I woke up this morning promising myself a nap. It was the only way I was going to force myself out of my cozy bed. If I could, I would have let the kids sleep all morning and then rot their brains in front of the TV the rest of the day. It’s my birthday and that was how I wanted to spend it. When enough sleep was shaken from my head I realized that my lazy day plans were an impossible birthday wish. I remembered I was supposed to get trained on a new continuous glucose monitoring system (CGM).
This is the busiest time of year. It used to be my favorite time of year but now everyone wants my attention. The hustle and bustle of Christmas is one thing. The school projects are becoming part of the routine. What makes it busy and hard for me is having to do my current secretary jobs at church while also preparing for the new year. It doesn’t help that I don’t know the teaching assignments for next year. That affects at least half the forms I’m required to update and print.
We’re having a teacher training on Sunday and the plans keep changing. As a result, I was texting with the presidency members until 11:30 last night. At that point I turned down the sound on my phone and went to bed. The emails started coming in this morning. In the first one I was wished a happy birthday. The good feelings that produced have long since expired. By the time I had to leave for my appointment I had at least three things added to my already full to-do list. The assignments keep coming. I thought it was my birthday. Leave me alone. I’m not interested in other people today!
The CGM appointment was not my favorite thing to have to do today. The rep arrived after me making me wonder if I even made it to the right place. She wasn’t late. It was just weird because we were meeting at my nurse’s office even though she is only in that office on Tuesdays. Another nurse was there. It surprised me a little but also put me more at ease.
I’m always surprised when I see this lady. She shares an office with my nurse and the last couple of times she has stayed in the room. I’m answering what I consider personal questions and there is some other woman sitting there as if she would be munching on popcorn for my stories if she had any. We have never even been introduced! It’s weird but if I have learned anything in my life with diabetes it’s that I gave up any sense of privacy when I accepted the diagnosis.
Right off the bat my worst fears were confirmed. They wanted me to insert the sensor in front of them today. I knew I should have mentioned my fears and pet peeves to the rep over the phone. The first time she called me to set up the appointment I was half asleep. Heath told me not to bother calling her back to say I refuse to insert my own sensors or infusion sets. I would reveal it to her at the appointment. Surprise.
She was pretty surprised. Not about my secret as much as she didn’t know what to do about it. They both tried to tell me they needed to know that I could insert the sensor should I need to. That’s the gray area for me. I get that sensors provide a lot of valuable information, but it’s not like it is the difference between life and death. The sensor is only sensing my blood sugar from my interstitial fluid. It’s not infusing the magic elixir that keeps me alive – insulin.
I didn’t stare them down. I didn’t complain or whine. I just answered their incredulous questions with the truth. I have had too many panic attacks that my husband says it’s not worth it. He will do it for me. I said that if he’s out of town I trust my son to help me. Not even my oldest son. My youngest son, the 10 year old. The rep said she is a nurse so … and she looked at the other nurse for her opinion.
No one ever said one way or another how this appointment would proceed. I think there was a statement that I would have to show that I knew what I was doing. I assumed that meant I was inserting the sensor in front of these two practical strangers. On my birthday no less! All those years ago I came into the world perfect. Nearly ten years later we learned that my pancreas was broken and now I was staring down the barrel of a gray inserter. Happy birthday to me.
I went through the training and was trying not to be bored. I know all of this. I have used sensors before. The idea behind them is the same. The only thing I wasn’t familiar with was the new technique to insert the improved sensors. It was a good refresher course for me. I understand better why there is a lag time between what the sensor reads and what a fingerstick glucose reveals. The understanding is vague enough I couldn’t explain it to someone else. I was just happy to know that there is only a 5-10 minute lag time now instead of the 20+ minutes I dealt with before. That was one of my top reasons for hating the sensors.
The rep had to skip through several slides because my insurance won’t let me get a new pump yet. My current pump is still under warranty until May. *eye roll* I get it and I don’t. Yes, my pump meets the bare minimum of my needs as a person with Type 1 diabetes. However, I was really looking forward to the threshold suspend feature. I have been going out of my way to keep my blood sugars in a really high range to avoid lows ever since that one low hospitalized me. My mind has been traumatized but that isn’t part of my diabetes care.
Soon she was out of slides. She asked me to pull out the things I needed to hook myself up to the sensor. The way she was having me get the sensor into the inserter led me to believe this was happening. I was going to have to do it. She asked if I was ready and I told her no. We waited an impossibly long time for the alcohol on my skin to dry. Then she inserted it. I would not have been nervous at all had I known that’s what the plan was. I did like that it didn’t hurt. Those last sensors went in at an angle and hurt like naughty words pretty much every single time.
She had me pull the needle out. Now I know what that’s like. Not too tough. It’s just like the infusion sets. It comes straight out. I connected the transmitter. It will probably always look scarier to me than it is. Last I put the tape on. I’m glad that she was nice enough to work with me like that. She did the hard part and made me do the rest. Not bad. Heath will still have to do it all! But I did get a sense of how the rest of the procedures worked by doing it myself.
My heart was in my throat for some time afterwards. Once I got through the scary part of getting the sensor inside me, I saw how late it was. She wasn’t done talking yet. We walked out of the office together at 2:55. By an act of God I was at the school in the next eight minutes and there was still parking on the street! I think the street pickup behind the school is no longer the secret it once was. Some days I leave with enough time and there is no more parking on the street. I was prepared to park across the street at the park and walk in to get the kids. Instead I found myself at the end of the line but well in front of the corner. The kids had no idea I had been at a stressful appointment for the last two hours, barely in time to pick them up.
My attention is still being pulled. I picked up even more assignments in my absence this afternoon. But it’s my birthday and I think I deserve at least one day off. Just give me the presents and no one gets hurt. A big Diet Coke with a bow on it would really make my day right now.