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.