Wednesday, April 25, 2007

The waiting

We got a call from the UPS people saying that my pump will be here today. Last night I got my hopes up when a box came, but in only contained IV dressing and prep wipes. (and a very scary catalogue containing any incontinence, ostomy, or urology products that anyone could ever need, ew.) Unfortunately, the UPS people were silly enough to give me the tracking number, so I will be watching it like a hawk today. Or maybe not. It has already gone out on the truck, so there won't be much to watch until it gets delivered. Since we have an in with our UPS man, it won't be delivered until this evening when I will actually be home to sign for it.

My CDE called to remind me that I should definitely take the pump out of the box and play around with it before the saline start on May 3rd. Who does she think I am?

Saturday, April 21, 2007


I have stated now that I am starting the pump soon. It should arrive next Wednesday, and then on May 3 I will do a saline start. (Yay!) It has been a long process of deciding if the benefits I would receive from using a pump would outweigh the costs, but I did come to the conclusion that they would.

However, I have been wondering if some of the pump features might not be applied to MDI and integrated into blood glucose meters: specifically, “Bolus Wizards” and “Bolus on Board Calculations”.

Currently I use a One Touch UltraSmart, which stores all my blood glucose values and has the option to store insulin doses, exercise, and carb intake. Honestly, I am bad about the carb and exercise tracking, but I use the insulin log religiously. Why couldn’t my BG meter use the same algorithm that a pump uses to tell me how much of my last bolus is left to prevent me from stacking doses? (I have a tendency to treat a little aggressively.) It does require that you be good about inputting the insulin values. Also I use two meters: one for home, and one for work, so obviously my home meter wouldn’t know about the insulin dose I took at 3 p.m. because my post lunch number was too high. Still, it is just math, right? It would be nice to have the option.

The other feature would be a Bolus Wizard. Almost everyone who uses insulin has a Carb to Insulin ratio and a Correction Factor. These days you can program your pump your carb ratio, a target blood sugar (or range), and a correction factor and when you input your current BG and carbs you are about to eat it will calculate how many units of insulin you take to do your bolus. When I was sitting in my clinic’s mandatory pump education class two weeks ago the mention of this feature met with whoops and joyous sighs (I kid you not). One woman took out a something that she said went everywhere with her. It was just a piece of scrap paper that she used to calculate out her mealtime doses. “I suck at math,” she admitted. Why can’t there be a simple calculator in my blood glucose monitor to do that calculation for me, instead of having to do it in my head? I am betting that I will be better about keeping track of my own carb intake when I can put it into a bolus wizard to let it do the calculations for me.
Maybe there wouldn’t be much of a market. It doesn’t seem like it would be that difficult; it just requires a few simple equations that are already well used in insulin pumps. Honestly I think we people with diabetes deserve a break wherever we can get it. In the words of Jack Handy, “How ‘bout it Science?”

Friday, April 20, 2007

Pump in transit

After treating myself with multiple daily injections for 12+ years I have finally decided to give the pump a try. Since college I have been trying to rededicate myself to my diabetes care. While I never gave missed injections and tested 4-6 times a day, my control was not the greatest, I think in part because I was only reacting to bad blood sugars, not thinking ahead and trying to prevent them. I am slowly substituting healthier foods (less things that come wrapped in plastic, more fruits and veggies!) and I exercise every day now, rather than sporadically. Unfortunately, exercise makes my blood sugar plummet, and any excursions make control harder. On MDI my only solution is to eat a snack, and that doesn't help much when you want to lose a few pounds. Don't get me wrong, you can have a lot of flexibility on MDI, but when it comes to controlling your basal insulin, I don't think you can beat the pump.

After taking the informational class offered by my diabetes center, talking to my insurance and every third party company that they have ever contracted with, my new Cozmo is on the way. I am all twitterpated and aflutter for its arrival on Wednesday.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The hardest part of starting a blog... choosing a name. Seriously I have been agonizing for well over a week now on what to call this thing. I have long wanted a blog for the specific purpose of talking about diabetes. After much thinking and careful consideration of mature vs. cutesy and descriptive vs. abstract, I went with the first thing that didn't make me cringe. It probably sucks, but I am trying to be more decisive and not let over thinking get in the way so much, so there it is. It doesn't mean a bloody thing.

I have type 1 diabetes, being diagnosed at the age of 11, and have more than a decade under my belt now. Since college I have been re-dedicating myself to my health. (Did anyone have better blood sugars during college?) I have been a lurker on various blogs for a long time, but I was never sure that I had enough to say to start my own. I recently broke out of my shell in the comments over at the diabetes blog. I began flippantly, suggesting someone start their own blog after posting a lot and was soon entangled in debate about subjects at the very heart of diabetes care. I kept track of my comments in a Word document and it was over 8 pages long in under a week. I am starting to think that maybe I do have more to say than I previously thought.

I am not sure what this blog will be yet, other than about diabetes. Contrary to what you hear in the media, "diabetes" means type 1 here. I have type 1 diabetes, and despite the prevalence of type 2 in the U.S., it is type 1 that infuses itself throughout my life. I am starting the insulin pump soon, so I am sure that there will be a good proportion of my own trials and tribulations. Perhaps I will get into some larger issues to, about research and the importance of being a smart consumer when it comes to medical advice. We will see.

I am looking forward to adding my voice to the growing din. I can't say how much I have appreciated all of you who have been blogging faithfully already, especially those of you with a sense of humor, and those who look beyond their own case to critically examine the expanding frontier of diabetes management. The number of well informed and inquisitive minds that I have come across on this little slice of webspace astounds me.