Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Few Vacation Pics

Here is a few pics from my vacation to Sonoma California, and Napa Valley. I will post more over the next week or two as I have time.

Ravenswood Winery - Sonoma California

Wishing for more supportive Dr.'s

                  I as a diabetic patient have always dreamed of having a Endocrinologist who told me I was not a screw up. I have been told constantly from the beginning I am uncompliant or I am not doing this right. I know we are not perfect and I am not exception. I get in trouble for being low or being to tight with my control but after my trouble with my eye's recently and having them lasered I feel even more sure about my control. I have loosened up a bit but I am trying to prevent more complications not get more. I know my current Endocrinologist wants my A1c at 7.5 or higher but I could not disagree more because I believe that will prevent more lows but at the same time create other far more serious issues. I know most Endocrinologist want an A1c of 7.0 or higher for Hypoglycemia unawareness but I have actually dropped the amount of lows I used to have four years ago dramatically. I am always working on getting my control to involve less lows. My previous Endocrinologist wanted my A1c under 7.0 for the Hypoglycemia unawareness and I find it funny each Endocrinologist have different expectations for the most part.

                   I would love to find an Endocrinologist who does not criticize me and actually listen to what I am saying. I am really sick of the one size fits all methodology of Endocrinologist. Since my mother passed away I have had issues with lows ever since. I have worked tirelessly to do the best for myself but never to get hey your doing a great job and there is still work to be done. I know I am not the average patient and I am tired of Endocrinologist telling me that my feeling of lows will come back when I know full well most likely that is not the case. I know each person's body's react differently to many factors and this does not seem to be accounted for by my Dr.'s. I know the issue last week with one low blood sugar after my pump start up and the phone call to me was frustrating. I am tired of looking for new Endocrinologist's who might understands all the work I put into caring for my diabetes. I am thinking that a Endocrinologist that I am looking for does not exist to an extent. All I want is a little understanding and to not be told I am a horrible diabetic. My A1c over the past 4 1/2 years has not been over 6.9. I think i am doing well but never according to my Dr.'s. Thank you for all the readers for letting me vent. This is the only place I can do this.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Frustration about Dr's & lows

                   The day I had my pump set up I was sent over for blood work. I have had issues with several vitamin deficiencies my vitamin D, folic acid and one I an unable to remember at this moment. I know they are all very common in diabetics and especially when you have Celiac's disease. They were checking my Alc again and running some general tests. My blood sugar was 90 when I drove over to the lab and we sat waiting around 20 minutes to get called back and right as they did Duchess alerts that my blood sugar is low. I plop an orange slice in my mouth and go back to get my blood drawn. I know my meter said I was 60. I had a feeling I would hear about it at my next Dr. appointment next week. I instead got a phone call the next morning about the fact that it came back from the lab at 47. I know that is low and of course once I left the lab I did recheck my blood sugar it was up 70 and I waited and tested again. I wait til I was 90 and then drove home.

                   I know Duchess had to deal with several lows that day which is not ideal but I have those days. The longer I have hypoglycemia unawareness the more it seems like my blood sugars want to stay around 70-90 most of the time. Which my Dr.'s do not like for the most part. I was told that the Dr. wanted me to come back in that day because they were worried about a low of 47. I told them I would be able to come in next week. I find it funny that because one blood draw one low I would need to come in. I know my A1c's are lower but I also spend a great deal of the time try to keep my blood sugars between 90-120 if at all possible. I am pretty frustrated by the difference of readings in meters and the fact that there is such variability. I know I am going to get another lecture from my Dr. about low blood sugars again but not all of them are preventable.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Pump Training

           I sailed through my pump training with no problems what so ever. The Dr. was happy I had set it up before I came in because it does make the process easier if you do practice playing with the pump before the process. I think she knew I was using it but she said all the setting were correct she did go over some pump procedures just for review. She review combo bolus and so forth to make sure that i use them appropriately. I then was a given a list of blood work and prescriptions as usual. I also have a date set up for my Dexcom training which is in September which is great for me on nights where I don't have Duchess with me or when I am exercising or basal changes. I have to say I love my Animas Ping so far. I love the screen the menu is much more user friendly than my Medtronic 722. I also love the fact that when I run during the summer that if I sweating that it could cause issues possibly with my medtronic. I did not run with my pump on shorts because the pump was too heavy so I used to wrap in saran wrap and put in my sports bra which worked well but not ideal. Now I have no worries. My PA is the one who signed off on the pump and she knew that would be a good pump for me but the delay was actually the endocrinologist because she thought the Revel would be a better fit.

             I normally get my lab work done in my Endocrinologist on site lab, but the person left early. So I got sent across the street to another lab. I get my blood drawn quickly and I'm headed out the door. I get to the elevator and there is this older couple who are getting on and then a Nurse. Everyone starts asking me questions about her. How long have you been training her. I politely say she is actually my service dog. I like to tell people she has saved my life because it's a polite way of saying that not all disabilities are visible and my condition is serious enough I need her. I don't always mention what my disability is because some days I feel like I need more privacy than other days. I know everyone was so impressed with Duchess especially once they figured out how important part of my own safety she is. Overall a good day and even did a little education.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Unplanned Day Off

             This past Tuesday was an interesting day for me. The interesting part of having a service animals is how they like us can have off days. Duchess randomly decided to take the day off from alerting for the most part. I was incredibly frustrated because I was testing frequently but I was still missing some lows. That work day I hit in the 30's twice which is less than ideal. I know I have been working a large amount of hours but my job is a really detailed specialized position that at then of my departments fiscal year equal more work. So I try my best to balance my overtime with enough downtime for Duchess but it can be complicated to find that exact balance. Duchess is extremely sensitive to her routines and recently our schedule has not even been close to what she is used to. So I know she decided she was tired and bored so she took the day off. She did alert once or twice that day but for the most part ignored all the rest. Normally she is never misses a low which is what I need her to do. I know it is a great reminder to me how much she does for me on a daily basis which I truly appreciate.

                The interesting part is that night I went home and I sat down with her on the floor. I talked with her about her needing to work tomorrow because I really need her help. I told her when she is wearing her vest she needs to be working. I know she did not understand the whole conversation. The next day she did not miss one low or high. She was back to her old self. I find it very strange I have conversation with my dog but then again I spend so many hours of the day with Duchess. I have a very different relationship at times. She drives me crazy and I drive her crazy at times as well. We both learn from each other. The best part of the relationship is that she is my best friend and loves me more than anything else. I could never ask for anything more from best friend and life saver.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pump Start up Tomorrow

                     I am so excited about tomorrow. I am doing my pump start up tomorrow which sadly almost like Christmas in some ways. I guess because I have been saving since December of last year putting money away for a new pump. I ended  up spending less than I thought I would for a new one which is great. I was not happy with Medtronic after a while their customer service seemed to go downhill and I wanted to be able to order my supplies without great difficulty, but the opposite was what I ended up with. I am looking forward to seeing how the Animas handles their customer service I know my friends all love their service and the their One Touch Ping's. I have had my medtronic 4 years and it is defiantly time for a change. Hopefully the Dr.'s office is easier to deal with but honestly I have a feeling that could be rough as well.


                    I was fighting with my Dr.'s office about what pump I should get for a couple of months. The prefer to only have their patients on Medtronic pumps but in my opinion that is not fair to the patients. The pump is my choice as a patient who is paying for the device. I am glad I insisted on the Animas Ping because hopefully they will become more open minded when it comes to Animas products for other patients looking at insulin pumps. I sadly have already did try the pump out for a day or two with the same pump settings from my Medtronic which I know I should never do but it was like Christmas and I could not wait. I had my friend show me how to use the inset and it was quite easy and I learn things very quickly and had not issues when I did. I do plan on ordering my Dexcom in September which is also exciting for times when I have to leave Duchess at home. I find drunk people and service animals do not mix.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Things I have Learned Through out the Process

             When I first got my DAD ( Diabetic Alert Dog) I learned quite a few things most people should know. A DAD can take up to a year to establish a steady night time alert and some will never alert at night. I know most parents want a dog to do night alerts but there is not guarantee. I know my DAD does do night alerts since day one,but I have very few lows at night. My dangerous period is from 4-8 most mornings and through out the day. I have most of my seizures in early mornings or right before bed for some reason even as a kid. There is also another thing you learn is that they can alert in different ways. A large percentage of people use a bringsel for alerts. The dog holds this in its mouth to alert you but I know myself all to well I honestly would miss that especially when I am in the midst of doing something important. I think each team needs to think not about what most teams are doing but look at what will work for them. I work Duchess to create alerts that work for me. There is also other aspects when I first got my DAD I did not think about such as boots to protect my service animals feet. a rain jacket, warm coat or sweater for when it's colder and supplements for joints.

                 I have heard from quite a few angry parents who thought a dog would automatically alert at night on a regular basis Duchess did, but I modified the hours she gets up to check on me to focus mostly on my most dangerous periods of time. Even with purchasing a trained dog there still is a great deal of work to keep up a DAD's training.There is quite a few expenses I had not thought about such as the boots and essentials Duchess needs for her work. I know I think constantly about her safety and how a simple incident could cause her to stop working. I know through my learning experience I also learned that a service dogs also have a need to be keep really clean. I also bathe Duchess weekly brush her at least 3 times or more a week. I knew that there was standards for service animals but it does take quite a bit of time to keep her up to service dog standards. I also have learned a great deal about fighting for my rights to have access. I have learned as I experienced things and it amazes me that on August 15th of this year I am celebrating two years with my life saving best friend.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Interesting Meet Up and Article About Disabilities

              I had an interesting run with a new service dog in training Kaleb who is training to be a guide dog. During our discussion I mentioned I had some interesting troubles where I live with access from time to time. She said she is always looking for ways to educate businesses and she said she was going to target the specific places I had most trouble. She was going to contact a group of puppies in training to visit specifically the grocery store I had most issues with which is good for them to be more open to service dog teams. I am happy that I am not the only person trying to educate in the area I live in but there is so much more education to be done. I read an article yesterday online about a veteran who flew with United Airlines and had some great difficulty. In fact they had two employee's on trams while heading to his gate that kicked his service dog. They also told him he was retarded because he was having difficulty understanding them but this veteran has a  (TBI) Traumatic brain injury which can make things difficult and also suffered from PTSD. The way this airline treated was appalling and really makes me incredibly angry.

              I have learned last couple of years how bad the US can treat the disabled. I have seen first hand and watched people I have meet treated with complete disrespect just because they are slightly different but the most interesting thing is that the children are actually more accepting of these differences than adults. I always worry every time I fly about difficulties with the airlines and the TSA. I really have an issue with them man handling my service animals. I carry the information they have on their website in case I have to review with them what the websites says. I sadly have an up coming flight home in December through United Airlines and luckily a flight back with Delta. I do have concerns on what could happen but I at least have the ability to fight back against but when a person has TBI or PTSD they have extreme difficulty doing so on their own. According to the article The US Department of Transportation is investigating the incident. The link below has the video of the veteran sharing his story.


Friday, July 20, 2012

In over drive mode

                    After the recent seizure I experience Duchess has been in overdrive mode. She tends to be a little more hyperactive when it comes to alerts. I think in some ways she blames herself for what happened when I know the opposite is true. I know she loves me so much by how much she cares for me during what I know has to be a very scare event. She tends to try and alert everyone around me if I am low and then alert me. I think she believe this will prevent a seizure from happening. It is beneficial in some ways for her to practice alerting other people for emergencies like I have experienced. On the other hand she drives me crazy with her need to alert others as well but I know that practice in her mind tends to put her at ease. There is some many things I would of never would of thought of when I first got Duchess. This is one of them those things. I am hoping in the next week or so she will calm down a little more. She gets very impatient with me right now if I don't test the first second she alerts. She does not want to wait while I get my test kit out.

                    An interesting quick story from this morning. I went to the Dr. this morning and the nurse thought I was blind. She was trying to direct me and I told her that she was a medical alert dog. She looked completely puzzled by this situation. I know she said she had only ever heard of dogs for the blind. It was a real face palm moment of sorts. I guess another day in the life of a service dog team.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fake Service Animals

              As as service dog owner there is always difficult aspects of being able to get access to things. Sadly where I live is uneducated most of the time about service dog laws and what questions they can ask a service dog owner. There are two questions they can ask you legally. Is that dog used for a disability? and what tasks or jobs does the dog assist you with. They can never ask what your disability is. The law that gives me rights to access public places I support but there is sadly too many loop holes. Most businesses are afraid to ask a team to leave if they misbehave but they have a legal right too. I know they are afraid of a suit being filed against them. In Austin I have seen a great deal of fake service animals in fact that is the problem with the loop holes in the laws it really limits what can be done with fake service animals. The sad part is that their our companies that sell vests and patches to pet owners so they can fake their pet is a service animal. This has created a great deal of issues for me personally.

                I shop at a local grocery store where I see this woman and what she says is her service animal but I know it really is not. The dog has no vest and most service dog teams will identify their dog with a vest to make access easier and it is also helpful for the general public to know. This woman's dog lunged at Duchess on two occasions and a trained service dog should not be dog aggressive. I believe this woman does have a disability but taking your pet in without training is not considered a service animal. I know quite a few people who spent two years training their service animals and it is obvious by their behavior that they have been trained where this woman's dog is not. I know I was approached by the manager because they said they could tell that Duchess is a trained service animal and asked me what they could do about the fake service animal. I told them that they can ask the woman to leave if the dog is ill behaved or they can ask the two questions about what tasks they perform and if the animal is a service animal. The management told the woman that her dog was not behaving appropriately and she needed to leave and she did. I know I would not leave a store during a public access issue until it is resolved. Most service dog teams try to educate and reason with a person if there is a public access issue. I know I fight for my rights very regularly but at the end of the day I take this right seriously.

                Fake service dogs means more fighting for my rights. Business owners not trusting real service dog teams. I depend upon Duchess for my freedom and I need her with me. I think pet owners take this for granted how much a disabled person could need their dogs. I know most people think it would be so wonderful to take your dog everywhere but really it is a large amount of work and not glamorous as most people think. I know a large local grocery chain used to ask me to leave every time I entered the store because their was a fake service dog that had done damage to the store and I finally had to threaten to file a suite against them. I can understand their frustration but I also educated them on service animals, questions they can ask and ways to spot fake service animals. They did retrain their staff and I have not had an issue since but that really made life difficult to have to explain several different employee's that Duchess was a service animal. The funny part is that she was very well behaved and they still wanted her to leave because of the previous experiences.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Service Dog Etiquette

                 I get asked occasionally from people I meet about what proper service dog etiquette is. I have meet a great deal of people who have service dogs and agree that this etiquette can really make a difference in their lives. I think the etiquette really is helpful and show respect for the disabled person you may come across. These are some item I think fall under that category. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to comment. I never mind answering questions.

1. Do not distract the service dog from its job. That includes Kissee noises, barking, or any noises at the dog. Petting or calling to the dog.

2. Please understand if a handler will not let you pet their dog or stop to talk. Many disabled people live a very normal life and do not always have time to stop and chat. Some service dogs can become distracted when being petted frequently. This distraction could be deadly for a handler or have severe consequences.

3.Do not draw attention to a service dog team. Service dog handlers are trying to live a normal life as possible and people making a scene or pointing out the dog will not help. This can make a person feel very uncomfortable.

4. Do not feed a service dog without asking. Many service dogs have a special diet and might include treats as rewards for alerting and extra food may not be needed. Most service dog teams are trying to balance their dogs activity and eating habits with the need for them to stay on the lighter side. Extra weight will put stress on joints and hips which could mean a dog is retired sooner.

5. Treat the service dog handler with dignity and respect. Please when speaking to a service dog handler talk to them not their service dog. Asking a disabled person about their disability is not respectful and can make the handler uncomfortable. General questions are usually considered respectful because the person does not have to talk about their own personal issues. The service dog handler is trying to live a normal life and being questioned constantly can be invasive.

6.When offering help don't insist. A service dog team could be hurt if a car stops at a light and they are sight impaired and you wave them on instead of allowing the service dog to do their job. Sometimes a person will want to do things on their other times they may need help. If trying to help always ask just don't take a service dogs leash or try to guide the dog along.

7. Do not photograph or take pictures of service dog teams without permission. This can make a handler uncomfortable and draws attention to the team. They are trying to be treated like any other person would be treated.

8. If your a parent try to educate your children or other about service animals. Telling children about disabilities can be helpful. I know most people think I am not disabled because it is not obvious talking about hidden disabilities can be beneficial for all. Talking about service animals also helps children to understand that they are working and need to not be distracted.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


                   The reasons I ask that Duchess not to be pet. Each service dog team is different in how they approach this issue. I know my dog well and have learned so much about this through my own personal experiences. I so wish Duchess was like some of my friends dogs who can be pet but not become distracted. Duchess is very easily distracted by what is going on around her but not enough not to do a wonderful at her job. Duchess has an off switch if she gets too much attention from the general public. In fact she stopped working during college in the fall of 2010. I was able to get her working again but it was a great deal of work to do so. It was hard taking full courses and working hours with Duchess to get her back on track. When I was in college all the students were petting her without asking. I know most people think I am being mean by saying no but I completely disagree. She gives me my freedom and keeps me safe. I rely pretty heavily on Duchess doing her job. I have been cursed at by the general public because they feel she is there for their person enjoyment and should be allowed to be pet.

                   I am not sure if Duchess will ever be to a point that I can allow her to be pet by the general public. She does get pet by my personal friends and family. She is not lacking in the attention department. She may have you believe she is but she is very loved and praised for all her work. I try my best to educate people as to why I do not allow her to be pet but some people do not get it. There is such a balance when having a service dog. There are these on and off switches in some dogs and others are completely fine with attention. I still would not choose another dog than Duchess she was the best alert dog they trained and even with her distract ability still does an excellent job with her work. I am also glad in some ways that she does not do well with being pet while working because I would get stopped constantly and that would make a normal shopping trip that much more challenging.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Diabetic Frustrations

               I had what I call a terrible day for diabetes about a week ago. It was terrible in that I change my pump sight as usual and the problem with using quick sets or insets is that there is always a chance for it too kink. I ended up with my blood sugar being 220 before I realized it was a bad site. So I change the site again and I was very careful when I was doing my second sight because honestly I was pretty frustrated with the fact that the sight only lasted two or three hours. I get the sight changed and go about my business as usual until I test again and I was 250. At this point I realize that again it possible for a bad sight or another issue. I check the tubing and check the pump for any error messaged but there was nothing. I check the sight and everything seems fine. I had taken insulin from a needle to treat my other high blood sugar and it was going down and then started to rise again. So another infusion set change but at this point I was beyond frustration with the pump in general. This time I change to the contact detach pump infusion set which is very different than the insets and you manually insert it but there is no kinks.

Animas Insets
              I only use the contact detach for when I am beyond frustration with the insets and need something that is going to work. The contact detach worked for three days and I was really happy I have one box of the contact detach available. I would not go back to injections if you paid me honestly with my hypoglycemia unawareness a pump has become a must for me in many ways. I know that Duchess really does not like the days when the pump sites go bad but I have a system that seems to work well for me. I always inject the correction dosage from a needle and not the pump that way if the second site is bad I can figure that out much quicker. It also will help me to figure out if the insulin is bad as well in some ways. I am always trying to reduce the time I am high for Duchess's sake as well. I know she is not a fan of low or high blood sugars either.I know that day Duchess was frustrated and I was too.

Animas Contact Detach

Friday, July 13, 2012

Dad's Reactions

             I was talking with a coworker about my recent seizure and she asked me an interesting question. She asked what my father thought of my recent seizure and I said he did not know about it. In the past four years I think my dad thinks that Duchess is not a necessary as I do. I know in over the past couple of years my dad has not been very receptive to talking about seizure or my diabetes in general. My mother was always the one I could discuss my concerns and my plan of action for when things went awry but my father was never as involved. He seems to have this idea in his head that a seizure is really not that big of a deal. I on the other hand know better than that. He seems to have this perception that everything should be fine and that I can handle all this without Duchess but in reality that is not the case. I did have numerous seizures as a child and have come out okay in the end but with my living situation there is not always someone else home which is scary for me. I'm sure because he has not meet her and has not seen her in action does affect his perspective to an extent. I know everyday since I got Duchess I will never regret my decision because of the two seizures I have had in the past two years are further proof that I need some assistance. I also have to realize that either one of these seizures could have had dire consequences in reality but because of Duchess's persistence she changed the outcome of these events.

              The interesting thing is that my brother who lives in Hawaii has not meet Duchess but get my need to have her in my life. My sister has seen her in action and see's why I depend on her. I have felt so fortunate to have the doc community because with my father not being very receptive to talking about medical issues that leaves me very little places to vent about it expect for the other pwd. I am so glad I am able to talk about these issues on here. Thank you for all the wonderful people in the doc community who help me more than you will ever know. To all the bloggers who give me hope when things are just too much. All these things have helped me so much over the past 4 years.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Unexpected Dangers

               I am always thinking about Duchess's safety as a service dog owner. There is so many dangers for a dog who is working and I try to do my best to protect her from as much as possible. Each year there is many service dogs attached by lose dogs. I have been attached by a pitbull running lose in my neighborhood. A percentage of the dog attached will never work again if the attach was bad or there were injuries sustained. I felt lucky that day because I had my roommates Doberman Pincher and he was protected Duchess as the owner of the Pitbull watched it all happen. I am always worried about all these things from happening as a service dog owner.

              When I was in California on vacation on the 4th of July a kid decided that it would be fun to lite a firework right next to Duchess. The person I'm sure could see the service dog vest she was wearing. There are laws in most states that included fines, repayment of cost of service animal, vet bills and possible jail time for any injury or death of a service animal. I am glad there are laws to protect service animals, but I am still worried about what could happen. This whole incident took me by surprise. I believe it was young kids there were setting the fireworks on right next to people as well. My friend jumped in front of Duchess to protect her from the firework because I did not see it at first. She was completely fine but I always worry about incidents like this preventing her from working. Their are quite a few that will stop working after a traumatic incident.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Unexpected Conversations

              I had an interesting run in with a person in a restroom while I was on vacation. I walk in like any normal person would and proceeded to head into the restroom. While I was walking into a stall a woman looks at me and says. I think you should leave your dog out of the restrooms. I said she is medical alert dog and goes everywhere with me including the restrooms. She turns he nose up at me and huffs. She then replies that dogs are dirty and have no place being in a restroom no matter if they are service animal or not. I told her that the federal laws provide me access to these places. She then turns to me and says I have a dog allergy. I then replied that the federal laws does not consider allergies as a reason for me not to use a restroom. The woman huffs again. I said look you have no idea what it is like for me before I got my service animal. She gave me my life back and I do take this right very seriously. I said I would not have her unless I really needed her. She then does not reply right away, but then says I can see your point that if you do need it then using it can be a good thing. I told her I know I don't appear to have a disability but not all medical problems are obvious. The woman then said to me she had never really thought about it before but that made sense. I then excused myself so I could use the restroom.

               I am not a fan of dealing with difficult people like that woman, but at least in the end hopefully she will think about some of the things that I had to say. I am hoping that trying to educate people maybe next time she will approach a service dog team with more respect. I know I always get the strangest looks when I go to the bathroom with my service animal and it does make for interesting conversation most of the time, but I was not expecting such a hostile response to having my service dog with me. Most of the time people have general questions and I hoping that this does not happen again. I prefer to be able to go to the restroom like any normal person would.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Discussion about Seizures

              I am back at work today. I had an interesting discussion with a friend of the family's who heard I had a seizure from a low during my vacation. I have had these on and off since I was really young. I am not sure if I will be able to get away from them completely. I have really dramatic drops in my blood sugar and even though I constantly working on getting my basal rates to the best spot I can. I have had gaps of seven or eight years with no seizures which is quite nice but the longer I have it the more I worry about having seizures. There has been interesting changes in my seizures as well. I used to sleep anywhere from 8-12 hours after a seizure but not I am up and aware usually before EMS even arrives. Most of the time once EMS is there I am able to answer questions and so forth but do need some glucose. I am happy that the seizure have not slowed me down but I wish there was a way to reduce how often I have them. That is of course my goals. In 08 I had several but the last seizure I had was in 2011 and now one in 2012.

             Duchess does a wonderful job during these seizures and she always gets me help. She is quite amazing during these times. She had really impressed the EMS during my vacation. They had never heard of a diabetic alert dog but saw first hand the benefit for me to have Duchess around. I feel extremely fortunate to have her in my life and for the constant dedication to her job. She loves he work but I know these seizures are very scary for her as well. I know my family friend I was talking with told me that I should try and determine the cause to prevent them from happening again. I always try to pinpoint what went wrong but that can be so difficult. There are so many factors that can contribute to having a seizure. I think not sleeping as much and increased activity on the fourth did contribute but I'm not sure what else played a part. I wish there was a simple answer to that question. Most people who do not have diabetes do not realize the impact of all these factors can have on just the blood sugars alone.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Interesting Start to Vacation

               I had a wonderful start to my vacation. Including a stop once I got into California to one of my favorites In and Out which I really love. They have gluten free options which is so nice. I did not expect to wake up on July 5th to EMS in my friends house. My dog woke my friend up just before I started to seize. It was a rather short seizure and then I started to come out of it even before the EMS arrived which was good. I honestly think that the travel and not sleeping as much as I needed before heading out early the next day was not the best of choices I made that day. I was rather hoping for a quite relaxing vacation which was not really what I got. I hate to scare my friends and family when things like this happen. I was honestly so very proud of my dog. Duchess continues to amaze me because again she saved my life. The EMS had never heard of a diabetic alert dog but were accommodating in that they did not separate us. Some EMS in the past have requested that she be put away but that can be a very traumatic experience for a service dog. Duchess is very protective and only want to be with me through the good and the bad.

                Duchess has an amazing way of making me feel safer and she continues to amaze me with her abilities She really asks for very little in return and I try my best to make her life the best I can make it. I found a dog bakery in Sonoma California and I took her to get some very deserved treats. The funny thing about this seizure is that I was not tired in the least after it happened and I continued on with my day like nothing had happened. I enjoyed some time relaxing by the pool and walking around town. I am thankful for each and everyday I have. I am really hoping for a quite relaxing part for the rest of my vacation. I will be posting some new vacation photos soon.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Things I have learned when traveling with a service dog.

              When I travel with Duchess there is several things I always try to do to make things easier. I cut her food off before we fly to reduce the need to go to the bathroom during the duration. They do have relief areas but most of the them you have to go back through security again which is less than ideal. Each airports reliefs areas vary quite a bit. I try to take some things on the plane to keep her busy because some flights can be long. I take a chew bone for her. She is very well behaved but the trip seems easier for her when she has something to do on the flight.I always bring a small blanket to or pet bed to put on the plane floor to make her more comfortable. I also let her go potty right before I go into the airport to reduce the chance of her needing to go.

               There is so many things I have to think about when I take Duchess on trips. Things such as boarding can become dangerous for her. I have had her feet stepped on once and she limped for several days and I was unable to let her work. I now always request early boarding when possible so I can get seated and have Duchess in her area before other people board when ever possible. I have had people get upset when I am trying to get my carry one in the overhead bin and keep Duchess out of the way can be difficult and most people are not very patient. When I board early I avoid most of this by having a chance to get more time before the majority of the customers board the plane. I actually spend a lot of time thinking of Duchess's safety before we go places. I have experienced so many times where I thought things would be okay and ended up not being the best thing for Duchess.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Traveling with Duchess

           Sometimes I forget how smart Duchess is even though I see what she can do on a daily basis. I was starting to pack for my vacation and was putting my clothes in the suitcase. The doorbell rang and I went and answered the door and I come back. While I was answering the door Duchess had been putting her toys in the suitcase in preparation for the the trip. She had also put her dog boots that our in a little back in the suitcase. I am amazed at how smart she is. I have flown with Duchess numerous times and she loves flying. I am not as big of a fan as she is. I hate dealing with the TSA like most people do. I know that if Duchess sets off the metal detector they can search her and honestly I don't want them touching my dog ever. I am very protective of her. I know the TSA are not able to send me through the body scanner because I have Duchess and my insulin pump. So the nice part is that I avoid the whole body scanner issue as well. I know they test my hands for explosives every time because of my pump but other than that most of the time I can get through security just fine.

            I have had some friends who have diabetic alert dogs that their collars set off the metal detector and they were really rough on her service animals. I depend upon her and traumatic experiences can affect if you dog will alert or not. I try to take very precaution to avoid people petting Duchess because she has an off switch of sorts. I know last time when I was going through security Duchess is left is a down stay behind me as I go through the metal detector first. That way if I set the detector off they only search me and not Duchess. I was going through the detector and the person behind me start to head over to pet Duchess and that did not go over very well. Duchess knows that people are not supposed to pet her and she was laying down but scooting over to avoid the person trying to per her. I was really pissed off they are messing with my dog while I am trying to get through the screening process. This time I will tell the person behind me not to pet my service dog before I start the process. Then once I am through the detector I call Duchess to me so she passes through the detector. I have to take off all her gear collar, leashes to avoid setting the detectors off. Most of the time the process is not too bad except for the face people get impatient with me because I take longer because of my service dog but I move as fast as I can. I am not looking forward to the airport part of my vacation but the good part is both my flights are direct and so no layovers. I am hoping for a smooth transition through security tomorrow.