Friday, August 31, 2012

Diabetic Alert Dog Article

                I know quite a few people who own diabetic alert dogs which is wonderful. One of the toughest things I have had to deal with since I got Duchess is the public access issues and I am not alone in this issue. I know the main thing is people are unable to see our disabilities so they automatically assume are service dogs are fake. I was very upset when I read about a 20 year old in the article below who was trying to get lunch and was told to leave. He has filed a complaint which I support completely. I am hoping that the business gets hit with a fine in hopes that they learn that is not allowed. Everyday is a fight even with continued education. Things are getting better for me because I have made it my mission to educate as many as possible. I know this family is trying to do the same but not all people are willing to learn more until its too late. I am hoping as more service dogs are out and about that more people including businesses will familiarize themselves with the laws. I feel really bad that this young man had to experience this but I am glad he did file a complaint.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

UGH Dr. Appointments

             Today I am going back to my Endocrinologist's office for a visit but I have a feeling it will not be fun. I changed all the setting to what I wanted to have them at and I'm sure I will get a lecture. My Dr.'s only see me occasionally and it is silly to think that I would not change the setting if necessary. I know my recent seizures of course is playing a part in their continued requests to reduce my basal rates, but I will never avoid lows for several months. It has not been possible for me all the times I have tried over the past 4 years. I will not go back to feeling bad again so they can feel better personally. I am looking forward to switching to my new Endocrinologist's office in hopes that they may have some other ideas how to handle my situation. I know each person's case of diabetes do differ quite a bit actually. I need to find out of the box solutions which I'm can be found. I only went back to this Endocrinologist because I am getting my Dexcom which they already said they would approve. Looking forward to seeing what the Dexcom can do. I had a medtronic previously and did not like it at all. Hopefully I can use the device to make even better basal adjustments in the future.

                I wish that I could get rid of the seizures for good but I think they are realistically just part of what I will have to deal with. I have dealt with them so long they feel like it's a normal part. I am concerned to an extent at my lack of real concern to an extent at this point but, If I do not get this sorted out soon. I will be headed straight for diabetic burn out. I am working on finding a better balance in hopes of avoiding burn out. I am usually really good at testing but recently I don't care as much as I should. I think all the trouble with Dr.'s has played a part sadly. Duchess has also been affected to an extent also by the Dr.'s wanting to me to run quite high and her training is to keep me between 90-120 as much as possible and they of course want me running over 150 at all times. I disagree with this as well. I actually do not feel great at anything 160 or over which is why I am fighting there want to have me always over 150. I have a high stress job which requires me to being going a hundred miles an hour. So this has created more issues and why I decided to change my basal rates. Even though I will get lectured today I think it was all worth it if I end up feeling normal instead of feeling sick.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Past Two Years

                   I have been thinking about the past two years and have far things have come. When I first got Duchess there was constant access issues where I live and there still is some, but I feel like I have started to educate the business enough that they have become more receptive. The good part of education is that they will tend to treat service dog teams with the respect that they deserve. Life has not been easy since Duchess, but the freedom she gave me back is priceless in my opinion. I am hoping the more time I spend educating everyone that in the end that someday Austin will be come a much friendlier place for service dog teams no matter what job they do. I still have one opponent that has been tough which is a local Cinemark theater  near my home. They will on and off give me issues including the management. I have contact corporate and that seems to usually help resolve the issue for the most part. I love to go to the movies and will not stop going. I have heard the security guards which are off duty cops point out to the ticket person that she is a medical alert dog and they usually leave me alone after that. I have seen improvements because of the guide dog group of puppy trainers have been targeting these locations to help further educate them as well.

                   I have come a long way and learned a great deal about how to educate. How knowing the laws can help especially when a business is unaware of the laws. Having information or websites they can go to and learn more about the laws have all helped. I was even asked by a store what questions they could ask a service dog team and when they can kick some one out. I know that store had this lady who came in who was disabled but I could tell was never trained the dog growled at Duchess and employee's said the dog was getting into stuff at the store such as sniffing produce and other things a service dog should not do. The store I was told was watching Duchess and comparing it to the other dog. The dog was not trained in my opinion and was not allowed back in the store. I am glad to see that they are trying to educate themselves as a business.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Dangerous Times

                       This time of year always end up being the most dangerous for me. The end of fiscal year at a college is stressful. We are trying to use up funds, close out accounts, and clean up general paperwork. We also are preparing for auditors. So my job becomes extremely hectic and I honestly do not know what I would do without Duchess. She has been a champ with dealing with the extended hours,shorter lunches and my blood sugars dropping dramatically. These days I am not sure if I could do my job without her because I have no ability to feel lows or highs and honestly it is quite scary how fast I go into a fog which leaves me unable to respond. I am thankful that I am able to still work and have the freedoms I currently enjoy all because of Duchess. I do also love her playful funny personality she has. She is always making new noises because she is not allowed to bark they are quite but she always has an interesting way of trying to communicate. Life is and always will be interesting having Duchess around. Thankful for my partner in crime and best friend.

Medical Frustrations

                    It seem recently that things medically have been nothing but crazy. I recently got a raise but most of my raise will go to pay for the hospital bill I have for my hospitalization when I had my seizure. Next time I am leaving AMA (against medical advice). I found that the experience was not great and I ended up being just fine and could of taken care of myself at home and missed less work. Diabetes is so expensive. I use a healthcare account through my work and they have denied my claim for my insulin pump which is crazy because it was a medical device. I think they believe the insurance company should of paid for the expense but what they don't realize is that the cost was my deductible for my insulin pump. So now I am fighting to get them to approve the charges so I don't have to pay the deductible out of my own pocket after I had already paid it with my pay flex.  The company I purchased it from could of charged me around quite a bit more but they worked with me. I am getting really tired of all the medical bills that I need to make phone calls for and all the arguing I have to do with the insurance company. Some days all this stuff is just too much especially when I am in the busiest week of the year for me. I am so frustrated between the Dr.'s and the bills but I also very aware of how lucky I am to have health insurance that I can use for emergencies, illnesses and management of my diabetes. I need a another vacation badly but that would cost money.


Friday, August 24, 2012

Treats or No Treats

                    I have seen changes in the diabetic alert dog forums recently. There is a movement to move away from treats or transitioning away from treats to just praise as a reward for alerting. I have an extremely treat motivated service dog and I was thinking about trying it but the other part of me is like why fix something that is not broken. Mind you my dog is sneaky and she is always trying to come up with new ways to get extra treats. She will for example wait til exactly and hour after I have eaten knowing that my blood sugar will be above 120. That would then fall in a high alert. She is extremely smart so here doing this is no real surprise to me. I have a feeling that taking away the treats for  her could have some adverse effects to how she alerts and so I am not going to do it. I know some of the people who have been able to transition from treats their dogs are not very treat motivated. I am not the best dog trainer and so I have been learning as I go but I think on my part that I am doing the right thing for Duchess and I. She is an excellent alerter and I rely upon her so much. I cannot even justify trying it at this point because I do worry about it being dangerous for me. I have been giving her treats for the past two years and it seems like my choice is the best for both of us.


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Fake Service Animal Run-In

                     A couple months back I was at a restaurant with a friend. We were entering the restaurant and saw a couple. The couple had three Pomeranian's with them. My friend noticed all three of the dogs had service dog vests on. The vest did not state what job they do. I have a medical alert dog patch on Duchess because I find that stating what their job is helpful. I have educated my friends about service animals and how to spot fake one's. There has been a growing number of places on the internet selling service dog vests and certifications so people can fake. My friend approached the couple about their dogs and what kind of service dogs they were? They would not tell her what their jobs was which I understand on some levels. Disclosing your disability can be hard. I on the other hand found it strange to have three service dogs. I know some will have two at most when training the successor of their current service dog but to need three their is no valid reason I could think of. I even had a discussion with other disabled handlers and we all thought they were just people trying to fake their dogs were a service animal. The dogs once they saw Duchess started barking and I knew right them that these dogs were not service animals. Another clue to me is that most of the time service animals tend not to be Pomeranian's they are hard to train and are usually do not handle the job of a service animal as well. I am not saying that they should not be, but they tend to be the exception.

                    I can understand how fun it could seem to take your dog with you, but when it affects people who rely on their service animals to give them their freedom that's what I have a problem with. These fakers have cause me more issues and stress because they are only tend to create bad feeling about service dog teams because of their bad behavior. Service dogs spend two years training to be one. So taking your semi well behaved animal makes it harder for me to grocery shopping, restaurant and other places. I know we all love our animals but leaving them home really makes things easier for the people who rely upon these wonderful animals to help. I know this was a clear incident of people passing their misbehaving dogs off as a service animal.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Pressure from Family

                    I am not very good these days with communicating with my family especially when it involves the scary lows or seizures. I don't because most of the time they really just don't get it. My father who experienced all the scary incidents I had as a small child and teenager seems to of forgotten how dangerous diabetes is. My family since they do not seem me on a regular basis really does not understand fully how dangerous things have gotten in the past couple of years even with me telling them. I know this last seizure incident they think moving home will help curtail this from happening, but sadly that is not the case. They are continuing to put pressure on me to move when I am perfectly happy with my life and where I work currently. I know they are concerned, but sadly they would not be able to do much in these situation either. I know my father now thinks Duchess is not worth the money spend on her because she did not alert me to the seizure before it happened. I know from what happened my blood sugar was dropping way too fast and there was not enough time for here to catch it. Honestly she did alert my co-workers which was wonderful. So I am not going to blame my service animal when I really truly feel that she did a great job.

                     I think my family's expectation of Duchess are not realistic in that I do have dramatic drops and even my father has admitted that. Sadly though he still expects her to catch them before and normally she does, but when they drop dramatically her trainer has told me there is not always enough time to stop it. So I feel blessed to have her and hope I can avoid the dramatic drops as much as possible. I know service dog are still dogs and expecting perfection is not realistic. Even the expectation for a CGM is not realistic either. I know my family cares, but honestly things would not turn out any different even if I was back home.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


                      Having Duchess in my life has always been interesting and I'm sure will continue to be. I went to the grocery store last night around 7:30 because I was running low on juice boxes for work and other snacks for my snack drawer. I was doing my normal rounds picking up a few other things I needed as well. Normally I try to do one trip a week if possible but this week I keep forgetting to add things to my list. I was going down the meat aisle and three people turn around to look at Duchess. They all just stopped to just stare.  I really hate this the most of anything because honestly it makes me very uncomfortable in general. I don't like people paying that much attention to what I am doing, but it was a little overwhelming how they all stopped to stare as I kept walking bye to escape down an aisle. I have spent my whole life not wanting any attention related to my diabetes. I have always felt like it was negative attention in my mind. I think I wanted the attention I received to be about something I accomplished verses being about my diabetes. So I honestly struggle with all the attention we get in the grocery store or out and about in public. I think I always will.

                       I am blessed to have my precious life saver with me and thankful everyday. So I never imagined that I would struggle so much with how much my life is affected by the stares and comments of the general public. I really wish people would understand how easier my life would be if they did not stare so intently. I am really just trying so hard to live a normal life anyone else. I don't think that part will ever happen, but is always nice to hope it could be that way.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Evaluating Past and Present Situations

              I have been thinking a lot recently about the care I have received now and in the past. I am currently very unhappy and I found a new Endocrinologist I am going to try. Hopefully this one will have other solutions besides lets ride your blood sugars as high as possible. I still feel sick from running the blood sugars higher than I normally do and honestly waking up to find my blood sugars high at 3am every night is less than ideal. I know we all need to be our own advocates and that's why I am firing my current Endocrinologist. I am worried about my quality of life and honestly this last Endocrinologist was not concerned about it at all. I am and I will continue to make that a huge point to any future Endocrinologist. Another point I plan on bringing up is I will not follow the one size fits all solutions I am constantly getting. My last Endocrinologist on my last visit finally admitted that my case is difficult and mos to typical fixes or solutions were not working for me. I tell this every time I start a new that the one size fits all do not work for me but the theme in all of this is that the Dr.'s are not listening to me at all.

              I know I am a demanding patient in that my mother taught me well and I expect certain things most patients should expect. I do come into the Dr.'s office with a list of questions, lab work I think needs to be run, and possible new things I would like to try. When I got to a Dr.'s appointment I always have my pump prints outs done, log book and other information for the Dr. I feel like I am doing what I need to do and I am not getting what I need from my visits. I know I try my best to get the results I need but recently I have gotten the opposite. I continue to learn  a great deal from this experience and next time I feel uneasy about a Dr. I'm seeing I will switch sooner. There was also the unrealistic expectation to avoid lows completely for at least 4 months. Many of my friends who have diabetic alert dogs and who also suffer from hypoglycemia unawareness all seems to have frequent lows. I do not believe it is because of lack of effort, but more is really just part of having hypoglycemia unawareness before I had this I did not have as many frequent lows and I have tried everything to try and get rid of them. Now I am just trying to manage to get as few as possible. Avoiding them all together does not seem possible for me and I have accepted that. I am hopeful that I will find someone who will work with me but not have this just run the sugars high solution.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Looking Back at Access Issues

              One of the hardest aspect of having a service dog for me has been how much I have to fight for even access to a grocery store or to have my disability plan for college followed. I have spent a great deal of time working on access issues. It is not that I don't want to fight but when it's constant it becomes another stress-or. I have teamed up with a service dog group of guide dogs to help educate where I live. I always thought because it was a dog friendly city that I would not have much issue, but the opposite has been true. I know I would not change getting Duchess, but I wish more people understand that because of my disability access with her is necessary. I know most people think because the laws protect you, but most of the time if they are unaware of the law things do not always go as they should. I do always pursue every access issue I encounter because my actions affect every service dog team that comes after me. I am hoping as I educate that people as I can.

             I know quite a few people who have had issues trying to take their service animals to work even as adults. I am hoping as the more time goes by that more work places will become more comfortable with the laws and making the appropriate accommodations. I have been blessed in that because I work at a large University that they do follow the laws for the most part. I have found after my seizure thankfully they have come around and things have returned to normal. The University also allows me two weeks paid time off for time when I need to train with my next service animal which is a wonderful benefit. There is the good and the bad, but I'm sure over time things will improve.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Type 1 Run-In

               I was at the store the other day with Duchess and I was checking out. She had her normal service dog vest that has her medical alert dog patch on it. I was approached by woman. She asked me if she was a diabetic alert dog? I said yes she is. She stood there in amazement for a minute. She had a shocked look on her face. She told me that she had read articles about the diabetic alert dogs but had no clue that there was some in Austin currently. I believe right now there is around 6 teams currently in Austin that I am aware of. She told me she was a type 1 diabetic and had just had a pancreas transplant. She had diabetes if my memory serves me well for 37 years. It was nice to meet another type 1 who has had it longer than I have. I was really surprised she actually guessed that she was a diabetic alert dog.
               I have never meet anyone who actually who knew what type of service dog she was. Most people think she is a seizure alert dog because of the medical alert dog patch. I am hoping as time goes on more people will become aware of the fact that there is diabetic alert dog out there and how much they are really needed by the handler. I know I have been told several times by the general public that they thought there is no need for a diabetic service dog but I'm sure if they were there for one my bad lows or seizure they would change their minds. I am constant working on educating more of the public and so forth to make life easier. I know I need to educate local hospitals and EMS services about service animals. Hopefully in the future things will run more smoothly if I happen to have a low or seizure again.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Daily Calls

                    I have been receiving daily calls from my Dr.'s office this week. They have clearly not been listening to me at all. I tend to have lows daily and I have worked to reduce them as much as possible. My life is high stress and my job is the biggest stress-or because of the tremendous work load, but I love what I do most of the time. This has been my life since my mother passed away I have accepted the fact that the past year my body wants to hand around low at least once a day. There is times that I have had no lows here and there. The Dr. is on a mission to stop me from having lows at all, but I really don't believe that is possible at this point. They actually want me to call the office anytime I under 70 since my last appointment. I have never called because honestly I think it is silly. My Dr.'s recent solution for anything run the blood sugars higher and higher, but I have been feeling so crummy that last thing I will do is run them higher. There has to be another way.

                     On another note today is two years with my life saving best friend. I am beyond blessed to have her and lucky she helped me get my life back. I just can not say enough about what she has done for me. I am planning on taking her to her favorite dog bakery for some new dog treats. I am so happy I made the decision to get her. She has helped me more than I could of ever dreamed. She has kept me safe for the past two years. There are just not words to describe what she means to me.

Duchess won a dog bed on facebook and she loves it


Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Move Back Home

                 After having diabetes for 32 years I really thought my family would realize their is some really scary moments from time to time. I think they have forgotten how much work it is to avoid having bad lows or seizures since they are not around me on a regular basis. I had seizures as a child and then again during my junior and senior year of high school in particular these times I had quite a few seizures. I don't believe we will ever figure out why they happen but, I'm okay with that at this point. I really consider it part of my diabetic life. I really wish their were more ways for me to avoid them besides running high which my Dr.'s answer for everything these days. I want to avoid as many complications as possible because frankly because they can affect one's life pretty dramatically. My family's response to my latest seizure would be move home to be around family. They said they could be there if that happened. I am very independent and I like living where I do. I am from there but I have no desire to live in the constant rain again.

                 I know my family cares but honestly there is very little they could do after a seizure except go to the hospital last week was an exception because they hospitalized me. I really believe there was no reason to. My family wants to be there but honestly I tend to handle things better on my own. My mother wanted me to be able to handle things on my own if at all possible and I prefer it that way. Even though I have tough periods of time occasionally I find that I do a good job of taking care of myself and moving home would not be the answer. The Dr.'s in WA would not be able to find an answer either. So I am going to continue living where I like and try to remind my family that every once in a while a low will sneak bye me. It has nothing to do with not trying hard enough but there is so many factors that can cause lows or seizures and to get it right every time is extremely difficult.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Work Issues

                 The hardest part after a seizure at work is the embarrassment. I know all diabetics feel embarrassed afterwards but it does take me a while to deal with that part. There is also usually a change in communication with supervisor or managers. I know that low's or seizures scare them and can cause things to change in some ways. I am trying this time to be more proactive by teaching a training class on what signs to look for and so forth to help them feel better. I am not thrilled to be doing it but if it will make things easier I am more than willing to compromise. The difficulty I am experiencing is that there is a change in communication in some ways. I know fear tends to change things dramatically. I am trying to protect myself while sharing just enough information so they can understand where I am coming from. I always try to apologize for scaring them and acknowledge their feelings in hopes of opening up communication again. I have had a good relationship with my supervisor and manager but I know these situations can changes things and not always in a good way. I am trying to avoid another issue with my work deciding that I should not be working or I should be looking to work with another department. Last time I had trouble after a low at work they tried everything to get rid of me. I sadly caved in and took family medical leave act and then found a job while on FMLA. I will not do that again because I fell that is wrong to hire someone and then if there is one incident they need me to leave.

                     Honestly I am scared for my job again and I have no idea how this is going to play out. The surprising benefit of the timing of the seizure is that I have had my review already which will help to protect me because I got a commendable review which is wonderful. The other protections I currently have is that I had not used one day of sick leave up to this point. The only time off I have had is a vacation and holidays. So my attendance is good so that will make it more difficult but, I do work in a right to work state so they can fire me pretty easily but because I work for the State of Texas they require documentation to fire an employee which is helps me because I have had a great work performance. I really wish I would not have to worry constantly about whether my work wants to fire me because of one incident. I do have a plan of action to protect myself such as having documentation for everything which will help me if things do start to change. I am hopeful that things will work out okay in the end but the fear will still be there.

Friday, August 10, 2012


              I have learned more details about Monday morning from my co-workers who helped me during my seizure. Duchess was beside herself which I don't blame her at all for being really upset. These service animals many times will blame themselves if you end up in a situation like having a seizure even though they may not be at fault. Duchess while I was seizing was digging in my purse and brought my co-worker Michele my glucose tabs like I had trained her to do at home. She is so smart and even though she did not understand that it was too late for the glucose tabs. It goes to show you how much she cares for me. I know she is my best friend and loves me so incredibly much. During my second seizure which of course I really have little recognition of I was told I was petting Duchess while I was seizing. I know when I came out of the first one she was very upset and was so stressed. I know I must have been trying to calm her while I was having my second seizure. I know everyone was amazed by our relationship in some ways.

               I do remember some parts of my first seizure which has never happened before. I remember starting to come out of the seizure and I could feel the pain from the seizing of my body and it was terrible. I know I remember seeing all the people standing around and watching me. I hated to see the looks of pity and concern because it was all too much. Coming back to work after my seizure has been difficult I am tired of hearing people constantly asking if I'm okay or what caused it. All I get is the look of pity, which is the last thing I want. I really wan to move on from being the talk of the office. I honestly have been so embarrassed by the whole situation not that this was the first time this has happened. I know people care but, it just feels so over whelming right now to deal with it. I did get several comments from people I work with they never really saw the need for my service dog until this happened and they said they got a glimpse into how difficult things could be for me at times. It is nice for people to have some perspective on this. I was asked to teach a class to a set number of people and what to do during an emergency and so forth. I will be teaching it next week. I am hoping I can put together a real simple instructions because this experience was chaotic to say the least.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Transportation Issues

               I have learned some things I from this past seizure. I live in Texas without any family members. The closest are in California and Washington state. The problem with this is that when you have to be transported to the hospital if your unconscious they can make a choice to not transport your service animal with as well. This creates an issue for me the only persons who could assist me is my friends or co-workers. There is always a possibility that they could send  your dog to animal control and it end up at the pound. They are supposed to keep your dog separate from your service animal but honestly that would frighten my dog. She was picked up at a pound and I'm sure that would be a traumatic experience after watching me have a seizure and then placed at the pound. They also can have fire or other services possibly transport them to your home depending on what the area you live in has in place. Sadly my experience did not go smoothly. I had told a co-worker that I did not want to be separated from my service animal and EMS had never dealt with this situation before and the cops even wanted my service dog separated from me.

               Where I live is in no way prepared to deal with having a service animal present when I was having my seizure. I do plan on contacting them to clear up some things and make sure in the future that they try and no separate us. I am very protective of my life saving dog Duchess and the last thing I wanted is for her to end up in a bad situation because they have no where to take her. I know most of my friends would take her, but when it happens when their at work that can complicate things as well. I am going to work on an emergency plan for Duchess because the last thing I want is for her to be taken to the human society even temporarily. I know she needs to know I am okay and by sending her off she would be very upset and agitated by doing so. I know plenty of service dog teams that were transported together but Austin does not seem ready to deal with that just yet. Hopefully I can figure out a way to keep her with me during these times. Honestly it was wonderful having her in ambulance with me I did not feel quite as alone when I have my best friend with me.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Another Emergency

                I sadly had another seizure on Monday morning at work. I don't have any recollection of what happened except my coworkers keeping me in my chair while I finished seizing which is good because I tend to hit my head or hurt myself otherwise. This seizure was painful in that the end of it I could feel and most of the time I am not with it enough to notice the pain. Duchess had alerted my co-worker to my seizure and saved me again. The EMS was called and I was coming out of it and felt fine. So I told them to cancel the EMS call I was 50 and I treated the low and took my insulin pump off. I felt really hot and was trying to take a minute to rest before I took Duchess out  because these incidences really scare her. That was the last thing I remember before waking up to EMS taking me out on a stretcher as almost all of the people in my office watching including the directors. The embarrassment level is always so high when this happens. I feel like I want to hide under my desk when this happens. I head to the hospital to what I expected to be a normal what happened to cause the two seizures what could of been done differently. I had a very normal Monday not one thing different from any other Monday even my Sunday night was typical. So I have no clue really as to the cause.

                      The Endocrinologist at the ER thought I needed to be watched over night to make sure I had no further seizures. This was a rather strange experience for me in that most of the times after a seizure they send me home and I do great. I was not a happy to say the least. My boss and supervisor accompanied me to the ER as well. I am not sure how I felt about this. I know my co-workers and supervisors care, but honestly most of my past experiences they let me go to the ER by myself and contacted my emergency contacts. I am extremely stressed because these seizures scare me to death and I also know that my work could end up changing. I am scared to know if my work is going to try and get rid of me. I have had issues before at my work place but different department I had one incident where EMS was called and they wanted me to quit after that. I know how they get away with it and have watched them do it to several people over the time I have worked at my jobs in different departments. The good part is that my boss and supervisor all seem very supportive right now, but the thought of that changes scares me. I have fought so hard to get a job I like and to thought as disposable because of the possibility of a seizure seems crazy. I know work prefer to not have interruptions like I had and most of the time it is not an issue.

                        I was upset that I was stuck over night at the ER when I tested more when I am at home then they did when I was in the hospital. They also labeled me as a high fall risk and added seizure pads to the bed in case I had another. I am not usually put into the neurology unit at the hospital, but I guess they assumed I would have another one. They ran the normal tests that always come back as negative. They tested me for adrenal insufficiency and addisons disease. They checked my thyroid and other general work ups they do for a person being hospitalized. The funny thing is my potassium came back low when I know I had been drinking more water and propel because of the heat. I know my boss had said in the ER they thought the area around my desk was too hot and they were planning on buying a fan to cool my work area just to make sure that was not a contributing factor. After a discussion today with my bosses they want written instructions on what to do in these types of emergencies which is good, but one issue is that I do not have the most obvious signs of lows. I know this can make things difficult. I know I scared my co-workers and I am not really ready to deal with that just yet, hopefully they will all be understanding. I always feel so alone when I have these seizures and it makes things so much harder to deal with.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Testing Everytime You Drive

                I had an experience several years ago that changed the way I currently do things with my diabetes. My mother had passed away and I was not handling my grief well. I was not doing what I should of been for my diabetes or other parts of my life. It was like my whole world was crushed. It was a normal work day in June and I had a therapy appointment. I was going to a grief support group and seeing a therapist to help me through the grief process. I thought I was doing better since I had made some key decisions to get help. I was driving home after a therapy session. I believe my blood sugar had dropped during the session and therapist did not know what to do and sent me home but she did call my roommate. She called me on the phone to see if I was okay. I told her I was fine, but anytime I use the word fine really means I'm low and don't realize it. So I headed home even though normally I would be headed to my grief support group that evening. All I remember is that I needed to get home. I remember getting on the free way and that's the last thing I remember. I remember coming too in an ambulance. There was a copy yelling at me and I was extremely confused. The EMT asked the cop to get out of the ambulance so they could treat me because I was low.

                  They tested my blood sugar and it was 52. They started treating me. I know the EMT explained to me what had happened. I had hit a car on the off ramp from the freeway and had five cops chasing me as I drove 25 mph to this elementary school about three miles from my house. I guess I had drove in a circle for several minutes near the school before I randomly stopped. I meet a witness that saw the whole incident. I pulled over I guess and then cops surrounded the car and I got out when they asked. She then said they threw me down on the ground bashed my body into the cement and against the car even though I was not resisting the directions I was given. They searched me and then handcuffed me. They were searching my car and then found a bottle of insulin. They then called the EMS because one of the cops realized i might be diabetic. The EMS arrives and I was moved to the ambulance. I know when I woke up I was handcuffed. The EMT made the cop remove the handcuffs. I have never been so scared and confused in my life. The EMT's protected me that day which was a blessing. They called my roommate who fought with them about the fact that I could not take a sobriety test because I had just experienced a low. The next day I woke up with bruises all over my body from the rough treatment by the cops. I know that experience I learned some tough lessons.

                    The end result of this incident was me losing my driver's license for a while. Even with my endocrinologist writing a note saying I could drive the medical board disagreed. It was revoked for a while and the sad part is that I still drove because I needed to get to work and appointments. I have made changes that not matter where I'm going or what I'm doing I always test before I drive. If I'm running late I always test before no matter what. I know this one incident I was treated like a person who had a DUI in many aspects , but sadly a person who had a DUI has more right in Texas that I did. The reason I tell this story is in hopes that maybe someone will test every time as I do. I know my Dr.'s never mentioned to me to ever test before you drive, but I did because luckily my mom had told me. I know that day this happened there was quite a few things I had not been doing at that time sadly and testing before driving was one. I do currently have my drivers license but Duchess is a big reason I do. I know I had to have a detailed letter from my Dr on a regular basis stating that yes I am capable of driving. I was lucky that day no one was injured or hurt that day and I had EMT's who helped me. It has been over four years since this happened and I have seen an increasing number of diabetics being beat up by the cops like I was and much easier to avoid if you test frequently.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Follow up

                  I went to a follow up appointment for my Animas One Touch Ping because of my recent pump start up. I had a pump previously so I had a feeling the transition would be easy for the most part. I saw the Physician Assistant and she is who I prefer to work with. She does not usually tell me I'm terrible she tends to help me suggestion verses the Endocrinologist who does the opposite. I know she told me she was very impressed with the fact that there was little for her to change with my pump settings. I made some changes in my basal rates after some basal changes because I knew that would help make the transition easier for me once I was on the Ping. I know she has most patients come back after first week and then second week but I luckily will not come back for another month which is what I prefer. I am not a big fan of the Dr.'s and all the appointments. I think I have the setting almost where I want them for now which is great but I think I will need to re-evaluate my IC ratios slightly which is normal for this time of year for me. I find it interesting that the CDE is not doing my pump follow ups, but I have a feeling is that because she is not familiar with the Animas One Touch Ping. I know they had trouble downloading my pump information yesterday because they had never used the software before. Hopefully the office will learn more about the Animas products and offer that choice to their patients.


                   I am thankful that I got the pump I wanted just wished the office was a little more open minded about different pump models because I think it can really limit the patients. I know I do some activities the waterproof feature will come in handy for. I also love the screen and the overall setup of the Ping. I find it much more user friendly and I had my pump set up on my own within minutes which is great and I have no trouble remembering how to find certain setting on the pump as well. The PA was pleased with my progress and thinks I made a great choice of pumps for me which is nice that she realizes that I needed more than what the medtronic would offer me.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Research into Diabetic Alert Dogs

             I have noticed over the past two years that when my blood sugars start to move Duchess begins to move closer and closer to me. She tends to be right on top of me right before I go low most of the time. I think she stays closer so she can alert much faster if it drops dramatically. I have had quite a few what I like to call freight train drops of at least 60 or more points in under 5 minutes. I know I have scared Duchess quite well several times with seizures or lows where I injure myself. I am a huge klutz when I'm low most of time. I have read quite a few articles over the past several years stating that diabetic alert dogs do not alert to the scent but to the body language of the person. I disagree with this completely. I know she has been asleep like I was and woke me up in the middle of the night to alert to a low. My body language in my sleep would be a little hard for me buy in that case. I'm sure we all do have patterns of behavior when were low in some cases but I don't believe that Duchess is reading body language when she has woken people up to tell them I am about to have a seizure. I know she is smelling something that my body is putting off in my mind. I have many friends who would agree with this. 
Typically she will stand next to my legs normally as my blood sugars start to move like in this picture. I went low about 10 minutes later.

                  I was very pleased to see that Lily is doing a study about diabetic alert dogs to find out what they are really smelling or sensing. All I know is that I sent scent samples to the trainer and the minute I walked in the door to meet Duchess she already knew who I was and she loved me immediately. I am hoping this study will finally show what I already believe to be true that the dogs are able to detect the chemical changes in the body by scent. I have heard from so many that there is not way the dog can be smelling the change but I know when your high you can have a fruity smell so why would the dogs not be able to detect these changes.        

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

More Vacation Pictures

      Here is a few more vacation pictures from my California trip.

Educating Those Around Us.

                 I forgot some things when I went to the grocery store this week and so I ran in to get a few things. I was walking through the produce aisle and there a young boy and a woman. The woman politely pointed out Duchess. He goes I wonder what that dogs job is. The woman responded I am not sure but you know what lets Google about service animals when we get home. That way you can learn about all the different types of service animals. The boy seemed excited by the idea. He then looked at the woman and said she is different than Mark's dog he has. The woman responded I'm sure that woman's dog had a different job than Mark's dog. Mark's dog is a guide dog and helps him to get around. The women and the little boy continued the conversation with him asking questions. We were then very close to each other and I could not resist and had to say something. I turned to the woman and said Thank You! I really appreciate you educating him about service animals. I wish more parents and adults would do the same. The woman politely asked what kind of service dog is your beautiful dog. I said she alerts me to low or high blood sugars. I am a type 1 diabetic for 32 years now. I can no longer feel lows or highs. He grandson as it turns out was just fascinated by this. They then asked me if I knew some of the types of service dogs there are currently and I listed off a few. I then thanked her again for taking the time and for telling him that service dog should not be pet or distracted for any reason. I was so impressed that she also wanted to spend the time to Google and research to find out more.

                         I really wish I had more time I would be volunteering at schools trying to educate children about disabilities and service animals. I have run across children who were telling their parents not to distract the working dog because that could be dangerous. Those days really make me smile. I am hoping eventually that I will have time to take off of work to do more education locally.