Back when my insurance ended in February 09, I made sure I had a 3-month Rx of my diabetes meds filled to hold me over until I got a job. Then I didn’t get a job. In July, when I had my surgery my sugars were pretty high and they had to give me insulin twice, but once the pain calmed down and I had my meds I was okay. Since the surgery was so costly, I managed to meet my ridiculously high MediCal share of cost that month and had another 3-month supply filled. That ran out in mid October. I still thought I would get better and get a job. Neither of those things happened. I still don’t have a job and I am still on disability. The holidays and life distracted me. I started feeling worse and worse. But I didn’t talk about it. I was too ashamed. I didn’t want to share here, because I just knew that I would get yelled at. By my mom, my kids and probably by you. My doctor’s office called and said I needed to have an HbA1c done before she would prescribe anymore meds. I didn’t hurry and get it done for two reasons 1) It’s an expensive test and 2)I didn’t have the money to fill the Rx anyway. That’s what I told myself. And the not talking about it to anyone helped because I could put it out of the front of my mind and ignore it.
Then I got two candidas infections in a three week period. I knew what the connection was. High blood sugar. Heck, I hadn’t had one of those infections in 20 years and now I’d had two. I started listening a bit (in the back of my mind) to my body. Noticed how fatigued I was constantly, how many dull headaches I was having. How much time I spent running to the bathroom. Seriously, I think I pee as much as all the people who attended Woodstock combined in one day. I dug out my glucose monitor, but the battery was dead.
Then a few weeks ago at CVS, an employee was handing out information on their new minute clinic. Turns out the clinic does low cost HbA1c testing. I didn’t go right away, because I thought you had to be fasting to have it done and every time I remembered I had already eaten (lame excuses run rampant throughout this post, beware). Besides, I’d gone without medication before in my life and it always turned out okay. I’d get around to it when things weren’t so busy.
Yesterday, I got up and it was like I’d hit a wall. I had nothing left in me. I took my vaginally itching, exhausted, 10 pound lighter self down to the Minute Clinic. Turns out you don’t have to be fasting anymore for the test, so I could have had it anytime. However, the nurse informed me that if I waited until the next day Bayer was sponsoring a new program in which the testing was FREE. Of course, I could wait one day, right? So I went home. I bought a battery for my monitor. I was going to get things straight now, I was sure. The nurse called a few minutes later to tell me that she had the date wrong and the free program didn’t start until Sunday. No problem, I’d go then.
I tested my blood sugar…..311. Fasting. HOLY SHIT, I thought. I checked the memory. Highest I’d had was back in September at 212. Wow, good thing I am getting this taken care of. I called the pharmacy to see what my last meds and dosages to have the information ready. They thought I wanted a refill and contacted the doctor’s office. The office called me. The doc wouldn’t give me refills unless I came to see her, since it had been over a year. They offered me a special cash discount and could see me the very next morning. Okay, I guess that would be best, but I thought she needed the HbA1c results first? No, she needed to see me first. Okay. (It really is amazing how wrong I had the entire thing since medical stuff is usually one of my more expert areas).
As the day progressed, I played a lot with my monitor because I just didn’t feel well. Later in the night, after a couple of pomegranate margaritas, I got a reading of “HI”. Concerned I got out the manual. A reading of high means that blood sugar is over 600. I nearly fainted. Then decided the machine was wrong. Did it again. Results: HI. My oh my, I thought. I was so scared I couldn’t even twitter about it. Those who know of my twitter addiction will understand how frightening that is (also twitter went down for an hour). I broke down and told my resident CNA and nursing student, Bear. She wanted to take me to the hospital. After much consultation with Doctor Google and verification checks from her that I was not severely dehydrated or in DKA, I convinced her it must be the damn margaritas. (I rarely, maybe once a year drink them). She grabbed the bottle and checked the sugar content and wow is there is some serious sugar in that stuff. She still wanted to at least call the hospital. I said let’s just keep checking my sugars to see if it was these sweet syrupy drinks. Sure enough, in 15 minutes I was registering again at 569, 1/2 an hour and down to 484, then 411. I was allowed to stay home for the night.
So today I went to my doctor. And she didn’t really yell at me. What she did was keep putting her hand on my shoulder and saying kindly, but very sternly, “I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me” and “I have samples for you of the expensive medication and when you run low, call me” and lastly “Don’t ever go off your meds again. I can help you, but only if you call me“. Sheesh, she was so damned sweet about it I cried. Broke down in tears. “I’m a hot mess”, I told her. She again told me she can’t help me if I don’t tell her. I told her about the “HI” readings and how freaked out I was and she confirmed it was that margarita mix, combined with the fact that I am working off a base in the 300’s. Not the place I should be starting the mornings off. She got me all set up with meds (for free) and a scrip for the other one that only cost me $10 for a 90-day supply. On Monday, I will take her the results of the HbA1c test and have a quick nurse visit to check my sugar level for free. We’ll see if my body goes back to its well-behaved self with the meds in 3-months and if not, we will discuss possible changes in meds or a change to insulin if necessary. I left after paying for the visit with a cash discount of 37% off and my promise I’ll be back in three months to follow up. Even I can afford that.
So here I am, sharing it all and hopefully on my way to recovery. I now know why I don’t have the energy to follow through on anything, most especially posting on my beloved blog. I was afraid I might let out my secret and you would all yell at me. But I was only hurting myself, because really you can’t help me if I don’t talk to you, right?