The Stuff of Life

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In one of the best books ever written (if you like science fiction!), ‘Alas, Babylon’, the main characters who live in Florida need to survive a nuclear attack. They have to do most everything old school (Ok, that is sort of ambiguous. The book was written in the late 60s/early 70s when old school meant pioneer like. Today ‘old school’ is probably using dial up internet and a flip phone!). At any rate, I’ve had a couple of experiences which remind me of that book. I’ll start with the oldest and one I am most proud of.

I needed to purchase gas and put it in a gas can. I know, this seems sort of silly, but I’ve never done this before! Shoot, before I came back home in 2016, I had not put gas in my car from a gas station pump (dad had a giant tank in the yard and we filled the cars from there when I was in school and Oregon, at that time, didn’t let the customer pump their own gas.). I had to ask someone for help and advice. TnT came to the rescue, gave me tips on what to do with the stuff left in the can from years past and empowered me to know I wasn’t an idiot for asking and wouldn’t need to ask for physical assistance at the station. I also was very thankful I didn’t fill the container full. (I had forgotten how heavy 5 gallons was!) In ‘Alas, Babylon’ gas containers were a needed norm and I would have been a useful citizen.

Something super fun happened even later. I was sharing this experience with SSC and he told me about working out on the oil rigs in Cook Inlet. I really need to not just sit amazed when I’m told these stories. I should make notes! If you remember that movie with John Wayne called ‘Hellfighters’, it apparently was fairly realistic. Fires can start with the drop of a match.

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(UGH! This did not happen in the book. Mom just ordered over 200$ worth of clothes from a favorite catalog. I think it would have been less stressful for me to let her to shop at Walmart. And she must be feeling a lot better. I laughed, though. She mentioned something about getting rid of too many things. She HAS tons of clothes in her room in small sizes and she hasn’t worn them. Probably cuz she can’t find them.)

One of the most impactful scenes, in the aforementioned book, concerned a woman with Diabetes. In the book, her insulin over heated and she died. The other characters considered her a causality of the war, because once the medicine was gone, so was she. This was brought home to me today and I was angry and sad.

Being a person with Diabetes is horrible. (I don’t like the word ‘Diabetic’. I am not my disease, it is a part of me, but it does not define me…I might have written about that somewhere in here once before!) Diabetes is so different in each person, it wreaks havoc in teeth and nerves and pretty much most every other body part. It has a lot of numbers involved and I do not like those! I was struck by a comment Gary made in a previous post. He mentioned glucose levels were marked higher in the US, so even from country to country, Diabetes is different. (note: I understand how the United States likes being different. I get how The US enjoys not following the path of everyone else, but really! Numbers are a language the whole world gets, clocks are, for the most part, the same in China as in Nevada. So, why cannot the United States get on board and do measurements the same way as everyone else? Granted, math sucks, but it is really more logical to mark things the same.) Diabetes changes from doctor visit to doctor visit. Methods of managing this disease change in months (I follow a couple of Diabetes blogs and the information and stress is in equal measure in many spots.). Insurances make things difficult in a big way.

And this is what I ran into on Tuesday. I used to get 4 bottles of Humalog insulin every two months. Now, I get 3 to last 88 days. Lately, I’ve been taking more insulin than prescribed. I am supposed to take one unit of insulin for 5 carbs and sliding scale for the blood sugar. So, if my glucose is 154 and I am going to eat 48 carbs for dinner, I divide and subtract and I think the amount of insulin I need works out to be: 11.  (I don’t like math. I first subtract 130 from 154 because the 130 is my target glucose. That number is 24 and I divide that by 20. So, about 1 unit of insulin. I then take the carbs and divide by 5, which is about 10. So, I take 11 units of insulin. EXCEPT, I’m pretty sure things have changed since that plan in 2015!) I also take an extra shot at 4 am or just before bed, if my glucose is over 130. If not, it tends to get higher in just a couple of hours. At any rate, I am units from running out of Humalog insulin. The pharmacy doesn’t have any in stock and needs to order it. It will be in by Wednesday afternoon.

Once, I was the program director for a Cub Scout Day Camp MILES from home and I had forgotten my insulin. I was really careful and didn’t eat much that day and it was ok. I was younger and it was only a few hours. I almost always am aware of when I need to get insulin and I’m not sure why this one isn’t on auto refill. I may look into that on the morrow! In fact, the lovely pharmacist lady was also surprised I was on the edge of running out. And oddly, this is a medicine you cannot purchase without a script. Mom’s almost run out, but I haven’t. I think I’ve been too involved in mom to pay close attention to what I am doing. (Silly Kris!)

I had to laugh about another cool thing that happened on Monday. I had looked at the calendar and realized I had 6 days of nothing to do with mom. (Ok, that wasn’t worded right. I had 6 days where I didn’t need to take mom anywhere!) I looked into plane tickets and for over 800$, I could fly to Oregon for 6 days and return in time for mom’s surgery. I didn’t buy the ticket, I figured I’d give the plan 24 hours to percolate. While talking to SSC, I remembered mom DID have an appointment coming up in those days. The pre-op for her carpal tunnel surgery. I really really want to be there when the doctor looks her over. (his assistant was the one who planned for mom’s surgery) Plus, I am not sure how she’s going to react to this week’s change in the saturation of the meds in her pain pump. So, what was cool? I had a tentative plan, but needed confirmation as to if it was a good idea or not. I got the answer and besides, I really didn’t want to spend that kind of cash in one fell swoop and make extensive plans for mom’s ‘care’ while I was gone.

I also opened up a bill from the awesome place in the big city. And that pump contraption? It was 16 grand, not counting the surgery! My mum is a walking money pit. Ok, she’s not a pit, exactly. She is alive and does feel moderately better because of the surgery last spring for her left hand, the removal of the rest of her teeth, the making of new teeth, her new glasses, and this next surgery is supposed to help, as well. Not to mention the PET and CAT scans she’s had and the money spent every other week for fittings and bags for that ileostomy. She is a very fortunate woman to have the cash to do what is needed and/or wanted.

Money, insulin, clothing, travel, needs and desires. These are all the stuff of life. And so are glowing ducklings, which are less in number today thanks to the eagles and loon!

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16 thoughts on “The Stuff of Life

  1. What’s the difference between mmol/L and mg/dL?

    mmol/L gives the molarity, which is the number of molecules of a substance within a specified volume, in this case within 1 litre.
    mg/dL gives the concentration by the ratio of weight to volume, in this case milligrams per decilitre.

    mmol/L is the most common measurement used in Australia and the UK with mg/dL predominantly used in the USA and continental Europe.

    Formula to calculate mmol/l from mg/dl: mmol/l = mg/dl / 18
    Formula to calculate mg/dl from mmol/l: mg/dl = 18 × mmol/l

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Kris, I hope you get your diabetes meds sorted. That sounds like a precarious situation to be in.

    I think the odd power cut, or water rationing, brings it home to all of us that we must have some basic survival skills that we can use during adversity. 💖

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And….(drum roll) quote of the month goes to Kris, with:
    “Fires can start with the drop of a match.”
    Kris, you are so funny, I love your sense of humour, it’s just so me.
    You are so right about diabetes and numbers. Last year, I was training some diabetes nurses in motivational interviewing techniques and they were so un-person-centred. They were very nursey and medical ( not surprising, really), all about the numbers, as you say. But the way you describe it, with the numbers for insulin and carbs, good grief! Are they kidding? I’d be scared silly (or dead) if I was having to work that lot out (I’m maths-dyslexic).
    Go to Oregon! Go! You sooo deserve/need the break. Not even four days? Three? No? Awwwwwwwwww…. ☹
    LOVE the baby ducks! Er, ex-baby ducks ☹ ☹

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am so bad with math. I remember my senior year in HS asking God for self control and a few months later, I found I had Diabetes. Believe you and me, I learned to be careful what I asked anyone for!

      Liked by 1 person

      • I don’t think that was God, it doesn’t work like that. God gave us free will and doesn’t interfere with our ability to self-manifest our reality. Trouble is, we don’t realise we are doing this and don’t take our super powers seriously.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Well, whatever it was, I’m more careful now!
        I was 18, I’m pretty sure I was clueless as to anything but selfish wants. And boys…wait, those were wants. :o)

        Liked by 2 people

  4. I understand all too well and you and I always put ourselves last and think of Mom first. I’m also learning though about the importance of balance and I will say it over and over again my love. Don’t take your strengths for granted and think it is ok. It’s important you do something for you. Please do, you’d make me feel a whole lot better. Xoxo love you

    Liked by 2 people

  5. I love that book… The scene that stands out most in my head, is the water… The hard water he hates at first (Pumped from the ground from a neighbors farm I believe) but then comes to appreciate it beyond anything. That action of appreciating what is right there,,, Never really seeing it,,,

    Liked by 1 person

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