Getting Used to an Insulin Pump

Posts tagged ‘Deanne Gow’

Toothbrush, Boots and a Memory Man

Boots The Chemist...and whatever else they do these days!

Boots The Chemist…and whatever else they do these days!

When I have a shower in the morning I tend to leave my insulin pump in my dressing gown pocket and then plug myself back in as soon as I’m dry and have something to clip it on to again. You may wonder why I’m telling you this, don’t worry hopefully it’ll become more obvious as the events of today unfold!

I was busy doing some important stuff at work this morning and I’d not bothered making any lunch as I thought I’d have a quick trip away from my computer to Boots in town to grab something. Because it had been busy I hadn’t done a  blood test since breakfast time.

So, one o’clock arrived and I headed out in to the frankly unpleasant weather, swiftly walking the five minutes or so in to try and avoid getting too damp. I got to Boots, picked a “”Delicious” Cheese & Pesto Pasta Salad”, a packet of healthy-ish crisps and a bottle of Diet Coke, then I headed over to the dental bit ’cause I need a new head on my electric toothbrush. I paid up and left heading in to the Victoria Centre to find somewhere to sit and have my lunch.

First thing I did was look at the food I had bought to see how many carb’s I needed to wind up on my pump, I was a little upset to find that Boots have re-branded their “”Delicious” Cheese & Pesto Pasta Salad” so it doesn’t actually tell you what the carbohydrate content is. After searching all over the packet many times I resolved to guess at the contents and adjust after getting back to a computer that I could look it up on (Web-Monkey without his own smartphone – funny I know!).

I did a blood test, as I always do before eating. I was a little surprised to find my BM was at 15.6mmol/l. “Hmm, that’s a little odd” I thought, that new bread must have a lot more carb’s in than it says on the packet. Anyway I wound up the CHO and hit the bolus button to which I was greeted by a “communication error” message. I cancelled out and tried it again and it did the same thing. Then I had one of those moments when you realise what the problem actually is. I patted myself down and realised that the reason I was getting a communication error was because my insulin pump was about two and a half miles away in my dressing gown pocket at home!

I ran back to work, carrying my carbohydrate-camouflaging salad, crisps, drink and toothbrush heads, grabbed my keys from my bag, excused myself and ran to get the bus home.

I got home in a little under fifteen minutes, which isn’t bad going, surprised Deanne who works from home on a Monday, plugged myself in and did a blood test, I’d dropped a little to 15mmol/l, which must have been a mix of the residual insulin and the running to get the bus. Gave Deanne a quick peck on the cheek and ran out the door again.

Getting back to work I looked up the “”Delicious” Cheese & Pesto Pasta Salad”, (56 grams in case you’re interested), wound up the total on my pump and bolused as quickly as I could.

Sadly after being unplugged for about six hours my blood sugar hasn’t yet normalised and I suspect if anything I’ll get a sudden drop at about six o’clock this evening.

When I had sorted myself out to my own satisfaction I posted a message on the Boots UK Facebook page, and to give them their due they actually told me they would look in to a way of including all the details on the back of the packet, you can see my overly sarcastic posting and their responses here if you’re interested.

Anyway, it was a stupid thing to do and closely aligned with last weeks stupidity of bringing my insulin to work ’cause I knew it would run out before the end of the day but forgetting to bring a cartridge in which to put said insulin!

All in all I seem to be having a couple of slow brain weeks, I’m hoping it won’t last much longer!

Wait for Me!

Some Food

Some Food

Today I am going to talk about something which nearly all of us Type 1 Diabetics have to endure, namely the discomfort that can be caused by eating with other people!

Some Plates

Some Plates

You meet your friends at a nice restaurant, or even just a pub or café for a bite to eat, you exchange pleasantries, hug kiss and generally try to think of funny things to say, you settle down at your table then pore over the menu until everybody has decided who’s going to have the crab, lobster or chicken nuggets. The waiter sidles over and takes everybody’s orders.

After twenty minutes and a couple of drinks you all breathe a sigh of relief as the food emerges from the kitchen, smelling like something you’d be quite happy to eat, of course the plates aren’t all brought out at the same time and invariably the last plate will be that of the Diabetic at the table.

You make a random guess at the amount of carbohydrates contained in your aubergine surprise, obviously failing to take into account the spoonfulls of sugar in the sauce, you grab your blood test monitor out of your bag, unzip the little case, attempt to prime the jabber, realise you need to put a new cartridge in, scrabble about in your bag again until you find another one, replace it then stick a blood test stick in to the monitor, only for the monitor to error out with some unhelpful message like “E3” or “LoTemp” or some such. Finally you get it working, stick yourself and bleed on to the blood test stick.

 

“2.3 mmol/l”

 

“Rubbish!” You go back in to your bag to find out your open packet of Jelly Babies has spilled and so you rub a couple of them on your trouser leg to get the fluff off before eating them. Finally you dial up the carbohydrate guestimate for what you’ve actually been served by the restaurant and inject/pump it in. You look up from your little world of Diabetes management and realise that at least one of your party has just finished a particularly amusing story concerning their trip to Beirut, another is just finishing their flambéed mushroom stroganoff and you’re just starting your meal.

Such is the life of the pancreatically challenged!

Of course this is a (possibly) exaggerated account of events as they often seem to occur but I’m sure I’m not the only one of us to always start eating after everybody else at the table. So what would I like to happen?

Well I’m not (that) selfish so I’m not after making everybody else wait until I’m done before they start eating, for one thing their food would probably be cold. I guess the main thing I want is not to feel like I’m always playing catch up, to be fair I could probably overcome a few of these problems by being better prepared and checking the state of my kit before going out, etc. however I’m not that well organised and so that is unlikely to happen.

What I would really like is not to have to think about it. “That’s never going to happen,” I hear you say but I’ve noticed a lot of articles on line recently about Continuous Glucose Monitors attached to insulin pumps and adjusting doses without interaction therefore I think it’s only a matter of time before my wish comes true and I’m able to just stick stuff in my mouth without having to faff about with little electronic devices.

Come on scientists, you can do it. If not for me then at least for my poor wife and son who have to eat with me at least once a day and endure my complaining and then watch as I try to inhale my food to catch up. To them I offer my most sincere apologies and keep my fingers crossed that the boffins get this sorted sooner rather than later!

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!

I Opened The Door And…

…Influenza!

Deanne and I have both had the flu (must be proper flu not man flu as she has had it as bad as I have) since Tuesday this week which has meant all the clever stuff I was planning on posting this week (honest) has gone out of the window. Thankfully we’re on the mend…finally, however as my brain still hurts and I need to get myself back in order I thought I’d just post the first scene I wrote for a book I started in 2005 that only ever got up to about three and a bit thousand words before I realised I had more important things to think about at the time, like getting a better job and stuff!

It was going to be a thriller about a diabetic guitarist in a rock band who got framed for the murder of one of his bandmates but I didn’t really have a plan after that, which is probably one of the other reasons it fizzled out! There are a few sweary words in it so please excuse that. Anyway, it’s not much but here you go…


The first thing I notice is that the back of my hand feels warm, and sort of slimy.  I look down.  My vision seems to follow the movement of my eyeballs after a couple of seconds.

It’s my left hand and its red, the hair on my arm is stuck to my skin.  I think the phrase I’d be looking for is ‘caked with sweat’ but currently I don’t seem to be geared up for thinking.

My temples are throbbing, as my brain starts to restart I realise that I’ve had a hypo.  It must have been quite a bad one otherwise there wouldn’t be blood.

The sweat is fairly normal but I must of cut something or there wouldn’t be blood, either on my hand or…bloody hell, on the carpet.  That’s going to be a bugger to clean up when I’ve come round properly.

There is a slightly more immediate problem though.  I’m lying on the floor in my bedroom but none of my limbs seem to be coordinated enough to actually carry me towards the kitchen.

I’m thinking the only reason I’ve come round is because of the adrenalin pumping round my body from whatever injury it is I’ve given myself.

I can reach the drawers from where I’m laying, I manage to turn myself over enough that I can use both my arms and my legs to lever myself into an unsteady upright position.

I’m definitely not stable but thankfully the kitchen is just down the corridor and the corridor isn’t too wide!

I make my way along by propping myself up with my arms on either side of the passageway.  I’m sure I look pretty dumb, but for one thing there’s no one here to see me and for another I wouldn’t care if there was.  In fact I wouldn’t be like this if there was somebody else here!

I meander through to the kitchen.  The adrenalin seems to be doing its job because by the time I get there I can almost stand of my own accord again.

I reach into the fridge while supporting myself with my hand on the bench.  I take the orange juice out with one hand and tip the carton back so it pours in to my mouth.

I never like the feeling of the raw cardboard against my lips.  I should probably cut the container so the top layer of waterproofing doesn’t rip off like that.

I don’t know how much I drink, I finish it though.  ‘Ah crap!’  My first words after hypos tend to be colourful metaphors of the four letter variety.

I put some bread in to the toaster and push the knob down, guess I need to wait until it’s done…


Two possibilities are that you will:

A. Think that is okay!

B. Think it is utter tosh and that you won’t get those few minutes of your life back in which case my work is done as I have been bed bound four out of the five days of this week and will personally definitely not get them back 😛

Have a good weekend.

Up and Down

Up and Down

Up and Down

Having an odd day today – Control wise!

These are my blood test results since midnight:

Time 24hr Blood Glucose in mmol/l
02:30 31.7
05:02 27.0
07:01 23.8
11:32 13.2
13:00 7.8
14:26 2.9
15.11 3.9
16:17 2.9

Let me give you a bit more information…

Deanne and I had a nice meal together last night after we’d put the Young ‘un to bed, it consisted of Pizza, Garlic bread and then a wonderful chocolate Torte all from Waitrose (other supermarket chains are available!) I made some frankly random guesses about the carbohydrates but did do a bit of checking up afterwards and thought I’d massively overestimated. But as it turned out I hadn’t!

I woke up at 2:30 ish needing to go for a wee (sorry too much info.) but I also felt pretty ropey so decided to do a blood test as well, the 31.7 was not what I was expecting, usually my highs only go up in to the 20s even if I’m ill (which I suppose I might actually be).

I didn’t consider that my infusion set may not be working properly because frankly it was half past two in the morning and I wasn’t really thinking straight. So I stayed up and watched some six-s-side and beach volleyball on TV as it was on when I turned on the telly. I did the next blood test at 5 and was a bit shocked to find out I’d only gone down by 4.7 mmol/l. so I did another bolus and went back to bed.

Got up this morning and realised there was probably something up with the infusion set so I changed it (it was due today anyway) and waited to see what happened. Had my lunch at half eleven and was still 13.2 the pump gave me a couple of extra units bolus to get my blood sugar down!

It worked. The rest of this afternoon my blood sugar has been rock bottom and I’ve been eating Jelly Babies like there is no tomorrow.

I don’t feel particularly unwell, although I’ve had such an up and down day that it’s hard to say for certain and what I’ve eaten hasn’t been massively different to normal so I really have no idea what’s caused it.

I’m not asking for sympathy, advice or even acknowledgement from anyone I just thought it might interest those of you who are more newly diagnosed that even after 35…nearly 36 years of doing this I can have a bad day. I’m not trying to depress you all just reminding you and all of those who support and live with you that you can never take Diabetes for granted.

…and on that cheerful note I’ll sign off for now 😛

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.

Unidentified Flying Illness

Unidentified Flying Bacteria

Unidentified Flying Bacteria

I’m Ill!

Okay that may seem like stating the bleeding obvious, however I’m not talking about my Diabetes, this is something new and frankly not super-comfortable. Let me tell you about it.

A couple of weeks ago we visited my parents in Dorset for the weekend, everything was fine until Saturday Morning when I started feeling a bit odd. Then at about ten or eleven in the morning I ran to the toilet and was ill. I continued to feel unwell for the rest of the weekend.

After getting home I forgot about it until the next weekend when I got a kind of pain under my ribs which lasted a good chunk of Saturday. We went to our neighbours’ house in the evening and frankly got a bit drunk, which was quite good fun, then on Sunday I didn’t feel great, which I put down to the alcohol I’d consumed, however I had a volleyball game on so I thought “self-inflicted, just put up with it” and played anyway (even with my ill-health and at-the-time-unrealised underlying health condition we won three sets to none – I actually played pretty well!!!).

Anyway, it got to Tuesday and as the day went on the pain under my ribs came back and I was having pains every time I took a deep breath in, coughed, sneezed or laughed…funny! I got myself to the NHS walk-in centre in town and got seen by a Nurse. Deanne had suggested it was Pleurisy but he discounted that because when he listened to my lungs they didn’t rattle, probably a good thing really.

After a bit of consultation he decided that it was possibly pancreatitis, caused by my recent-ish change in regime on to an insulin pump, he said this may have upset my pancreas due to the difference in my blood sugars and general control from being a bit random and bad to being quite well controlled.

This actually seemed to make a lot of sense to me but he said it was sensible if I went and saw my GP anyway so he booked me an appointment in the afternoon. I went and saw the GP and after a bunch of questions she decided that she wasn’t sure exactly what it was but that it may have something to do with my diaphragm and lungs or else something completely different so she gave me some pills called “lansoprazole” which seem to calm the acid in your stomach down so it doesn’t upset your other organs but sent me to the blood-letters at city hospital in the morning for a blood test just to discount the pancreatitis.

So currently I have no idea what’s wrong with me but still have pain and no idea when I’m likely to hear about my results.

Great!

Advance Australia Fair

Diabetes Australia

Diabetes Australia

We’ve recently booked our tickets to go to Australia next year, the main reason for this being that Deanne is from Australia and all her family (and by extension my in-laws) live there, in Perth to be precise. Therefore the only ones who have met the Little ‘Un face to face are his Nana and Aunty Donna who came over last year just after he was born. So we’re going to go visit and show our boy off to all his relations. “Sounds nice” I hear you think (didn’t I mention I’m telepathic?!?!?) but with a trip to Australia come a number of  Diabetes related challenges:

1. Time zone

2. Heat

3. Food

4. Routine

5. Supplies

I have been over there before but never with an insulin pump so I’m going to have to relearn some of my coping mechanisms. For point 1. I think it shouldn’t be too much of a problem, rather than a big bang I think I’ll do a phased time change altering the time on my pump by two or three hours starting the day we leave. The time difference is around eight hours so it’ll take a few days to normalise but the jet lag usually takes that long to get over so this might even help that process…

UPDATE… I had my checkup at the hospital and my consultant suggested that it would be simplest to set my basal rate back to the original setting of half a unit an hour and see how I get on, can change it to the right time zone after a few days when my body has caught up or leave it if it seems to be working then!…END OF UPDATE

For 2. it’ll be autumn over there when we go and so the temperatures should be between 30° and 24°, which is obviously a darned site hotter than it is over here, even in the middle of summer! ThereforeI’ll have to keep a close eye on my control and possibly drop my basal and meal rates depending on how I go.

3 is only really a problem if I do what I have done in the past and snack between meals, however I seem a lot less inclined to do that now I’m on an insulin pump as I know the slightest amount of carbohydrate can send me sky high, so I’m guessing I shouldn’t have too much of a problem as I just give myself more insulin if I’m eating more food.

The difficult one of course is number 4. While I may not do the same things every day I do generally have a fairly standard list of things that I do, both inside and outside work, being on holiday is more like a weekend, only for a whole month or so. I guess we’ll have a routine of sorts as with a 2 year old child you can’t really help it but even so it’s not the same as being at home.

Finally I have to do some forward planning which, frankly, I’m a bit rubbish at. For number 5 I have to make sure I have plenty of infusion sets + cannulas, insulin, blood test sticks and lancets, batteries for the pump, batteries for the monitor and to be honest probably loads of other things I’ve forgotten about at the moment. This means I need to contact and probably have an appointment with my GPs surgery in order that they will allow me to order, e.g. twice the number of things to normal, as well as ordering new stuff from Accu-Chek in enough time to actually have them arrive (when no one is in the house as per normal) then have enough chance to go to the post office collection depot to pick the stuff up which was delivered while there was no one at home because we both work…as I would imagine is the case for most people. “Not too much of a problem” you think (see I’m doing it again) but did I mention that I’m not a good organiser and only tend to remember these sort of things at the last minute.

On the bright side I’ve added an appointment to my calendar at work which will keep reminding me so hopefully that’ll be enough to actually get me to remember to make a call to Accu-Chek and an appointment with the doctors!

Anyway, aside for all that and any worries I might have about travelling with a two year old and adjusting my regime for foreign climes I’m actually pretty excited really, the other two times I’ve visited Perth have been brilliant, admittedly one was to get married and the other was to attend a wedding so you’d expect it to be relatively cheerful, but even so I feel a lot more confident about my Diabetes these days and hope that it isn’t a misplaced sense of confidence!

In Bruges

Choco Story - A Chocolate Museum

Choco Story - A Chocolate Museum

We spent last weekend in Bruges in Belgium, a really nice place with lots of history and architecture and chocolate, all of which were nice!

The holiday got off to a positive start although the young ‘un was a bit unsettled on the trip over. We went by train from Nottingham to St. Pancr(e)as to Brussels and then caught another train to Bruges itself. It was quite a long trip what with all the waiting around for connections, he was really well behaved though.

Things were fine until we got there and got settled in then I did a blood test and it turned out I was 19.6 mmol/l…Oh dear, the next couple were higher at 19.9 then 21.3, in the morning I tested three times between half six and half eight and didn’t get under 10 on any of them. This was when I decided I’d change my insulin, infusion set and cannula, the next test I did two hours later at 10:40 was 3.3 so I’m guessing my suspicion was right and something was up with some aspect of my pump or my insulin.

The next day went pretty well and with most of my results being around 6 then on Monday another good day, I put it down to eating ice cream and chocolates!

Funnily enough the 23rd (Tuesday) was also pretty good but I did have one test out of the ordinary at 17.4 while travelling on the train again, I was worried that the Eurostar was having some kind of negative effect on my pump but my worries were unfounded as the next couple of tests were around 4.

Yesterday was our first full day at home and I came to work, dropping the little ‘un off at nursery, I decided that I would be good and start redoing fasting blood glucose tests so I started at 12 o’ clock and got the following results:

6.9 mmol/l

6.9 mmol/l

6.0 mmol/l

5.3 mmol/l

6.7 mmol/l

7.1 mmol/l

I figure this is close enough to no change for me to leave it alone so I will do my morning tests again next and then something which I have been putting off and off which is night time.

I’m pretty certain I need to do these as I am having more insulin at night than I need for my supper in order to get my BMs about right in the morning, I think this means that at some point at night my blood sugar is going up and therefore I need more insulin, working this out shouldn’t be too hard it just requires that I get up through the night and do blood tests every couple of hours.

Anyway I’m signing off again now, sorry about my lack of communication recently but I’ve been doing some coursework for a thing I’ve been doing at work, however I’ve finished this now and therefore will hopefully get a bit of spare time back in order that I can start putting a few more updates on here again.

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.

Stress and Illness

A Virus

A virus, like the Little 'Un and I have had!

The weekend didn’t go exactly as I hoped! The Little ‘Un was acting out of character on Saturday, crying a lot and being off his food where generally he is the happiest baby I know and likes to eat everything you give him. We kept him up late and he kind of slept on Deanne until the end of Dr Who at which point we took his temperature again and the thermometer had changed to amber from green suggesting that his temperature was up.

So Deanne and I took him to QMC, getting there at about 8pm and got him looked at! After a few tests and some questions they said they thought he had a virus and just to keep him dosed up on Calpol and Baby Nurofen and to keep him undressed as much as possible to keep him from getting too warm. We arrived home again after midnight, tired and slightly terrified but frankly happy that it wasn’t anything worse.

We spent most of Sunday relaxing together and making sure he was okay.

My blood sugars through this weren’t too bad but they started going up from when I woke up on Monday. Deanne suggested that it may have been stress but I thought this was a bit odd as usually stress induces low blood sugar for me, I didn’t do anything about it until I had spent most of Tuesday being high as well, at dinner time on Tuesday I told my monitor that I was ill and it gave me an extra 1.3 units of insulin on top of the 6.4 I was getting for dinner and an adjustment dose. This appeared to have the desired affect because when I did a blood test at ten ‘o clock I was 7.8 which is still a bit high but not too bad.

I spent most of last night in bed from about 19:30 as I was just too worn out to cope with being up. I guess this may have been a mixture of actually being ill as well as the stress from Saturday and Sunday on top ot it.

Anyway, this morning I was 18.3 mmol/l so I gave myself another illness setting but then at 10:19 decided that I’d also wind up my basal rate by 10%, which I have kept up ever since and have finally got back to more or less normal again the last three tests I have done getting a 4.6, a 5.4 and a 5.8. I think I will continue along this vein for the rest of the day and hopefully will have fought off whatever the virus is by tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it goes!

Perfect 5

Five

Will my blood sugar drop at five?

Didn’t manage the fasting yesterday either but I’ve been doing it this afternoon and it’s looking quite promising so far, all tests have pretty much been around the 5mmol/l mark so that is fine. It’ll be interesting to see if it drops at the 5 or 6 o’clock tests?

Not sure if I’ll make it to volleyball tonight as Deanne is travelling home from a meeting and isn’t likely to get home until 7:30 or 8.

Only other thing is that I tried leaving the old infusion set in for an hour on Tuesday night but still woke up at 14.4mmol/l on Wednesday morning so I either need to leave it in longer or just do a blood test and have an adjustment dose before I go to sleep after a changeover.

Mine’s A Pint

A Pint

Mine's A Pint

What a long weekend that seemed!

Volleyball on Thursday night went okay, I had two Bounty bars (about 33 grams of CHO each) and that seemed to very nicely get me through volleyball, coming out the other side with a BM of 4.9mmol/l, it stayed exactly the same between my post practice blood test at 21:59 and the test I did before I ate at 22:10, which mildly surprised me!

Friday was a bit stressful as I had to mosey over to Clifton to try and sort out some problems people have been having with some new software that I’m helping get installed on peoples’ laptops around the University. I finished work at 16:30 which is admittedly when I should (but rarely wait so long to) finish work on a Friday but usually I jump on a bus straight home whereas this time I had to get to town first.

However Deanne and the Little ‘Un decided they would meet me there and we could have a drink somewhere so we did, which was nice, then we had to go home (which took longer than normal due to some roadworks), feed ourselves, put the boy to bed and then I had to get ready to go out.

Went out with four of the guys from my NCT “having a baby” class, we’ve known each other for about 18 months and occasionally go out on the town together. Suffice to say that I probably drunk more than I should have and woke up the next day feeling a bit ropey, however I failed to write down any of my blood tests for that night so have no idea what my blood sugar did 😛

Saturday morning I was 16mmol/l which is kind of high, however I came to believe that I actually had something wrong with me (e.g a cold rather than a hangover) later that day ’cause I had difficulty bringing my blood sugar down all day long.

Went shopping in the afternoon and the three of us ran around town and then home for a late dinner at which my BM was 18.2mmol/l 😦

Sunday was better, started off a bit high but soon brung it down and spent most of the day within reasonable limits, even though we were doing some gardening, but the garden looks nice now.

Today I’m still sorting out software problems at work so have been back and forth to see various users in various different buildings, however blood sugar seems to be back on usual form with relatively good control most of the day then dropping in the late afternoon so I might do a fasting BM tomorrow afternoon to try and get back on track to sorting out my basal units again after a bit of a break.

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.

Bats, Alcohol and a Garage

A Bat

A Bat

Sorry if they were helping you to keep track but after Ben commented last week that he thought a blood test monitor didn’t even go up to 42 I have decided to stop using the numbers at the start of each post 😉

Friday night was fairly quiet, Deanne was out at Nottingham University attending a talk on bats, which meant I had the night in on my own so I did a bit of house tidying and a bit of painting. probably not the most exciting evening but my control was fine and it meant I had something to do for the night.

Saturday however was a different matter, had a fairly late morning only getting up at 8am, we went for a drive round some furniture shops to try and find a wardrobe for the Little-‘Un’s bedroom, found a suitable candidate but it was obviously pretty hard work ’cause I was low by half twelve. had some friends round in the afternoon so mainly just sat around chatting and playing with the babies.

In the evening however I went along to the Nottingham Type 1 Diabetes Group night out at Fat Cat’s bar in Nottingham. It was a good night and a lot of people came along, it was nice to meet everyone and have a night talking about all things Diabetes related including pumps, injections, hypos, and many other things too diverse to mention. If you didn’t make it then you missed an interesting evening.

It did however mean that I had a number of beers, which I haven’t done since starting the pump, unlike the wine I normally drink beer does actually contain carbohydrates which meant that when I did a blood test at half eleven my blood sugar had gone up to 10mmol/l, not hugely high but higher than it should have been, therefore as a future note to self “if I’m drinking beer I need to do more blood tests”!

Went home and had supper and was fine but when I got up the next morning I was low at 2.5mmol/l so apparently when I adjusted at near midnight I hadn’t taken in to account the drop that invariably comes after drinking. Oops!

Sunday was mostly spent tidying the shed in our back garden. The best bit of which was that I actually finished doing it and now have a useable space in which we can find things when we need them and keep things while we don’t. Was quite pleased with myself as I managed to only go low once while I was doing the thinking/physical exercise that the job involved, survived by eating occasional packets of crisps and having the odd chocolate cookie with an exercise adjustment.

Tonight I have a volleyball match which I’m hoping I’m going to manage better than the one I had last week but only time will tell.

Forty Four – Low and Proud

Low Blood Sugar

Low Blood Sugar

This is going to be a short one because I suspect I’ll be low before too long, but don’t fret, it’s a controlled low 😉

I’m doing my afternoon fasting tests again and this time I’m actually getting the sort of results I’d expectwas stable at around 6 until 3pm when I was 4.4 and then at 4.01pm I was 3.9. As I suggest I suspect if I manage to wait until five o’clock I’ll be low but at least now I can adjust my doses and make a start on normalising my afternoon basal doses, which will frankly be a massive relief to Deanne and myself!

Told you it’d be a short one!

Thirty Nine, Forty, Forty One – We’re All Going To The Zoo Tomorrow…

A Bit Like Our Shed

A Bit Like Our Shed

…actually that’s a lie, we went to the zoo on Saturday!

It was the Little ‘Un’s birthday on Sunday so we had a big birthday weekend, on Saturday Deanne and I and the young ‘un went to Twycross Zoo, I started off very well writing down all my blood test results in the little book and trying to accurately judge what I was eating (ice creams, etc.) but by 11am had given up completely and was just trying to play it by ear. The main reason for me giving up was because my blood sugar was dropping like a rock and so I had to keep doing blood tests and eating to try and keep up with the high level of carbohydrate that pushing a pushchair and carrying a one year old round a zoo entails.

A good day but a very tiring day.

Sunday was pretty good, didn’t do a great deal in the morning (opening baby presents, playing with new toys, going to the toilet on a potty (him, not me!!!)) but in the afternoon while the weather was hot I decided to start clearing the garden shed out. To understand this fully it is worth mentioning that our shed (prior to me starting this) looked very much like one of those old shops you go in that have bits and pieces of everything stacked higgledy-piggledy on top of, inside and around each other with a blatant disregard for health and safety.

So I started by clearing a lot of stuff out of it, then screwing some hooks up so I could hang some things up to save floor space, then I started chucking out old rubbish and filing stuff in to boxes.

Interesting as this probably isn’t to read what it meant is that I had to do a lot of blood tests and have quite  an amount of carbohydrate-y things over the course of the afternoon – which I did! Although the work wasn’t particularly back breaking it was constant and so my blood sugar just kept going down. More on this phenomenon in a minute though.

Today started with a high blood sugar, mainly because I had a piece of birthday cake with dinner last night and failed to calculate the carbohydrate correclty apparently. However everything settled down enough by lunch time in order that…wait for it…I’ve finally managed to do my afternoon fasting blood glucose tests. Hooray 🙂

So far all is going well with a small surprise of my BM taking a swift upwards turn from about six to about nine at 4pm. This has shocked me because I was expecting it to start dipping about then, however I’m still guessing that I’ll be low before the end of the results. But don’t quote me on that.

I also managed to speak to the Diabetes Nurse this morning about my exercise rates and she pointed out something quite obvious which is that just because I have gone on to pump therapy doesn’t mean I don’t need to have carbohydrate while I’m exercising! So tonight I have a volleyball match and so I am going to have drink/food while I am playing to keep my blood sugar at a sensible level, as well as using a temporary basal rate and the exercise setting on my pump.

Frankly I should have realised this myself and/or called them up much earlier, but there are such a lot of things to consider when initially using a pump that you just have to try and address them one at a time.

Thirty Five – Apparently a tetrahedral number! Who knew???

Make your own Tetrahedron

Make your own Tetrahedron

It’s been more than 24 hours since I had an actual hypo! That’s pretty good really as I’m pretty sure I’ve had at least one every day since going on the pump. Of course the bad bits of life on an insulin pump (or in this case starting to use one) tend to be the bits that don’t get talked about very often. I should probably try and do something about that but I might have to have a bit of a think about it first and get back to you.

Conversely though I have had two test above sixteen in the last twenty four hours as well which is a bit odd as I’ve definitely been having a lot less high results recently. It’s particularly strange because I don’t feel ill and have no visible or obvious signs that anything is up with my infusion set/cannula/pump/etc.???

On the other hand I got an alarm last night reminding me to change my infusion set and I thought “it’s only been like two days, I’ll wait until tomorrow”! Of course the pump was right and I was wrong, it had actually been three days since my last change and therefore I’ve had this infusion set in for nearly four days now and the cannula has been in nearly seven I guess! Oops.

So I’ll change it as soon as I get home tonight, I would do it at work but frankly people tend to be a bit ‘funny’ about medical stuff so sticking a big old needle in to my stomach is probably quite a good way to make some colleagues faint. Fun as this would be I’d prefer to wait until it’s just me and Deanne before doing any such medical acrobatics (I also know that my house is clean, whereas you can never quite tell at the office).

Thirty Two, Thirty Three, Thirty Four – Is this what normal feels like???

Are You Normal?

Are You Normal?

It’s been another long weekend, although this time literally, I had the day off work to be the little ‘un’s sole carer as Deanne was at work today. All went well, at least in terms of not having any hypos while in charge of a not-quite-one year old and in fact we had a lot of fun, including going upstairs at least three times (recently learnt and one of his favourite things to do at the moment), lots of reading, quite a lot of eating (both of us) and a few naps (him, not me!).

The actual weekend went pretty well. Sunday, being Dee’s first Mother’s Day was partly spent doing fun stuff like going to Woolaton Park and partly spent in the kitchen where I cooked an interesting meal of a kind of savoury crumble with tomatoes and onions and a side dish of sweet potatoes roasted with pineapples. They were both very good, if I do say so myself, and what is better is that I managed to make a fairly decent stab at guessing the carbohydrates in them and therefore didn’t have a hypo or get high afterwards 🙂

However the most interesting part of the weekend, at least as far as people reading this blog will be concerned is that on Saturday morning the little ‘un and I drove to Mapperly to pick up some last minute bits and pieces for Mother’s Day, it was a really nice day which I had failed to notice so I wore a fairly hefty winter coat and didn’t take his push chair so I had to carry him, it was a longer walk than I expected so by the time I got back to the car I was pretty overheated and uncomfortable.

I did a blood test just to check that I wasn’t low…I wasn’t…and we headed back home. “Doesn’t seem too interesting so far” you say but wait, this is probably the interesting bit coming up now!

Driving home I was absent mindedly talking to the baby while I was driving at the same time as singing along to whatever was on the CD player in the car and suddenly I realised that I was thinking REALLY clearly, not just like the way I think normally but more so, but a totally different way to normal. I realised that for the past I-don’t-know-how-many years it feels like my head has been full of cotton wool and suddenly it didn’t anymore.

This feeling hasn’t persisted all the time since then, I’m assuming because my control isn’t completely stable as yet, but I certainly feel a lot better in the thinking department than I have done for a good while.

I guess this must be what being normal must feel like???

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