I Am The Moth.

30 03 2011

This is a google image. I will post my brian when I get a copy of it.

I was spending a lazy Sunday with Mrs. BrokenPancreas, just relaxing and not doing much of anything. Just before 4pm I felt like some one hit me in the back of my head with a bat and kept repeating the action every half second or so.

I immediately dropped to the floor and put my hands to my head– squeezing, trying to kill the pain. When that didn’t work I tried pressing my head through the floor, also to no avail.

At this point the pain was getting worse (though I didn’t think that was possible). Mrs. BP called an ambulance.

The fire department showed up first and carried/ walked me down the stairs to my front door where a stretcher was waiting.
That is when I learned how many cracks are in the roads of Boston. When every one feels like a hammer, you notice even the small ones.

When I got to the emergency room there were so many lights and beeps I thought my head would explode. I think the nurses could see my head physically pulsing and were kind enough to put me in a “quiet” corner.

When there is any concern of head trauma in the ER things move really fast. Nurses started drawing blood. I lost count after they took the 22nd vial.

Then came the drugs. I was started on something to control nausea. I wasn’t nauseas (yet) but the morphine they were about to give me would fix that.

Morphine made me feel worse. They tried out a bunch of other drugs and kept asking me to rate my pain on a scale of 1 to 10. The answer I kept giving was 11. Eventually we figured out that intervenes caffeine dulled he pain AND made it really hard to sit still which was a problem for the next step.

Time for a CT scan. This part was actually quite pleasant. My head was squeezed between two bolsters. I fell asleep for part of the scan.

Back to my ER cubicle.
Waiting for results.
The good news: the CT scan was clear.
The bad news: time for a lumbar puncture (aka: spinal tap or LP).
I was hoping for this and dreading it.
Hoping because it means my CT scan is clear, and I’m one step closer to still being healthy.
Dreading because, well spinal taps are no fun.

The Dr. who performed the LP told me I had great anatomy so the LP would be on the easier side. I was skeptical. She was telling the truth. The worst part was the Novocain used to numb the area. That and the idea of a huge needle in my back. The area is still a bit bruised, but I am no worse for the wear.

More waiting for results.
More good news. The LP is clear!

Now what. I’ve been tested every way they know how and nothing seems to be wrong with me.

More drugs. More waiting.
My headache was finally gone.
Finally some sleep at 1 am.

I woke up with a shock at 5 am. Headache was back and worse then before. Back to an 11+.
I paged the nurse.
Writhing in pain, all but screaming and the nurse said to me, “You’ve been fine all night.”
Brilliant deduction. Thanks for pointing that out. (To be fair, all the Dr.s and nurses in the hospital were more than helpful and friendly except this one.)
More IV caffeine was ordered. It killed the pain and my ability to sleep.

At around 11 am (Monday) I was sent home with more questions than answers and directions to see my PCP.
At this point I felt fine so around 3 pm I decided to get a little work done. I went upstairs into my home office that also houses my closet (that becomes important soon).

Two hours later almost to the minute, BANG! My headache was back. I took the prescribed drugs which did nothing. Mrs. BP called the on-call Dr. and brought me more drugs. They didn’t help.

I keep trying to figure out what I changed in my life that would cause the worst pain I have ever felt. The only thing I can come up with is the I bought mothballs for my closet (living in a 110 year old house has its drawbacks).

I asked Mrs. BP to get them out of the house and open all the windows. She also found the package with a warning label. “May cause mild headache.”
There is nothing mild about this. I promise.
As we aired out the house I sat outside, in the cold, wrapped in blankets to get some fresh air.
After a few minutes I felt a hint of relief.

Tuesday morning I went to cheek in with my PCP, Dr. BP, who was baffled with all the great results from all the tests I was given in the hospital. After talking over the events of the past few days, he agreed that the mothballs COULD be the cause.

Directions: go home, relax and if symptoms return, come back and we (Dr. BP and I) will keep looking for a cause.

I got home, with high blood sugar, went into my aired out and cold office, and what do I find in the middle of the floor?
One dead moth, laying lifeless, likely with a headache.

UPDATE: 2 weeks later I still have a headache in the background. Going to neurologist today.


Diabetes Risk.

22 03 2011

Today is The American Diabetes Association Alert Day.
Take a minute or two and take a quick test to assess your risk.

Here’s the info:
Go to www.stopdiabetes.com
Take the Diabetes Risk Test in English or Spanish
Call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383)
Text JOIN to 69866 (Standard data and message rates apply)

Though I already have Type 1 diabetes I took the test. Good News! I’m at low risk. (The family history part refers to me.)

Diabetes Risk Test

Diabetes Risk Test

Yes, Insulin IS a medical necessity

6 03 2011

I have been on Humolog since it was released in the US in 1996. It is not working like it used to, so I’ve decided to give Apidra a try. I tried it last summer at a diabetes camp I was visiting —one pump full to be exact. It worked great. If nothing else, any change in my diabetes routine forces me to pay really close attention to how it affects my body, exercise, food, etc. which helps my blood sugar control.

Last Thursday, my endocrinologist and I talked about the change which she agreed with, so she wrote the prescription. A usual she gave me a physical copy and sent one to my pharmacy. I don’t know how this pharmacy stays in business since about 1 in 3 prescriptions get lost, so I always call to check in.

After 25 minutes of them telling me they do not know if they have my prescription (yes, they told me they don’t know), and 3 phone reps later, I spoke to someone with half a brain— just half mind you. This rep told me that while he still cannot tell me if they have the prescription or not, they can’t fill it.

My natural reaction, “Why?”

“Sir, you need a letter of medical necessity.”

To which I reply, “I thought a prescription WAS a letter of medical necessity.”

I knew I wasn’t going to get much further with this without some help, so I asked where I should have the Dr. send the letter. He gave me a phone number. “Is this the fax number?”

“No. Have your doctor call here to find out what to do.”

Very calmly, I asked if he thought someone who spent
a)   over a decade studying medicine
b)   nearly 2 decades treating diabetes
had time to waste on the phone to get the same result as just writing a prescription in the first place.

He responded plainly; “No.” and hung up.

Look for the exciting conclusion to this story next week! (Well, I hope this is resolved by next week though, I’m quite skeptical).


5 08 2010

Alex is not yet 15. He is working on his Eagle Scout Project, the highest rank attainable as a Boy Scout. He built two 8 foot platforms that house tents at the Camp Nejeda campout site costing thousands of dollars.

When he completes his work towards his Eagle, he will join the likes of Gerald Ford, Stephen Spielberg, Neil Armstrong, and a countless other world changing leaders. Did I mention he has diabetes? It doesn’t even slow him down.

Alex in front of one of two tent platforms with tents he built for his Eagle Scout Project.

Coach Singleton

19 05 2010

What does a PE teacher with a literature degree and diabetes do on a Saturday afternoon?

He coaches Girls Flag Football. Here’s The pep talk at half time.

See more of the Broken Pancreas Project here:


If you found this…

2 02 2010

If you found this page, you should email me (or leave a comment). It would be safe to assume you have diabetes and are tired of people thinking there are things you can’t do.

(If you don’t have diabetes, you should send this page to a friend – or 10 – who do.)

This project is still in its infancy. I have talked to fewer then 20 people about it. The reaction I got from everyone is, “I’m so glad you are doing this. How can I be a part?”

Want to learn more and/or be a part? Email me: diabetes[at]kotch[dot]biz

Or  post a comment.

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