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When Apples Attack

I can't ever buy apples again.Last night after work, I stopped by the grocery store to pick up a few things on my way home.  The place was post-work packed.

I was wearing a dress with a bit of a busy print, and loud, clacking heels, so I wasn’t really a shrinking violet.  But it wasn’t a big deal to be a bit over-dressed for grocery shopping – I was just running in and running out as quickly as I could.

I go to the produce section and fill my cart with a few items, then I remember that Chris asked me to get fruit.  So I went over to the selection of apples, which had apparently just been refilled, as they were piled high.  High as in like two dozen levels of red, shiny apples.  With a plastic bag in my hand, I reached out and grabbed an apple.  And then another.

And then I reached for a third.

Which must have been precariously placed.

As every apple in the stack came tumbling towards me.  Like in a cartoon.

“OOOOH!”  I yelled, whipping my arms around like a windmill in effort to stop the avalanche.

“OOOOH!”  I yelled, as I pressed myself against the side of the shelving to keep the apples from hitting the floor, letting them pile up against me instead.

“OOOOH!”  I yelled as the apples created a slope against my body and then starting falling faster from the tower, rocketing off my shoulder and flying high into the air.

“OOOOH!” The woman a few feet away yelled, as an apple ricocheted off the shelving and landed in her cart.

I was dying of embarrassment.  The apples were hitting the floor with a loud thunk and people were staring and the grocery store produce guys were running over, trying to help, but their laughter rendered them useless.

“Oh my God, please make this stop.  Please, can you just make the apples stop their onslaught!”  I pleaded, my arms filled with fruit.

The produce guy closest to me tried to stem the flow of apples, but it was fruitless.  These apples were powered by inertia and determined to make a spectacle of me.

“Miss, you need to step away from the apples so we can clean them up.  Can you move back a few steps?”

“If I move, all the ones I’m holding will fall.  And then I will die of shame.”  I tried to talk without moving my mouth, as to not further enrage the apples.

The produce guy tried to hide his laughter.  “Miss, step away from the apples.  I’m ready to deal with them.  In three … two … one …”

I moved back and all the apples I was holding in my arms tumbled to the ground with a SMACK.  A sea of large, red marbles on the tile floor.  My face was as red as an … well,  you can guess.

“Can I help you clean up?  Or can I go?  Can I just walk away and pretend this didn’t happen?”

“Run, lady.  You might want to run.”

I fumbled for my purse and my grocery cart and tried to eek away gracefully (as gracefully as one can, with loud heels and a noticeable dress), turning my ankle on an apple only once.  People were smirking and laughing, and one old man started to applaud.

I left the grocery store, my face on fire and laughing to myself.  I called my mother from my car and told her the story through my embarrassment and tears of laughter.

“I think I’m channeling Grammie,” I said.

“Oh Kerri … you’re right,” my mother laughed.  “Grammie was known for wearing platform shoes in the grocery store and falling over at the deli counter.  And you know what?  I wore platform shoes to the deli counter when I was your age and I fell over, too!  It’s hereditary!”

Note to self: Do not buy platform shoes.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Old School Diabetes: Diagnosis

I saw my niece over the weekend.  She just turned seven.  She had a bit of a fever and wasn’t feeling very well, so when I saw her snuggled up on the couch under a blanket, she looked every bit the little kid she is.  Poor little peanut, hiding out until she felt better.

I remembered that I was about her age when I was diagnosed.

I found an old school photo from second grade, with me sitting next to my friend Bobby (who I still talk to, which is a very surreal experience, hanging out with someone I’ve known longer than I’ve known insulin injections).  I was diagnosed in September, right as second grade started.

Second grade, 1986.
I’m in the blue dress, second row from the bottom, third from the left.
Swinging my feet.  Not much for sitting still, even in second grade.

Over the last few days, I’ve been reading some emails from the CWD parents as they gear up for the Friends for Life conference in Orlando in a few weeks.  These emails are sent out to a whole mailing list of attendees, and somehow I ended up on the list with all the parents.  (Or maybe the list just happens to be mostly parents and I just happen to be an adult “kid” with diabetes.)  These parents are comparing notes and reaching out to one another, looking forward to other parents who understand what they’re going through every day as they care for their kid with diabetes.

And I wish that my mother had this kind of support when she was dealing with my diagnosis over twenty years ago.  My mom had a lackluster team of doctors at the Rhode Island Hospital (where I went for a few months before going to Joslin) and Eleanor (the only other mother of a diabetic kid that we knew of in our town and the woman who just happens to be my local Dexcom rep), leaving her with little to manage the enormous learning curve.

This weekend, I went on a bike ride with my sister-in-law, my father-in-law, and my husband.  I had to remember to test beforehand, bring my meter, stash some glucose sources on several people, and monitor as re rode.  A lot of thought for maybe an hour long bike ride.  And it made me wonder what kind of preparation and worry my mother went through when she sent me out to play for a whole Saturday afternoon.  Lot of work on my mom’s part just to keep things normal.

I forget this sometimes, how many people are really involved in keeping me healthy.

I need to call my mom.

(Granted, my diabetes diagnosis hasn’t kept me from doing much at all.  And it definitely didn’t keep me from being … um, a bit of a goofball.)

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

Diabetes And Blueberry Awesomeness

There’s stuff that’s bolus-worthy.  New York style cheesecake.  Chai tea on a snowy winter day.  Wedding cake made out of red velvet with butter cream frosting.  These indulgences are worth draining my pump reservoir for, and almost worth the spike I try to, but don’t always, avoid.

I’ve been very, very attentive to my diabetes lately.  Logging all these numbers, sporting the Dexcom, trying to manage stress levels, exercising … whatever it takes to make me as healthy as I can be for the baby I want to have someday. But that wagon is hard to stay on all the time, and I have taken a risk or two in the last month.  Like a trip on the Connecticut Wine Trail with some friends.  And some pasta at Carmine’s last weekend with my sister-in-law.

Oh holy awesome.

And blueberry swirl cupcakes from Crumbs Bakery.

My diabetes control isn’t made or broken in one bite of a fluffy, delicious cupcake.  Usually when I’m having a high sugar indulgence, I’m right on top of things, diabetes-wise.  I bolus aggressively to avoid the high and I watch that Dexcom like a hawk for any subsequent lows.  My management problems come more in the form of letting my numbers go untracked and pinging all over the place, letting highs creep up without corrections, then stacking boluses until I hit a nasty low, which I over-treat and rebound into a high … you know the cycle.  It’s not the “one thing” but more my inability to care for more than an hour or two.  The last few weeks of intensive management have been about keeping an eye on everything and not letting the cycle spin out of control.

And it’s hopefully working.  My machine averages are down, I’m seeing many hours straight of flat-lines on the CGM, and knowing my Joslin appointment is at the end of July keeps my mind on task.

Besides, it’s not like I ate the whole cupcake.  I split it with Chris and I asked for the estimated carb count before I took a bite.

But I did take the first, awkward bite.

Whoops!  Cupcake!

And I did enjoy every other bite of it, too.  Go ahead and judge!  🙂

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

The Diabetes Things I Like

Even though I do not like the disease, there are some diabetes-related simple pleasures that make me smile:

  • I like when I change the battery and the insulin reservoir at the same time.  Having my Medtronic 522 “full” on both sides makes me happy.
  • I like when the carb count on something is exactly 10 grams of carbs because it matches my insulin to carb ration precisely.  One snack, one unit, one oddly happy Kerri.
  • I like the sound of the pump counting up a bolus.  Boop boop beep!
  • I like when the sound of the bolus is caught by Chris and he ends up whistling it back to me, almost without thinking.  It’s a little soundtrack snippet of our life.
  • I like when the cats wait patiently for me to remove the pump tubing from my body before they lunge for it.
  • I like when new boxes of diabetes supplies show up and I can organize them in my little OCD supply closet.
  • I like when the number on my meter is two digits, but higher than 89 mg/dl.  It’s a tight range, I’m not usually in it, but it brings me weird joy.
  • I like when the Dexcom beeps and my coworker (who works a wall away from me) IMs me quietly to check, “Low?” because she’s ready to get juice if necessary.
  • I like not having to wear a watch. Diabetes simple pleasures.  Damnit.
  • I like when I get to dump all the used test strips that have piled up throughout the day.  Knowing I’ve tested a bunch makes me feel like I really stayed tuned in.
  • I like the smell of white glucose tabs.
  • I like when the new infusion set doesn’t sting at all.
  • I like having someone in my life who is willing to get their hands covered in SkinTac in an attempt to stick a Dexcom sensor to random places on my body.
  • I like that the hope of the parents of kids with diabetes rubs off on me, and makes me feel good for even just a few minutes.
  • I like that diabetes gives two people, who wouldn’t otherwise have a thing to say to one another, a whole dinner’s worth of conversation.
  • I like having coworkers who understand but don’t push.
  • I like when my best friend clinks her beer to mine and says, “Bolus, baby.”
  • I like when the cat licks my hand after I test.
  • I like “free shower:”  a shower without a pump site or a CGM sensor attached.
  • I like having a whole network of people who understand – and do not judge – my diabetes life.

I like when I can focus on the silly, simple things when I feel a little overwhelmed by the tough stuff.

*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*

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