Welp, the good news is that the kitten is well-hydrated

December 27, 2022 at 8:06 pm (Uncategorized)

Trigger warning: Mention of injections, and hard-core depression stuff.

Today’s troubles began in 336 AD, when the Roman church began formally celebrating Christmas on December 25th.

This year, Christmas fell on a Sunday.

Which means that Monday (Boxing Day) is a public holiday—and so is Tuesday 27th December, an otherwise perfectly ordinary day sitting in that weird liminal space between Christmas and the New Year.

This is not a difficult concept to grasp… or is it?

The second major contributor to today’s troubles began in 2013, when Chris and I made Tim (huzzah!), and I started having daily migraines which ultimately led to some very minor brain damage. This brain damage is a lot like a Jack-in-a-Box in that I know it’s there and could pop up at any moment, and I live in constant and increasing fear of the upcoming unpleasant surprise, but there is still absolutely no way to brace myself for the shock and horror when it does, inevitably, pop up.

The third contributor is diabetes. I had gestational diabetes when I was pregnant with Tim, and then a couple of okay years and then was officially diagnosed with fully-grown proper diabetes about six years ago. When combined with fibromyalgia, major food intolerances, and depression, there was never a plausible chance of me being one of those diabetics who can keep their diabetes under control by lifestyle changes.

This year I started on insulin. The body takes a while to get used to insulin, so I started on just 10 units daily, injecting myself first thing in the morning. Each week I call my endocrinologist’s office with my blood sugar readings (up to seven a day, but usually only one/day) and they typically call me back the next day and tell me to increase my dosage. Blood sugar readings also involve a needle. (One of my other conditions also requires injections, so it’s lucky I’m fine with needles.)

The insulin I take comes in a pack of five insulin pens, each of which has 260 units of insulin for me to inject. When I first started on insulin, a single pen lasted aaaagggeeeesss. I was vaguely aware that I was getting through pens a LOT faster these days and was on my final box, so last time I saw my chemist I asked if they were closing during the holiday period.

“No,” they said, “just three days over Christmas and two days over the New Year.”

I was so relieved! In my mind, this was recorded as, “Nope, we’ll stay open every day except Christmas Day.” ie I didn’t need to worry about insulin until after Christmas. Tra la la.

The above picture is Joey (not Buttons), who often travels back and forth from Canberra to Cooma with my mum, who is a priest serving several small towns. Mum has the use of the rectory at Cooma (beside St Paul’s Anglican Church), and we drove up to Cooma on Christmas Eve to spend most of Christmas Day with her.

I realised while packing on Christmas Eve (it was only one night away! Easy peasy, right?) that I had only one full dose of insulin left. Luckily, the rubbish bin beside my bed hadn’t been taken out in a few days, so I figured out that I could use half a dose from the old pen and half a dose from the pen I used on Christmas Day. That would get me through Boxing Day.

So on Boxing Day I dug through my own rubbish bin (mainly tissues as I’m intensely neurotic about noses—I struggle a little just typing the word—which means I blow my nose way too much, which causes it to run, which causes me to blow it more, and so on) and felt moderately clever for still injecting myself with my full dose of 78 units.

Then I drove to my chemist to get more. As I drove in, there was not a single car in the carpark. Sure enough, the entire medical centre was closed. I went up to the outside door of the chemist, and saw “CLOSED CLOSED” towards the bottom of their list of holiday opening hours. Clearly, it was closed for two days, not just Christmas Day. I would have to come past before breakfast the following day.

I go to Capital Chemist at UC, and they are FANTASTIC. I get those old-person Webster Packs from them each month (the ones that have all your meds in little pockets, divided by day and time), and during covid lockdowns they hand-delivered supplies to my house, which isn’t even in Belconnen. I take more than a dozen pills every day, and it is brilliant having the chemist track all those scripts, keep the physical copies, put the right pills in the right place, and even keep an account for me so I can delay payment if it’s a bad week (or month, or year). Which it definitely is.

My normal morning routine is to immediately do a blood test, write down the number, then inject myself with insulin and set a timer for 20 minutes, after which I can eat breakfast. So this morning I measured my blood sugar and headed directly to Capital Chemist UC.

There were very few cars in the carpark. The doctor was open, but the chemist… was not.

When I had looked at the opening hours on Boxing Day, I had looked at the information that the chemist was closed for two days over the New Year—instead of seeing that it was closed for three days over Christmas. Including today. An otherwise ordinary Tuesday. And I was out of insulin. Without insulin, I was in danger of excessively high blood sugar, which can result in a diabetic coma. And I was hungry, and scared, and I already knew I couldn’t trust my brain.

Cool.

Let’s pause to enjoy this picture of Buttons. An excellent representation of my emotional state.

I called Florey Pharmacy, which I know prides itself on being open at odd hours. They were open! And they had insulin! I drove over right away.

This carpark was a buzzing hive of activity, and I was grateful for my disability permit as I was feeling pretty darn shaky. I was still nervous, as I’m on a list of national diabetes people but it’s purely digital and doesn’t always work smoothly. Plus I had absolutely no idea how much insulin costs, as I never pay directly (but through my Capital Chemist UC account)—and it could easily be much more expensive than usual because I wasn’t a regular customer. Insulin is massively subsidised, but would it still be subsidised if I didn’t have the right paperwork? Then I walked into the pharmacy, and they immediately asked me for a prescription.

I was utterly thrown. I didn’t even know insulin had prescriptions, because I’d never seen one. It goes directly from my endocrinologist to my chemist. If I’d thought about it at all, I would have thought it was all approved in advance for those with the national registry. But of course anything valuable is regulated.

They absolutely could not sell me any insulin.

I asked the pharmacist for advice, and she said I could try a different Capital Chemist (Charnwood) but if that didn’t work I’d need to see a doctor. Failing that, I’d have to go to a hospital to get insulin.

I already knew my doctor was busy/unavailable, as I have a life-changing phone appointment with her tomorrow (which I tried to have last week, but couldn’t because she was unavailable). I will find out whether I have Peripheral Vascular Disease or not, which has major implications for my health, for my finances (am I finally sick enough to get a health insurance payout?) and for my ability to continue to be the proud owner of two legs.

If you’ve ever been sick and then tried to park at a hospital, you know it’s a serious ordeal. I SMSed Chris to (hopefully) wake him up, and called the Charnwood Capital Chemist, who said I could get insulin there despite my lack of a prescription. I knew there could still be problems, but I thought I’d try one more place before heading home and throwing the entire tangle at Chris, who would very probably see a simple solution that I was too panicked to figure out.

The Charnwood Capital Chemist was busy, with several people waiting to be seen. There was music playing; a song called “Beautiful Girl” which has the lyrics “Suicidal, suicidal” in the chorus. The songwriter is clearly very proud of using such a triggering word in a pop song, because that word just kept playing—over and over and over. Meanwhile, the chemist prominently displayed a looping video of a man attaching a sleep apnea device to—shudder—his nose. Over and over again.

Cool.

I concentrated on staying calm, and reminding myself not to react badly if the staff were unable to help me. Eventually I saw someone, and she said they’d charge me for a full set of four boxes but give me only one—I’d need to get my prescription sent over from the UC to get the rest.

And how much would that cost?

A fair bit, but little enough that I had the cash and was able to pay.

And so I went home, woke Chris, injected myself with 78 units of insulin, and put my timer on ready for when I could have breakfast.

Crisis over.

While I had breakfast, Lizzie picked up Buttons before/during a massive wee, which spread kitten urine over my chair, the living room, the kitchen, the front entrance, my bedroom, and the ensuite (where Lizzie put him in the litter tray, which was the right thing to do).

So that was my morning.

It’s been a rough year as my health has noticeably worsened—not a surprise, as a diabetic, but still frightening as I don’t know how much more of my health will be chipped away or how bad my life will get as a result. Which is worse—the increasing pain? The increasing dependence on others, who already find me a significant burden? Or not knowing when and where my brain will fail me next?

Cool.

Post Script

While writing this entry, I found the mummified corpse of a lizard on the living room carpet.

Cool.

Post-Post Script

Today a trans friend pointed out that I had outed them, and possibly got them fired. Awesome.

I thought they were already out, and sent them a long, emotional, and public facebook post about how fabulous they are (not just for being trans, but for a bunch of other reasons). If I’d posted it on their timeline, they could have chosen not to display it, but I didn’t—I posted it on mine, and tagged it with their name.

As I’m a writer, facebook is a very public space for me. I have over a thousand “friends”, more than half of whom I have never met in real life. I know some are transphobic, which in my mind was all the more reason to post publicly about how great my friend is.

Naturally, my friend’s employer ended up seeing my post, and that was how they discovered that my actual friend is not the gender that they appear to be at work.

Here’s the best part: The whole reason I posted about my friend at all was because it was their birthday.

So if you were wondering when and where my brain would fail me next… this is it.

Not cool.

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