Saturday, December 20, 2014

Researcher Needs Volunteers

 If any of you are dealign with diabetic kidney disease, a medical research company could use your help.

Here are the details:

My name is Laura Greer, I work with The Henne Group, www.thehennegroup.com, a small medical research company in San Francisco. We are contacting you to see if you can help us with our new project. We are looking for people, patients who are managing Diabetic Kidney Disease. We will be conducting in person interviews in different cities across the US. starting on the third week of January and participants will receive $100 as a thank you incentive to compensate for their time and effort.

No attempt will be made to sell anything or influence their thinking, and all participation is confidential.

If you think you can help us to spread the information of this study please feel free to post this email or to contact me by phone or email. If you know anyone who is interested, they can contact us on our phone number 415-348-2986 or 877.737.5782 x 286.

People can see if they qualify to do the study by taking this survey:
http://surveys.thehennegroup.com/survey/intweb.dll/project/cawi/1416_DKD_CAWI

My direct line, if you have any questions is 415.348.2918
 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Did I remember or forget an insulin shot?

When it comes to looking after my own diabetes, I have my pump to help me. I can look at my history and see if I remembered to bolus for that chocolate doughnut. Remembering if I gave my dog her insulin shot is becoming a problem.

I knew the day April was diagnosed, giving her insulin would become a routine. Routines are good and dangerous. My typical morning begins the same way:

1. Get up and take care of business.
2. Take April the diabetic dog and her best friend, Honey outside.
3. Come back inside with the dogs and clean up any puddles April left overnight.
4. Greet daughter while she feeds her cat, Cyclone.
5. Feed Fresh Air and Sunshine, my twin cats
6. Feed April
7. Feed Honey
8. Give April her shot--21u NPH.
9. Drive Evelyn to work

Unless, Evelyn has to be at work early. Then I do steps 1-3. Skip ahead to step 9, add a step 4.5 and feed Evelyn's cat, Cyclone. Then I do steps 5-8.

This morning I took my daughter to work early. I came home and fed all pets. Did I remember April's shot? I think I did. Wait, did I? Oh no, I can't remember. Open fridge, find an empty syringe. OK, no I didn't give April her breakfast insulin. Give April her shot. Whew.

Then there is Saturday morning. Saturday morning I sleep in, and my husband feeds April and gives her a shot. Unless, he is napping on the couch and I don't want to disturb him and then I give April a second breakfast and a second shot. OK, that happened once, but wow did that suck.

Do you know what a dog looks like with a blood glucose of 22? I do. Shaking, trembling, stumbling, glassy-eyed and very scary. Did you know a dog will not eat glucose tablets, or drink juice, or eat Smarties, or caramel sauce? We stuffed her mouth full of vanilla frosting. Followed by more vanilla frosting and peanut butter once her BG stabilized. That was so scary. Never again.

Steve and I now have a system in place on weekends. I assume he gave April her breakfast and insulin, unless he says otherwise. So, double insulin doses won't happen again. 42u of NPH at once scared the crap out of us. Morning pet feeding is a daily routine for me and it's hard to skip feeding April on the weekends. Steve reminds me and that helps.

Honey and Sunshine 2013
In the evening, I feed all pets again in the same order: Cyclone first, Fresh Air and Sunshine second, April is fed third and Honey is fed last. The hierarchy keeps things peaceful. Dogs are pack animals. Animals higher in status eat first. Humans-->cats-->dogs is how we avoid any food aggression in our home. I can feed a cat that is sitting on top of a dog, and not worry the dog will snap at the cat. There is only one alpha bitch in our house: me. Everyone knows their standing, and everything is peaceful between pets.

Remembering insulin is the only pet problem I have. I think I will start marking syringes with blue and orange marker. Blue for breakfast, orange for dinner. That way I will know at a glance if I gave April her insulin. If I see a syringe with a blue line on it in the fridge, I forgot April's breakfast insulin. If I see an orange mark, and it is morning, I remembered and replaced the syringe for dinner time.

This could be helpful for people, too. If you use syringes, marking them with marker could let you know at a glance if you gave yourself a shot or not. Timesulin caps for insulin pens are a good idea, too. I use the history function on my pump every day to keep myself on track.

April doing her thing in 2014
Looking after a dog with diabetes requires some extra patience. High blood sugar leads to excessive thirst which leads to puddles in the house. On the plus side, keeping April's blood sugar steady is easier than it is for people, because she is content to eat the same food at every meal. Except sometimes she steals bread off the table. Or gets in the garbage. Still, most of the time we have a good balance and I am grateful.


April is a normal dog who happens to have diabetes. We're doing all we can to look after her. She will be 12 in February, which is old for a weimaraner. She is about 89 in human years. April has two autoimmune diseases: Addison's disease and type 1 diabetes. Both April and I have multiple autoimmune diseases and we both do what we can to deal with it. April hasn't let it wreck her life. I won't let it wreck my life either.

Since I mentioned my pets, I think it's fair to add a few pet pics. Here are the Smith Family kids:


 Cyclone, my daughter's cat. (She pays for his food and vet bills. Her pet, not mine.)


A good mouser and a good boy. I love my grand-cat.


Fresh Air and Sunshine are my cats. Fresh Air is wearing a tuxedo. 
Sunshine is all black and softer than mink. They are both rescued barn cats and littermates. 
They came to live with us in November 2013.
 
 
 We call them "the twins." If you took a gumdrop, dipped it in honey, and rolled it in powdered sugar, it would be no where near as sweet as these two cats. They are amazing friends and I love them dearly. I've had cats for 25 years. These two may be the best cats I've ever known. Fresh Air purrs when he sees me. I don't even have to pet him and he starts purring. Sunshine makes me laugh because she's a clown and kind of dopey in a sweet sort of way.
"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats." - Albert Schweitzer

Honey. My retired service dog, chemo buddy and all around best friend. She is much younger in this picture. Honey just turned 12 in August.


The one and only April, my husband's dog and our loyal friend.


"When the Man waked up he said, 'What is Wild Dog doing here?' And the Woman said, 'His name is not Wild Dog any more, but the First Friend, because he will be our friend for always and always and always.'" —Rudyard Kipling



Monday, December 1, 2014

Good Vibes


I am vibrating with excitement for two reasons today.

Reason number 1: Check out Kerri's blog. YES! OH YES!

Reason number 2: I won NaNoWriMo. For those who have no idea what that is, National Novel Writing Month was in November. I sat down on November 1st and began a novel. I completed a 50,000 word novel draft by November 30th. I have always wanted to do the NaNoWriMo challenge, but I've never been able to do it.

Until this year.

After four years of creative drought, finishing a novel draft made me feel alive again. I love blogging, and writing non-fiction, but writing stories gives my life meaning. I've been lost and disconnected inside without having a story to write. I knew the only thing that would heal me was writing fiction, but I couldn't find my storyteller voice. It was stuck. I was stuck. I've been sad inside for many years, because I couldn't write a story.

Last month, I found my voice. I wrote an entire novel in a month. I feel like I've reconnected with myself. It feels good to be back home.



Disclaimer

I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

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