day I have to tell my kids.  So far I’ve been able to dodge their questions. 

My diabetes is so intertwined in who I am I really think I would have another welcome hole in my life if I were cured.  Taking away such a source of emotional stress would take some time to get used to.  Even when something happens that is wrong and needs to stop, having it actually stop is disorienting to some degree.  Diabetes would be no different. 

Right now I imagine letting my 4 year old skip my CGM transmitter across the ocean but what would I really do if I were magically cured? 

I actually don’t mind being diabetic most of the time.  I cope by not thinking about it more than I need to.  I live my life and pursue my dreams.  It’s those unexpected moments when I cry about it, wishing it away in vain. 

I believe God made me this way for a reason.  I have no doubt that He knows exactly how I feel.  I know He is there cheering me on the same way He cheers on all of His children.  He didn’t send us here to fail.  He’s not laughing at our trials.  He gets emotional with us and like a good parent, He knows our trials will only make us stronger. 

I am who I am.  My life experiences enhance who I am, making me stronger than I ever would have been otherwise.  While a cure for diabetes would be welcome, to answer the question of what would I do and how would it change my life . . . I don’t know. 

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Day 6 Taking a walk on the wild card side of DBW

Wild card - Blood Sugar Nirvana or Moronic Moment. (inspired by Kelly Kunik at Diabetesaliciousness) Blog about the time you ate a meal that tends to spike you to the moon, but your perfectly calculated and timed bolus kept your blood sugar happy. Or tell us about that time your brain had a little diabetes-blip and you did something you think is “stupid”. (Because chances are, we’ve done it too!!) Go ahead, brag about your triumph or commiserate about your d-blooper.

Solitude blankets the house.  Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.  The children were nestled all snug in their beds while visions of SpongeBob danced in their heads.  With husband in his kerchief and I in my cap,  wait, that’s not right! 

Soft snuffling snores stopped by

BEEEEE BOOO BEEEE BOOO BEEEE BOOO

I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter, hissing a naughty word as the silence was shattered.  I patted myself down from head to foot thinking my CGM sensor had fallen out – kaput. 

As I patted my thoughts were many and frantic.  It’s a trial sensor I thought in a panic.  I searched all two pump screens remembering that the sensor held all info for insurance means. 

Finally my husband had an ah-ha look on his face.  He laughed as he lunged and started to race . . . for his laptop. 

“The battery is low warning it may soon be dead.  I’ve shut it up now, so let’s get back to bed!” my husband exclaimed.  We had a good laugh and soon closed our eyes.  Blissful sleep returned.  To all a good night. 

Not as easy to rhyme as it seems but this is my favorite d-blooper.