Blog Entries With Tag: sailing

Posted: Oct 15, 2014

Have you ever had a heart to heart talk with your pharmacist who delivers your “legal” drugs? I know that a few of my American D-mates only deal with online pharmacies – and I’ve always wondered about that – other than them telling you you’re not covered by your insurance – do you ever have a chat with someone who is wondering why you take the meds you do to maintain your health and knows what your talking about?

While I find the right dose with Synthroid for my thyroid aka Hashimoto disease  (hi yaaaa - karate chop to the head!!!!).  I’ve been requesting my GP to increase my dosage to get myself to a level of TSH that makes me feel happy – and she’s willing to go along with me as I experiment <lol> - which was my reason for my pharmacy visit at Costco today). I decided at the same time to order up some fast acting insulin since I was getting low on my current bottle (I only order up 1 at a time). I use NovoRapid, which I’ve been using for as long as I can remember, whenever it came onto the market (remember – I’ve been thru’ many vials since ’67 – I don’t have the memory to retain all the various types over those years – there’s better things to remember than … which one was I using back in 1984 – and who knows – some of you will remember what you used – me … nope … I just remember my fav bevy … Brador beer from across the river in Hull in the disco days – “ I want action – I got so much to give – I love the night life – I got to boogie “ .....

I paid up for all my goodies (of course – who doesn’t want to throw in a few bottles of test strips – let’s get the party going – whoot! whoot! long live the punctured fingertip). Then the cashier told me that the pharmacist wanted to talk to me before they handed over what I'd just paid for. Hmmm, only time they’ve done that is for a new med. What could it be?

Apparently, the pharmacist couldn’t understand why I had long lasting insulin on my file. I explained the story of George Michael – my Animas 2020 pump – being out of warranty – dying on Dec 31/15  - no longer using him when I went on airline trips with no warranty, etc. and having to resort to using the old – bend over –throw the dart aka needle into your behind like a pro dart player!!! Bull’s eye!!!  Along with my trial with Levemir insulin for my long lasting regime - which I didn't do so well with due to allergic reactions (that was new to her - and she was very interested).


All over, it was a very interesting discussion for us both - I learned a few things about her trade - and she too about what I do within the diabetic community aka DOC. She said she only knows what she learned at school about Type 1 diabetes – and talking to me – made her appreciate what we go through – and what works for each of us (no one system works for another person – we are all different with our control of our health).

And with this short little blog – I bid you adieu for the evening – while I prepare to head to Jenna’s Journey tomorrow – to put her to sleep for the winter months on her comfy little cradle that will keep her upright out of the water. It’s been a busy past few weeks getting her prepared for the winter. I am not looking forward to the next 8 months on dry land as you can tell. Sigh – dreaming already of next year’s adventures on her.

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Tags: Costco (1) DOC (1) sailing (1) Animas 2020 (1) T1D (1) prescription (1) Lantus (1) pharmacist (1)
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Posted: Dec 20, 2013

Pirate Cat


Yes, I’m going on a sailing holiday again in the winter – I swore after the one I did with my DH back in February – I would never EVER do this again.  I became very sick during that holiday – stress with one of  the Admirals on board due to their demand of use of water / food.   Not good for any person – diabetic or not.  This time, the gang we’re with – they’ve either read my blog I wrote OR we’ve talked – and I’ve been up front with them – and they’ve all said – WE ARE ON HOLIDAY – IF WE SPEND $100 MORE ON YADDA, YADDA, YADDA – WE ALL SHALL WALK THE PLANK TOGETHER.  Okay, the plank bit they didn’t say – but I’m sure with abit of rum in them – we be doing double flip swan dives off the plank.

Last year on the charter we were on in the Bahamas, one of the couples on board is an RN.  She swears that she feels  due to taking COLD FX prior/during the holidays this is why they didn’t get ill like they had the previous year.   I figured, as an RN, who knows abit about diabetes, that it should be alright to take.  I went into the FAQ area to find out more – and it seemed to be alright for “diabetics” –but it did state that you should speak to your GP or pharmacist prior to taking. 

Frank Walks the Plank (I love cat pictures don't I?)

So, armed with this info – I spoke with my pharmacist yesterday – who told me NOT to take it due to my having Type 1 diabetes – where our autoimmune system has been compromised (this is what causes us to become insulin dependent ).  She said with Type 2 diabetics – its fine to take – as their diabetes is not the same (no kidding).  She said in taking this supplement (its main ingredient is North American ginsing) – that my autoimmune system would become abit whacky – and I’d be MORE prone to getting ill.  Phew – saved myself some $$$’s and potential harm.

What did she recommend instead? 

  • Get a flu shot (I did a few weeks ago);
  • Make sure I tried to avoid places where people are hacking away (this will be hard on the airplane);
  • Start taking a teaspoon of honey every day (local she said was best);
  • Wash your hands (soap / water are fine);
  • Avoid putting hands in eyes and/or mouth. 

Oh, and on the honey advise .... my Mum takes it – but mainly for seasonal allergies I believe.  She doesn’t even get a flu shot due to severe allergic reaction to it many years ago (and she’s never had the flu since I was a little girl – she’s very lucky).  Though when researching for this blog post I’ve come to the conclusion that due to mixed opinions (they say it doesn't work) -  I’ll just give it a go. Plus it does taste good on toast in the morning - right?

Winnie The Pooh

So, I’ll be looking to see when I arrive at my sunny destination – for local honey – to aid in my plan to not get sick like I did last year and pray I’m not sitting in the airplane with a person about to hack up their lungs (can you tell I love flying the friendly skies?).

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Tags: Type 1 (1) autoimmune (1) pharmacist (1) flu (1) honey (1) COLD FX (1) sailboat (1) pneumonia (1) sailing (1)
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Posted: Sep 4, 2013

Jenna's Journey in the 1,000 Islands (off of Camelot Island) In August

I've been finding the time to go over some of my scribbles I made while on holidays back in July/August - and finally getting around to posting a few (like the other one earlier - with my DKA experience).  This following blog idea came to me when our chartplotter (GPS to you folks who drive 4 wheels) - went wonky - and wasn't working.  We'd gotten used to sailing with the ability to see depths that were coming up, look ahead to where we were heading, things that we used to do with charts and by sight. 


Here we are into our 5th day of sailing on our holidays – we’re anchored in a bay – with warning of gale force winds coming – and to seek secure coverage (or go to safe port) – and we decide to pull up anchor and move abit close to shore – to block some of the wind that is howling from the southwest.  I start up the engine (at least this holiday – we’re not having issues like back in 2011 when we had tainted fuel forcing us to hobble into American waters to fix the problem).  I look down at the chart plotter to see what depths lie ahead of us (our Catalina 30 draws 5’3” – and see that the plotter shows where we are – but there is no definition – e.g. no depths showing.   I call up my DH who is at the bow (front of the boat) preparing to pull up the anchor that is set in mud/weeds to tell him what I’m viewing (or not in this case).  He’s not a happy camper after coming back to the cockpit – testing out the card in the chart plotter we received earlier in the Spring (we belong to a club where you receive a new one each year for the areas you sail in).  We decide at that point, with the winds picking up even more to stay put, let out abit more anchor rode (more line to extend the leverage of the anchor making the boat more secure).

Charting the old fashioned way - RELIABLE!

Not having the chart plotter (or GPS in a car) working is similar to my not having an insulin pump when it develops hiccups – it dawned on me later the next day (ahhh – the call of the loon is happening as I type this out to you – so beautiful).    When our devices that we so come to love – and expect to work 100% most of the time – don’t function – you have to remember how to sail the “old fashioned” way by using paper charts to figure out your depths /coordinates.  In away it’s a good thing this happened (I always have to look on the bright side of things don’t I?) since it forces you to go back to how navigating used to be done – before all the bells and whistles of these electronic devices that have come into our world.  The same has happened to me over the years with my insulin pumps going wonky – or my doing a “forced” break from technology that rules my life.  For some, I know this is a scary thing to do, but if you do try it, and succeed, it’s a good thing!  I've written about it over the years here at - trust me - it can be done.

I mean before the wheel came along there was only our feet – aka walking – to get us around – unless we lucked in on befriending a dinasour that would let us leap on its back for a ride.

Oh and my blood sugars over the past 5 days while on holidays?  Purrfect – no stress from the workplace – family stuff – makes a big difference in my control – even if it’s a short holiday – it’s a nice change of pace.

So, as we look at the charts over our AM cuppa java – and decide where to set sail today in the Thousand Islands - eventually anchored in a quiet cove – I feel very blessed despite this little glitch.

The End of my  story

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Posted: Aug 31, 2013

Thursday, August 8th, 2013 (excerpt from my diary)

I’ve been on holidays, so not keeping record of my daily diabetes regime (what works / what doesn’t – the roller coaster ride of diabetes … right?).  I’m back home now – heading off on last bit of holidays for 1 more week after 2 weeks of sailing in the 1,000 Islands.  My next part of holidays – road trip (e.g. The Antidote in Northampton, MA – bit of a coastal break in a B&B). 

I experienced on the 2nd last day of my sailing adventures – something I’ve not had happen since I was in 12 or 13 years old (my memory of when this exactly is kind of not the greatest – I guess it’s one memory I like to forget about – as I’m not proud of it).  I had my 2nd DKA experience in my almost 50 years of having Type 1 diabetes.  The last time – it was a slow forming DKA – I kept on getting sick with “flu” – or so we all thought – remember – this was the days before BG meters and various insulin formulas better suited to each individual.  You had what you had back than (this is in the 70’s) – depending on your economic situation.  I also had been given the “golden key” by my parents at what some parents today would consider very young – to handle my diabetes on my own.  My parents “trusted” me that I took my insulin, tested my urine, was honest …. Hmmm – yeah sure.

So, all I know is, with that first DKA episode, I slammed myself into a coma. I have broken memories of being taken by car, whizzing along the highway, the lights blinking on/off (this was at night).  We all went, EVERYONE, to the ER.  After that, I don’t really remember too much, I was in/out of consciousness over the next few days – remembered the nurse trying to find a vein to hook me up to saline probably, and then there was the cute doctor.  How could a young teen not forget a cute doctor who was trying to figure out WTF this silly girl had done.  I’d actually been over almost a year – not been taking good care of my diabetes.  I wasn’t in denial – I’ll never really know what I was going thru’ –  I was just like any teen – just with a little health problem – that buggered things up. 

Now fast forward to 2013 … after a rather hectic sail in the “Forty Acres”  (we jibed – things got abit crazy in high winds, chopping waters, I was ready to divorce my sweet DH, yadda, yadda, yadda – it’s a normal thing I’ve been told amongst other women wives who sail with their bespoken).  We decided at that point – to tuck our tails in between our legs – and motor back to safe anchorage.  Let’s just say, I needed a stiff drink once we got settled off of Endymion Island.

Time to change infusion set just after dinner – and I was all set.   I’ve been using either the Inset II (preloaded plastic cannula unit – very easy to use) or during the silicone allergy I had with the Inset’s – the plain ol’ Contact Detach.   I chose the Inset II for a change of pace – and all went in well – until I tested just before bed time.  I was REALLY high – 18 mmol/l (324 mg/dl).   I’d not had anything unusual to eat, so wondered if perhaps stress from that day was causing it.  So, I did a correction bolus, and retested an hour later – and I was climbing up – I was now at 21 (378) – I felt around the area – it didn’t feel wet – which would have explained something was up.   Test for ketones – and of course – yuppers – beautiful deep purple!  My next step was to take a correction shot – with the fear of the previous correction bolus and the shot making me go low – into hypo fairy land.  I could see I was in for a long night.  Meanwhile, DH is snoring away at this point, oblivious to what I’m feeling (at that point – I was feeling abit sick, thirsty (drinking lots of water), just plain yucky).  Set alarm for 1 hour later to retest – tho’ of course – what diabetic can sleep when facing this?  Next BG test – reveals I’m creeping up to 25 (450).  At that point, I realise it’s got to be the infusion set, but before I can do anything – I started to have horrible cramps – so I rushed off to our head (very tiny little place – to do your business in – you can’t be too big living on a boat I’m telling you).  Then it’s woosh out the backside, and now I’m feeling REALLY bad, and memoires are starting to flood back from the 70’s.  Like WTF????  Then next second – I’m rapidly turning around in the head – knickers down at my knees (Knees up Mother Brown playing in my head).  

Praying to the Porcelain Goddess I was – and it really hit me hard at that point – that things were not good.   I started to call for my DH (not hard to do – the boat is only 30’ long by about 10’ wide).  Though at this point he point was waking up – knowing something wasn’t right.   Later on, he was telling me he was ready to call out Mayday – to get a port nearby us – prepared with an ambulance or helicopter to airlift me.  Now, is that movie material or what?

I can jest about it now, but as you can see in the picture below, the cannula NEVER entered the skin, it basically got trapped sideways into the adhesive tape.  What still gets to me this day – is why there was no occlusion alert from my pump – I would have thought it would have noticed a problem – and the other thing that still mystifies me – but not worth the bother anymore – why the areas wasn’t wet with insulin.

Check my blog at Blogger - where I'll have more detailed pictures - due to inability to make them any larger!

Many scenarios go thru’ a diabetics head when this happens – with high blood sugars – insulin gone bad – you name it.  There are a few scenarios that goes thru’ our head while we try to be calm and figure out what to do.  For some, you might have headed to ER, in my case, it was abit difficult.

Long story short – in went the Contact Detach – and slowly over about 48 hours – my BG came down – tho’ it took almost a full week to get fully “normal” again – my system was that screwed up by this f-up with the infusion mishap.

Last week when I got back home finally, I did call up Animas – to tell them of the experience – since I noticed when I decided to try the Inset again that there was a similar sound I remembered hearing when I was pulling back the Inset II that evening.  Part Two will reveal what this "sound" is - along with some tips from the Animas Technician – who is also on a pump like ourselves– and how to avoid this type of this type of ordeal – which hopefully will help others like yourselves if you’re ever in this situation.

I don't want any of you feeling this way the next day after a fun ... NOT  ... night of DKA ... 

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Posted: Mar 17, 2013

When I got back from my holidays sailing in the Bahamas last month – I was so excited to find a package waiting for me from Erin Spineto – with her fresh off the press book entitled “Islands and Insulin”.  She is a Type 1 diabetic – diagnosed at the age of 19  – and what attracted me to her a few years ago – was she is a lover of water like myself and was building a sailboat in her backyard (gotta love a woman who knows how to use gadgets).  

I knew that back in February 2011 – when I was just getting off a floating city (cruise ship – in Miami) that she was down in the Florida Keys – sailing a 22’ Catalina sailboat …. all on her own!!!  The weather conditions at the time we were on the cruise ship were pretty rough at times due to high winds – so I wondered how she would fair on the sailboat.  This book reveals not just that challenge in her life – but also the other challenges she’s faced over the years since her diagnosis.

When it came time for her to finally get her book published (not an easy task) – she had asked for “help” with getting her project off to fruition last summer – without that – it wasn’t going to happen.  I was one of many that helped her reach her goal – and her book was finally printed.  I had no idea of what she would be writing about (okay – I knew it would involve sailing in some of it) – but other than that – I had no clue what else would be within the pages I was about to explore.  In with an open mind I went ...
Brain coral
Her story is similar to some of the adult diabetics I’ve met over the years – where upon diagnosis – you’re basically, if lucky, given a few tips on how to control your blood sugars, shoved vials of insulin, needles, and then pushed out the door to figure it all out on your own.  Yikes!!!  For some, this is almost a death sentence, if you don’t try to seek out more information.  Not so with Erin, with a zest for taking life full on, she managed to not let diabetes defeat her (on (which seems to be a familiar trait among many diabetics).   Really, it’s like figuring out a Rubik’s cube in living with our diabetes.

Never show weakness

I have to admit, as I started to read her book, I thought she was being pretty harsh about how she felt diabetes was buggering up her life.  It then began to dawn on me quickly (lots of discussion around my dinner table), that I’ve had it pretty “easy” accepting diabetes since I was diagnosed much earlier in life.  I don’t know life without diabetes – she did (and in a way – I’m abit envious).  Seeing her descriptions of how getting this disease after so many years of being non-diabetic – made me realise what it’s really like for those who have lived without a life time of being a diabetic.  I then started to look at her story in different eyes and really started to understand where she was coming from  when she had to cancel her original plans for sailing in the Keys due to health conditions - “ I will look like a pirate with my new peg leg making a click-clack sound on the deck”.  The way she wrote about her fears of diabetic complications is similar to the way I write with a touch of humour, it's the only way I know how to quell my fears of the "what if's" - and her pirate bit just cracked me up.
Rubik's cube costume - yes - you can get a costume! 

Even if you are not a sailor, this book will really open your eyes up to what diabetes is all about (Erin and her DH also run marathons – uber athletic or what?).  Explore her pages as she goes from a young  “I know it all” adult to a Mum coping with the ups/downs of life, trying to take time out for herself and follow her dreams.    I’m even passing this book onto my DH to read – so he can understand more of what makes me … ME with diabetes. 

 NB:  You can see the official Islands and Insulin video at this link.

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