Monthly Archives: August 2012

Family Day.

It’s Friday… and today, it’s a special Family Day edition of

– First, a little about my own family. Before The Live-In Niece there was The Live-In Nephew. One of my godsons. He grew up mostly in Indiana. In January 2003, he moved in with us at age 20. All his possessions in the world were in a duffel bag. No prospects. Three years later, he had a great job and moved in with his girlfriend. Two years after that, four years ago today, they were married. I was shocked and honored when he asked me to be his best man. I thought that was as good as it was going to get. Until they had the baby this spring… on my birthday.
Happy Anniversary Brian and Erin!

– Second, a more somber note. Meri of Our Diabetic Life is asking everyone to set aside Sunday as a day of prayer and fasting on behalf of her husband Ryan, who’s battling cancer. While my own relationship with God has had its ups and downs over the years, I still believe in the power of prayer. And I still believe in miracles. They really need everyone’s help on this one, so that includes me… and hopefully, you too. For more information, go to the Schuhmacher Family Miracle Facebook page:

– Finally, a couple of JDRF items for any of you who are reading or living in Maryland. One is about the application process starting for the JDRF Children’s Congress. And the other is about the JDRF Kids Walk program (this is a great idea).

Have a great weekend! I’ve gotta get out and shop for an anniversary gift (mine is next week)!


Low Redux.

This Sucks! Sucks!

As if it happened because I wrote about my Saturday night low, I was low twice Wednesday. This does not happen often.

Once at work, about 4:00 in the afternoon. Typical symptoms… shaky, sweaty (always appealing in an office setting), trouble focusing. No one noticed. That’s okay.

Then again, about 2 hours later, after walking to the train (it’s about 1/2 mile from my office). By the time I get there, I’m sweating again and very, very tired. I shut my pump off and reached for the candy in my pocket. Just then, my nephew walks up. He works nearby and rides the train too.

We rode together to my stop. I couldn’t put two intelligent words together for about half the ride, but by the time I got to my stop, I was fine. Of course, on the way home from there (it’s only a mile), I get a phone call from The Great Spousal Unit.

“How are you feeling?”

“You’re kind of late, and I was getting worried about you.”

“Yes, Brian called and told me you were low.”

How nice is it that I have great, caring family around me?

There is that.

The low from Saturday.

I’m not sure there’s a moral to this story. There doesn’t have to be one anyway.

I really don’t want to write about this, and as you can probably tell, I’m having trouble getting started. But if I’m going to tell my story, well… this is one of the chapters.

I’m a typical blogger in that I love to talk about myself. I also like to paint a nice picture of myself whenever possible. I don’t really want to mention anything that doesn’t make me look good. But that’s what this post is about.

Long story short: On Saturday, I over-bolused for dinner and whatever I snacked on later (I don’t even remember what it was). Later, about 1:45 in the morning, The Great Spousal Unit woke me up and said “You should go test your blood sugar”. It took me what seemed like a long time to actually get up. I was awake for sure, but… non-responsive would be the best way to describe it.

So Maureen did what she normally does in these situations.

Step 1: Try to shove juice, honey, peanut putter in my mouth.

She tried to shove some things in my mouth, but I was still feeling very full from whatever I had consumed earlier. By this point I knew I was low, but I wanted to take it slow. Bad Strategy. And, of course, I was tired and I really wanted to sleep. It was getting harder and harder to motivate me. We made it downstairs to the kitchen, but still, I was having trouble coping. Enter Step 2.

Step 2: If step 1 doesn’t work, call 911.

Maureen later admitted that she probably jumped the gun on this one a bit. But I reminded her that it’s not her job to know exactly how I am at any given moment, and if she’s at all unsure, make the call. It took a long, long time for me to come to this way of thinking. I never want an EMT to come and help me when they might be needed for something more important. But for Maureen, at that moment, nothing was more important. They were coming to help her as much as to help me.

I checked my BG once we got to the kitchen: 43. About 5 minutes later, the call went in to 911. About 5 minutes after that, the EMTs came through the front door (the local fire house is about a mile away). By this time, I’m groggy but able to make conversation, able to drink some juice and eat a little. The EMTs were great. They knew what was going on, and they were content to just wait it out with me.

So we waited. Those 15 minutes we were all standing in the kitchen seemed like forever. Then I checked again: 89.

Back to some semblance of normal. The EMTs left, and TGSU and I sat in front of the TV for a while longer to make sure my glucose was going in the right direction. Kelly at Diabetesaliciousness talked about waiting out a high Monday night, and being really tired, wanting just to sleep, and having to wait. And how that’s one of the things that sucks about diabetes. I agree.

Well, that’s what it was like for me, except from a low. I was super, super tired. And cold, very cold. Lows always do that to me. And I had to wait so I could check my glucose again. 20 minutes later: 131.

Not much more to it than that. Everything turned out okay in the end. I could have done without the drama though.

The Accu Chek Nano.

This isn’t quite a product review. The reason why is at the bottom of this post. But I wanted to touch on something I think about every time I change meters or almost anything else.

At my last visit with my endocrinologist, I mentioned that my meter is kind of old and asked if she could recommend a new one. Fortunately, my insurance doesn’t severely limit my choices meter-wise (or strip-wise, which is what they’re really doing). Well, it turned out she had an extra Accu-Chek Nano meter she could let me have, and I gladly accepted.

Obviously, accuracy is of utmost importance in any glucose meter. And the Nano is promoted as 23% more accurate. Actually, that’s not exactly what they’re saying. The meter isn’t supposed to be more accurate, the strips are. In fact, Roche (maker of the Nano) states that their SmartView test strips have been tested against a 23% tighter specification. That’s great, but I’m not sure how stringent the 23 percent lesser specification was. And in the long run, it doesn’t matter. As long as it’s consistently in the ballpark.

Here’s what I mean: my first reading of the Nano side-by-side with my old Contour meter was an exact match.

And then I proceeded to test side by side with the Contour over the course of about 3 1/2 weeks. While the readings were close most of the time, the photo above was the only match between the two. But how do I really know which one was more accurate? I kept the Contour for a lot longer than I should have because I was happy with its consistency. And that’s what I want from a new meter.

Honestly, three months after you start using a meter, you’re probably not thinking about accuracy anymore. At that point, what’s on the meter is just the new normal, whatever it says. Now, I know that we don’t want big inaccuracies in our meters. But as long as it’s consistently close to where my BG is at, that’s what matters for me.

I have to admit to really liking the back light feature on this meter. Makes it easy to read wherever you are. Also, I like that the reading stays on the screen for an extra second or so after I pull out the test strip. I can’t tell you how many times, out of habit, I’ve pulled a strip from a meter and proceeded to forget the reading almost immediately. And I’ve liked how small it is… fit in my pocket pretty easily.

That’s about as much as I have on the Accu-Check Nano right now. Unfortunately, even though it fit into my pocket easily, it also slipped out easily while on the train home about a week ago. Never even knew I lost it until the train pulled away at my stop. So I’ve gotta go back to the old standby while I troll Amazon and eBay for a deal on a new one.

Here’s hoping your new normal doesn’t involve getting two new meters in six weeks.

Traveling… And some D Stuff too.

Full Disclosure: This is primarily a non-D post, with a couple of D stories included.

The Great Spousal Unit and I traveled to Virginia so I could attend an open house where they’re working on the Artificial Pancreas at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Virginia. It was a great opportunity for me. For Maureen, that meant the chance to spend a couple of extra days in one of the prettiest parts of the country. She has a some family there, and there are about 15-20 vineyards between Charlottesville and Staunton (pronounced Stanton), about 45 miles to the west.

So We stayed in Waynesboro, where Maureen’s cousin lives with his family (about 30 miles west of Charlottesville). I wouldn’t normally mention something like this, but we stayed in the absolute best Holiday Inn Express for three nights there. People were friendly, everything was clean. Even the morning breakfast bar was good.

So where was I? Well, let me start with a D story, kind of. This is when I went for my visit at UVA’s Center for Diabetes Technology. Shortly after I arrived, a couple of the other guests arrived… one with a diabetes alert dog. I had never seen an alert dog before, and I was very curious. Plus, I’m a dog person. Almost as soon as they arrived, the dog started alerting its owner. I found out it was a high alert (I only thought they gave low alerts, but no). While we were talking, the dog kept alerting. The owner did a quick BG check, and she wasn’t high. She did mention that her dog would probably have trouble since she’d be at a gathering with a lot of Type 1s. Well, the dog just wouldn’t quit with the high alerts. Then it hit me: I had just eaten lunch before I arrived. I thought… maybe I was the reason for the high alert. So I excused myself from the conversation to go get some water, and I walked to the other end of the hallway. And the dog stopped. I tried to make sure that I wasn’t near her dog the rest of the visit. This person probably thought that I was not friendly, and I feel bad about that. But I wanted to make sure that if her dog gave an alert, it was for the right reasons, and not because I had a few french fries with lunch.

Now on to the travel. It wasn’t all wineries. We spent most of a day in Staunton, birthplace of Woodrow Wilson. Staunton is a beautiful small town with a lot of history. We shopped in the stores downtown, had lunch at Gypsy Hill Park, and got a milk shake at a little drive-in that’s been there for 60 years. We also managed to get in a vineyard visit before heading off to dinner. I really needed these two extra days off. Days like this help me take some of the stress off and recharge the batteries.

The next day was spent touring wineries. We’ve toured Virginia wineries before, many of them in this part of the state, and this was a great day to do it. Virginia has spent a lot of money subsidizing wineries in the state in the last few years, and it shows. There really is something to be said for going to the source and hearing from the people who are directly involved in making the product. And wine tastings ain’t a bad way to spend the day. Well, Maureen got to do the wine tasting, and I got to drive around a lot. But it was fun, and she deserved to get some extra attention for a while.

The fun part of the tour that day involved the Concrete Egg. You read that right: Concrete Egg. One of the new wineries we visited was Stinson Vineyards. We were told they are one of four Virginia wineries aging some of their wines in a 2,700 pound concrete egg. It’s for white wines primarily, and while aging, the wine actually brings in the minerals from the concrete. But in a good way. Gives it a unique taste. Think the difference between tap water and mineral water. They were very welcoming at Stinson, and they let us go back and check out the egg… they were quite proud of it. Stinson is a newer winery in the Charlottesville area, and it looks like they’re doing everything right. And the owner, and everyone we came into contact with there, was a woman. Girl Power in a winery.

My final story is another D story: After dinner Saturday night, it was time for a set change. I pulled out the set I had been using, and went to get everything together to put in a new one. It was only then that I realized that I had forgotten my Quick-Serter… the spring-loaded thing that shoots the cannula into my skin. What to do? I had three choices:

1) Drive the 3 1/2 hours home, immediately
2) Go the MDI route, with only fast-acting insulin available
3) Manually insert the cannula

I had never done a manual insert before, but I had read from others who had done it. I wanted to give it a try. The next set was due to go right in my belly, so I got everything together, and took a deep breath. Do you know that it’s hard to do the Quick-Set manually? I must have tried to shove it in about 8 or 9 times. I didn’t expect the needle to be so dull, but it was. Eventually, I had to get over a little bit of squeamishness, and the site of some extra blood from failed attempts, and I finally got it shoved in there. Literally had to push the thing in there, hard.

But it worked! And it lasted for 5 days. Not something I want to do all of the time, but it’s nice to know I can do it if I have to.

Now on to the pictures!

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Have a great week!

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