Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Not so 'grrrrrrt' marketing

I have to credit Kerri at Six Until Me for this one. Directly. But it's worth re-posting. Here's her blog.

Tony the Tiger has died. A result of diabetic complications.
Apparently, some may think this is clever marketing. Wrong. These marketing folk need to be fired.

First, there's this story about Santa Clause being diagnosed with Type 2. A quote that ran has the red-suit clad Clause saying: "I want to beat my diabetes and get my weight under control without popping pills," Santa said. "And it's just too risky to take insulin injections when my reindeer tote my sleigh across the sky."
"Besides, if I become dependent on drugs and insulin injections, what message does that send to all the children?"

Wow. That's just a wonderful, wonderful message to send out to kids facing this disease. No, I'm not even talking about the children facing Type 1, where insulin is a must-have to even live.

Secondly, we have this story about Tony the Tiger dying from diabetic complications. Another wonder-marketing idea for the kids.

Any sense of reality and common sense apparently faded when parents threatened to sue Tony and Kellog over the tiger's Frosted Flakes consumption, since it somehow attributed to their child's obesity and subsequent laziness and bad health later in life. No wonder - these are probably the same parents griping that their kids scraped knees at recess, or got hit with the ball during dodgeball because they were too lazy to - you know - DODGE the rubber ball flying at them. These parents come from the same ilk that have gotten tag banned at schoolyards, and didn't want their children held accountable for a no-no by being made to stand against the wall while others played.

No, they have to gripe and whine. These are also the same people who, years back, used to say to Type I children: "You wouldn't be diabetic if you're parents had fed you better and your diet was healthier."
Get a clue. Please. Or just don't open your mouths. As if it's anyone's fault, a child's or a parent's, that a pancreas chooses to shut down and insulin-making cells just stop making insulin. The guilt and shame just add a whole new wonderful dimension to childhood.

Monday, December 3, 2007

A MySpace world

We're living in a MySpace world. But sadly, the legal world hasn't kept pace with the online social networking issues. We see in two current news tidbits.

Think about it. Someone creates a fake profile, sends mean messages to your son or daughter, and causes the child to get very upset, depressed, possibly even suicidal. We see that in a news item from Missouri, where 13-year old Megan Meier hanged herself last year minutes after she received mean messages through MySpace. It seems this all came from a fellow teen's dissolved friendship, and apparently adults played a part in this whole ordeal. CNN reported in mid-November that Megan's parents hope the people who made the fraudulent profile on the social networking web site will be prosecuted, and they are seeking legal changes to safeguard children on the Internet.

Today, the prosecutor there says no criminal charges would be filed because no applicable statute exists to file charges in this case. Laws relating to stalking, harassment, and child endangerment don't apply, and there was no threats to the child's life and no organized conspiracy.

Secondly example: We have the Indiana Supreme Court considering a case this month delving into whether MySpace comments are considered protected free speech under the First Amendment. This one involves a student's obscenity-filled posting that blasted a school principal. The juvenile commented about school policy on body piercings on a page created by another student. Here's a story.

Both of these show how ill-prepared our laws are to deal with Internet sites such as this. With this online hangouts having upwards of 100 million users and Facebook having millions on its own, we aren't ready for the legal issues of these online powerhouses. It could be scary stuff. Will be interesting to watch the court cases on these Internet law issues, and how the law plays catchup. Wonder where we'll be when it finally happens.

Candidate Huckabee on the... (Mortgage Industry)

If I were to vote for a Republican, which would be a far cry from possible to begin with, my support wouldn't be for Mike Huckabee. Ironically, it wouldn't have anything to do with religion. It's the mortgage issue.

Now, he says in response to a question about how we can help solve this mortage/foreclosure situation - solution isn't to "bail out" anyone. I agree. That shouldn't be. But he says "the market will correct itself." So, therefore we don't need any more regulation. Top that point with not helping "bail anyone out," and his suggestion to support President Bush's move to prolong terms so people can pay their own mortgages by refinancing. He tries to push this whole thing off on the idea that "people who go through painless foreclosures weren't smart about their decisions and it's not anyone else's fault." You know - give the guy without a job more time to not have the money to pay off his mortgage. It's the welfare argument - "you, responsible, mortgage-paying homeowner shouldn't have to pay for your own house and the one owned by the guy down the street who bought a too big house and couldn't afford it.

"Are you kidding? We need to make lenders educate homebuyers and at least do an honest job in selling mortgages and helping buyers understand the full real-world picture of taxes and what they can afford. Unfortunately, it's our job to do this. But most don't. And the lenders and builders have the flexibility to exploit that for more money in their own pockets. That's where the government must come in. Regulate this industry, so that if they deviate they get hit where it hurts - in the pocketbook. Educating homebuyers is a good thing all around, for communities, the economy, the builders and lenders who need future business.Huckabee, I feel you're off on this one. Can't say anything else about your campaign or views, but this one is just offbase. Maybe he doesn't understand the issue, and is only addressing the broad, overview question of "bailing out." Regardless, the response just makes me uneasy, and just doesn't cut it. Not close. Sorry, bud. You lose in my book on this one.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Who's the hostage?

Nothing like a hostage situation to spice up an already heated presidential campaign season.

Today's news: Man walks into Hillary Clinton's campaign office in Rochester, NH and takes hostages, claiming to have explosives ducttaped to himself. She cancels an afternoon speech at an DNC event, and some other presidential candidates' nearby campaign offices are also evacuated. Turns out, it was a man claiming to have mental probs and needing help - no explosvies, just roadflares. Here's the CNN story.

From the CNN photo, looks like a typical, not-so-crazy businessman in a shirt and tie. In a way, reminded me of the early 90's movie Falling Down, where Michael Douglass plays a working man who just melts down on his way home one day and beating and shooting his way through town. Never can tell.

Says Hillary post-hostage situation (as reported by CNN): "He was someone who was not known to my campaign headquarters until he walked in the door today." Clinton said Friday evening in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, where she met with the hostages and their families. "It appears he is someone who was in need of help and sought attention in absolutely the wrong way," she said. "It was for me and my campaign an especially tense and difficult day."

You don't say.... Now, let me say this: I'm not advocating or encouraging what happened today. No way, no how. But there's a deeper, symbolic issue here. One that says a lot about us.

Appears this guy had a real issue - told CNN that "I need to speak to Hillary Clinton. Something's got to change. Ordinary people need help" with their insurance. However distraught and misguided this particular man was, he's got a point. A really good point, that so many people can probably relate to. Wonder who's going to start reporting first on his story and what led Lee Eisenberg to this breaking point? Of course, how will the Clinton Camp respond? Fellow Democrats? Republicans (ironically, Lee Eisenberg was wearing a red tie.... I'm the Repubicans are silently swearing about that). You have to admit, this has campaign tactic written all over it. Just wait - she'll play this up, saying it's evidence that people are truly in trouble and desperate for help.

Maybe politicians will listen. It's unfortunate that it took someone with a gun to make that happen. Eisenberg may have been the one with the suspected weapon, but who's really the hostage here? Those trapped inside or Eisengerg himself? We obviously have a health care crisis in this country, and it's one that makes many, many people feel like a hostage being held captive by insurers and politicians. While today's scenario isn't the way to reach any solution - hopefully it doesn't send a message out that violence, threats, and hostage-taking is a way to motivate our elected leaders - it does say something about our political system and society overall. Who's the hostage here?

(On that end-thought, go watch the movie John Q - Wonder if Lee Eisenberg ever saw that movie?? Brings a whole new perspective to the concept that "movies made me do it....")

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Duck, duck, duck....Me, me, me

Wait, it's tag - not goose! Wrong game.

During a late-night/early-morning blog exploring session, I discovered a virtual game of tag going on between fellow bloggers. Politics, journalism, religion, and all meaty topics aside, here's me tagging myself and getting in on that. Those who turned me in on this were mostly from the Diabetes OC (Online Community), including Diabetes Mine, Scott, and Kerri at Six Until Me... I'm sure there's more. Thanks for the heads up.

As Scott said in his post, I'm sure you'll be asleep by the end of this posting (a place I should be well-acquainted with at 2:45-ish, but for some reason haven't gotten to yet....) Enjoy.

My Random 7:
1.) I'm a newspaper man and am driven by deadline, but somehow I'm rarely on time. Work is one thing, but personal life is a complete role reversal. Can't manage time, always get distracted with too many projects within a project, or somehow find my way to time-wasting on a weekend with video games or "classic" movie watching on TNT or TBS, missing any previous-planned goal and deadline for the day. Of course, I did just manage to get a watch fixed and am starting to wear it - it was a Christmas 2006 gift, and I wore it for the first time in late November 2007. Procrastinator's Creed is what I've lived by for most of my life. Go figure.

2.) Noses fascinate me. Always have. Ever since childhood, I've had the urge to squish (you know, push on) various noses of those close in my life. Parents when little. Good kindergarten friend. My wife, who I affectionally refer to as "Nose." The dog, which is always cold and wet and curiously sniffing. Granted, this isn't an urge for most people I meet, and not a greeting or even something that happens all that often; only those few. Weird. No clue why.

3.) William is my middle name, which I'm very proud of. It's my grandfather's first name. My dad's middle name, and of course mine. I'd like to pass it down, should there one day be a son in our future. (I'd probably have to get an OK on that, though, so don't hold me to it...)

4.) This is my second blog. I'm a MySpacer, too. Started off to make this more in-depth, deeper, philisophical and insightful rather than just a way to keep in touch with friends and fam. Started focusing on diabetes more as a way to make it more of a conscious part of my life. That's a work in progress. In the meantime, here's another virtual soapbox for me to keyboard my thoughts for the online world to see (for better or worse). Story of why it's called what it is can be found in the little blurb off to the right there...

5). I've become a Hoosier, though am a native Michigander. Water v. Cornfields. It's true what they say about not knowing what you have until it's gone, or at least 300 miles away. Great Lakes are a wonderful treasure. There's only five, but us from ole' St. Clair Shores firmly believe that Lake St. Clair could and should be the next in line - maybe the six, "Little Great" Lake St Clair. Dream a little dream, I say.

6.) (D-bloggers, you'll get this one): Glucose tabs are like candy. Yep. Even before they came in fun, colorful, yummy flavors like orange, watermelon, apple, and grape. Back in the day, when they were individually wrapped, boring, white, square tabs that didn't dissolve as quickly in your mouth. Thought of them as a treat. Yum. Made my mom sick, but I loved them. Maybe that's why my sugars were always so high....

7.) If sleeplessness could cure diabetes, I'd be on my way. It's after 2 a.m. and the writing goes on. I'm strange like that. Something majestic and magical about the post-midnight hour. It's when the creativity flows, much like the coffee. There was a song back in high school, maybe college, called 3 a.m. by Matchbox Twenty. Loved that one. Relate so well. A former English teacher once said, "You'll sleep plenty when you're dead."

So, that is that. Now here's my open invite for everyone to follow the lead, or jump on the v-bandwagon, or just post another seven. Rules and a How-To on V-Tag can be found here. Also per the rules, I'll tag seven more: the wife Suzi, Kari, Dorian, my mom, Ryan Bruner, Cory Heck, and Jeremy Sarnovsky.

Have fun all.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

A 10-year old punch

We made it into town not for the holidays, but also my 10-year high school reunion the day following Turkey Day. Was in the hometown, where we stayed with my parents for the extended weekend visit. Haven't really kept in touch with many people from high school, except more recently with the advent of MySpace and a couple quick, inpersonal emails here and there. But didn't do it through college and after, and since leaving Michigan, our brief weekend visits from Indiana didn't permit that. So it was great seeing many once-familiar faces in person for the first time in a decade. Many stayed in the area, some left the Mitten State as we did. We caught up, traded 10 years worth of stories, shared some drinks and had good times. Some married, some pregnant, jobs, etc. One's teaching at the former high school we attended, and she's married to the man a class ahead of us who I credit for turning me onto Oakland University, where I met my wife.... As fate would have it, I guess. Plan to keep in touch with some now, not wanting another decade to pass before we chat it up. Go Lakeview. Class of 1997.

As it turns out, the events of that night led to being laid up most of Saturday and for the drive back on Sunday. Thought it was a more powerful hangover punch despite the not-so-large, beer-only consumption - but that thought passed by mid-Saturday afternoon. Not able to keep any food or water down. Splitting headache, stomach pains. Stayed in bed most of the day. Reading my Bible. Suzi spent the day with her family. She was able to get out and see some of our friends from college, though I unfortunately had to miss the evening plans. They ribbed me, as expected and was appropriate. I would've done the same. Missed hanging out and watching hockey, drinking beer. Oh well.

Most of the symptoms and non-eating had passed by the time we got home Sunday evening (she drove). While it seemed at first to be weakness, my not being able to handle alcohol as I once could in college, it seems more likely that I had food poisoning or a bug of some sort. Maybe it was the seafood or something, complimented by the beer intake... Who knows.

All I know is that my 10-year had quite the punch. Knocked me out for two days. Moral of the story: don't wait a decade to keep in touch with old classmates and friends. Catch a drink and catchup in the meantime. Write an email. Do MySpace. Whatevever works. Just don't wait another 10 years before making the connections.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Studying faith


A week ago, I'd encountered a long pondered faith-related question in my readings of Lee Strobel's "The Case for Faith: A journalist investigates the toughest objections to Christianity." Check that MySpace blog posting here. Essentially, the point was whether the Bible, a main source of info for Christians, is really a trustworthy book. Unfortunately, my appetite for an answer wasn't completely satisfied. In the 15-pages on this question, it comes down to one scholar saying that "Like Christ, the Bible is totally human, yet without error." It talks about how the Bible wasn't dictated, it's a story told by people who witnessed and went through those times. Fine. But, you know, as we recount stories in our own lives and retell them, and again and again, sometimes we misconstrue or misinterpret something, or take it out of context. The explanations that all the Gospels and other Bible tales are so similar and therefore error-free, just don't jive completely. But, in my overall reading so far, and my own life experiences and changing views, my faith is strengthening despite the lack of faith in that particular point.

Tonight, a later chapter provides more intriguing mental exercise. Focusing on offensiveness of claims that Jesus is the only way to God, we get into morality, accepting Christ, and the overall issue of earning a spot in Heaven. The pages delve into that bigger picture, that what we do here on Earth really doesn't matter all that much; it's the afterlife we're preparing for. Psalm - 23:3-4 notes that Redemption, Righteousness, Worship is the sequence and it can't be violated. A quote: "Because we are moral human beings, we want to see equity. But when we reduce equality to issues of who behaved in what way during a given span of time, we miss the whole concept of equity. We are judging this from the point of view of our system."

Interesting. One comparison in the book is that an infant can't understand a mother, except that there's someone nurturing and caring for them. That relationship changes and grows to more respect, understanding as the child grows into adulthood. Same concept. Maybe we can't see what that bigger picture is quite yet, but someday, whether it's on this planet and in this life or not, we will. Makes you reflect on the whole point of life and what you do each day.

However, I can't totally embrace the concept that you must embrace God and only that matters. There must be more. The book doesn't expand on the rest of the RR&W point, but it fits that Righteousness plays just as much a part in getting to that heavenly spot as the other two. Just because you accept and pray to Him, doesn't mean you're on the way up. It's about living, too.

Some so-called Christians don't seem to get this point - they don't practice what they preach (no cliche intended). It's about tolerance. It's about being a good person. Neighborly. Morally and ethically sound. Some point to the Bible and criticize those who don't believe what they do, but in doing so become mean and cold-hearted that seems to make them seem hypocrits. Of course, my disclaimer is that I know more who balance all the aspects of that RR&W thought.

Exploring the aspect of why it's so darn tough to accept Christ, Strobel gets to an interesting point that compares other religions. Others can be good without having to admit there's God, can do what they please or banter philisophically about treating the earth well without actively practicing their faith. To quote on why not Christ: "He calls you to die to yourself. Any time truth involves a total commitment in which you bring yourself to complete humility, to the surrender of the will, you will always have resistence. Christ violates our power and autonomy. He challenges us in areas of purity."

Good reasons. Who wants to give themselves up? Their free wills? Their desires? Makes a good point. I think there's a higher power who's calling the shots, but at the same time that He or She gave us free will for a reason. It's supposed to be a journey. We're supposed to grow. In the end, guess it falls to that grand idea of doing something for the greater good. We need to have faith in that, whether or not we believe in every technical aspect of a written story or philosophy. There's a higher power who knows what's going on, and by trusting in that, we can come out as all is supposed to be. That's the definition of faith, and as I grow older and also study this topic more in-depth, it's becoming more clear that I've got some. We'll see where we go from here.

Ten years out....

Life since Lakeview has been an adventure, one with a variety of turns that have been both expected and unexpected. College, newspapering, coffee and conversation kept those early years company and offered consistency. Linda's. Many napkins came from those years. Poetry flowed, ever evolving into more journalistic prose as the years went by. Enter the light of my life, who helped define the good my life could become and the man I could be. For years, I'd looked whimsically out the window and pondered what could be - eager to embrace the possibilities. But she introduced the chance to make those dreams a reality. We've since moved to embrace that consistent dream of mine in newspapering, enduring the rocky road to Indiana and first two years of marriage. Amazing ride, one worth living every day.

Our 10-year reunion comes Nov. 23. The anniversary makes you really reflect on the past decade, wondering where you thought you'd be and the place you've ended up on the still-winding road. Some regrets, but mostly appreciation and gratefulness for the chances I've had thus far, the experiences I've been able to partake in, and the wonderful people that have graced my past decade.

The get-together will be at a local restaurant in the hometown, a small fee to pay for the food and then a cash bar to enjoy. Most I haven't had contact with since graduation. Some old connections are being rekindled through the wonders of social networking and email, but really I've only have kept in regular touch with one person from high school - and she wasn't even in my class. That person read her own handwritten poem at our wedding, and helped make high school and those post-Lakeview days what they were. She describes me as a better friend, someone to listen and rely on. I'd say the same about her. One can only hope for such a good friend and inspiration in life. That's a blessing.

So, here's to another decade of such fortune. The next may bring with it new obstacles and challenges more complex and frightening than the first; but if this past decade is any indication of what can happen with faith and navigating life's waters, then we've got the ammo to face whatever the decade brings.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Coffee - not bottomless, just potless

Once, there was a place where Coffee & Conversation came with the honor of a bottomless coffee pot. There in that Corner Booth, we sat and discussed anything we could for hours that seemed to stretch for endless hours into the night. Refills were always welcomed, and the cups and pot we saw periodically seemed to have no bottom.

Outside that booth, in our own homes or in other sanctuaries we've sought to cherish some C&C, the bottoms are easier to find. We have to buy the coffee and the pots to brew it, and whatever else we may want to accompany the java. We refill our own cups, and the bottoms seem to come quickly. Too much effort to just keep making more. Never endless, it seems.

In our home, we have three pots. One is a 12-cupper, though the auto delay doesn't work and there's a part that keeps it from working properly. The other is a cappucino/coffee combo that was a wedding gift; that one has a pot that's just too darned small. Doesn't hold much, and coffee-lovers will inevitably have to brew another pot. So, that's just not acceptable. Plus, it doesn't have auto start and you have to hit the switch to make it start - on mornings when you could use a cup when first coming downstairs, it's a little disappointing.

Today, while out doing errands and buying needed items, we came across one that called out to us. It's a potless "brew station." Has auto start, delay brew, all the bells and whistles a coffee brewer should. So, here's to a new toy to feed my C&C or Sunday morning newspaper and coffee routine. Cheers.

Friday, November 2, 2007

An old email discussion

Found this today while cleaning out an overstuffed Inbox. Thought it was worth sharing...

Sent to me almost a year ago...
MHoskins,
What noble cause does our press pursue now? My answer is the aiding and abetting of the suicide of the West and all it stands for. As a Marine officer, I've never trusted the press and never will. I counsel my Marines to do the same; especially when in Iraq. I will not dispute anything you say; it's all from your perspective after all. What your organizations report on are fact-based events but if your always looking for the elephants hind end then you'll have no trouble finding it; though we all know there's a lot more to the elephant than just the hind end.Now from where I stand, every experience I've had with media has been negative towards what I and my Marines are trying to accomplish. You may call it news and reporting; I call the end-product what it is: information operations or even propaganda at times.It is a sad state of affairs that our nation has come to the point that we tolerate the behavior of our press as it is when, once upon a time, we treated as traitors and enemies such individuals and agencies who were perceived to work counter to national goals in wartime. I ask: Has our press been worthy of the 1st Amendment?

My response...
OUR noble press pursues checks and balances - making sure that what our elected leaders say and do is accurate and doesn't put our heroic military in harm's way - whether those frontliners care or not.
A distinction: "media" has too much negativity and, in my opinion, wrongly lumps newspapers in with ratings-hungry TV crews that are only looking for a soundbite. I believe newspapers - at the ground level of working reporters and editors and not the corporate entities that have gobbled many up - are seperate, noble, worthy, and necessary.
I'm a reporter in Indiana, born and raised in St. Clair Shores and reported at a few places in Michigan before moving here. I've made my share of mistakes, gotten names or details wrong, inaccurately quoted some people, and so on. But never is it with malice, or intentional. Most in the field can say this. Whether the corporate newspaper moneymakers care, can't say.
I have nothing but respect for the military and everyone serving us in elected office and public safety. But I'm naturally skeptical, and just because you're wearing that uniform, or sitting in an elected position as president, mayor, councilman, or homeowners association leader, doesn't mean I'll agree or trust everything you say without seeing some evidence of what you're saying is true. Question everything.
That is the difference in the military world (as I understand it from a civilian viewpoint). Don't question your leaders or orders. Do as you're told. Two different worlds. Both are important and necessary, and both need checks.
When it comes down to it, a bad military can do more harm than a bad press. Denying people info about what could ultimately save their lives is, well, an easy choice. WE ALL need checks and balances. "Your mom says she loves you? Prove it."

Diabetes awareness month

Word's out: November is National Diabetes Month. Even better, Nov. 14 is the first-ever UN-sanctioned World Diabetes Day.

Thanks for the heads up, fellow Diabetes Mine blogger.

While the happenings of WDD happen in NY at the UN hq, there is a Hoosier connection to be aware of: Eli Lilly is playing its own little part in this day.

American Idol-finalist Elliot Yamin is the official spokesperson for the Eli-Lilly-sponsored Inspired by Diabetes Contest, for creative diabetics sharing their stories around the world through art, essay, poetry, photography and music. As you know, Lilly's based here in Indy. Thought that was worth mentioning. Here's another link.

So, that's the scoop. Tell a friend. Spread the word. Get everyone in the know that it's a month to discuss and pass on awareness about diabetes, and that World Diabetes Day is nearing this month.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Stumbling Man (Thanks to Plantar Fasciitis, Not Diabetes)

It started on a Wednesday morning. Totally unannounced, unexpected, and incredibly unwelcome.

I arose from bed, refreshed from my slumber and ready to tackle the day. Stepping down from bed, the pain hit. Felt like I'd run miles and miles, and the feet were crying out in tired pain. Walking was not easy. Later discovered that my shoes didn't cure the problem. So, I felt myself stumbling around like Old Man Hoskins all day long. That was about a month ago.

At first, I feared the worst. Expected diabetes was the likely culprit. After all, I'd spent many younger years not managing adequately and have been suffering from initial stages of neuropathy for a couple years now. We thought this might be that dreaded progression....

The foot doc disagreed, about two weeks after the onset of this foot concern and stumbling routine. Turns out it's the most common, non diabetes-related foot disorder out there - plantar fasciitis, as it's officially dubbed. Translation: the shock absorbers in my heels and feet aren't working right, strained for some reason, and that's impacting arch and overall ability to walk normally. So, I got some quickly-made guaze and padding contraptions for the feet. Was told to wear them whenever my feet hit the ground, other than when I'm showering. So, that's helped.

Frustrating, not being able to walk. My ability to dance at weddings has been affected, sadly. I do love my dancing. I also managed to stay home from work a few times, which eased the walking and is always fun to work and talk business on the phone while wearing huge Homer Simpson slippers and Stewie Griffin pajama pants. Ditched the shoes I had worn when the problem first surfaced, as they were older and essentially broke down completely - we believe that's the cause of all this. I wanted to burn them in a fit of revenge, but we ended up tossing the brown leather shoes out with the trash a week or so ago. We thought about getting me a cane, a walker, or one of those cool medieval walking stick rods. Would have been a hit at the wedding reception.

Still, with all the headaches and laughs, it's good to know it's something "common" - that neuropathy and the D had nothing to do with it. That's two-sided, though: while not a direct cause, it's likely been masking the pain somewhat, the foot doc says. So, I could be in more pain. Always a nice thought... What, should I be saying "Well, thanks neuropathy!" Don't think so. Will just be thankful it turned out to be what it is, and go about doing what I can to better manage my health so the "common" probs stay more common than the "D-related" ones. Something to add to the 'Thankful' list on Turkey Day.

Update: 

I realized that I'd never updated this or really wrote about it after this initial post, so wanted to make sure there was some follow-up. My foot doc actually helped me save money and MacGyver'd a pad for each foot -- padding cut to fit my foot, connected with gauze so it fit snug to my feet. Told to immediately replace my shoes, stay off as much as possible, and when I put ANY pressure on my feet, to wear the pads in my shoes, in socks or just on the feet.

It took weeks, and also some physical therapy, but things got back to being OK after awhile and a lot of pain. Sadly, I've come to realize that even years later, I have still never fully recovered. It stresses my feet out and I can feel them bothering me a bit when running, or walking quickly for any extended length of time. Conference activity and walking can really get to me, so I try to limit myself doing that for long periods without sitting or taking a break.

Back in the Saddle again...

Hoskins has returned. First blog in ages. Since early August, at least. Here's one from MySpace, hoping to start again another place to post poetry and prose about the world we live in.

Napkins & Notes

Buried in an office file cabinet, a beat up old black tri-folding folder keeps safe some of my written memories going back to high school. A decade old, the poetry and prose alike hits at the high and low moments I've had in life. From my grandmother's death, soured friendships, late night coffee and conversations, smoking, drinking, college and post college tales... even most recent as the first C&C with my wife (before we were married), and the move to Indiana in early 2004.

All encompassing. Many old scraps of notepaper, and diner napkins with blue ink from that once-infamous Corner Booth at Linda's Place. Quotes, thoughts, poems, stray prose.... You name it. One napkin outlines a conversation Suzi and I had pre-marriage about the epic struggle between Coke and Pepsi - "the eternal battle that wages on over the ages, conquering time and space...." - and how our college was switching between the drinks years ago. That's the good stuff.

This wasn't supposed to be a late night with coffee and reflection - sleep was preferred. But the flood of memories kept my review going, forcing my attention as the hours whittled away toward dawn. Still, I sit pondering some of my darkest days when my writing eerily focused on "death and darkness," or when in college I wrote about all-night drinking adventures that included smoking. Not the most pleasant times in life, by any means.

Yet, you can find certain smiles about old stomping grounds, tales of those dated, and just fun times of the younger days. The poetry is often awkward, but you can see the progression from youth to adulthood. Quite revealing and inspiring at the same time. While it isn't by any means a compilation of all I've written, not even everything from those teen and early 20 years, but it does show the depth and range I've manuevered - not even touching the journalism and newspaper writing. That's a completely different storybook of work, but another worth delving into.

Every piece of the folder is telling, but one quote stands out at this point of the early morning: "The hour means nothing; it's the manner in which you spend it."

So true. Especially when it comes down to finding old napkins and notes that can spark memories. Lesson: Experience it, write it down, read it later, remember....That's what it is all about.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tragedy unfolds

We watched again this week as tragedy unfolded, this time in Minneapolis with the collapsing of a major interstate bridge into the Mighty Mississippi River. Unimaginable, we said again through disbelief and shock. Images of 9/11, Katrina, London bombings and plane crashes came boiling back up.

A former coworker who's gone on to law school in the area was an immediate thought, outside of the hundreds who found themselves on that scene at the height of rush hour. She has a blog, and in checking I learned all was OK from her. She, too, was watching the event unfold. A new blog hit a point today:

"It reminded me of 9/11, actually, of the sense of disbelief we all felt while watching the images of planes smashing into skyscrapers over and over again. And like 9/11, I felt the urge to be out reporting. Watching these tragedies unfold on television makes me feel so helpless, and reporting has for years been the way I've felt as though I could contribute something to a community dealing with a tragedy. Instead, this time I had to content myself with watching and reading other people's reporting, and praying for the lives of so many who've been affected by disaster."

Right on. We're a strange breed, us journalists. Normal people look at us strangely when we do these things and run off to cover the news - like running off to chase a tornado that came within a stone's through of your newly built house. But that's who were are. Maybe that is why we do it, as my blogger friend Abby wrote - "Watching these tragedies unfold on television makes me feel so helpless, and reporting has for years been the way I've felt as though I could contribute something to a community dealing with a tragedy." I like that. Think I can live with that for rationale.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Troubling news out of Detroit's JDRF

It's been an incredibly long time since I've updated this diabetes-related blog, so apologies on that. And I'm sorry it has to come on a topic like this. But how incredibly troubling is this news story out of Detroit! Seriously! As a Type 1 diabetic who grew up in SE Michigan, and participating and raised money for that chapter, I'm infuriated about this. Can't believe it.

Diabetes director pleads guilty to embezzling
July 23, 2007
BY L.L. BRASIER
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
The former executive director of the southeast Michigan chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation has pleaded guilty to two counts of embezzling money from the foundation, and will be sentenced Aug. 21.
Karen Breen, 52, of Lathrup Village, pleaded guilty July 16 to one count of embezzling over $20,000, a 15-year felony and one of embezzling between $1,000 and $20,000. She was arrested by Southfield Police in February after foundation officials discovered an estimated $250,000 missing. She was also fired.

“We take these matters tremendously seriously,” said the national foundation’s spokesman, Peter Cleary. “Our audit and control processes turned this up, and we acted immediately and dismissed the employee. We’ve taken steps to recover the missing funds.”Breen will be sentenced before Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Rae Lee Chabot.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Spring cleaning

We took to sorting through old insulin pump supplies and prepping them for donation. In the month since switching from Minimed to the Cozmo, we haven't gone through the old pump supplies to make way for the new. Seperate cardboard boxes with new and old have occupied space in the bedroom, and others remained unsifted through in a plastic storage bin under the bed. So, today was the day of inventory. It's amazing how much can accumulate over time. Found two plastic Paradigm holsters. Multiple cases. Box after box of reservoir (the push-kind and newer, non-push kind), and piles of varying blood meters. Once, I'd used the Freestyle palm pilot version that was so cool at the time... Of course, eventually, having two Palm Pilots, a cell phone, and PDA just didn't make sense. So it began collecting dust like meters of the past.

Now, the work is done. Two full boxes of supplies and a single bag of blood meter items - all neatly listed on a piece of white legal pad paper and ready to be given to a diabetic supply company. I'm curious if this is considered a tax write off, or if I need to do anything specific in donating these supplies off. Anyhow, many have played a part of my diabetic life and upbringing - especially the time since leaving Michigan for Indiana. Now, I've got a clean slate of supply gathering. Let the collecting begin again!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Ah Ha!

It all makes sense after reading this news story today.

CHICAGO — Diabetic children who spent the most time glued to the TV had a tougher time controlling their blood sugar, according to a Norwegian study that illustrates yet another downside of too much television.

The findings, based on a study of children with Type 1 diabetes, lend support to the American Academy of Pediatrics’ advice that children watch no more than two hours of TV daily, said lead author Dr. Hanna Margeirsdottir of the University of Oslo.

Type 1 diabetes is the less common form of the disease and used to be called juvenile diabetes. It is not related to obesity and is caused when the body cannot make insulin, which converts sugar from food into energy. People with Type 1 must take insulin daily and regulate their blood-sugar levels. Snacking and overeating can increase blood-sugar levels; physical activity can lower them.

While TV-viewing is often accompanied by snacking, the researchers didn’t examine diet or physical activity.The study results “suggest that encouraging children with Type 1 diabetes to watch less television may be important for improved blood glucose control and better health outcomes,” the study authors wrote.Other experts said the study also might suggest something else.

Diabetic children who already have consistently high blood-sugar levels could feel too sick to do much besides watch TV, said Jill Weissburg-Benchell, a psychologist and diabetes educator at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago.

“It’s very clear that there is a relationship. Now the question is what underlies that relationship,” she said.

Results of the Oslo research will appear in the June edition of the journal Diabetes Care. The study involved 538 children with an average age of 13. In Norway, about 25,000 people have Type 1 diabetes. In the United States, there are 3 million with the condition and about 30 million worldwide.The study evaluated results of a routine test that measured average blood-sugar control over three months. There was a continuous increase in the level of blood sugar with every hour of TV watched, rising to the highest level for those who watched at least four hours daily.

The results didn’t surprise Chicago diabetes educator Monica Joyce, who founded a basketball camp for diabetic children.Campers typically are asked how much TV they watch and are taught “they can get much better blood sugars if they’re active,” Joyce said.

If the researchers’ theory is right, then turning off the TV could be added to a list of remedies “that are very low-cost to the health care system,” said Dr. Francine Kaufman, head of a diabetes program at Children’s Hospital in Los Angeles.“This has got to be the social norm that it’s just not acceptable for kids to be baby-sat by TV,” she said.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Day of the dogs



This was the scene in our garage Wednesday. What an adventure the day was.



It began with me working from home for a few hours in the morning to attend to matters on the homestead. Leaving late morning to the office in downtown Indy, I ventured outside to see this duo sniffing through our curbside trash. Calling to them, the doggies ran off. Following in my car, they led me through the neighborhood on a similar trash investigating pursuit and almost once got mowed down by a speeding construction van. That made my decision - they can't be left alone. At one point, I cornered the dalmation on a lawn with a trusty banana I'd grabbed on the way out the door. Petting her as she laid down to sniff it, I examined her pink and rainbow-colored collar and the dogbone-shaped tag that listed her name "Dot" and a local phone number. A call yielded no results.



Using the banana, I pursuaded the dalmation to get into my car. But she wouldn't leave without the Beagle, who wouldn't get in. The little one started whining and the dalmation ultimately needed to jump back outside. The pursuit continued around the street and I finally convinced both to come on a car ride back to my house.



What to do? Four phone calls to the wife at work- no answer. Neighbors and those acting as neighborhood watch block captains didn't respond. Suz came home for lunch to help figure what to do. Gave them water. A paw print to Suzi's white shirt meant she had to change before returning to work. I drove her back, as my car was parked in the garage and we didn't want to risk opening the garage and allowing an escape.

Though stranger dogs, they were very nice. Well-groomed, obediant and obviously had been trained and cared for. Knew what "sit" and "stay" meant. The dalmation liked to jump. This, of course, presented concern about my pump site and loose tubing that dangled like a toy playstring from my waistline - but all turned out well. No harm done.

Phone calls that afternoon provided clues, but yielded little result. Got home. No little presents left, just a torn sponge and a ripped red rag and mangled sponge. We went off to dinner and came back a couple hours later. Once home, called the owner-tag number again and got an answer. Gave directions and within minutes, the dad and son arrived in their truck to fetch the lost doggies. They apparently live on a 10-acre farm to the south of our neighborhood, and the dogs had gotten lost a day or so ago. Dot ususally stays on a tie, but if Little One gets away, Dot goes too. But not the other way around. Apparently, a point was made to tell us this. Made sense from the car ride convincing earlier in the day. Then, off they went.

That's it. Meanwhile, cat knew something was up. Paced by the door and glared toward the garage the whole time. Sniffed my hand and dog scent covered pants extensively later, curious about where I'd been and who I was associating with. She's still not happy.



So, that's the story. At work, since I had to call in and explain why I'd be coming in later, they've dubbed me the Dog Whisperer. And everyone is happy that the story has a happy ending.
Feel free to also check out Suzi's version of the story at her blog here.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Still pumping away

A month of using the Cozmo after trading in my long-used Minimed 512 - verdict: I'm still not convinced.

The Cozmo has some worthwhile and coveted features, don't get me wrong. But it's almost a flashback to an earlier age. Trading in the 21st Century for the early 80s, let's say. Ok fine -early 90s. But you get the point.

Blood testing is the fuel for our tight management of this disease. But my desire for that testing and management seems to have drifted off as a result of the inpractical design of the Cozmo. Engineers and sales reps, please take note.

You shouldn't have to be familiar with the pump to be able to use it. In other words, the only practicality comes from knowing it well enough to not have to glance at the pump face or buttons to be able to use it without irritation. Sitting through a movie this past weekend, several alarms kept disrupting my movie-viewing. One button has a snooze feature, while the other cancels the alert out. Not knowing which was which, and being unable to see the pump without taking all kinds of effort to unhook it from my belt (thanks to the poorly designed leather case and clip - the ONLY option you can use with the attached meter "Cozmonitor"), I had to twice deal with this before figuring out which was which.

Same goes for my daily use, which requires the gadget to be unhooked from my belt to use the meter and pump features simultaneously. Someone needs to refigure the design here.

All else is going as well as it can, I suppose. It's a good pump that has it's pros. But point is: I miss my Minimed.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Mindful thinking in a global economy

News story on topic. Some interesting points for our political leaders to consider. You want to be a global community, U.S.? Start thinking that way. Maybe then the mentally ill, woman/rich-person/American life-hating folk won't come here to easily obtain weapons and kill. Maybe.... Nothing 100%, but at least it could reduce the probability these tragic acts of violence happen....

LONDON - The Virginia Tech shootings sparked criticism of U.S. gun control laws around the world Tuesday.

Editorials lashed out at the availability of weapons, and the leader of Australia — one of America's closest allies — declared that America's gun culture was costing lives.

South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the government hoped Monday's shootings, allegedly carried out by a 23-year-old South Korean native, would not "stir up racial prejudice or confrontation."

While some focused blame only on the gunman, world opinion over U.S. gun laws was almost unanimous: Access to weapons increases the probability of shootings. There was no sympathy for the view that more guns would have saved lives by enabling students to shoot the assailant.

"We took action to limit the availability of guns and we showed a national resolve that the gun culture that is such a negative in the United States would never become a negative in our country," said Australian Prime Minister John Howard, who staked his political career on promoting tough gun laws after a gunman went on one of the world's deadliest killing sprees 11 years ago.

The tragedy in a Tasmanian tourist resort left 35 people dead. Afterward, Australia's gun laws were changed to prohibit automatic weapons and handguns and toughen licensing and storage restrictions.

Handguns are also banned in Britain — a prohibition that forces even the country's Olympic pistol shooting team from practicing on its own soil. In Sweden, civilians can acquire firearm permits only if they have a hunting license or are members of a shooting club and have no criminal record. In Italy, people must have a valid reason for wanting one. Firearms are forbidden for private Chinese citizens.

Still, leaders from Britain, Germany, Mexico, China, Afghanistan and France stopped short of criticizing President Bush or U.S. gun laws when they offered sympathies to the families of Monday's victims.

Editorials were less diplomatic.

"Only the names change — And the numbers," read a headline in the Times of London. "Why, we ask, do Americans continue to tolerate gun laws and a culture that seems to condemn thousands of innocents to death every year, when presumably, tougher restrictions, such as those in force in European countries, could at least reduce the number?"

The French daily Le Monde said the regularity of mass shootings across the Atlantic was a blotch on America's image.

"It would be unjust and especially false to reduce the United States to the image created, in a recurrent way, from the bursts of murderous fury that some isolated individuals succumb to. But acts like this are rare elsewhere, and tend to often disfigure the 'American dream.'"

Police started identifying the victims Tuesday. One was a Peruvian student identified as Daniel Perez Cueva, 21, according to his mother Betty Cuevas, who said her son was studying international relations.

Professors from India, Israel and Canada also were killed. Liviu Librescu, 76, an engineering science and mathematics lecturer, tried to stop the gunman from entering his classroom by blocking the door before he was fatally shot, his son said Tuesday from Tel Aviv.

"My father blocked the doorway with his body and asked the students to flee," Joe Librescu said. His father, a Holocaust survivor, immigrated to Israel from Romania, and was on sabbatical in Virginia.

Indian-born G.V. Loganathan, 51, a lecturer at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, was also among the dead, his brother G.V. Palanivel told Indian media.

"We all feel like we have had an electric shock. We do not know what to do," Palanivel said.
Canadian Jocelyn Couture-Nowak, a French instructor, also died in the shootings, said her husband Jerzy Nowak, head of the university's horticulture department. "We're mourning," Nowak said.
The killings also hit a nerve for Virginia Tech alumni abroad.

"I think if this does prompt a serious and reflective debate on gun issues and gun law in the States, then some good may come from this woeful tragedy," said British Home Office Minister Tony McNulty, who graduated in 1982.

Britain's 46 homicides involving firearms last year was the lowest since the late 1980s. New York City, with 8 million people compared to 53 million in England and Wales, recorded 590 homicides last year.

"If the guns are harder to get a hold of, fewer people will do it," said Michael Dent, a 65-year-old construction worker in London. "You can't walk up to a supermarket or shop and buy a gun like in the States." (this may be pushing the line, London fellow...Can you say exaggeration??)

But even in Germany, where gun-control laws are strict, a teenager in 2002 shot and killed 12 teachers, a secretary, two students and a police officer at a high school. The shooter was a gun club member licensed to own weapons. The attack led Germany to raise the age for owning recreational firearms from 18 to 21.

"The instant I saw the pictures and heard the commentary, it immediately brought back our own experience," Gutenberg high school director Christiane Alt said of the Virginia Tech killings.

The Swedish daily Goteborgs-Posten said without access to weapons, the killings at Virginia Tech may have been prevented.

"What exactly triggered the massacre in Virginia is unclear, but the fundamental reason is often the perpetrator's psychological problems in combination with access to weapons," it wrote.

The shootings drew intense media coverage in China, in part because the school has a large Chinese student body.

"This incident reflects the problem of gun control in America," Yuan Peng, an American studies expert in China, was quoted as saying by state-run China Daily.

Only 7 percent of the more than 26,000 students at Virginia Tech are foreign, according to the school Web site. But Chinese make up nearly a third of that.

In Italy, there are three types of licenses for gun ownership: for personal safety, target practice and skeet shooting, and hunting. Authorization is granted by the police. To obtain a gun for personal safety, the owner must be an adult and have a "valid" reason. (Hmmm...)

Italy's leading daily Corriere della Sera's main story on the shootings was an opinion piece entitled "Guns at the Supermarket" — a critical view of the U.S. gun lobby and the ease with which guns can be purchased. State-run RAI radio also discussed at length what it said were lax standards for gun ownership in the United States.

"The latest attack on a U.S. campus will shake up America, maybe it will provoke more vigorous reactions than in the past, but it won't change the culture of a country that has the notion of self-defense imprinted on its DNA and which considers the right of having guns inalienable," Corriere wrote in its front-page story.

Several Italian graduate students at Virginia Tech recounted how they barricaded themselves inside a geology department building not far from the scene of the shooting.

In Mexico, radio commentators criticized the availability of firearms in the U.S. Others renewed Mexico's complaint that most guns in Mexico are smuggled in from the United States.

The killings led newspapers' front pages, with Mexico City's Dario Monitor reporting: "Terror returns to the U.S.: 32 assassinated on university campus." The tabloid Metro compared Mexico's death toll Monday from drug violence to the number of people killed at Virginia Tech, in a front-page headline that read: "U.S. 33, Mexico 20."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Removing a threat

Another school shooting massacre, this time a college campus. Man walks into classrooms and shoots dozens of people - 33 dead in all. Some of the students say he "seemed trained" in using the weapon. Another example of why guns shouldn't be allowed. Yes, enter all the Second Amendment furvents and hunters who think otherwise, avidly preaching that it's not the "responsible, law-abiding" gun owners who commit these crimes. My question: HOW THE HELL DO YOU KNOW THAT? Maybe he hunted, and bought this weapon for hunting. Maybe he went hunting every year with with his father and brother growing up, getting training and leading up to the unforseeable mental breakdown and massacre at V-Tech. We must blame ourselves for this tragedy. We aren't a mature enough society to own guns, for whatever reason. At the same time., we're also not a mature enough society to make a stand and ban these killing machines. By doing that, at least you eliminate SOME of the risk. Criminals can still find guns. But it will be more difficult. People who cite the Constitution as their "God-given" right to own a gun... Please. Maybe back in the day, but not now. Guns have changed too much. Our Framers didn't foresee or intend to allow what has become. There comes a time when laws and rules can't keep up with society's advances, and therefore must be amended. That's how the law works - it's ever-changing. If not, then these people should only be able to own single-shot weapons and cannons - not semi autos and automatics, and handguns that can be concealed. We must take this action. If only we had lawmakers who had the backbone to make this statement, not be intimindated by friends who hunt or big-dollar contributers like the NRA. If only.... Maybe we could make a concentrated effort to stop destroying ourselves.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Cozmo(ore) v. Minimed

A full week of using the new Cozmo. Cozmore. Cozmonitor. Insert name here.... Anyhow, I'm not the greatest fan. It'll have to grow on me - since infusing insulin for a week obviously isn't enough.

I'd been on my Minimed (various versions from 508 to 515) for six years, since starting pump therapy back in my last year of college. So, this is probably just my reluctance of embracing a new gadget and having to part with a long-time partner in Dlife.

Tentatively, here's my initial list of the differences as I've come across them in my starter week.

a.) It has infrared beaming technology directly to the computer, complete with blood glucose monitor that attaches and shares all results with the FREE computer software. Deltec's Cozmo has Minimed beat in the dust on this one. This would be the main reason I switched from Minimed to this Cozmo.

But there's caveats...

b.) This case is bulky, and the clip doesn't easily come loose from its spot at the beltline. By comparison, not thinner and handy and practical for a young professional often wearing a suit or shirt and tie to work who needs constant access to the pump. There's a holster case, however the blood glucose clip makes the pump unable to fit inside. Therefore, there's one case.

c.) The pump faces vertically, rather than horizontally as the Minimed. Again, less practical. If you're wearing it on the belt, it's much more difficult - just less of impossible - to view the screen adequately from this angle. As the home screen text and font is smaller than the minimed, you must take it off the belt, which as mentiond above, is tough enough.

c. ) To beam, you must DISCONNECT the blood glucose monitor that clips to the pump's back. That means UNSCREWING the battery cap slightly if not the entire way, which in my opinion is more difficult and frustrating than the minimed cap undoing. The genius who configured the layout of the Cozmore joint system managed to put the beaming eyes on the BACKSIDE of the pump, meaning the BG monitor covers it up while attached.

d.) The motor clicks quiet loudly, at least in comparison to the Minimed. And it ain't discreet when delivering a bolus - the screen backlight blinks repeatedly, and the motor whirrs quite loudly.

e.) Marketing people say it's more user-friendly because it has homescreens. I really don't see the point of three different homescreens. Again, it's not practical. And you must go through multiple menu screens to get to your basals. Just call a basal a basal, please.

f.) Infusion sets - seems like there's more tiny pieces to lose track of and eventually run over with the vacuum. And, there's an extra needle that's been thrown into the process - one for infusion set, another for insulin-loading the reservoir.

Ultimately, I'm torn. Maybe I should have gone on a trial run before going ahead with the Cozmo. People are great, I'll give Smiths-Medical that. They even got my original Minimed pump rep. But the quality - it makes me feel as though I've stepped back in time, that this was designed by someone who doesn't wear an insulin pump and know what it's like to manage this in daily life. The elements just aren't very practical.

Of course, the whole thing is completely FREE. Insurance covers 90 percent, and the trade-in-your old pump $500 credit makes it all costless, even as far as a partial payment on future supplies. And to upgrade, no cost. Not like Minimed's Pathways program that makes you foot an "affordable fee" everytime you upgrade. And doesn't have the beaming tech this one does now, despite the latest Real-Time push.

So, am I willing to trade in some practicality and modern convienences I've become accustomed to these past six years for money-saving? Likely so. The woes encountered thus far will likely diminish as I become familiar with my new friend Coz (Kramer as my wife calls it), and will probably be resolved in future versions of the pump. The newest one tomorrow is already obsolete, the way we move these days. So, I'll manage. Pump trainer woman may be scheduled for next week, or three weeks from now if the sooner time doesn't work out. So, in the meantime, it's up to me and my 220-page picture user guide that offers guidance and tips and has a whole section on practicality that relates to none of the concerns I've mentioned above....

We move on, though, and you have to concede that it probably doesn't really matter which insulin-system you use, it all comes back to your resolve in managing diabetes. Regardless of the technology. As my endo says: "It's not the pump. It's you."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Remembering a legend

Please look at this video snapshot of Neal Shine's funeral mass. He is a legend in this journalism industry - we'll never forget his inspiration, kindness, and impact. Also, a link to the tribute booklet that the Free Press has published (link wasn't working directly, so here's the main page from the paper.)

Some experts of what's been said and written:

"He knew the power of the written words. Words were who he was. From the day he died, was in hospital died, calling for pen and paper so that he could write what he was feeling."

"He made a conscious effort to stop, and to look, and to see what might be needed. And instead of walking away, he did something. Many times, it was a very simple act. But how many people's lives have been changed by those simple gestures that Neal went out of his way just to be involved in."

Also, please see a post last week on my stories pertaining to this great man.

Stem cell-funding: There's hope

Story's below, but here's the CNN link.

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The Senate approved a measure that would roll back President Bush's 2001 limits on embryonic stem-cell research Wednesday afternoon, but the margin was short of the two-thirds needed to override a promised veto.
Bush used the only veto of his presidency to date to kill a 2006 effort to loosen his policy on stem-cell research, which bars the use of federal funding for work that would destroy human embryos.
In a statement issued after Wednesday's 63-34 vote, he said he would veto the new bill as well, saying it "crosses a moral line that I and many others find troubling."
"I believe this will encourage taxpayer money to be spent on the destruction or endangerment of living human embryos -- raising serious moral concerns for millions of Americans," he said.
But the president said he would sign a Republican alternative that would encourage other forms of stem-cell research without changing his 2001 policy. That measure passed by a 70-28 vote.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the Republican bill was aimed at providing "cover" for lawmakers who wanted to vote against a popular issue.
"Americans, by a huge majority, favor stem-cell research because they see the suffering of their own friends and relatives and neighbors. ... They put their faith in science," said Reid, D-Nevada.
The measure passed Wednesday would allow researchers to obtain stem cells from embryos created for in vitro fertilization that would otherwise be discarded by fertility clinics. The House of Representatives passed a similar bill in January, but it also fell short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a veto.
One of the Senate bill's principal sponsors, Iowa Democrat Tom Harkin, said the bill had the support of three senators who did not vote Wednesday, meaning supporters were just one vote shy of the 67 needed to override a veto.
"It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," Harkin said.
In 2001, Bush limited the use of federal research funds to work on stem-cell lines that existed at that time. Researchers have since found those lines are contaminated and unusable, prompting calls to roll back the restrictions.
Scientists hope that stem cells will yield treatments for diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and diabetes, as well as spinal-cord injuries. But because days-old human embryos are destroyed when the cells are extracted, critics equate the procedure to abortion.
Abortion opponents such as Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kansas, equated the use of embryonic stem-cell research to slavery.
"Its end is the way of death," said Brownback, a Republican presidential hopeful. "It kills a young human life. It harms us as a culture when we treat human life as property. We've done that. We don't like it. We don't like the history associated with it."
Fourteen other Republicans supported the bill, while two Democrats -- Ben Nelson of Nebraska, and Robert Casey of Pennsylvania -- voted against it. Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, a staunch opponent of abortion rights, was one Republican who supported the bill.
"I'm hopeful that the president won't veto this, because I think he can see -- anybody can see -- that it's just a matter of time until we get this through," Hatch said.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

Right-handed Lefty

The southpaw is indisposed at the moment. Instead, my writing is on hiatus as is most tasks requiring the use of my typically-used left hand.

A morning reaction is to blame.

After a late-night of writing and exploring about church, religion and the origins of Easter and Lent, the eyelids lost their battle and closed. Awakening some time later in the morning, I migrated to the bedroom from the green recliner where the cat rested near my feet. She wasn't happy, but I was tired and it didn't matter. A thought crossed my mind about a night-time blood test, but I shrugged it off. The clock in the bedroom hovered somewhere near 4:30 a.m. So, I climbed under the warm covers to seek shelter from the outside world for a brief set of hours.

Enter apple-juice boxes that have - if you've read my past blogs - been known to "pee" on occasion. Flashing in and out of consciousness, but not recalling it at the time, I can now vividly recall the images of juicebox straws being forced into my mouth. I struggled, but don't know why or how exactly. The world whizzed around me, and Suzi was there with the juiceboxes in all her glory.

Something clicked. A stray voice that didn't fit. A male voice. Why is there a guy in my bedroom in the middle of the night? I heard my name - a different voice, female this time. But not Suzi. Somehow, I felt myself shaking my head. Oh no, I managed to say to myself. Tell me this isn't happening. No, no, no, no.... "Michael, can you open your eyes?" one male voice says. "I've got it. Ok. 45," another male says. The reality of what's happening finally sets in. Eyes opening, the white, swirly ceiling pattern greeted me next. The obviousness sweeps over me, closely followed by embarrasment and the notion that I'm still shaking my head. Five strangers linger nearby. Paramedics. Greenwood Fire Department. My tax dollars at work. But there they were, publicly serving my diabetic behind and pumping me with glucose through an IV in my left hand.

Later, after thanking my local FD paramedics and shaking hands, I filled in the blanks. It all began about 6:15 a.m., according to my loving wife. I put up a struggle. She tried with the juiceboxes, but (as we always say and encourage) she opted for "better safe than sorry." 911. Couple minutes later, the fire engine and rescue unit arrived with full-blaring siren and flashing lights. Bet the sleeping neighbors loved that! But, they arrived and helped out efficiently.

As a result, I know have a white gauze pad attached to the top of my left hand with white, silky tape. Writing's out. Along with washing the dishes anytime soon. Or heavy lifting. But, at least I can type a blog.... I'm making due.

Can't say I've ever had paramedics come to my house before. Growing up, the 6'5''-tall dad always helped secure my struggling self. Of course, I was younger then to. In the past, I've had paramedic encounters before - once at a new job, once on the road (which by far is one of the most regretful, scary experiences I've had). They are never welcome, but I thank my lucky stars they welcomed me back to reality each time. And, have I mentioned my loving, supportive, can't-live-without spouse? Well, ditto that.

Tight control has its side effects, especially in the puzzle-networking stage where basals and boluses are in flux and under constant review. In times like this, I almost wish for higher blood sugars and a lack of control. While long-term complications go in line with that extreme, at least there isn't Lows. Lost time. Lack of bodily function. Little to no control over what you say or do, and no inhibitions to stop it from happening. This is the thought that keeps me up at night. Makes me sweat and want to cry. It's hard to fathom for yourself, this drunkenness without the alcohol high. As a husband, this scares the hell out of me. As a father someday, there's no words to describe that fear. What if? At least the cat had enough sense to run and hide under her favorite gray chair downstairs when things got scary. Wish I could. But as all seasoned diabetics know, there's no hiding from this, no pulling a blanket over your head. Test often, test always - even when sleep is on the line.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Enduring diabetes

When do we get to a point where our diabetes control is like the 3 a.m. hour? When, no matter how much coffee we drink, music we drown ourselves in, or activities we occupy ourselves with, sleep comes crashing down and covers us like a blanket.

Tonight, I find myself asking this question. The comparison to diabetes is unmistakable - rigorous blood tests eight times a day, calculating each carb, recording every result to fill up the blank spots on the log sheet... It goes on. But eventually, you get to a point where the need to crash is overwhelming. You just want to pull that blanket over your head and forget about the diabetes for a little while.

I've lived that life for too long and let myself pull that blanket over my head much too often. Every couple months, excitement clouds the brain and I begin a renewed journey of rigorous blood testing. A new log sheet erases all traces of what had come and gone, past testing triumphs and trials. Another chance to halt the neuropathy and potentially encroaching complications from settling in on "my" world. So, it begins.

The numbers begin filling in the blank spots for each passing day. At first, it may seem like a rollercoaster. Late night testing to secure a stabile basal rate. Adjusting boluses to coincide with food intakes, and limiting what had become excess. Soon, trends become apparent. It's a balancing act, as any seasoned diabetic knows - but when you finally balance it out, you feel a sense of pride. You're making a difference. Flashes of anger explode momentarily when unexpected high tests make appearances, but you begrudgingly adjust and move on to get back in line.

But so often, it seems, the endurance isn't there and your soul can get tired. What has become a routine begins falling by the waste-side. For me, the black pouch with blood meter, strips, and picker doesn't appear as much at my side or on the desk, a visible reminder of what needs to be done. It's almost as if my subconscious wants to forget. Snack munching returns, no bowls or label reading, just hands in the bag. A few jellybeans here or there.

Why do we revert back into this abyss of uncontrolled diabetes? That hour when we have to fall asleep, pull a blanket over our heads? We all should know we're not invincible - those experiencing some signs of complications know that even better. Fellow d-blogger Scott captured it perfectly: "It’s like taking shifts on guard duty - except your shift never ends. There is no one to take over for you." And yes, sometimes your soul gets tired of that constant duty.

Maybe that's where faith and hope come in. The results aren't tangible. We may test a dozen times a day, write down the results and ultimately watch our A1Cs dip lower, but we never know exactly how this disease is affecting our bodies. What damage it may or may not be causing. The fear is enough to drive you nuts, but that fear can be crippling. The internal struggle I've grappled with the most over the years has been preventing that notion of fear from transforming into hopelessness. It can always get better, and it's never too late. Everyone dealing with this disease has to believe that. Whether it's with the help of a loving and supportive spouse, best friend, church family, or counselor, it's important to find a way to receive that hope. Diabetes isn't fair, but the denial felt in our teen years can be even more dangerous as we get older. I've learned that lesson, and continue remembering that every day that I struggle to maintain tight control.

So, even though now I find myself tired, and slipping into that 3 a.m.-type slumber, I know there's enough reason to keep testing and doing what I need to. This is only a dip in the rollercoaster ride, not a crash and burn scenario. Similar reasoning can be extended to anything in life really, but in the d-world - a cure. Someday, we'll have one. Greater minds will prevail to pinpoint the cause and cure for diabetes. Maybe not in our lifetimes, but all we can do is pass along our knowledge today and have faith that our stories - those trials and tribs we've all faced - can make a difference in the life of someone who will live to see that cure materialize.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Diabetes chess

Cozmo has arrived. It arrived by UPS at the wife's work this morning, and she brought it home at dinnertime. Now, the chess game of learning and adjusting to a new pump begins - or does it?

Despite previous thoughts, I've not yet reached checkmate in the decision-making arena. Maybe it's the newness... But there's hesistation on my part. I'm having a tough time on this first night to embrace the excitement of a new pump and part with my long-time companion of the Minimed species. I've played with the Cozmo. Looked it over. Pushed the buttons, explored the user manuel. Held both pumps in my hand, added them to my waist and experimented with how they look and feel.

My main draw to the Cozmo is the integrated blood meter with infrared capability with computer software. The most alluring point. However, this little clip that attaches to the back limits the use of the clear, not-same colored holster. The black case makes it look identical to a cell phone, and it's more bulky on my waist than the Paradigm. My arm hits the pump at my waistline, whereas with the Paradigm it's thin enough so that doesn't happen. A drawback, I say.

I've never had any problems with Minimed- only the customer service types. But nothing but good results and feedback on Minimed. If there's one overwhelming qaum, it's how everything is proprietary and can't be mingled or shared with other systems. Not too fond of that. So, though I've received my new pump - and that's exciting in itself - I am juggling the big choice. Will I stay or go? Which hand will be tipped in favor of a particular pump, which will become (or continue as) a bionic limb that goes everywhere I do and is a key player in managing my health? Hmm.... It has me considering a comment my endo made about management recently as I told her about my wish for a new pump: "It's not the pump, it's you." So now, I go back to that and question just how much this Cozmo (or Minimed) is just a pawn in the overall diabetes management game?

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

Journalist to remember

UPDATED APRIL 12: Here's the Detroit Free Press coverage of his funeral. Also, a link to the fabulous, tear-inspiring tribute they put together. Very touching.

Neal Shine. Former Detroit Free Press publisher, who had to retire twice to officially get away from his newspaper. But even that didn't keep him away.
We sadly learned of his death Tuesday, from respiratory failure, at age 76. Word from the Free Press is they learned through an email that began... "With sadness, we need to let everyone know.... "

Shine was one of the most inspiring journalists I've met, and his life story goes to the heart of rising from the bottom to the top. He entered the J-world in 1950, as a 20-year-old trying to fulfill his lifelong dream of working at the Detroit Free Press. He started as a copyboy before working his way up to reporter, columnist, various editor spots, and ultimately publisher. I remember hearing his stories about this in J-school, listening wide-eyed to his stories about literally running print copy from the newsroom to copy desk, fetching coffee for reporters, and whatever else he was told to ease the stress of a newsroom. He retired as publisher in the late 80s, but returned before his final farewell following the notorious Detroit newspapers strike in 95.

He loved this newspaper business. It was a part of him. And he made you love it, want to do it, chase that last story by beating your shoe leather on the pavement. It wasn't about making phone calls from behind a desk - it was about being out there in the community, making a difference and helping those who needed it by exposing the truth.
Mitch Albom, one of my all-time respected and cherished writers, a man whom I grew up reading and aspiring to write like, wrote this in his tribute: "Neal Shine was that guy. The one who lures you into newspapers -- then keeps you there forever. Neal loved the ink, the presses, the deadlines, the very idea that something important happens every day and 'damn it,' as he liked to say, someone should be covering it."

After learning of Neal's death, I searched desperately for a token of tangible evidence of his presence in my life. No such luck. We briefly served on the Oakland University newspaper's board of directors together - and I'd kept in touch with emails and a couple scattered written letters after my move to Indiana. My email accounts reveal those are now gone, lost in the depths of a long-ago deleted folder. We also met in two classes during college - one being ethics, the other being feature writing. As is the most tangible piece of evidence, the purple folder from college - my Neal folder, as I fondly refer to it - contained my journalism ethics notes. It's also gone, nowhere to be found. That leads to the realization that my only remembrance of his teachings are now in my mind, and in the heart.

Neal once told me that I had all the potential in the world - if I just stood up and did what needed to be done. That lecture-like advice came from a time when I'd used some newspaper excuse to dodge an assignment in his feature-writing class, and he just shook his head and gave the written copy back to me, telling me to do it again. He gave me another chance. That advice tied directly into his ethics teachings, that you can never cut corners as a journalist. You have to get it right, and do it right. Any perception of wrongdoing is just as bad as the wrongdoing itself. It's a thought that carries over to my daily reporting world now, when having to turn down basketball tickets or even a cup of coffee from a source. Years back, I'd almost come to blows with a Walled Lake Schools spokeswoman who wanted to buy me a sandwich during a lunch interview. Shine was in my thoughts as I refused, and I could just imagine him chuckling but being proud that I stuck to my guns.

Like any mentor, you could call him at home. You had his personal email and mailing address. We knew each other mostly through college settings, but we came from the same town of St. Clair Shores - and he always remembered that. This man taught me to love the newspapering business in a way I'd had little exposure before: for the ethics and integrity of it all.

Now, we remember Shine. A true Detroiter. A journalist and old-school journalism man that's getting harder and harder to find these days as newsrooms are traded in for "information centers." We all owe him a debt of gratitude for doing what he did, and touching others' lives in doing so. Thanks for making journalism what it is, and inspiring others how to carry on that tradition.

New Pump - Part I


It's on the way.. Will get it Thursday. Just like the one to the right, except "volcano" black.
Got the news today. I'm shocked how quickly Delte (a.k.a Smith's Medical) moves. Doc sent in the paperwork yesterday afternoon, followed by my insurance form this morning, and alas - all good by Noon.
And the best part? It's FREE! Our insurance pays 90 percent, meaning we're responsible for the remaining 10 percent. However, Deltec has an upgrade program where you can trade in your old pump (whatever the bran) and receive a $500 credit. So, after all this, our 10 percent payment will be covered and leave us with another estimated $100 for future orders. Outstanding!
Pump is being sent UPS to the wife's work, so she'll be able to receive and sign for it later this week. That night, we'll be playing and exploring the new pump in all it's glory.
Amazingly, that wasn't even the best news today! Found out (well, knew it already, but confirmed and got the glory) of learning that I'd won our inner-office NCAA pool. Invested about $4 for two brackets, and walked away with $140 from my first-pick bracket. Even more outstanding!
Top it all off, it's only Tuesday. Hope more good news is on tap for this week. Will provide an update once the Cozmo and all related-equipment arrives.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hey Sherlock, no sh....

Breaking news: "Sedentary behavior linked to high blood sugar." Another one this week: "Active Self-care Improves Blood Sugar Control."

Really? Are you kidding me? We had to spend valuable time and resources on studying this? As if no one could have guessed this from talking to a person who's EVER BEEN TO A DOCTOR before??? Or actually lives with diabetes, or knows someone with it? Wow. I'm stunned.

Here's the sendentary story, and the self-care story. Favorite parts include the first one comes from the International Diabetes Instutute in Australia, where a doc and colleagues examined the link between TV-watching and BG levels in non-diabetics. Thousands participated. On the other, it's out of Harvard Medical School. The first is a research fellow, while the U.S.-based one was spearheaded by a psychiatry prof who's also "Research Fellow Affairs director at the Joslin Diabetes Center.

A quote on sitting around-study: "The findings reinforce the case for a strong focus in diabetes and obesity research on sedentary behaviors, such as television viewing, in addition to the now well-established base of evidence on the importance of increasing physical activity," (Dr. David W.) Dunstan commented to Reuters Health. "It is possible that other sedentary behaviors may have an additive effect on risk, in that TV viewing may be a marker for a broader pattern of sedentary lifestyle that includes a variety of other forms of sitting time."

From the do-your basics analysis: "Conversely, those with poor blood glucose control 'spoke of being 'tired' of the pump,' the researchers note. They described feeling discouraged and 'frustrated' that the pump did not 'fix everything' and that 'it's still a lot of work.'" (as opposed to insulin injections, which were cakewalk...)"

That study also concluded, and here's a fascinating fact to stun everyone: "The researchers found women to be more concerned than men about body image and social acceptance with insulin pump use."

Someone please explain to me (like I'm 2) how these tidbits are possibly considered news, or provide any new information to the medical community? Are we honestly supposed to believe the medical profession, and diabetes docs particularly, weren't aware that high BGs were possible in non-diabetics? C'mon - diabetes is out there in "pandemic proportions," people. Wanna guess why? (Thanks for connecting the dots on this issue, also, Reuters - Poor journalism, or just press-release writing...)

Maybe, if we devoted research time and money from these types of things to other avenues, we'd be closer to a cure. Not just restating the obvious. Or putting a report out for the sake of resume-padding. Someone in the medical news coverage biz needs to examine worthy v. unworthy research and the money/effort spent on this. Would make some fascinating findings, I'm sure.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Sleepwalking

Restless nights and needed 3 a.m. bloodtestings to help garner better control are taking their toll. Today was a prime example. Since waking up, I've felt as though I'm sleepwalking through the hours, dazed and not fully conscience. This was the first day I can recall seeing bags under my eyes, though I'm sure they'be been present before. Riding the elevator up to my second-floor office, I stood in the elevator in a daze for about a minute before realizing I hadn't moved. Why? Apparently I'd pushed the first floor button, telling the elevator I wasn't really interested in going there.

Rest of the day was much the same - trying to meet deadlines with the helpful boost of coffee. Low sugar at lunchtime made things interesting, as always. But managed to get through the day.

Ultimately, I'm willing to deal with a week's worth of tiredness to help get a feel for how the nighttime sugars are looking. Getting basals precise makes it worthwhile.

Now, I've eaten my mac and cheese for dinner and am quickly plotting my bedtime, which will come several hours before usual. Catch up time! Here's to being refreshed come the morning!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Bueller, Bueller...Still waiting

It's always amused me how those not frequently frequenting doc's offices complained about their wait times. "If the appointment is at 9 a.m., then I should not be sitting in the waiting room much longer after that," the argument often goes. My response: "You obviously haven't spent much time in doc's offices."

Well, today was a case in point. I still found it ridiculous, even recognizing how much I sounded like those I've been amused by. Today brought a hospital visit for needed bloodwork at the lab, and a thyroid X-ray. All in all, this should've taken 20 minutes - max. No such luck. As I've been accustomed to visiting a small county hospital and doc's offices that have been able to perform these procedures, my judgment on wait times are off. Significantly. My visit entailed going to a large, multi-faceted hospital in a booming are on the southside of Indianapolis. This meant being directed to five different spots, numerous check-in windows, and a half-dozen waiting room areas that equated to a combined 2-hour experience. The immediate welcome lady in the first seconds inside the building should have been a sign of things to come - she directed me to the surgery checkin desk, after showing her a prescription and noting my need for the "clinical lab." After she directed me to the wrong "not pre-regestered" window, the next woman directed me to a third person who couldn't confirm my appointment (made by my endo a week ago) and had to call her office. This meant waiting. Going to another window. When that didn't yield results, I decided to forego the x-ray and head to a recognized, smaller lab in the nearby professional building on first floor where endo's office is located. More waiting. Finally getting to speak with someone, this woman informed me that I'd "missed" my earlier x-ray appointment and that I needed to go to the hosptial area. Arguing didn't work, and thus I was escorted by yet another snowball/er, elderly woman, back to one of the first areas I'd visited. This time, she managed to find the file and checked me in.

More waiting. Then, got the much-anticipated name call. Along three other people. We lined up, and were escorted down a maze of hallways to...to... yep, you guessed it: ANOTHER WAITING AREA! Two others were already seated in the smaller room with chairs. We all laughed about the waiting mystery and proceeded to start investigating the newest round of magazine selections. Finally, the procedure came. Had to lie on the rock-hard bed for the 10 minute scan. Of course, the gooey jelly substance smeared on my neck found its way to the inside of my dress shirt collar.

Leaving, the woman who'd escorted me through the maze began leading me toward the strategically hidden exit. I informed her on the way about my needed lab work for A1C and urin test, which confused her and said I'd have to go somewhere else. Figures. That all led to more waiting in yet another room, this one with a TV, before getting summoned 20 minutes later. A young, teenage-aged lab girl tried to get blood, but had to stab both arms before succeeding. My once-great veins have gone and become not-so-good, it seems. Of course, her comment to me while seeking a blood-worthy vein: "Have you eaten or drank anything today?" Hmmm... fasting....No comment.

As a result of my morning excursion, the entire day was off. This of course is a deadline week, so that only complicated the day even more. Getting to work, 27 emails graced my inbox and three voicemails were waiting. Most needed some type of attention, whether it was the delete button or a response. Very intense day. But, at least the tests are done. Now, I get the suspense of waiting to hear the results and what my latest A1C is. Just glad the wait doesn't involve traveling to the hospital.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Peeing apple juice

Once again, there was little sleep last night because of continuing pains in the legs and feet. Thanks, neuropathy. Anyhow, managed about four hours. Waking up to the voice of my wife, I managed to spit out a few words that - at the time and especially in hindsight - didn't make complete sense. Sensing something was wrong, I pulled myself out of bed and stumbled downstairs to the kitchen. A blood test revealed a common number: 49, which is becoming a more frequent happening these days for some reason (push for tight control?).

So, I went for the new juiceboxes Suzi had bought the night before. Of course, in my low state, the airtight transparent sealing wouldn't rip off. The nearby knife holder offered some hope, and I took the smallest one there and sliced away. This, as should have been expected, resulted in a puncture wound in the juice box. Apple juice proceeded to leak all over the counter. Should have foreseen this happening. Suzi came down and rescued me, demanding I fetch a bowl or cup to catch the escaping juice. I did. That's when we made the comment and shared a laugh at how it looked like the juicebox was peeing. Hey, mornings are crazy enough without low sugars.

Headed upstairs to get ready for work, as I was now running late. Jumped in the shower and - again - shuddered from the coldness. But the warmth of rising blood sugars soon returned.

Reactions aren't fun, but this again wasn't bad as I caught it before it progressed into the rambling/drunkenness-without-alcohol stage. A positive from all this is I'm seeing some consistency in my nighttime and morning readings, albeit lower than they should be. The 49 number happened twice in two days about 8 a.m., coming after 3 a.m. tests in the mid-to-high 100s and bedtime readings much too high. Now, the mystery of navigating this blood sugar puzzle continues and I throw that proverbial dart at the magic number and hope to hit the bullseye. At least I'm getting closer.

Remembering when....

My diagnosis came at age 5. The memory vividly entails a regular visit to my grandparents' house. Frequent urination. Unquenchable thirst and a bad taste in the mouth. I recall those, but not any fatigue or mood swings that we've all come to recognize as high BG symptoms now. But then, at that age, it was just odd and didn't register at first. My grandparents noticed, though, and mentioned this to my parents - my mom has been a Type I most of her life, as well, so she instantly knew the signs. So, the diagnosis came.

But aside from the diagnosis story, my grandparents' house also sets the scene for this blog's theme - insulin injections. There, on the coach in their front living room (the same one they have today), I remember that cold, metal needle injector. I remember being told, "It'll hurt a little." My mom injected it into my left. I struggled, and cried. A thought that still comes to mind today: "How will I ever get used to this?"

Well, it happened. We all know that. Second-nature. Teen years brought denial, and skipped injections that inevitably led to high blood sugars. That sadly carried over to college, until I met the angel who's now my loving, supportive and incredibly forgving/understanding/reality-checking/inspiring wife. She changed me.

But those insulin injections, which as child seemed like would be a part of life forever, are now non-existent. I don't recall the last time I filled a syringe with insulin and pumped it into myself. Had to be for a quick, high - but nothing comes to mind. Now, it's the age of the insulin pump. In May, I'll celebrate six years of pump therapy.

Do I miss the injections? At times. When an infusion set sits in a site too long, and you get those noticable marks to show it. I'd rather not take my shirt off as much as when on injections, for that reason alone. And, with injections, there was almost a way to forget about diabetes for a while when not injecting. With a pump, you're always connected - hell, even when disconnected during a shower. The only relief is when it's time for a site change, and you can take a repreive for a short time in between. Now, as I'm dubbed by my better half, I exist as "bionic man." You are always aware of the connection, and it can at times be limiting - don't move to quickly or suddenly, as you might come loose. Or, watch the tubage, as it could catch a doorknob or get caught in the chair.

Now, don't get me wrong: I'm all for pump therapy. I'm an advocate, 100 percent. My mom has called me the poster child for Minimed, relating to my incredible (albeit it shortlived) good control that came with my first pump. The potential for tight control exists, undeniably. My first months brought an A1c of 6.4 - my best ever, a polar opposite from the teens I had in my teen years (and once, have gone as high as 21!). Those conversations of being dead in 10 years never sunk in.

I'm paying, of course, for my behavior earlier in life. Complications are setting in. No one to blame but myself. But now, with Suzi's inspiration and help, I'm getting that under control. It's amazing how marriage opens up a world you'd never much noticed or cared about - yes, a future can exist. It has to. And it'll happen no matter what I'm doing and what condition I'm in. There's inspiration right there to be better, strive for tight control. And the pump is, at this point in time, the best way to achieve that.

Maybe, someday, our children will be the ones sitting on the grandparents' coach getting an infusion set attached for first time, wondering how they'll get used to it, and then later in life have a closed-loop system or artificial pancreas to resort to. Maybe even a cure.