Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apartment hunting in San Francisco

Image

Since I moved to San Francisco just over an year ago, I have often been asked by my other migratory friends about the apartment hunting process here. So, here are a few quick tips for those of you looking for an apartment in the city:

  • Look for listings on craigslist.com and livelovely.com all through the week (yes, do it while you are at work). Good apartments don’t stay on the market for long. So, call them and make an appointment as soon as possible.
  • Make a calendar of open houses and showing appointments for the upcoming weekend/weekdays.
  • Get to the open houses a little earlier than scheduled time.
  • Keep one packet of a bunch of important information about you for each of the open houses. This includes your credit report, pay statements, references address/phone numbers, chequebook, and whatever that can help you sell yourself. The owners are looking for stable income – the more the merrier!
  • Carry a pen to the open house.
  • You’re gonna have to make a quick decision to apply or not. If you want to show the place to someone else, take some pictures and share with them. While they are taking their time to pore over the pictures, you should be filling out the application – it’s usually ‘first come first serve’ if the owner gets more than one good application; and trust me, they always get more than one good application.
  • More about the last point – see a few bad apartments before you see a good one. If you love the first one you see, you’re probably going to be hesitant in applying without seeing any others.
  • Application are often free. So, apply even if there is a slight chance that you like the place (do this even if the application costs a small amount). This buys you more time to look at other apartments while they go through your app (takes ~1-2 day).
  • Look for constructions, fire stations, or any other sources of noise nearby. Open the windows and make sure that the noise level in the apartment is acceptable.
  • After seeing the place, take a quick walk around the block to check out the neighborhood in general.
  • Neighborhood crimespotting resource: http://sanfrancisco.crimespotting.org/
  • Use this tool to look up information about the building that you are interested in: http://ec2-50-17-237-182.compute-1.amazonaws.com/PIM/ -> Tells you the year in which the building was built which tells you if it is rent controlled or not.

Happy hunting!

PS: Image credit – http://www-conf.slac.stanford.edu/lp13/tourism.asp

Advertisements
Tagged , ,

Diabetes – Handicap? WTF!

Note: I am very frustrated right now, so, a number of things in this article may reflect those emotions. I’ll try my best to not put any swear words in the post though.

I am sure everyone has heard about Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to Supreme Court by now. Along with being the first Hispanic woman in the Supreme Court, she’ll also be the first type I diabetic in there. When the diabetes community heard about this, we were all happy – we were blogging and tweeting about this like crazy (AFP). This was until I read this article being run by Time magazine – Sotomayor’s Diabetes: Will It Be a Handicap?. This is one of the most disappointing article I’ve ever read about diabetes. The basic theme of the article is that Judge Sotomayor might not be able to perform her duties well enough because she is a type I diabetic. It goes on to say and I quote – “The nominee’s chronic condition is worth noting, since it puts her at increased risk of several serious medical conditions, including heart disease, kidney problems, blindness and nerve damage — and an increased risk of early death.” WHAT??!! What the hell is he talking about? There are a few reasons why this statement of his statement PISSED ME OFF:

  1. Basically, what he’s trying to say is that it may not be a good idea to give so much responsibilities to a type I diabetic. And that pisses me off. You are entitled to say that about anyone (not someone with a condition, but, anyone) once you have realized that he/she is unable to handle those kind of responsibilities. But, if you make such a statement about a person with a condition like diabetes without any references to his/her past performance, you are discriminating – in my eyes, you are no better than a racist. Sotomayor has been a judge for past 15 years and has been fulfilling her responsibilities without any problems. I don’t know why moving to Supreme Court would change anything at all. They are still allowed to eat snacks and inject insulin in there .. right?
  2. We, diabetics, spend a lot of brain cycles thinking about balancing out our carb intake with our insulin intake to make sure that we maintain those good blood glucose numbers. Good, consistent blood glucose numbers is something that we take pride in. And bad high and low numbers make us feel really guilty. That’s how diabetes management system works 24×7 at the back of our minds.
    The complications that the author lists in the article are basically caused by consistent high blood sugar (and not diabetes) – diabetes causes high blood sugar if it is not managed properly. So, I would read the above statement (quoted from the article) as an insult to my diabetes management skills. All of us our trying to maintain a normal lifestyle living with diabetes. We are doing things that normal people do – heck, we are doing better; we are becoming judges in Supreme Courts! But the system is still running 24×7 at the back of our minds. The pissing off part: You can’t just write a totally under-researched article in the time magazine and say that we are all going to die soon because we all have high blood sugar. If you do not know anything about anything, just shut the f@@k up!
  3. The article lists a number of inaccurate facts about type I diabetes in general. I would expect a minimal amount of research about the topic if the article is going to show up on the website of time magazine.

I am not writing this to tell people about how difficult it is – no, I don’t think that way and that’s not the intent of this post. I just want to say – I don’t deserve any discrimination just as I don’t deserve any sympathy because of my condition.

A War: That’s what it is …

Here’s a video I came across on youtube. It’s not very dramatic, not a boring lecture, and not funny. Just a simple plain account of a day in the life of a kid with Type I.

Turk from Scrubs

I watched this episode some time before I was diagnosed … had no idea what diabetes was at that time … now when I watched this clip back again, it’s hilarious! Have a look:

The Airplane Analogy

I found this great analogy (http://www.hanselman.com/blog/ScottsDiabetesExplanationTheAirplaneAnalogy.aspx) for making people understand the difference between Type I and Type II. I’ve modified it a bit suiting my ‘use case’. Here goes :

You are flying from L.A. to New York. You have to maintain a consistent altitude the whole way.

Note: For this analogy we will focus on a good cruising altitude and pretend that taking off and landings aren’t important.

Food raises blood sugar (altitude.) Insulin lowers it. Non-diabetics don’t have to think about altitude, as you all have a working pancreas (autopilot) and don’t sweat altitude. Diabetics, on the other hand, have to constantly wonder if they are at a safe altitude. Staying at a consistently high altitude (high blood sugar) will eventually make you sick; while a low altitude (low blood sugar) will kill you quickly.

When I prick my finger to check my blood sugar with a glucose test strip, that’s an altitude check. I want to know how I’m doing. Each time I do it, it costs about $1.

Each time I feel I need to lower my blood sugar, I take insulin. I take a manual shot by measuring the insulin and filling the syringe by hand (or I use an Insulin pen). I would typically take about 2 or 3 shots a day (presently).

Here’s where the analogy gets interesting. Remember in the analogy we are flying from L.A. to New York, except we only get to check our altitude seven times. And, we only get to change altitude (take insulin) less than ten times. But, when I check my blood sugar, I’m actually seeing the past. I’m seeing a reading of what my blood sugar was 15 minutes ago. And, when I take insulin, it doesn’t start lowering my blood sugar for at least 30 minutes.

Now, imagine yourself in that plane with an altimeter that shows you the altitude 15 minutes in the past, and a yoke that changes the altitude – but when you press on the yoke, your altitude won’t change for a half-hour. It would be a challenging trip.

Kind of reminds one of the delays in controlling the Mars Rover by remote, eh? This is what Type I diabetes is like. It’s a daily “chasing of one’s tail.” This is why I prefer to eat at Subway when I’m in NYC or SFO. It’s consistent. I can count on it. I know how much insulin to take for a Steak & Cheese. Believe me, I’d love to eat new kinds of food every time I visit a new city, but I’d have to discover how much insulin to take and that’s and exhausting series of calculations and trial & error.

23 and me

15 minutes from now, I’ll be 23 (well, actually I already turned 23 12:30 hours ago, but yeah whatever!). It has been an interesting ride until now – filled with a lot of fun … i’ve had my share of bumps and I am glad I always had family and friends with me all the time! This year, I don’t have a lot of them around on my birthday …. that just means one thing – I am sure gonna get a hell lot of calls tomorrow! well, happy birthday to me!
Update: I had a piece of my favorite chocolate cheesecake on my birthday morning after taking 2 units of insulin. I was scared but the values were perfectly normal 2 hours later! I need more cheesecake now!

Digest

I saw my endocrinologist last week. Last time I saw him, he had ordered some labs for me. This time he had all the results. Here are the highlights:

My c-peptide was much better (2.0) than before (0.9) although it was not as good as it should be. Basically it means that my pancreas is still somewhat working. I am currently in something called “honeymoon period“ – the period where most of your islet cells (cells in the pancreas that produce insulin) are dead but some of them are still working their asses off to produce as much juice as possible.

My antibodies labs came out positive – well they were way high! While the normal value is around 1-1.5, mine was somewhere around 13! These antibodies are generated by my own immune systems. They go attack the islet cells in my pancreas and kill them. So, that helps explain how it all happened and confirms my diagnosis to some extent. My insurance although has not been helpful at all with these labs. They marked my antibodies lab as “experimental“ and refused to pay a single penny for that! I had a chat about this with my doctor, and he was really pissed at the insurance guys on hearing this. The test is actually not “experimental“ at all. It is kinda required for the diagnosis. Now, I have to go thru the grueling process of appealing for a claim for this lab but as of now, I need to pay $207 for the freaking test!

On the tratment front, I am on long acting insulin shots currently. I inject 17 units of lantus (a long acting insulin) in my tummy every morning. I was expecting (and half hoping!) that my endocrinologist will start me on short acting insulin as well this time and he did exactly that. So, now I’ll also be taking a few (3-5) units of short acting insulin (Novolog) right before dinner. So, that makes it 2 shots a day. This makes things more inconvenient but the upshot is that I can eat more freely (=more carbs) in one meal of my day. Probably a piece of cheesecake once in a while! Totally worth it!!!

And yeah! I asked him what he thought about the kind of research going on for finding a “CURE” for type I diabetes. He was very hopeful for a cure coming up in the next 10 to 20 years and he believed the most likely cure would be a islet cell transplant. It seems researchers have carried out such transplants recently and so it is possible to do that. The problem that the community faces today is the source of these cells. Right now, they come from cadavers but researchers are looking into various other sources to get these cells from. 10 years, 20 years – it’s definitely a long time but if we are looking at a possible cure, I’ll surely be waiting. Here’s a wonderful video I came across that talks about another possible cure.

PS: I have been telling a lot of people about my doctor’s visits lately. So, I figured it will be best if I write down all of the stuff somewhere, so I don’t miss anything when I am repeating the whole story again and again. This is the reason for the post above.

Advertisements