Monthly Archives: October 2012

Happy-Medium Post-Sandy Halloween.

I was going to share some Halloween photos and a great recipe today, but that will have to wait.

It’s cool but dry here, and the clouds are starting to move away for the first time in days. We are all fine after Hurricane Sandy made a visit this week.

I was working from home Monday when the power went out a little before 2:00 p.m. The good news is that power was restored at around 11:30 Tuesday night. In my neighborhood (where we’ve had 16 storm-related power outages in 14 years), that breaks the previous record by a couple of days.

Damage in the neighborhood was very minimal too. Only one of our stately old trees blew over, and one medium-sized pine tree took out a fence. One car damaged. Some basements took on water. That’s about all. We received a LOT of rain. But the winds, while fierce, did less damage than the Derecho storm a few months back (click here for photos from that damage).

So all in all, it wasn’t as bad as we feared this time. We were very, very fortunate. Unlike some in New Jersey, New York, and all the way up the coast.

If you’re one of the many who were in the path of the storm North of me, please know that I’m thinking of you and donating to the Red Cross. If there’s something I can do for you specifically, please leave a comment and let me know. Be well, and stay warm.
 
 
 

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Pump Exploration, Part 1.

I’ve been interested in writing about my pump and its many features for some time. But to be honest, I haven’t been able to find the time lately, since my real job and worries about Hurricane Sandy have been taking up most of it.

I tried going through the pump manual/owner’s guide for a few days in my off hours to get some ideas, but that eventually made me sleepy. Sorry Medtronic… it’s not you, it’s me.

So since I wanted to write something, but I don’t have a lot of time to go in depth yet, instead of breaking down some unique feature of my Minimed Paradigm® Revel™ insulin pump, I’m going to invoke the Same Time, Next Year rule.

This rule is named after The Great Spousal Unit’s favorite movie: Same Time, Next Year starring the great Ellen Burstyn and Alan Alda. In the movie (and the earlier play of the same name), there’s a scene where the characters decide that they’ll each tell one good story and one bad story about their spouses, thereby insuring that they don’t look either too good or too bad to the other. So that’s what I’m going to do here. It’s my blog, I make up the rules.

The good story: Gotta admit, I like the freedom. I held off on pump therapy for a long time because I didn’t want to be tethered to a device for the rest of my life. But as time has gone on (2½ years), I’ve figured out that I can do pretty much anything (except swim) with my pump.

I also like the freedom that comes with being able to adjust my basal rates on the fly. With MDI (multiple daily injections), what I inject is what I get insulin-wise. So I found myself in situations from time to time where I would inject a certain basal amount of Lantus for the day, then have some kind of strenuous exercise that I hadn’t planned on, which could make my BG go dangerously low. With pump therapy, if something like that happens, I have the ability to adjust my basal rate on a temporary basis as a result of the impromptu exercise. I count on that a lot, and it works.

The bad story: I’m not a big fan of the circles. These are the different icons that tell you if your pump is in alert status or in alarm status. Also known as Special Mode and Attention Mode.

Alert icon (Special Mode):

Alarm icon (Attention Mode):

Basically, if your pump is in Special Mode, you’ll still be getting insulin. If your pump is in Attention Mode, insulin delivery has stopped completely. If your reservoir is low, you’ll get a message, then the blank circle icon on your screen that says you’re in Special Mode. Great, but after you clear the low reservoir message, it’s easy to forget that the icon is there.

If your reservoir goes completely empty, or your battery dies, or you have a motor error, you’ll receive an error message and then the Black Circle of Non-Delivery.

Obviously, the big difference here is that the alert icon can be rather innocuous. You’ll get this for a temp basal event. Not a big deal, right? I mean, you should already know if you’re using a temp basal right now.

On the other hand, the alarm icon means that you’d better do something pretty quick. Immediately, if not sooner. While I’m not a fan of ridiculously recurring alarms, I would be totally okay with the pump beeping a bit louder than usual in this case. A loud beep, instead of the quiet one I get, that I can’t hear when I’m out walking on a city street. In this instance, a black circle doesn’t really mean anything to me because I can’t see it on my pump unless I’m looking at the pump for another reason.

Hopefully, the good story here is a good one, and the bad story isn’t too bad. Overall, I’m glad I made the choice to start using an insulin pump. And I hope to get more in depth with it as the months and years go by, and as I get more time. If I do, I’ll pass along a few more pump stories. Maybe before it’s time for a new one.
 
 
 

Juice Discussions.

I was a little low the other night when I got home from work. So, after staring at a 60 mg/dL, I opened the refrigerator door to find… no juice. We ran out before I could get out to the store for more.

That’s okay. We always have some backup in the form of the old, reliable juice box. Doesn’t matter which brand. I’ll drink it if I need it. So I grabbed one of the boxes we always keep in reserve.

But wait… this juice is awful. The taste is not good at all. I started looking for a reason why. And then I found it:

The dates on the box said “Best if used by Oct 17 2010”.

In other words, “Worst if used two years later”.

We did a little more searching, and found some new juice boxes that weren’t so far past their prime. But I’ve got to rethink how much I buy of these things when I see them on sale. I need to restock on a more regular basis.
 
 
 

Champions for The Cause.

I want to recognize a few people today. I like shining a light on someone else’s accomplishments. It helps me to remember that I’m not the only one with an important story to tell.

You’ve probably read about Jeff Mather, Victoria Cumbow, and Moira McCarthy, and their participation in the JDRF Ride for a Cure in California this past weekend. Congratulations to all for making it through the day!

Obviously, there are no circumstances under which biking through Death Valley is easy. It’s hard. 100 degree heat, altitude fluctuations from sea level to 1,250 feet, and a 105 mile course. Think about that for a second… now, add diabetes to the ride (like Victoria and Jeff had to do). I am in awe of their accomplishments, and a little jealous too. I wish I could’ve been there. But this is not about me.

It’s about the amazing amounts of money these people raised for JDRF. Together, the three of them raised over 52 thousand dollars to help fund research and find a cure. Can you believe that? Do you know how significant that is?

So before too much time gets away, let me say it: Thank you. Thank you for doing this for me. Thank you for doing this for the kids. Thank you for doing this for the parents.

Your efforts, both physical and financial, are a big shot in the arm (no pun intended) for all of us affected by this disease. In my book, you are all Champions.

Now get some rest.

To read Victoria’s story, click here

To read Jeff’s story, click here

To read Moira’s story, click here

There’s still time to contribute to one or more of these riders:

Victoria Cumbow

Jeff Mather

Moira McCarthy
 
 
 

JDRF and ADA Events.

That’s right… I put both of those organizations into the same headline. That’s because there are a couple of things coming up that you should know about:

– The American Diabetes Association is doing a Twitter chat this Wednesday. No, it’s not at 8:00 p.m… that’s the DSMA Twitter chat. The ADA Twitter chat is at 1:00 p.m. EST here in the USA (10:00 a.m. on the West coast, 6:00 p.m. in the UK, 4:06 a.m. in Melbourne & Sydney).
The chat is all about patients rights. To participate, you can follow the ADA Twitter handle (@AmDiabetesAssn), and look for the hashtag #DiabetesRights. Katie Hathaway, Managing Director in ADA’s Legal Advocacy group, will be answering questions. Promises to be an interesting hour.

– JDRF is sponsoring Be T1D For A Day in November. This is an opportunity where non-Type 1’s can sign up to receive text messages that will simulate the various things that T1Ds go through all day, every day, without a vacation. Let your non-Type 1 friends and family (and maybe teachers, bosses, traffic cops, and TSA agents) know that they can sign up before November 1st by texting T1D4ADAY to 63566. You can also sign up via the web by going to:
http://www.protexting.com/out/signupform.php?code=ztvdwbtnrrofceym

I’ve got to get someone to sign up for this. I’m dying to find out what the text messages will be like (“2:00 pm: You’re hypoglycemic. Drink juice and down 5 chalky glucose tabs, then find a sunny spot to sleep in for the next two hours”).
 
 
 

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