Archive for May, 2010|Monthly archive page

Diabetes Snapshots

Hello, friends. Thank goodness today’s post is primarily about pictures, because I’m almost out of words for the week! Since no one really want to see pictures of itchy sensor site rashes, or needle-hole ridden ab shots, I thought I’d share a few noteworthy accessory-related photos.

First of all, I always find it astounding how many supplies I go through in a typical month. Since I try not to do math on the weekends (and also because it’s depressing), I’m not going to add up how much all of this stuff costs, but it really is a lot when you look at a whole 30 days’ supply:

Secondly, I thought I’d share a photo of my most often-used accessory – the pump clip. I don’t use it during the day as the pump normally resides in my left front pants pocket, but I couldn’t sleep or work out without this thing. It’s such a simple little piece of plastic, but without it, my insulin pump would just be a $6,000 pendulum hanging from my body.

Speaking of working out, I always wear my trusty RoadID when I’m away from the house on a run or bike ride. I wore the medic alert necklace for years (in fact, I still have the first one my mom bought for me when I was 12), but I’ve found the RoadID bracelet to be much more comfortable, not to mention more informative, as it has emergency contact numbers for my wife and parents if I were to have an accident. You’d be hard-pressed to fit all of that on the back of a Medic Alert necklace. I also added a little pun at the bottom, which I borrowed from the name of Alexis’s blog (hope you don’t mind!). It makes me smile when I look down at it during a workout, and who knows…maybe it will give the EMTs something to talk about on the ambulance ride someday (hopefully they never have the opportunity, though).

Hope you guys have an awesome weekend!

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Let’s get moving

Exercise…love it or hate it? Interesting question, especially for today. To explain why, let me give you a rundown of my afternoon:

Around 2pm, my boss tells me if I’m caught up on everything, I should leave and get an early start on the weekend. Awesome, I think. I’ve got enough time to fit in a bike ride before my sister-in-law (who’s spending the night with us) arrives. So I get home, plot out a nice 24 mile loop, and head out on my way. About 8 miles in, I hear the noise that no cyclist ever wants to hear: psssssssssssshhhhh. FANTASTIC. I LOVE flat tires. I pull over to the side of the road, get out my spare tube, CO2 inflator, and get to work. (Did I mention it was 90˚ outside?) Since this isn’t my first roadside tire change, it actually went pretty smoothly, so I get ready to start riding again, and I look at the pump to see how my blood sugar is doing:

This is not what you want to see when you still have 16 miles to go, and have already used 1 of the 2 PowerBal gels that you brought with you. I ripped open the other gel pack, gulped it down, and started pedaling. A few miles later, I check the pump again, this time it’s at 84, still with a down arrow. Knowing that when it comes to lows, the CGM is usually higher than the actual number, I know I’m in trouble. At this point, I decided to call my wife for a ride home, as I can feel myself running out of juice. No answer. I tried a couple of friends in the area…no answer there either. Well crap. Using the old internal GPS, I routed the shortest, most downhill route home and started back. I finally made it home (and since I had suspended the pump, my blood sugar at least leveled off rather than continuing to drop), but still frustrated that once again, diabetes had foiled a perfectly good workout plan.

I like cycling, running, and other forms of exercise, but I often find it really frustrating how difficult it is to do while managing the whole insulin/food/blood sugar issue. I’ve got the normal after-work routine figured out, but any time I change one variable (time of day, duration of exercise, etc.), I never know what’s going to happen. That’s the part I hate. I don’t want to jump ahead to the “after-cure” post topic, but I often fantasize about being able to just go for a run or bike ride, whenever the mood strikes me. Maybe one of these days…

To carb or not to carb?

To me, it’s not really a question. I love carbs. They are delicious. I understand the thinking behind the low-carb diet thing, but it’s not the method I would choose for weight control. I would much rather go for a long run or bike ride to work off a big meal rather than completely deprive myself of a food that I want. Of course I think about carbs, but it’s primarily because it affects my insulin dosage, not because I’m keeping a running tally of the intake. If you ask me, we diabetics have enough numbers to keep track of, I just don’t have the capacity to get down to the complete caloric breakdown of everything that enters my body. That’s not to say I feel everyone should just go nuts and eat whatever they want, after all, you don’t want to end up on Maury Povich. But at long as you’re reasonable with what you eat, you take the insulin to cover it, and you exercise to keep your body healthy, I think that’s enough.

I’m not sure if that addresses today’s blogging prompt, but it’s the best I can do. I considering just playing off of Kerri and writing about the crab’s evil sea-cohort, the carp. But I powered through. Sort of.

You Bastard.

My Biggest Supporter(s)

I have a hard time making decisions. Just ask anyone who’s ever been out to eat with me. First there’s the whole “where do we go?” thing, and once we finally reach a consensus on that, I have to select something from the menu. We’ve all been there. I felt the same way when prompted to choose my biggest diabetes supporter for today’s blog post. Since I couldn’t pick just one, here’s a menu for you to choose from:

  • My lovely wife – whether she likes it or not, she’s always there to hear me complain about living with this disease. Like today, when I returned from my run after a low 2.5 miles in. Sure, she doesn’t actually know that it feels like my brain is attached to my skull with rubber bands with about an inch of air around it, but she knows that I feel bad, and she listens to me as I shove food in my dry, sweaty mouth. And she puts up with all of the test strips, infusion set garbage, and such that I leave around the house. And best of all, as Gary mentioned earlier today, she has a purse to carry my meter when we go out together, which is awesome. Because cargo pants just aren’t always appropriate.
  • My CDE – We’ll call her K. Partially because that’s her first initial, but also to protect the remainder of her identity. I’ve only been seeing her for a couple of years, but she’s one of the most down-to-earth medical professionals I’ve every worked with. K is the one that got me started on the pump, even though she was surprised at how much I had researched before we even met. I had pretty much decided on which pump I wanted before I even saw them in person. But more than just giving me advice and facts, she actually cares about ME…not just Harry Thompson, type 1 patient. She has reached out on my behalf to multiple diabetes equipment reps about employment opportunities, because she knew I wanted something more out of my career. She has introduced me to several people as “her favorite patient”…I’m sure I’m not the only person she’s said that about, but it means a lot knowing that someone else recognizes all of the work I put into managing this disease. I honestly can’t see how anyone could not put the same amount of effort into something so important, but I guess there are people that just don’t care as much.
  • YOU – I know I’m not only person to have said this today, but the DOC is really an amazing group of people. Although I went to diabetes camp when I was younger and met other kids with type 1, there was a good 15 years in my life where I felt like the only person around with this disease. I knew I wasn’t the only one, but I just couldn’t picture real, normal, funny people that were living with it just like me. Like so many others, I have to thank Kerri for opening my eyes to this community, and I’m honored to have met so many awesome people through Twitter, blogs, and other online connections.

I’ll let you guys choose your favorite. I don’t want to be accused of nepotism, but it is worth nothing that since Meredith is “with child”, she really should get double the votes. However, I’m grateful for anyone that read this far, so feel free to vote for yourselves too.

Making the low go

Today’s assignment is to tell you about my favorite way to treat a low blood sugar. Ever since I was a young diabetic, most of my low treatments have involved peanut butter in one way or another. My favorite is probably Honey Maid graham crackers with peanut butter, but Nilla Wafers are a pretty good combo as well. In a pinch, you can use saltines, but in that case, the cracker really just become a vehicle for the PB instead of a complement to it.

The probably usually comes in restraining myself…I’m experienced enough to know that it doesn’t take many cracker sandwiches to bring my BG back into range, but I’ll be damned if those things aren’t tasty. Most peanut butter-infused low treatments are followed by a bolus to correct my gluttony overtreatment.

Well that was easy. Hey, look at that! The CGM line is trending pretty low. I better head to the pantry to ward this low off…

My hero Dr. Carver, presumably enjoying a PB shake.

A day in the life…with diabetes

Today I’m supposed to write about the ways diabetes affects my life in a typical day. Since I wasn’t prepared enough to plan a day in advance, I’m just going to go with the past 24 hours, as that is by definition, “a day”. Of course, I could go with a Jupiter day, which is only 9.8 Earth hours, but I digress…

Rather than bore you with the mundane part the day where I work, sleep, and such just like every other person, I’ll just select a few highlights:

Sunday, 6:05pm: At a pool party for our 7th grade youth group at church (I’m one of the leaders, not a 7th grader, btw), I get to answer a series of questions – What is that on your back? That’s where my insulin pump connects. Why do you have that? Because my pancreas doesn’t make insulin to cover the food I eat. Can you feel it? I feel the part that’s attached to my skin, but I don’t feel the part that’s inside me really. And so on…

Sunday, 6:30pm: Despite having been disconnected from my pump for about 45 minutes, my blood sugar still goes low and I have to get out of the pool and have a snack. This is, of course, due to the previously discussed fact that swimming pools cure diabetes.

Sunday, 11:00pm: Quick blood sugar check before bed. 114 mg/dl. Sweet! Goodnight, world.

Monday, 7:30am: Pump – “BEEP BEEP BEEP BEEP” Me – “WTF do you want? Oh, right. Since I didn’t have to take any insulin at bedtime, you’re letting me know that I haven’t touched you in 10 hours. Awesome. Thanks.”

Monday, 8:34am: I’m hungry. Better check the old blood sugar before I have that delightful Nutri Grain bar. 257 mg/dl? What the deuce? How did that happen? <Quick pat-down to make sure I remembered to connect my pump after my shower this morning. Oh yeah, the beeping. Nevermind.> Oh well. No breakfast for me this morning.

Monday, 8:35am: Sad face.

Monday, 11:45am: I’m so hungry. Can I have lunch now? 142 mg/dl. Yay, I CAN have lunch!

Monday, 5:05pm: Driving home from work. Crap, I forgot to set the temporary basal on my pump before I left work, so I can go for a bike ride when I get home without too much insulin on board. Thus begins the graceful ballet of snaking the pump out of my pocket, setting the temp basal, all while not wrecking the car.

Monday, 6:05pm: Sorry, time’s up! 🙂

I’m sure I could come up with more, but in the essence of time (since you kind people have a lot of blogs to read this week!), I’ll wrap things up. These are some of the more notable moments, but to be honest, there are so many times that I think about diabetes in one way or another, it’s hard to write them all down. I often wonder what I would think about if I didn’t have to think about the big D all of the time. Would I be one of those people that remembers statistics about sports? Could I actually complete a Sudoku puzzle? Who knows? Stay tuned for tomorrow, when I write about <this is where I go to Karen’s blog to find out what I have to write about tomorrow>.

Blogger Van Winkle

So yeah, I’m writing a blog post again. Speaking of blogs, are those still popular? Do meals come in pill form yet? I feel like I’ve been away for ages! Thanks to Karen’s brilliant idea, I will (if all goes according to plan) have blog posts every day this week for Diabetes Blog Week. Well, at least I’m thanking you now, Karen. I may hate you by the end of the week.

I feel bad for the lack of blog posts lately, but just haven’t had the time, energy, or ideas of what to write about. At least I have the ideas, I just have to come up with the words this time. I’m looking forward to blogging this week, and I hope someone is inclined to read what I come up with. Stay tuned!