Getting Used to an Insulin Pump

Posts tagged ‘Cake’

Australia – A Really Badly Written Travelogue

Some Native Wildlife

Some Native Wildlife

In case you hadn’t realised Deanne, the Young ‘Un and I went to Australia for a month in March. This was partly to show the toddler off to the in-laws (Deanne is from Australia originally), partly because we hadn’t visited for five years and partly so we could all have a month off work/nursery and relax bit. I took the advice offered at the last Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Group meeting by Dawn, she was rather handily (for me) talking about travelling with Diabetes. The main thing I was interested in, which she did actually mention was the fact that when she’s changing time zones she leaves her pump set on UK time until a few days have passed and she is more or less over the jet-lag. That may not be exactly what she said but that’s what I made it out to mean so that’s what I did.

The day of departure came and our bags were packed. My hand luggage obviously contained the requisite number of bags of Jelly Babies, a recently purchased Frio Insulin Travel Wallet (another suggestion from Dawn, thanks Dawn!), many, many infusion sets, insulin cartridges, blood test sticks and lancets and all the other Diabetes rubbish that we need to take when we go overseas. We arrived at Birmingham in plenty of time, which was lucky ’cause we had off site parking and had a bit of a job finding it, but then we got on the bus and it dropped us, with all our bags outside the main departures door at the airport.

The plane ride over was fine, although the service on the Birmingham to Dubai leg of the flight was less than we had hoped for, they (Emirates) hardly offered anything in the way of drinks (not talking alcoholic here, just water/soft drinks/etc.) and when the food eventually came they didn’t clear the trays up until about an hour later, which when you have a two year old makes doing anything in the already limited space available to you quite challenging.

Twenty odd hours after taking off we arrived in Perth. It was a bit of a change from the UK, it was about tea time when we arrived, eight or so hours ahead of the UK and the temperature was around 26 degrees (centigrade) when we left the airport. It was nice!

We actually went on a mini holiday the first few days we were there, drove a couple of hours south to Busselton which is a kind of hot version of Weymouth, only it’s nice! Being a bit further south the weather was nice but not too hot and we spent a lot of time going to chocolate shops and playing on the playground at the place we were staying at, it seemed to tire Deanne and myself out more than it did the Young ‘Un.

When we got back to Perth we had the important and serious task of meeting up with family and friends which included going to lots of parties and spending a lot of time sitting in coffee shops by the river. It was hard work! My control was relatively stable even though I was eating some pretty strange food. Certainly a lot better than the previous trip I had five years before where I was neither carbohydrate counting or dose adjusting (also didn’t have a pump at the time). Admittedly I had a few high blood sugars, seemingly for no reason although I worked out afterwards that it was actually due to ice cream cones which apparently had an awful lot more carb’s in than I was expecting (like 80 instead of 40 grams that I was guessing).

Me at Diabetes WA

Me at Diabetes WA

Anyway, once I had sorted that out everything went much better, I had a relatively low number of hypos and most of my blood sugars were below 12 with the exception of a few after meals out, however that happens to me in the UK too so it was nothing to do with being away. I even managed to do some Diabetes Web-Monkeying while I was away, I found a few bits and pieces in local papers and magazines which I posted on-line when I got the chance and also decided I’d go visit the local branch of Diabetes WA to find out what it’s like being Diabetic in Australia.

The main difference seems to be the fact that they don’t have a National Health Service, like what we do! Instead you have to take out health insurance which then covers the cost of a large percentage of the things you need as a Diabetic, e.g. needles, insulin, etc., etc., etc. They were very forthcoming and I in turn offered them some advice on how we use Twitter, Facebook and other on-line resources to keep in touch with people. It was interesting to speak to some people on the other side of the planet who have the same everyday problems and annoyances that we have over here.

After being on an insulin pump for over a year now my Diabetes certainly seemed to be a lot easier to manage and although I had highs and lows the way the pump adjusts them down and up again seems to be a lot more natural and my body seems to respond well to that, I don’t feel ill for hours after a high result and I don’t keep dropping and rising all day long like I did previously. I also feel like I can eat whatever I want while away and have almost got the hang of guessing carbs well enough to keep me fairly straight and narrow without needing to refer to my Carbs & Cals book all the time.

Now however I’m home again, in fact we got back about a month ago now and it’s taken me all this time to get this written down what with one thing and another including a Little ‘Un with chicken-pox, work, getting the house back to a manageable state after being away for a month and all those things you have to do upon returning from a long holiday.

The main difference between this trip to Aus’ and holidays I’ve had in the past is that whenever I’ve been overseas in the past I worried almost constantly about my control and about getting high or having hypos from having strange and exotic foods and experiences, this time however I didn’t worry, partly due to the pump, partly due to the fact that I have become a lot more confidant in controlling my diabetes with a pump than I ever was with injections and I guess mainly because when you have a toddler to look after you spend more time worrying about them than you do yourself!

We’ve already booked our next holiday in fact, we’re headed for Barcelona in the not too distant future, is there anything I’ll be doing differently because of my experiences down-under? Well no, the time away just went to prove to me that I am coping as well as I can with a chronic (/annoying) illness and all I need to improve even more is further practice. Which you only get by living it and doing things which you want to do rather than worrying about what might happen!

Christmas is Coming

Oh Dear :-(

I Ate Too Much!

Well it’s less than two weeks until the big day…and when I say “the big day” I mean “the day where you stuff your face until you need a bit of a lie down”! Previously at Xmas I have had problems because as well as having a large meal…at least twice throughout the day…and alcohol…I have also never managed to resist the urge to snack between meals forgetting of course that I am Diabetic and therefore need extra insulin to cope with all the extra pummelling I am giving my poor stomach and digestive system.

However that was before I was on an insulin pump and knew quite so much about carbohydrate counting and how insulin is related to blood sugar and carbohydrate intake. Now I am fully conversed in ratios of insulin to blood sugar and carb’s, also “Mr Pumpy” (I’ve never actually found a decent name for him, still open to suggestions!) does a darned fine job of doing all the complicated calculations for me so all i really need to know now is that I have enough blood test sticks and how much carbohydrate is contained in whatever the next thing I am going to put in my face.

So…does that mean I am going to have a really well controlled seasonal feast this year?

Well, probably not. Getting the guestimates right takes years of practice and it gets a bit hard to remember what you’ve already eaten after the 4th mince pie so “I’m sure just one more won’t hurt” becomes a kind of self fulfilling pronouncement of blood sugar doom!

Unusually I am not heading down to Dorset this year to stay with my Parents, instead they are coming up to visit us so at least I will be in my own house surrounded by food I can easily calculate the carbohydrates of and without too many things that someone has made that I do not have easy access to the recipe for.

I do though feel a lot more confident this year and know that if I do have any wildly turbulent blood sugar episodes that at least after an hour or two I can be back on track and ready for another round of charades.

Not a Barbecue!

I had quite a good weekend. Most of Saturday was spent at a Diabetes UK Networking and Consultation group meeting, which was quite good, they invited Diabetes Groups (Like the NottsType1 Group) to give suggestions on a number of topics around volunteering. We all found it pretty helpful and enjoyed it. Although personally I had a problem guessing the carbohydrates in the buffet they laid on so was quite high by the middle of the afternoon.

A Tasty Salad

A bit like some of what we ate on Sunday.

Sunday was also a good day, in the afternoon our neighbour popped round and asked if we’d like to go to theirs and have some food and alcohol, which we did of course being good neighbours. It meant the Little ‘Un got to play with some other babies for a few hours and we got some fantastic food and a few glasses of wine. Surprisingly I managed to guess the carbohydrates much better for this than for the sandwiches at the event the day before.

Today has been fairly quiet, although busy…if that makes sense, one of my colleagues is away which means I’m doing about twenty five things at once but my blood sugar has been pretty stable. I have recently noticed that I seem to be high in the mornings when I get out of bed so I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and do some overnight blood tests to see what my BMs are doing overnight. Looking forward to that 😛

In case you haven’t heard I’m tlaking at the Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Group Meeting tomorrow night about living with Diabetes as well as how I managed to persuade the NHS to give me an insulin pump, if you’re free then head along to:

The YMCA International Community Centre

61B Mansfield Road,

Nottingham,

NG1 3FN

at about 7:30 in the evening to see me talking rubbish for about 20 minutes.

Hopefully see some of you then.

Baby, I’m Back!

Baby, I'm Back!

Baby, I'm Back!

Well, back to Nottingham, home and work. I apologise for not posting once while I was away but frankly I was too busy not going near any computers to worry about it.

My time away from work started fairly quietly with a bit of DIY in the first week, the best part of which is that it’s pretty much all finished so I can finally relax a bit, my blood sugars were okay and for the most part I had quite a successful week, also spent some time with my boy and my wife which was nice.

Then on the Friday (thanks Dee!) we set off for Dorset and my Parents house, the drive down was pretty good and fairly quiet because there was some kind of wedding going on at the same time, it was a nice drive, the rest of Friday was spent preparing for the Little ‘Un’s party on Saturday, blowing up balloons and helping Deanne make lovely food for the next day.

Saturday came and with it my entire family (more or less) that is Mike, Lilian, Paul, Kim, Marc, Linda, Ben, Richard, Ana, Rachel, Mark, Marcel, Deanne, Joshua, Daniel (e.g. me!) Everyone either a blood or marital relation or as near as is possible without an infusion.

It was a really nice sunny day and we ate lots of food, drank quite a lot of wine and sparkling rosé and played Boules in the back garden, a good time was had by all and it went better than I could have hoped for.

After everyone had gone home and we had cleared up we got ready for our trip to Cornwall. My parents and us stayed in one of these cabins which was fantastic, visited the Eden Project and the Lost Gardens of Heligan which were both pretty spectacular. My control was a bit up and down, I’m sure you’ll know what that’s like as I can’t be the only one that has issues on holiday when eating unusual food at strange times.

However the worst thing was that I had a catastrophic failure of my infusion set…probably my own fault…but a pain non-the-less.

The chalet we were staying in had a hot tub, which was nice, but I changed my infusion set pretty much on the first evening we arrived. Everything seemed okay but on the last day I should have had it in my blood sugars started rising, I just thought I’d been eating too much so ignored it but then at supper time I wound up the correct dose, hit the confirm button and as the insulin started going in to me it started coming out of the bottom of the sticky plaster that holds the pump on to me.

The reason I mentioned the hot tub is that I believe what happened was that the hot water in the tub affected the sticky plaster over the three or four times I went in it while using the same infusion set/cannulla and therefore it had come loose and come off me enough for the insulin to leak out.

What this actually meant was that I didn’t get my full dose of insulin and at the same time had absolutely no idea how much insulin I had received! Suffice to say the next day my BG was a little high in the morning.

What I should probably have done is waited up a couple of hours and done another blood test to see how I was but it had been a tiring and difficult few days and we had to leave early in the morning so I did not!

Anyway now I’m home I’m hoping that my BGs are going to get back to normal and stop being quite so up (mainly) and down.

Holiday Time, Sort Of!

An Umbrella

Not that Kind of Holiday Sadly 😦

After today the updates may be a bit intermittent for the next couple of weeks as I am not at work for a bit. However I’ll do my best to keep updating every now and again until normal service is resumed.

My blood tests yesterday afternoon did not finish as I expected staying pretty much where they started for the rest of the tests, even going up a bit towards 6pm. I believe the reason for this is because once again I’m not entirely well, I have a sore throat, a cough and am apparently snoring like a herd of Aberdeen Angus (sorry Dee)! What with this and my annual leave I’m going to leave the fasting blood tests until after I’m back at work again.

I also badly misjudged the amount of mashed potato I had served myself at dinner time last night and ended up with a blood sugar around 18mmol/l which just goes to show that you’re much better to check if you’re not sure, which I wasn’t!

My time off work is going to be spent doing a variety of things including trips to Dorset and Cornwall, another (final) birthday party for the Little ‘Un and a host of DIY tasks at home so it should be a good test of my pump management skills.

The party should be good as all three of my brothers are making it, even the one who lives in Brazil, so it’s a nice way to celebrate my son’s first birthday, even if it is nearly a month after his actual birthday. There will be cake and chocolate and all manner of interesting foods.

Talking of tasty food I don’t think I’ve mentioned it before but Deanne is from Australia and with it being ANZAC day we should be having ANZAC biscuits on Monday (the 25th of April) so I need to figure out how much carbohydrate they have in them, not such an onerous task really 😉

Volleyball tonight should be okay, I’m feeling a little more confident about how to not have hypos and not get too high while playing now but I shouldn’t get too complacent because that is always when things go wrong.

I’ve also got the Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Group website fixed and have updated that, including details of the talk I will be doing on the 7th of June on how I went about getting hold of my insulin pump and then how I’ve been dealing with adjusting to having it so be sure to check that out and keep the date clear in your diary.

So for the time being I’ll sign off and until I’m next on-line I’ll bid you farewell and have a nice bank holiday.

Thirty Six – A Very Filling Afternoon

A Chocolate Bar Very Much Like the One I Ate

A Chocolate Bar Very Much Like the One I Ate

Of course after tempting fate yesterday I did get low at dinner time! Oh well 😛

I changed my infusion set and cannula, as I said I would too, the changes are seeming more and more routine now which is funny because when I first started doing them the needle seemed awfully large and the whole process was a bit scary.

I have been a bit careful this afternoon about my blood sugar, I was 3.8 at lunch time, so I had my lunch, then at about four o’clock I was 3.7 so I had a chocolate bar in order to be able to up my blood sugar and at the same time have some insulin and something tasty to eat (a Cadbury’s Bliss).

Then about ten minutes ago I ventured upstairs to see a colleague and one of my mates from the networking team told me it was his birthday and said I should have a cake…so I did (a kind of cream finger affair)! Therefore what I have mostly been doing this afternoon is eating.

Tomorrow I will probably be eating less, however I suspect I’ll still be having my blood sugar drop like a rock in the late afternoon. Perhaps I should just plan on eating chocolate or cake at the same time every day?!

The Big Three Oh!

A Volleyball

A Volleyball

Well I didn’t have a hypo this morning after upping my 8am dose by 0.1 of a unit, so that’s a good start 😉

Went to a neighbourhood watch meeting in my street last night and had cake (just a small one) and wine (not that small), attempted not to be too drunk in front of our local policeman and almost managed it. My blood sugar was 6.5 when I got home afterwards so obviously didn’t do too bad an attempt at guessing the carbohydrates in the cake (15 grams, it was only little).

I can hardly believe that I’ve been on the pump for nearly a month now, however I am starting to feel in control of my life again and not so much like the pump is controlling it for me. Before long I am hoping that I’ll actually be able to forget about it completely apart from at meal times, but that could be a way away yet?

I know I’m getting a bit more complacent because today is the first day since I’ve been plugged in that I have come to work and then discovered I don’t have enough blood test sticks with me. D’oh! this means that my last blood test was at one o’clock when I had my lunch so I feel a bit lost at the moment. It’s not that I necessarily want to do a blood test, it’s just that I know that I can’t do one until I get home at about five thirty.

Of course being Thursday it’s volleyball again tonight so I’ll try winding my basal dose down to 50% at about dinner time instead of messing about like I did the last time I went, we’ll just have to wait and see if I manage to get through the session without collapsing.

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