Friday, June 30, 2006

Injection sites

Is there anywhere I can't inject? Latest rise to a technical challenge - in a bar, by candlelight, balanced on a stool.
I would have preferred to do this discreetly at a table but we'd left our reservation too late and the Jill Sobule concert at Joe's Pub was sold out. I guess I could have gone to the restroom but that's a trek and pretty gross, and after the great hypo incident I prefer to actually order the food and count the carbs rather than guess from the menu. (Evil tiny cute rolls).
I had to count the clicks on my Pen because it was too dark to see and avoid the people jogging my elbow while injecting but mission was successfully accomplished and the concert rocked too.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Warning signs

One of the things I love about having diabetes are those pesky hypos in the middle of the night. Like last night. I thought it was the cat's purring that had woken me up and I tried to get her to shut up (in the nicest possible way of course) but I was aware that something wasn't right. One, I was still awake, two, I was hungry, three, I felt odd and the clincher: I could read the display on the clock without my glasses, a feat I can normally only accomplish by squinting really well.
What I don't understand is why sometimes the warning signs are subtle, sometimes I get increased vision, sometimes I can't see at all, and sometimes they are horribly obvious i.e. the full-on shakes and sweats incident. The lowness of the BG doesn't seem to have any effect on the severity of the symptoms, I can feel hungry at 43 and 27, I can get flashy lights in my eyes at those numbers too. And no, alcohol doesn't play any part in what kind of hypo warning signs I get or how severe they might be.
What I don't want in the middle of the night though, is to wake up, work out why I've woken up, deal with the hypo in whatever shape it comes and then go back to bed. I just want to roll over and go back to sleep. And I definitely don't want to have to feed at that time.
So if anyone knows of a magic excess insulin sucking up device that I could just stick in my body at the first sign of low BG could they send me details? Thanks.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Not prepared for the big one

The hurricane that is. According to a mail from my insurance company the north east of the US is overdue for a major hurricane. They sent out a Hurricane Preparedness List so we could put together a kit.

Water - at least 1 gallon daily per person for 3 to 7 days
Food - at least enough for 3 to 7 days
— non-perishable packaged or canned food / juices
— foods for infants or the elderly
— snack foods
— non-electric can opener
— cooking tools / fuel
— paper plates / plastic utensils
Blankets / Pillows, etc.
Clothing - seasonal / rain gear/ sturdy shoes
First Aid Kit / Medicines / Prescription Drugs
Special Items - for babies and the elderly
Toiletries / Hygiene items / Moisture wipes
Flashlight / Batteries
Radio - Battery operated and NOAA weather radio
Telephones - Fully charged cell phone with extra battery and a traditional (not cordless) telephone set
Cash (with some small bills) and Credit Cards - Banks and ATMs may not be available for extended periods
Toys, Books and Games
Important documents - in a waterproof container or watertight resealable plastic bag
— insurance, medical records, bank account numbers, Social Security card, etc.
Tools - keep a set with you during the storm
Vehicle fuel tanks filled

Pet care items
— proper identification / immunization records / medications
— ample supply of food and water
— a carrier or cage
— muzzle and leash

A quick check of the items revealed that we are woefully ill prepared for a disaster of any kind. I am almost out of all medicines (a trip to the pharmacy is on the agenda for this weekend). We have a bunch of flashlights, none of which functions, the only cash I have is small bills - five ones and a five dollar bill. We don't possess either a traditional phone or a battery-operated radio and my car has almost no fuel in it. And what is that "keys" item? We have one set of keys for the house and the cars - that's what we use on a daily basis. We also have a spare set. And tools, am I supposed to have two sets of tools?
Never mind. I have all the pet care items except for the muzzle. And I have discovered the perfect packaged food that doesn't even require a can-opener. Low-carb, ready-to-eat, preservative-free, vegetarian Indian food you can heat in a pan or a microwave. Eat it with rice, or with grilled chicken, as a side to Rogan Josh or straight out of the pan with a spoon, it's comfort food that tastes delicious. Just what I'll need if the hurricane comes.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Can't Live Without It

I'm currently reading Judith Levine's Not Buying It: My Year Without Shopping an account of a year spent buying only essential items. She begins by making a list of those items that she cannot function without. Her cat is diabetic so insulin is on the essential list. But other items, more life enhancing than absolutely necessary, make the "can't live without it" list.
That prompted me to think about what I consider "essential" to my life on this planet, and later I started to compose an essential shopping list for this weekend. Here it is in all its hedonistic, alcoholic glory.

shopping list

Don't judge me too harshly, Levine's last purchase before giving up consumerism was a concrete baby elephant from Red Envelope.
Apart from insulin and related items like syringes (not much point in having insulin if you can't find a way to get it into your body) and your loved ones, what are your "must haves" to sustain body and soul, if not for twelve months then at least for the next weekend?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Rollercoaster weekend

Another one of those weekends.
Saturday: Woke at 3 am feeling low. Staggered downstairs, found meter, 43, swallowed 20 cl orange juice, ate a graham cracker, staggered back to bed.
Woke at 7 am. BG 71. Calculated breakfast, allowing for lower glucose reading.
Ate breakfast.
Walked dogs on beach for an hour. BG 117. Hurrah.
Cleaned house. BG 54. Ate another graham cracker, washed down with coffee.
Played with my new "toy": a virtual kitchen planner by IKEA that allows me to see in 3D and color what my kitchen will look like when I have saved the money/won the lottery. Stop playing when I feel really, really hungry.
Lunch. BG 57. In view of low BG, eat Wholefoods prepared Macaroni Cheese. Regret it 30 minutes later when stomach ache starts.
Clean the pool, Swim in pool. Float in pool. Lounge by pool reading. Stomach still aching.
5 pm. BG 297. What?? Correct with bolus.
7 pm dinner date with sweetie. Cocktail in restaurant bar. Vodka tastes weird so I eat the olives and drink about a third of the martini.
8 pm our table is ready. Bartender offers to bring remainder of now very warm martini to the table, I decline. It's hot so I opt for 6 oysters and steamed lobster. Take insulin. Eat cute, tiny bread roll. Listen to conversation at next table about numerology. Restrain sweetie from correcting the assertions made about the number seven. Oysters are served with pickled ginger and Japanese seaweed. Hope insulin sufficient to cope with sugar in dressing. Pass on the wine as I'm still feeling a little odd and it's hot. Drink an entire litre of sparkling water though.
Lobster arrives with corn on the cob placed vertical between lobster claws like some phallic totem pole. Pass this to sweetie as I don't like corn. Wrestle lobster. Cover hair, face and wall behind with lobster juice, manage not to get any on attractive plastic bib! Woman at next table starts to tell her table about her special spoon. Kick husband under table as he is frankly staring open-mouthed. Husband returns attention to date and asks "would you like my potatoes?"
I've known him long enough that I can crack the secret code. "Am I white?" "A bit" he says. Before I can reach for the potatoes or the meter in my bag, I am hit by the worst, most devastating hypo of my diabetic life. Sweat is pouring off me, I am sure I am going to pass out or throw up. Sweetie has his hand in the air and orders an OJ asap, please, and the bus boy leaps in to remove out plates. Sweetie waves him off, because I hadn't finished and he thought I might come back to it or because if I was going to be sick the bowl for the lobster shell might come in handy? I don't know but the OJ arrives and he gives the waiter his credit card and asks for the bill so I'm guessing it was the latter.
I slurp the OJ, and chase it down with more water. Hubby gets up and kneels by me. Maitre d' brings check, credit card already swiped and asks if he can do "anything, whatever you need".
Eventually I feel like I can walk to the block to the car. Table next door still discussing numbers 666 and 7. Outside where it is cooler, I start to feel better. "OK", I say to my angel, "can't go there again for a while. Was everyone staring?" "They never noticed, if they did they probably thought I was proposing to you". Such a sweetie.
Make it home and into bed feeling like I have been sandbagged.
Woke up Sunday morning. BG 340. Felt like crap and I never found out what the woman at the next table used her magic spoon for.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Oh Canada!

A propos to my previous post, I made an interesting discovery while eating breakfast this morning. All the products I like: Liberty yoghurt, Wholefoods All Natural Peanut Butter and Glutino flax crackers are all made in Canada, even though the milk for the yoghurt comes from good old Vermont cows.
Canada is a bit far for a weekly shopping trip, maybe I should consider moving there? Maybe they have decent bread? Maybe I should stop being a label-reading obsessive?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sugar, sugar everywhere

Just back from a rip to the supermarket and another full blown rant is going to be unleashed. You have been warned.
I have a weird type of diabetes. If I go into a big supermarket chain, Super Stop and Shop, for instance here in the US, or Tesco in the UK, or the Hypermarché Carrefour in Belgium, I manage to push my cart around only half the store before I see flashing lights before my eyes, or worse, the world goes dark. I've never actually passed out but it always brings the shopping expedition to a rapid end. I can't tell you how many times I've been forced to abandon a semi-full cart in the middle of an aisle. I think it has something to do with the lights or maybe my brain suffers overload from the apparent excess of breakfast cereals, which, when you examine it, consists of twenty boxes of the same damn cereal and never the one you actually want. Whatever it is I have learnt that the stuff I want isn't sold in these stores anyway or when it is, it's more expensive.
That's why I shop in the "natural" food supermarkets like Wholefoods. And it's fine when I want hormone free beef or chicken and organic vegetables but when it comes to a simple loaf of bread I'm stymied. I pick up one and read the ingredients: corn syrup, fructose, 3g of sugar per serving. What the hell? After I 've rejected the third loaf, I'm usually on the verge of a total meltdown. "Why?" I mutter to myself, "why would you put so much sugar in bread?" It doesn't make it taste better and it makes it much more difficult for me to bolus. I’m shopping in a store that’s supposed to promote healthy eating and all the bread comes with a healthy dose of sugar. Grrr.
I'm aware that I'm beginning to sound like the crazy lady but I don't have a sweet tooth and I like my bread to taste like bread. And don't tell me because it doesn't have actual sucrose in it that it's good for me. This is like a good friend, also a diabetic, offering me a glass of orange juice instead of Coke, because "we can drink this, it isn't sweetened". Uh, yeah it is, it's full of natural sugar and I don't think I could ever bolus enough for a full glass of OJ.
So, please, I don't want dried fruit in my bread, I don't want honey sweetened anything thanks, and if I wanted brioche, I'd buy that. I want bread that's made with flour, water, yeast, and a little salt. Is that too much to ask?
Oh, and I discovered today why take-out Indian food in the US pushes my BG to stratospheric limits while in Europe my numbers stay in range. Wholefoods, like a lot of Indian restaurants here, adapt recipes to local taste and add cane sugar to their dishes. And they don't even tell you how much sugar they're putting in there. That's just wrong.
So now I've got that off my chest I'm going to make Rogan Josh, and because you stayed with me through the rant I will share with you my favourite recipe, adapted from Madhur Jaffrey's Indian Cooking.

Rogan Josh
2" fresh ginger, peeled, coarsley chopped
8 cloves garlic, peeled
4 tbls water
1 2O oz can diced tomatoes
2 tbls olive oil
2 lbs cubed lean lamb
10 cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
6 cloves
10 black peppercorns
1 cinnamon stick
2 onions, peeled, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander seed
2 tsp ground cumin seeds
2 tsp red paprika
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper (or more if you like it spicy)
1 tsp salt
6 tbls plain yogurt (Do Not use the kind with gelatin in it)
1/4 tsp garam masala
Freshly ground blackpepper

Puree ginger, garlic and 4 tablespoons of water in an electric blender until you have a smooth paste.

Heat oil and brown meat cubes in several batches and set aside. Put the cardamom, bay leaves, cloves, peppercorns, and cinnamon into the hot oil and cook until the cloves swell. Add the onions. Cook until the onions turn medium-brown. Add the ginger-garlic paste and stir for 30 seconds. Add the coriander, cumin, paprika, cayenne, and the salt. Stir, cook for 30 seconds, then add the browned lamb and any meat juices, the yoghurt and the tomatoes.
Cover, reduce to low heat and simmer for about an hour and a half or until meat is tender. Check that the casserole doesn't dry out, if necessary add a little water.
Just before serving sprinkle with garam masala and black pepper.
Serves 4

And by the way, DO NOT use yoghurt with gelatin in it. Why would you put gelatin in yoghurt anyway?