Friday, May 29, 2009

Gym Rat

This is my power shirt.

As stupid as it may sound, when I'm wearing my Diabetes Exercise and Sports Association t-shirt, I am mentally ready to hit the gym, and face whatever wrench diabetes may throw in the works.

Meter,strips,lancing device? check
Dexcom? check
Medical ID on body, in case I collapse? check
Extra money, just in case I run out of glucose/food? check
Juice, gel, and tabs? check
Iphone/earphones? double check
water bottle, for regular hydration? check
change of clothes/other sundries? check

And then, after all of that, there's the actual process of managing blood sugars. I'm usually high going I have to correct for that, while keeping in mind how the exercise in question will affect my bgs. Weight lifting, hello stratosphere.
Anything cardiovascular, it goes in the opposite direction.

176 going in, remove pump. Eat 20 carbs.
108, 15 minutes later. Eat another 15 carbs.
109, 10 minutes later. Eat another 15 carbs.
94, 10 minutes later.Reconnect, and am starving so polish off another 40 carbs/protein, bolusing significantly less then I think I'll need.

While all this is going on, there are usually odd glances being thrown in my direction(like what the heck is this girl doing?). I am not training for a marathon,I'm simply trying to make it through a rather mild(!) workout, alive. Generally, my blood sugars are great, as long as I keep consuming vast amounts of carbohydrates. I have not yet reached the goal of being semi-in-shape, so what I want to know is...if you are, do your blood sugars not drop as much as they did in the beginning? Having to eat a lot is probably the #1 reason I hate exercise. As for the reducing insulin part, I could take my pump off, exercise/eat/have great blood sugars for several hours, at which point I'm sure I'd need a slight amount (but I've not yet been able to exercise for hours so that's not really an issue right now). I eat lots more then I actually burn off. Your input is welcome.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I hear America Eating

I hear America eating,250 million strong
And I, alas, also, am compelled to eat along...
The overworked lawyer, as he grabs his Latte Grande
The college student, too, 2 doughnuts start the day.
The busy plastic surgeon, as he cauturizes blood and blub
As America is eating, so grows our butts and tubs.

And I said
"What gives, America?"

We are a great nation, thousands of foods flood our shores
Yet we eat ourselves to bed and the fire dept has to cut down
our doors.
We're not happy anymore, obesity is sad
When it prematurely takes both moms and dads.

The crunch of the super-hydrogenated potato chip
And the scratching of the intern's pen,filling out the death report.

Wake up,America!

I have a dream...a healthier America. A salad on every plate, a decent BMI,
and a chronic disease rate half of what it is now. And then, maybe,we'll be singing again.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chicken Soup for the PWD's Soul(part 1)

On the list of things that always make me cry is the Chicken Soup for the Soul books. Combine that with the mind-boggling account of the reformation of a Food Nazi...and it gives me hope for the human race. I wish this sort of thing happened more frequently.

"How to Sidestep an Elephant"

Our family has some unwritten rules about being healthy and stoic. So when my sister, Maggie, was diagnosed with diabetes in 1981, we didn't talk about it much.

Back then, she was 24 and lived in Manhattan. I lived in Boulder, CO. No none else in our family had diabetes, neither did anyone we knew. On the few occasions that she did bring up her frustrations with finger pokes and and worries about complications, I didn't know what to say. All my time and training as a psychiatric social worker- not to mention years of experience as a "bossy" older sister-seemed to fly out the window.
Just a few months after my sister was diagnosed, my father died, and I began to have melancholy thoughts about Maggie. I saw myself sitting beside her in kidney dialysis unit waiting to see if our tissues would match. In my most depressing moments, I imagined myself alone in her apartment, sorting through her closet and choosing moments to give to her closest friends.
Of course, I said nothing about my fear to Maggie. We both began to treat her diabetes as a topic to be dismissed as quickly as possible. I assumed she would tell me everything she wanted me to know about diabetes, and she assumed I didn't want to hear much about it. (In retrospect, I see that she was right.)
We let diabetes become, in mental health parlance, the elephant in our living room- a huge obstacle we tried to tiptoe around while pretending it didn't exist. I made promises to myself that I would do some reading about it on my own. While working at a VA Medical Center, I had access to a well-stocked library, but I never went near the Endocrinology shelf. It wasn't an entirely conscious decision,facing my fears would mean that I had them.Instead, I told myself that I'd get around to it wehen I had more time.
When Maggie and I were together, usually around the holidays, the older sister in me kept her under survelliance by paying close attetion to what she was eating. This was the part about diabetes that I was sure I understood.I cringed everytime I saw her put a piece of chocolate into her mouth, then reminded myself that she was a bit girl now and it was none of my business.
In 1992 my husband and I moved to the North Island of New Zealand. Maggie came for a Christmas visit, and we planned a New Year's Day outing: We'd take a jet boat up the Wanganui River and hicke a short distance.
That country is rugged, sparsely populated, and remote, so the day of the trip, we packed a lunch. As we drove to our starting point on the river, my sister announced that she was feeling funny and asked my husband to pull over so she could get a snack. When he did, we realized we had left the picnic basket at home.
For a moment, we all panicked. We were miles from a store and nearly two hours from home. We spotted a house and knocked on the door. The woman who answered offered to make Maggie a sandwich. Our guide was with us, and Maggie drank the milk he he had bought to serve with afternoon tea.
The crisis was quickly averted, but that day I realized I had no idea what might have happened if we hadn't found food. It was time to confront that elephant in my living room.
I read a book about diabetes. Not only did the treatments start to make sense, but understanding how far knowledge and technology had advanced gave me hope. For years, my outdated fears had gotten in the way of an honest, ongoing dialogue with my sister.
Now I can ask my sister real questions about diabetes. She has welcomed the opportunity to explain not only what she does to take care of herself, but what having diabetes means in her life. I even went with her once to the ophthalmologist. I listed as she described her blurred vision, and he told her she would need laser treatment right away. She was frightened, and so was I. But I'd read about the success rate of these treatments and was optimistic. I told her so and gave her a hug.
These days, we're still geographically far apart, but emotionally,we're much closer. We're in this together. We both know its mostly up to her, but I'm here whenever she calls.
She's told diabetes doesn't feel like such a lonely illness anymore. That's true for me, too.

-Nowell King
(excerpt from Chicken Soup for the Soul living with Diabetes,2003)

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Inside the ADA Forecast

This could be Miss America, circa 1959. As you can see, some parts of the fashion industry were much the same, aka the stick figures. The main difference is they wore more clothing back then so you couldn't see how thin they actually were...

From the inside 'blurb:

The attractive blond cover girl holding the 1958 diabetes week poster is Ann Horne. Although diabetic, Ann holds down a full time job as a New York fashion model. She taken insulin daily, watches her diet, and gets the right amount of exercise and rest-in spite of the rigorous demands of her job. Ann is living proof treat diabetes need not bar anyone from pursuing a chosen career.

I wonder what happened to Ann and all those other confident Forecast folks. I hope they lived a long and happy life,and are maybe even alive today. But I also wonder if maybe they weren't as bullet-proof as they presented.(fashion model-diabetic equals a very labile situation for any young women)

Because,honestly, what PWD does not have occasional(and sometimes, more then occasional) dietary splurges? Who doesn't get stressed and overworked and too busy to exercise? Who doesn't have severe low blood sugars? The people in Forecast all said they were in excellent control of their diabetes...which definatly wasn't true, even knowing what we know today(higher blood sugars, higher a1cs, etc.) I wasn't around back then, but I've read autobiographies of type 1's that were and admitting that you were anything less then perfect was just not acceptable. No one confessed to the Sundae-Mars Bar-a-thons, and no one really knew how to do it right. We have better tools today then they did back then. Most of them probably died from complications,a fact glossed over and ignored by the ADA editors of the day. Forecast gave PWD back then a tremendous moral boost, even if 1/2 of it was really not true. In 1964 a young relative of mine died, of DKA.(she hadn't been diagnosed yet so no one knew what it was) Much is still the same..DKA still kills.(10% mortality rate?) It's interesting reading the old Forecast magazines, they actually listed all the names of big-time donors(over $1!) weird sugar-free recipes,(well,that part hasn't changed from 50 years later) and "Dave's Diary" ( a guy that has juvenile diabetes and reports on all the events in his life, in this particular issue Dave tests his aunt's urine and finds she has diabetes,aunt shores her act up, loses weight and regains her health; he also goes on a picnic with his fiancee' Marge and has absolutely perfect control over his diabetes because he ate "just the right things") It really gives a glimpse into the strange diabetic world of the late 40's-60's. I have only found a few of these issues on Ebay, most from the 40's and 60's(this was my first one found in the 50's). Needless to say, they are rarer then hen's teeth and a complete lot of them probably doesn't exist though I'm trying my best to get them all. I had a bunch from the 80s-90s but I gave them to someone else, because they were 2 big boxes and threatening to take over what little room I had at the time. I just want the older ones now...from both a sentimental point and a financial point,a complete set would probably be worth some big bucks. I just got this issue,they only pop up on Ebay every few years. Because I haven't lived that long, nor know any older individuals who are spring-cleaning their magazine collections Ebay is the only place I've been able to find any.

Friday, May 08, 2009

Top Ten Free Apps for your Touch/Iphone

I've really missed blogging..oh have I missed it. I'd far rather blog then do 3/4 of the things I have to do, the end of April-May is a crazy time. Anyway,this is just a quick get-it-out-of-my-system post, finals will be over soon and the glorious summer stretches before me, waiting to be enjoyed.(I hope, assuming I don't get any more nasty bugs)

#1 Bargain-Bin. All the free and reduced priced apps go here, updated daily. It's more convenient then scrolling through massive amounts of apps in the regular store.

#2 Blowfish. This incredibly addicting game involves filling the screen with blowfish, until you either fill up 70% of the screen or the mines bump your fish and blow 'em up. (all Trippert Lab apps are free right now)

#3 WhichDay. This app will tell you the day of the week for any given date. You can even look up the day of the week that you were diagnosed, if so inclined...

#4 DrinksFree. Tells you how to make hundreds of alcoholic beverages, no need to know a bartender.

#5 FML. Really funny, it can be affirmation that you aren't the only person on the planet to have a disastrous life.(I'm not advocating swearing,but its sure to brighten up your day, put things in perspective.)

#6 Glucose Buddy. Free's free, this is a simple little app that if you've got the time to put it all in, must have its benefits but I'm too busy to play with it much, though sometimes I plug in a bg if I need quick access later on.

#7 The iPump Free Workout! Something I haven't done in several weeks. I still pump, just not that kind of pump...

#8 The Excuse Generator. Just in case you need one.

#9 BubbleWrap. Another app to play with if you're bored.

#10 iBaby BT. If you plug in the mothers and the fathers blood types, it will give you the approximate chances of the offspring's blood types and RH factors.A good FYI app.