Lately I have gotten questions from friends who have recently joined the T1 “club” and I have realized that there is so much I don’t know — I’m sure they are thinking, “Shannon’s had this thing for 20 years, surely she’s an expert by now!” But sadly, I am quickly realizing I’m not. And if anything, I’M the one learning from them.
When I was first diagnosed, one of the Rx’s we took home from the hospital was for a glucagon pen (for the non-diabetics reading this, it is a syringe full of basically pure sugar – it is used in an emergency when blood sugars drop and you are likely passed out or about to be.) We got it filled and it sat there .. until it expired. Got it refilled, and it sat there … till it expired. After a couple of times I just stopped getting it refilled. Haven’t had one in probably 15 or so years now. Luckily I’ve never needed one. Recently, my friend Suzanne (mom to a T1 daughter) asked me in casual conversation if I had one. I said “No” and later was talking to my hubby about it. When I explained what they were used for, he asked me why I didn’t have one and I said, “Well, I used to have them but never used/needed them, so it was silly to keep paying for it if I never needed it.” He said, “Would you think that way about A’s epi pens?” (Our 4 year old son has a severe tree nut allergy, which we found out about the hard way :/ so we are owners of 3 epi pens) Ouch. Of course not – I would never in a million years take the chance of not having that epi pen because that would safe his life! So why don’t I think about myself in that same regard? That glucagon pen could potentially save MY life, just like his epi pen would save his. I’ll be asking my Endo for a new Rx at my appointment this month….
I also used to wear a MedicAlert bracelet (or a knockoff of one) back when I was first diagnosed. I have been debating with myself for months now on whether or not to start wearing one again. In my mind, I’ve always thought the insulin pump would be my “clue” in an emergency, but now I’m realizing that Paramedics, etc., aren’t necessarily trained to look for that, like they are the bracelets. When I was recertified for First Aid/CPR a few months ago (I work in our church nursery) I asked the EMT that was teaching the class his thoughts on this. He said most emergency personnel do know what an insulin pump is. However, that’s not the first thing they’re looking for. And chances are, someone untrained (an innocent bystander) could possibly be the first person on the scene in an emergency, and they certainly won’t likely know what an insulin pump is, but more likely they will recognize a MedicAlert tag and know to share that information with the first responders. So …. my new bracelet has been ordered and is on its way to me.
Another thing I’m relearning is logging. No, not the kind they do with trees in Washington. But logging every.single.thing I eat/do. That includes what time I go to sleep, wake up, check my blood sugar, take insulin, eat, if I’m stressed, exercise (yea right), etc. That way I can look at the graphs printed from my CGM data and know what caused “that” spike or “that” low. I’ve asked some other T1′s out there how they log, and I’ve gotten some good responses. But in the end, I have to come up with a way that works for ME and will be something that I will actually stick to. It’s important in finding trends, and making adjustments accordingly.
My new mantras lately have been “I’m a work in progress” and “Better late than never!” I’m trying. And I’ll get there. It just took me finally realizing how little I do know, and not only that, but doing something about it.