Friday, August 30, 2013

Way Too Much Excitment This Morning

    Well I had a horrible low I just came out of around 7am. I remember know in my head I needed sugar but I did not have the energy to move to reach the items. I knew I could not chew so I would need juice but would not be able to hold the box. In my mind I knew that I would need help. Duchess did her job and got me help. The worst part for me is that I so wanted to communicate what I needed but I was able to talk my glucose was too low. I really wanted them to give me a glucagon shot because I would have been up and running much quicker. Thankfully after around 5 juice boxes and skittles I was able to start to speak. I finally had reached over a hundred but of course the low was over but did end up in the 260 range shortly after.

The most frustrating part for me was how aware of what needed to be done but not being able to do it myself. My brain was in tune enough for me to know I needed to do something but not being able to communicate was so incredibly frustrating. The good part in this is that it was not a seizure which is good. I do not enjoy bad lows that require assistance. I know my roommates got to seem spit juice out as I was attempting to drink and how I struggled to be able to put things into my mouth. I know I was very low and I remember telling them I was sorry they were having to help me. I always feel so incredibly guilty after these lows. I know I am thankful for my roommate who helped me thru this bad event.

I am hoping to keep these bad lows at bay but sadly they happen. I know hearing I am working all the way into next week straight through and that will not help much with keeping bad lows away. I know working that many days in a row tends to cause issues but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Great Improvement

I have to give myself some credit this year I have done really well in managing to reduce lows and reduce the number of time assistance is needed when I have a bad low. I have been focusing more on what my body is telling me such as if I am exhausted and I can catch a later bus to work. This has really helped to keep more in better control and also getting the proper amount of sleep really doe help me to avoid more lows during stressful times at these. I have also been having more snacking of low carb items through out the day to reduce the chance of lows as well. I also make sure that I have easy to fix meals during these times because when you are already stressed the last thing you need is more stress. I know I have also been taking Duchess on longer walks to keep her relaxed and focused. She is such a high energy dog and long days really take a lot of planning to keep her happy and working the best of her ability. I know my Endocrinologist and I had a plan and so far so good. I will be Seizure free for a year in September and I am hoping to keep it that way.

Duchess has been alerting very consistently and I think I am finally finding the balance I need to keep during this time of year. I know I have to balance walks, playing, training and downtime for Duchess. Finding the right balance seems to change from time to time. Some times I find she needs more time to play and other times she prefers longer walks. The funny thing is the longer I have her the better I am at getting right what her needs our. The better I get at that the better her alerting.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Insulin Pumps are Great When you Remember to Reattach

I know when all the students come back to school. The campus is abuzz with noise and chatter. I know yesterday was the last day before classes start and there were so many people around campus. Duchess and I were people watching in the what we call the mall area of campus it is a highly active area of campus right near where I work.

 I know Duchess loves people watching and will sit their quietly and take in all the activity around her. She is a very curious dog and she loves being out and about on campus. I know she enjoys the crowds and all the activity around campus most of the time. There is times when they have loud music which she is not a fan of. I know with all the stress at work it is nice at time to just sit and take a breathe will watching people go by. I know Duchess needs a break from all the stress and tension in the office so I try do some playing, walking and just relaxing. I am trying to keep her in a very focused place during these stressful days.

It has been a rough start to the morning I have once again left my insulin pump at home on my bed. I guess I was in such a hurry I did not realize I was not attached. So I am on shots for the day. I know during busy times like these with high stress I really need the temp basal but today I will have to do my best without. Well thankfully my blood sugars have been pretty steady so far and I just am hoping for a smooth day blood sugar wise. Recently because of the stress things have been a little wonky but not too bad. I really need to be more careful because leaving my insulin pump at home is not at all helpful.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

My Thoughts on Complications and the DOC

 I have to admit that writing about diabetic complications has been the hardest thing for me to every write about on my blog. I know for me personally I have felt like a failure because diabetes is winning and I am viewed as a failure. I knew deep down that my own family views me differently after complications. No one wants to talk about my up coming eye surgery or any of my concerns or fears about things. I always expected that within the diabetic community there would be more support when it comes to people who are dealing with complications but I have found the opposite to be true. I have seen diabetics called failures by other diabetics, treated a lesser because they have failed not only themselves but their families as well. I know I have received nasty messages in my inbox from my blog from people who don't want me to blog about complications.

The whole reason I started my blog was because when I got hypoglycemia unawareness I could not find a blog dealing with it or much information that I found to be even close to accurate. So I knew several years after that when i was goggling that there was a need to discuss complications. I have never been so scared and alone as when I went through my diagnosis of both my complications. Honestly the only thing that kept my sanity during my Diabetic Retinopathy diagnosis was blogging about it. Having a complication feels like you are lugging around a thousands of bricks with no end in sight. I know that no diabetic wants to talk about complications and I understand that.

I also have learned so much from my experiences that I feel not sharing them would be a terrible thing because if I can help one person I have accomplished my mission. I know I am hopping that I can help one person to feel normal, or just understand what they are going through that is a wonderful things in my mind. I know there will always be people who will disagree with me on this issue. I will continue to blog about my life because I feel it is important. I know some people don't want to read about complications but the fact is that they have a way of sneaking up on you. I know my hemorrhage in my eye happened quickly.

I know through all the obstacles I have faced this has been incredibly difficult to be viewed so harshly by other diabetics. I really always thought of anyone one who would understand would be another diabetic. I have seen on forums, websites, twitter and other places diabetics treating those with complications in a very negative manner. I know I really wish I could freely speak with everyone about my complications but we are not there yet. I have to thank you to my readers because I feel that you don't judge me but understand. 

I know I wish the DOC would talk more about complications and created more of a support network for those who are facing complications. I know when I was feeling so alone with my complications it would of been nice to have had more support. I am fortunate because I blog and I get support through all of you. I am still flattered that you take time out of your busy days to read my blog and I thank you for that. I think the Hope online conference this year was a step in the right direction but I also experienced the downside of it as well. I know when I was tweeting my thoughts during the sessions I got some very nasty direct messages which was a little shocking to me. Hoping some day that we all could be supportive of each other regardless of complications or not.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thoughts About Work

                  I have been thinking about my diabetes and how it is affecting my work. I know disabilities are not supposed to impact you at work but most employers know ways around the laws and such. I know because of my past seizures that I will never be able to move up in my current department unless I find another place to work at within my current employer. With such a large employer I can move to another department without them knowing about my previous seizures. A friend I have who also works at the same employer was talking to me about I should create my own position in the diversity section which would handle the growing disabled community on campus.

I was thinking from all my experience in college and working with service dogs I could be an advocate for all the soldiers who have PTSD service dogs and other types of service dogs or disabilities in general. I know with all soldiers coming back and great deal will be heading to college so that means a growing population of people who will need help with issues that arise form having a service dog such as office staff much like I have experienced.

 I had a great deal of issues with professors disagreeing with my right to have my service dog in class and others were really great about it as well. There were times people were allergic to dogs and other times people who are scared of dogs. So I made adjustments to where I would sit in class or who i sat near. Most of the students were accepting of the service dogs but there is always one who thinks having a dog in class is ridiculous because they just don't understand.  I would so love a position where I could educate office staff and faculty about service animals and disabilities in general. I know what it like for the students or staff so I am going to see what will come of my email and see where it goes.

I am not expecting for me to get a job but it is worth a try. I know my current job I am really great at but at the end of the day wish I was doing something else but I am sure what until this conversation. It's worth a shot and not hurt in trying.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Full of Surprises

                 I have to say having a service dog will always have interesting moments. I was just at the Dentist for a cleaning and Duchess has been there several times before with me to this Dentist. They all love Duchess and thinks she is just incredible and I could not agree more. I know she is never a fan of people poking and prodding at me at Dr.'s or Dentist at the end of the day Duchess is always looking out for me in her own way. She really does love the Dentist but she is not a fan of the tools they use most of the time. It is interesting that every time I got to the Dentist's office now she lays on top of my legs and today she was laying on my chest. She held really still in fact fell asleep on top of me. The office staff were going on and on about what a bond we have. I wish I was able to get a photo of it. She was very well behaved but does not like laying on the floor when I am at the Dentists office so I am okay with her being in the chair. The Dentist thinks it so cute that she loves lays down on my legs and stays there very quietly while I am getting my teeth cleaned. She has never had an issue with all the crazy noises comes from the tools a Dentist uses and she really seems so unfazed by it all. I know she loves the people that work at the office. Well my teeth are clean and Duchess as usual is busy making my life even more interesting. She always seems to surprise me in good ways. I am glad she seems a little more settled today verses the beginning of the week. I am hoping we can keep it that way.

                 Dental Chair Dentist Insurance Stock Image - Image: 5059271   

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Everybody Know's Someone

I know some times in life we can learn some life lessons the hard way. I read an article recently that talked about the amount of type 1 diabetics with eating disorders. I know I have been going to dieticians for years and like many diabetics have learned some bad habits of learning how to manipulate nutrition information into an obsession. My eating disorder has many of causes to it and I am sure I am not alone. I had experienced quite a bit of verbal abuse since I was 8 years old about my weight. Mind you I was never what I would even call overweight but in my family it was not unusual to be a size 0 and I was not a size 0.

 My mother and sister were always skinner than me and according to my father if your over a size zero your fat which is really not fair. I know back then I did not take into account that I have an apple shape and they were pear shapes. I know that my knowledge of food and carbohydrate counting all played apart in my eating disorder exercise anorexia. I was not only obsessed with food but also exercise.

 I know even today I still struggle not to go back to my eating disorder. I can so easily fall back into limiting carbs and exercising 7 days a week. I could get the thoughts in my head that I am only attractive if I am a size 0. I think I will struggle the rest of my life not to go back to that very overly obsessive state that I go into. I know the strangest thing about this period of time I am also very careful in that I also are obsessive about my blood sugars during my eating disorder periods. I had great control and it was very unusual to have high blood sugars. I know I have already experienced some consequences for my eating disorder already. I had had numerous stress fractures in my ankles and feet that I believe are from the lack of proper nutrition and vitamins from that period of time.

 I know that I was so obsessed with everything at that time I would almost go loopy or rather angry at times if I was unable to exercise several times a day. The obession is so strong that I still struggle with it event today. I try not to go on diets but just cut back so I do not get as caught up in that mind set. I want to stay healthy so I have weird rules when I get on a scale I climb on backwards so I am unable to see my weight. I think the number gets me back into that negative mind set that I need to avoid. So I ask the nurses to not discuss with my weight and the Dr. as well because I do better not knowing. It is so easy to get caught up on a number. I did sadly reach my goals but could not stop. Thankfully my mother noticed and was able to help me get things under perspective in time. I know I hid m weight loss from my family but eventually they noticed.

                  I know the damage from the two times I have gone on these extremes will haunt me but I also work very hard these days to remain as healthy as possible. I know I am not unable to fix these issue but I have also learned so much from these experiences. I know embrace my curves as part of who I am and I think I look great as I am and not ten pounds lighter. I am these days very happy with who I am and not that ten pounds lighter person. I do exercise but I am not obsessed with it these days. I always feel so much better talking about my experience because there is really no benefit of being so critical of one's self.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

On Edge But Not Sure Why

                 I know everything has been incredibly stressful recently and continues to be which I expect. What I was not expecting is the issue that is arising from Duchess. I know she is very good at her alerts but I was not expecting her hyper-alerting (over alerting). Anytime my blood sugar moves up or down she is running to tell my coworkers. I think she has not forgotten last years seizures and she seems to be playing off of that. It was a very scary time for both of us and something I wish to never repeat. I am not sure if the high stress in the office is causing her to be on high alert or not. All I know is these days she drives me crazy at times honestly. She thinks any movement of my blood sugar she goes straight into a full blown alert and skips the other steps of her alerting.

The interesting thing is that she does not alert to me either she runs straight to one of my coworkers. They are quite confused because I am fine but she is acting like I am about to have a seizure. Then even after checking my blood sugar she passes back and forth for a bit and then re alerts. I do retest to appease Duchess otherwise she will keep alerting. She is doing this pretty constantly which after a while will drive any person crazy. Most of the time I am dropping really slowly so I am not sure what the rush is for her to alert. She has been so overactive, passing and generally in a constant state of unrest.

 So I am in process of trying  to figure out how to get her to calm down and that everything is fine. but honestly here worrying so much makes me worry which I really don't need because I am extremely stressed by my job. I know during this time of the year the whole office is stressed and I am not sure if she is picking up on that. Duchess is an extremely sensitive dog to where she picks up the tension, emotions, feeling of people. She is very affected by these types of things. I am not sure how I am going to get her back to her normal self but I do appreciate her concern. I am hoping to get the to calm down because she just adds another level of stress I normally don't have. Hopefully today will be better but she seems to get more on edge each day about my blood sugars.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Sometimes I Just Need Time

              I know when it gets to the busiest time of year for me I know things get so busy I feel like I don't really get to enjoy life as much as I would like. I know yesterday I had so many things I needed to get done including cleaning up my place as I normally would but I really wanted to watch my dvd's of Downton Abbey instead vacuuming and mopping floors. I know I should be doing those things but I just wanted to chill on lay on my bed and watch the show. I had the best time and got the time to relax and enjoy my time. I know the rest of the week I will split up the things I was supposed to get done this week during the week and I happy I did that because honestly with the diabetes, little time for fun, keeping a house clean and everything else life throws at me I needed the time. I know with this being the time of year I tend to have seizures if I am tired I rest, if I am feeling overwhelmed I take the time to breathe for a minute, and I work at reducing my stress by exercise. I know I was lazy yesterday but at least I got to enjoy my time having some fun also in my mind helped keep my stress low because I know I will get to the things that need to be done but I think we all have days when we really just need to do nothing just for a little while. Duchess really enjoyed the afternoon of playing with my roomates dog, sunbathing in the back yard and playing with her toys instead of watching me clean. I think we both needed some downtime and I know I don't always allow myself the time I need but I don't think you can put a price on the time I got yesterday. In fact my blood sugars were steady and not too crazy so it was just what I needed for my sanity and my diabetes.


Friday, August 16, 2013

Thinking About My Challenges

                    I have been thinking recently a lot about my disability with the recent complaints. I know I don't let my diabetes define me but when you are disabled its not quite that easy. I know I don't let my disability define me but the general public does not view in that manner. I know most people I have meet do let my disability define me in their perspective from what i have learned over the past three years. I know when I tell people I date, go to the movies, shopping, travel, and many other things it seems to really surprise them.

Mind you Duchess does enable me to be able to do some of things but in a much safer manner but my disability does not determine who I am. I know I have turned my challenge into a blog, advocacy, education and into opportunities (motivational speaking). I have never stayed at homed and cried about my challenges I instead look for ways to make things easier and most of time they are . I know I will always have challenges from my diabetes did I know it would get this dramatic not really. I know I had never heard of Hypoglycemia Unawareness until I was diagnosed with it.

 I have to say I have learned so many things from my experience with Duchess. I have to admit I hate the word disability I prefer challenged. It gives it more dignity. I know at the end of the day my disability or challenge has taught me a great deal of things especially about life, challenges and how to solve issues. I have never experience so much conflict, major issues and complaints like I have had from having a service dog. I know these challenges have changed my life and thankfully brought me to the DOC which has changed my life and gave me  the courage to continue to do more. I know telling my story has helped than I can describe. Thanks to everyone for all the support and tweets over the past couple of weeks when I needed it most.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nervous About the Change

                      It has been an interesting week with Duchess. She is extremely persistent if my blood sugar moves even a tiny bit and she is practically laying on my legs under my desk which is very unusual. Normally she is on the dog cot which is right next to my desk. She is very close so she can detect things quickly but I am not sure why she is so very watchful. I am a little nervous because she is watching me like a hawk and seems so animated about it as well. I am hoping nothing is going to happen but that seems very strange behavior for her in many ways. I know the stress recently has affected her but I know I have been exercising in the evening to keep my stress down and keep things mellowed out. I know her so well but this change in behavior worries me greatly. I know that at times her alerting she can be sharper than others where she will alert sooner to changes. So this could be that but it is different in many ways. I know the exercise is good for her as well and so I know it helps with the negative environment that my work place has become for us. So I am reviewing my basal again to spot any patterns and looking at my Dexcom data for things I need to change to reduce the risks of a bad low or seizure. In September I will have been seizure free a year and I really want to stay that way and I know Duchess does too. I am hoping also snacking more through out the day will also help to keep the bad drops at bay but I also know from experience you can't always stop everything no matter how you try but I am giving it my best shot.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hoping This is the Resolution to the Problem

 I am happy things are turning around for the better at work. The disability coordinator came over and did a workplace assessment and decided a sliding door would be helpful. So I am getting a sliding door the guy is doing an estimate next week so hopefully in the next two months it will go up. They also decided that since everyone is becoming bullies about Duchess they agreed it was an education issue.

The director of my department will be sending out an email with information about service dog with my expectations of how a service dog will be treated in the workplace. I was able to review what would be sent out in the letter. I wanted to make sure it was covering all the complaints as well. They did sneak in a tidbit about the fact that a service dog needs to stay stimulated and ready to work so toys are going to present in the workplace when a service dog is present. I am hoping the complainer will see it an go from there. The letter also talks about how it is being sent out because of a new policy that no dogs are allowed in buildings except for service animals and so people will not really know that it is addressing the most recent issues.

I know the disability advocate wants the department and me to contact her anytime we get a complaint about Duchess because she can better handle these issues and stop them from escalating. I know she agreed with me that if I do move it could create increasing demands from complainers internally. I know she was not happy with the harassment from people in  my office. I think this incident could of ended badly that's why they wanted to be involved.

 I know my department does not want to spend the money on the sliding door but I need to have an environment where Duchess can concentrate on me. I know disabilities can make things difficult but has not cost my work any money. It is really sad to me that as a person who really just wants to be able to work that so many people make it so very difficult when there is no need for it to be that way. I am very hopeful that I will be able to move on. I know during the past several weeks when this started Duchess has been affected by all this. She has been hiding at my feet and does not lay on her dog bed as she normally does. She is always hiding when she is at work and sadly when their is tension she knows. I have handled it all pretty well but I have a feeling that she picking up on the negative energy of the complaining department. Hopefully that will subside soon.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Uneducated Staff

                   An interesting part of having a service dog in the workplace is how much attention you can draw doing everyday tasks. I am really shocked at how much people watch me in my everyday routines and work. I know people see if I let people pet Duchess they are watching what I feed her or don't feed her. They are watching what I do during my breaks and lunch. I know I feel like at times I am living under a microscope of sorts. I think when I first started working at this job I expected some attention being payed but I did not expect people to continually watch every move I make at times. I know the managers and supervisors are very aware of what is going on with Duchess and such. I know there is still so much misinformation about service dogs in my office even with my attempts to educate. I know the whole dog toys on the floors is truly an example of this. I know each service dog has different needs but Duchess needs something to do at times. I know my office is boring and I only have two twenty minutes breaks and a portion of my lunch does she have a chance to get out and play. I am frustrated for Duchess because she is the sweetest dog but is not always liked because of unrealistic expectations. I think the people I work with expect Duchess to stay under my desk all day not come out and not play all day. If I was running a dog prison that would be fitting but since I don't it is kind of interesting the perspective. I am surprised by that considering how many people have pets. N0 matter how much training a service dog is still a dog who needs the ability to chew or entertain herself while at work. I work long hours and in a very high stress job and to expect her to no nothing all day is not fair to Duchess. I work with keeping Duchess on her best behavior anywhere we go but treating her like she is in a dog prison to please the uneducated is something I am unwilling to do. I really need to find a way to educate the staff on service animals to avoid petty small complaints because I have a feeling once they understand most of the complaining will stop.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Incredibly Happy That I Stood My Ground

                  I knew my life would change dramatically once I got Duchess and honestly I had quite a bit of anxiety about all the changes that were to come. I also knew I needed some of these changes so I could have my life back. I never realized many things I know now about disabilities. I have learned the hard way that if you are different you are targeted by bullies at work and in general. I have been graced with some of the rudest comments of my life from the general public for the past three years. These comments were incredibly rude and prying. I know people are curious but with that curiosity also comes a great deal of judgement because I am an adult. I am constantly judged because I could not make it work without a service dog and I am judged because people just don't understand why I need Duchess.

                     Last week was incredibly difficult because of the fact that people are bullying me at my office and the complaints are coming all from one department. All the same department as the woman who did not want me testing in the office or lunch areas even though I was trying to test my blood sugar under the table. I know from experience first hand most disabled individuals are not treated in a friendly polite manner. I feel like I have a target on my back saying abuse me because I am disabled and don't already have enough to deal with in my life. It has been a very difficult couple of weeks. Thankfully when I was working overtime this weekend my manager and I meet in person again to discuss this issue. I had a similar issue while in college and once they addressed the so called issue the demands grew so out of control they finally told the student they would not be making any further accommodations because they were impeding with me dealing with my disability. So I know if I back down now the complaints will continue to grow and grow as they accommodate peoples requests. So I knew I needed to get this resolved because I was getting distracted and it was affecting my sleep. I am happy to report I am not moving and will have the sliding door installed several months from now which I am happy with. I know my manager said she had not thought of things from my perspective because she again has never had an employee with a service dog before. I know it is a learning curve for all of us. I am glad I have been able to stand up and defend myself. I am glad I have resolution to the issue for the most part and the best part is that I don't have to move all my stuff to a new location during the busiest time of the year.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Might Have to Call In Some Help

               My latest issues at work still have me very mad. Looks like I have to move to a new location during the busiest time of year and it is less than ideal. I am losing a large amount of space I need and will have no filing cabinets I can use. All these are less than ideal. I really am not happy about this because again my work is more worried about the person complaining than me at the disabled individual. I find it interesting that I am always the one who has to be flexible and accommodating to my coworkers. I really messed in the beginning by being too nice and I am paying the price now. If one more person complains about Duchess's dog toys when I move to my new location I am talking to an attorney and getting my local DARS involved. DARS is Department of Assistive Rehabilitative Services. The DARS program helped me when I applied for my job and got it at UT. They directed me on how to handle issues that arise and ways to communicate what I need to make my job easier. They also helped me with how to handle notifying them I would bringing my service dog to the job etc. I would need to reapply to get assistance but would be very easy to do so. I feel like I need someone on my side of things because I am getting attacked and treated not appropriately considering the situation. I want to make sure I can do my job and have people leave Duchess and I alone. I feel very attacked and it is quite stressful.

               I am hoping once I move to the smaller desk people will leave me alone about Duchess's stuff because if the complaints continue I am going to have to address this issue. I feel people are being overly picky and for no reason except they feel like they can complain. If it is funny if I complained they would ignore me but anyone else does about me they are all about action. HR has really failed me in this issue because again they protect everyone else but me. I am not sure how to resolve the issue but I am really thankful that the State of Texas does have some programs who will come in and represent me to solve the issues. They will meet with HR, manager , supervisor and other people necessary to get this issue resolved quickly and quietly. I am hoping things can be addressed without having to bring in DARS or others to help me with this situation. I feel like as a hard working employee I am being treated very poorly at this point all because of one person who I have a feeling has an alterior motive. So I will play hard ball if I have to but it should never have to get to this point.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Frustration Does Not Even Begin To Explain How I Feel

 I thought everything was taken care of with the whole work situation concerning people complaining about Duchess having dog toys and her dog cot at work under the desk. I guess they think it should look neater. I am at this point fed up with all the complaining. I understand that it is a large office and things need to be clean but here area is clean but it also had dog toys in the area. I need things at work to keep Duchess stimulated and not completely bored. A 15 minute break twice a day is not enough to keep her entertained all day long but I am tired of all the complaining. I found out yesterday that the manage who approved the purchase of my sliding door left before it was was completely processed. The director thinks I should just move desks to another area but I have issue with that because I have a large space that Duchess is used too. I also have a small fridge on my desk for snacks and juice boxes at work. The fridge is nice because I otherwise would have to head down two flights of step stairs to get to the fridge. I also love the fact that I can store my snacks in the refrigerator as well.

So I am supposed to measure and see where I could move in the office. If I am unable to move or find something comparable I can then get the sliding doors. I know I am right by the aisle way that vendors who visit the purchasing departments pass by but I am still astonished why a couple of dog toys is considered so terrible. I am not going to do anything to accommodate people in my office after the backlash of complaints. I think they will have to deal with this issue and move on. If I say in my current desk they will have to stop complaining about things i am not going to change. I think Duchess being able to work and do her job is more important than making her go without toys at work to please one person. I think my office is so unreasonable and just don't understand that having a service dog is such a delicate balance Duchess needs stimulation during the day from Kongs to dog bones or rubber not squeaky toys. I do not allow her to have noisy toys so its not a noise issue but just a general lack of understanding. I never realized how hard it would be to have a service dog at work. I just want to pull my hair out and scream.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Choosing to Disagree

                  With the growing trend of people flocking to get diabetic alert dogs I have also seen a growing trend of bad ideas from people training their own diabetic alert dogs. Recently I was on an online forum and a young woman was asking questions about alerts for her diabetic alert dog. I know she said she wanted the dog to alert by barking. That is the kind of alert that will get you kicked out of business. I know some people will argue that that is acceptable but it is not. A service dog should always be as transparent as possible. They are here to help us but quietly when ever possible. The whole idea even though it does not always work that way is to blend in as much as possible which means being quite and well behaved. A dog barking in the middle of a movie will get you kicked out for sure. I know I was warned by my movie theater if my dog barked I would be kicked out and that is true for most places. Barking is not an acceptable alert because it disrupts the general public.

                     A diabetic alert dog can be trained to have several alert levels for example Duchess will start off with a lick on my hand then proceeds to a pawing of the legs or calf and then finally pawing at my chest. If I am unresponsive still she will get me help. When I am at the office she will alert with a bringsel because the alert is more clear to my coworkers and she will tell them if I don't respond. This has really helped to get me help much faster. I know each diabetic alert dog team is different and so our their alerts but barking goes against service dog etiquette that should be followed. I know someone on the forum said he wants his dog to bark in case of emergency but I think this creates more a spectacle and also would stress the dog out as well as others. I know Duchess had been through emergencies with me but never barks but still gets me help so I disagree completely with the excuse to use barking. I know Duchess will scratch on door, whine other things to get attention without barking.

Also I am guest posting today on Diabetesmine. Here is a link to the article. Thanks again Mike it was wonderful meeting you in person and loved working with you on the guest post.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Stepping Up on SoapBox

                   I can see how an attractive option Diabetic alert dogs can seem to be especially with children. I have been seeing a growing number of people looking for diabetic alert dogs right after diagnosis. I think this is a real recipe for disaster for several reasons. I think you need to know your diabetes first before you add a diabetic alert dog to the mix. I think diabetes is stressful enough without adding constant training but that leads to the biggest issue. Right after diagnosis most patients not saying all should be feeling lows for the most part. In order to have a service dog you need to have a disability. If you can feel lows consistently you don't have a disability. I know you can get accommodations at work for diabetes in general but a diabetic alert dog should be used only when you can't feel lows. I have heard of people wanting a diabetic alert dog for highs but that also would not fall under a disability. I do get alerts for highs from Duchess for highs as well but I can feel highs or lows so she alerts for both. I do see how for a child it would seem like such a fun thing but not feeling low can be scary so in those situations I encourage a person to look into diabetic alert dogs when all other options have been explored. Not all diabetic alert dogs will alert at night and Duchess did alert when I first got her but I do not have consistent lows at night until recently. She does alert at night but not consistently enough. She has been on a roll recently which has been great and now I am just trying to keep it up.

          I am worried about all the ill trained dogs I have seen recently and how many families that I have seen looking into getting one who really don't necessarily need an alert dog except for at night which is problematic because there is quite a few who don't alert at night. I have also seen many people who think that diabetic alert dog will equal more restful nights but that is not really true because you will have a dog alerting at night to the blood sugar changes. Diabetic alert dogs equal a large amount of testing as well. I know these dogs are incredible but I know I would not be able to hold a job without Duchess alerting me to these lows. I know I have lost hours of time of work in the past because I went low and did not realize that I was low so I went untreated until I figured it out. I think it looks negatively on all of us when people who use a service dog who may not need one because it makes it look like we all really don't need a service dog. I think also all the people that get a service dog who don't keep up the training make us all look bad. I needed to get on my soapbox to say these things because it was driving me crazy not speaking up. I know I value the ability to be able to have Duchess more than many will realize. I know there is children and adults alike who need these dogs because the can't feel these dangerous lows but if you can feel your lows than I recommend looking into other options for the rest of us who depend upon them.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Things are Starting to Sneak Up On Me

                  I know before I went to the Friends for Life Conference in July I was feeling quite overwhelmed by things and did not really realize until recently in some ways my depression was sneaking back into my life again. I know I can have trouble realizing that it is affecting me but others seem to notice quite easily that I am a little down. The funny things is that there was so much going on I am really shocked I did not know that I was feeling that way. I know once I was at Friends for Life I felt great but I have a feeling that my work was catching up with me working long days and knowing that your are coming back to around 900 email from one week of vacation can be overwhelming for any person. I know I feel know like I am sliding back into that area again so I am making some changes but I also realize that my job is only getting increasingly more demanding of me the longer I am here and I honestly I am not sure how much more I really want to do.

I feel like with my Hypoglycemia Unawareness I really need to a nice work life balance to stay positive and be able to handle what is necessary. I honestly have a feeling that last years seizures were from too much work demand and my bodies inability to handle this in some ways. I also know that I need to have more balance for Duchess as well. I know that in September is when I will get to where I work 7 days a week and for several weeks. I find that this does affect my blood sugars in a negative way either highs or lows. I know we all have busy times at work but I find the longer I am in this department the more my coworkers want me to cover but I can only hold on so long doing this.

 I know my friend told me recently that my departments system is broken and me allowing to work under the broken system will only allow them to think it is working. I guess until it breaks they won't realize that we all need more help and making us work more and more overtime is really not the answer. I am not sure what I will do except see what my options are at this point. I need to think of my health and safety but also Duchess as well. I know I am not feeling great about life right now and I will be addressing that but when I am not allowed to take anytime off it can make that really difficult especially when you need the time. So I am working on my resume and looking to see what options I have.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Reflections about Training

               I know after several recent meet up with several diabetic alert dogs the more I appreciate all the effort I put into keep Duchess's training up. I know I work hard at it but she will never be perfect and neither will I but at least she is a better example of what a good service dog should be. I know I will never be able to completely get rid of her food issues. She has a weakness for food. I can tell her to leave it and she will but I know it is not difficult for her either. We work on her food issues daily to keep her from wanting to pick up food off the ground or get other bad ideas. I know some dogs have weakness for attention or play etc. So Duchess is quite normal in her issue. I think she is also very treat motivated which I know some trainers want people to move away from. I know it works for us as a team and I okay with giving her treats because in my mind she earns them. She is also where she needs to be weight wise and I exercise her regularly but if her weight does become and issue I will have to change her reward for alerting. I know my recent exposures to diabetic alert dog at the conference I was really upset at the quality of dog being put out but I really think the issue is not the training but the lack of follow up after training by families. I know it seems like a dream to have a dog to help you catch lows but it is so much work. I know this also makes me even more thankful for the wonderful dog that Duchess is but also the little idiosyncrasies in our relationship. I also must thank her training for giving me the information I needed to keep Duchess working but also how much continued work would need to be done. I know my journey has been great so far but there is so much I am still learning about Duchess and myself through our daily adventures.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Looking Back at My Decision

                      I was thinking yesterday about something diabetes related and then I realized that I have never blogged about what happened before I got Duchess. The diabetic alert dog trainer had a Collie that was being trained for me but as we got closer to the date that I would go for training I got a phone call. The trainer said Gus would alert but not to level I would need. I had more lows than the average client so I would need just the right dog to work for me. I know after that phone call I put on hold getting a dog for a while. I needed time to take in how much of a responsibility it would be to get a service dog. I also was really excited about getting Gus so I was really let down that I he would not be my service dog. So I waited a couple of months and told the trainer I would be ready to pick another dog. She had two available that were three months out of the two year training so I would be able to get my dog soon after waiting almost two years. So she sent me the picture of Duchess and I knew instantly she is the one I wanted. They also said they believed she would be the best match the other was a German Shepard but I am more of a lab person. I was so excited to get Duchess when the time came but I really knew after all my research that it was a huge deal with so many things I needed to worry about such as abiding by service dog standards, protecting my service dog with proper equipment, and maintaining training when life is busy. I know all of these are still things I am concerned about three years in. I know that I was very nervous about such a big change in my life even now I have no doubts about my decision. I know sadly I have meet way too many diabetic alert dog in the past couple of months that were begging for food, pulling the handler, popping, and not appropriate behavior in public places. This is not something I like to see because this again reflects badly upon the teams who do make the effort to maintain or try to keep dog within service dog protocols. I am hoping that all people considering getting a diabetic alert dog really take the time to fully consider all the changes positive and negative before jumping into purchasing a diabetic alert dog.

First Picture of Duchess