Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Dear readers:

I need your help on a matter that is absolutely not diabetes related. I am preparing for job interviews and am trying to design a sample syllabi for how I would teach a survey course--for example, World Literature or British Romanticism or 20th Century American literature. My question is, if you have taken survey courses in the past, what was effective for you? Did a straight, chronological survey do it (for instance, the Puritans, and then the American Revolution, and then the Transcendentalists) or did thematic groupings (looking at representations of gender, say, before moving on to something else) work better? Did you prefer getting a taste of a bunch of types of literature that were usual just pieces of a whole work, or did you like looking in-depth at a few pieces? What kind of reading assignments and homework assignments did you appreciate or hate?

Please respond, and pass this on to your friends, relatives, etc. I am really stymied as to how to go about this and I have taught a lot of classes before. This just seems like a different beast altogether.

I appreciate your help!

Friday, October 20, 2006

I had a very interesting conversation with my insurance company today. Apparently, to get my new pump, I need to participate in something called a "Diabetes Advantage Program." I will get my pump and diabetes supplies free through this program, so I should be happy. Free is good.

But I have conflicted feelings about being forced to participate in this program. My sense is that this is actually a program intended to prevent diabetic complications. Since I'm all about preventing complications and all about insurance companies being active in preventative care, I like the idea in theory. This program entails a 24-hour free health helpline, access to educational programs, and check-in calls with a registered nurse every few months. Again, all good in theory. But when I am compelled to enroll in a program to get a new pump and when I am forced to answer a litany of questions ("What was your last A1C?" "How often in the last month would you say your health prevented you from doing something you enjoy?" "Are you on depression meds?") I feel like Big Brother is watching. And this I resent. Deeply.

I also resent being put on hold. Updating my address with one person. Then updating it again with another. And the same thing with my phone number.

And then, "Now, Ms. Nic. What color would you like your pump to be?" Whoa, Nellie.
"I already ordered my pump," I reply hesitantly. "With Minimed."
"And they called yesterday to say it had been shipped and would be here Tuesday."
Says the Southern accent on the other end, "...well, that's unusual. Because the pump orders usually come through our program."
"I ordered clear," I say. And silently, I add, "I ordered clear twice, since I talked to two Minimed people."
"I have you down for a Paradigm 722?"
"No. I wanted a 522. I don't need 300 units of insulin."
"Hmm...it says 722 here."
I silently add, "Yes, I went through this twice with the Minimed people, too."

So now I'm waiting for the nice but bewildered insurance lady to sort things out with Minimed. Wondering if I'm getting one pump or two. Clear or purple. Charged once or twice. Or maybe I'll get one free? Because free is good.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

A friend of mine was just introduced with gestational diabetes. Can anyone recommend any good sources for her? I would especially like to know about online resources, particularly blogs by those who have or had had gestational diabetes. I've did a quick search of the OC and didn't see much.


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Gush, gush. I have to share a warm fuzzy story about my class. One of the books we just read is also a movie, but it's a 1994 production and is hard to get. I had to borrow the video to show it as an out-of-class extra credit opportunity, and then felt terrible when the students who couldn't make it were deprived of extra credit because the video is absolutely no where to be found in our area and they couldn't get it to do extra credit on their own.

Well, today a student comes up to me and hands me a videotape of this book. "This is for you," she says. She got it cheap in her hometown and decided to donate it to the cause. And later in the day, a different student informed me that he got a "sweet deal" on the DVD and has offered to share it with me--permanently.

I am so touched!

Monday, October 09, 2006

This will be a very random post. This post will, in fact, mirror my blood sugars, which refuse to be tamed by insulin. I have changed sites 4 times this weekend trying to get my steady 250s to come down, but to no avail. So, am I stressed? Sick? Recepient of a bad batch of sets? Who can tell? Anyway, back to the randomness.

  • Handsome Hubby and I went to the Louisville Zoo on Saturday. I haven't been to a zoo in ages and it was so much fun. Such a wide array of animals, including an honest-to-goodness albino alligator. It was so cool. The anacanda...less cool. A tiger made eye-contact with me. That was awesome. I'm glad he was behind protective glass, however.
  • Handsome Hubby and I are in job limbo. The limbo: he will either be fired or get a substantial raise. Let's just say spending any money (much less a new pump and RT money) is agonizing right now because we might need it. Then again, we might not.
  • Thinking of substantial raise has me thinking about not teaching next semester. To not teach would be so nice. For just once. I do love teaching though. Especially when I get paper revisions that are as stunning as the one I just graded. I am thankful for that revision, because the next one, I can tell, is going to be depressing. Hence the blogging instead of grading.
  • I got my first, "Dear Nic, thank you for your application to our University" email today. That was so exciting! I've sent out 20 applications (or close to) by now, and it's the first acknoweldgement. It's so affirming. I have 20 or so left to do. They need either a writing sample or offical transcripts. I am waiting for both (transcripts need to arrive; writing sample needs a proofreader).
  • It's a no-school day. Tomorrow, too. I'm trying to find a balance between work and rest. And I celebrated by wearing my pjs until 11 am. Now only if I could teach in my pajamas...

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Here is how desperate I am to get my bloodsugars under control: I called Minimed. It's one thing to think about calling them; it's another to actually call. It's a commitment. But I did it. And on Monday, I talked to a very nice lady about the 522 and the RealTime system. I answered her questions about my health, my insurance, whether my pump was functioning properly. And then I waited.

And yesterday, I heard back. And I answered questions about my health, my insurance, whether my pump was functioning properly. And it seems that it is unfortunate that it is, because if, for instance, it was cracked, or the buttons were sticking, they could shave off some pump-replacement cost. But I could not lie. "No, my pump is fine...Well, yes, it does give unexplained alarms."

Insurance (bless them) will cover 80% of the new pump. Which leaves us with a mere $608 to cover. They will not, of course, cover the RealTime system, which comes separately. I learned a few things about this system that I did not know before (and I have researched it extensively, having read all of the blogs and many reports and of course the MiniMed web page). The most stunning thing I learned: after spending $999 on the system, and committing to a 35-month payment plan that covers the RT and the 522, the RT will only last 9 months. 9 MONTHS. This has not been widely advertised, and I was more than a little upset about this. I should not that I don't need a new insulin pump. I don't go for the bells and whistles; I'm too stubborn to learn about them (actually, I'm too stubborn to watch the stupid videos they send). I merely need the new pump so I can have the RT that will only last 9 months -- no matter (I conclude) whether I wear it daily or monthly.

But I am, as I have noted, desperate. So in three to four weeks my expensive, short-lived RT shall arrive, along with my new, clear 522 insulin pump. Stay tuned.