Sunday, 27 June 2010

Some late night ponderings on charitable doings for the future.

Well, last November saw Movember come around. That was growing moustaches for a prostate cancer related charity. I may well be doing the same but splitting the proceeds between a prostate cancer charity but, more importantly for me, JDRF. Me with a 'tache? Sounds wierd no? Oh well, it'll be a laugh and it'll generate a few quids for charity so it's a win win situation.

Thursday, 24 June 2010

Summer has arrived!

Now for those beach bums that are out there this is a very abnormal English summer. It's not raining. No, seriously, it's been sunny all this week. The temperatures have generally been at around twenty five degrees celcius. At work today we couldn't get below twenty five and a half degrees even with the air conditioning on. It must have been hellish outside.

Now, heat increases insulin sensitivity in alot of diabetics. I'm not an exception here. I've had several hypos because of it. The sensitivity increases because a raised body temperature causes something called vasodilation to occur. This is when blood vessels dilate to allow a greater volume of bloody to come into contact with surrounding tissues to disperse and escape the body thus keeping the body temperature at about thirty seven degrees celcius. What this means for insulin is that more of it is absorbed so the potency of what's in your system increases and sometimes results in hypos. Now when you're at work, and, in my case wearing a lab coat in a very warm lab this happens reasonably frequently. I cannot for the life of me work out why this is so. I just suppose that I can get there in the end by it's hellishly frustrating in the mean time. Thinking cynically here, this will help me to lower my HbA1C so it's a case of swings and roundabouts!

Now pasta. A food that I love but one that is a bugger to judge over how long I give my bolus for or for how I arrange my dual wave bolus for. Let's just say the first has been more successful than the second! However, tonight's story is a different one. I forgot to give my bolus for tea. Prior to eating I was at 5.7 mmol/L. I only realised this as I was looking at my pump to see how long it would be until I would have to do a two hours after a meal check. It showed me that my last bolus had been at 15:20 that afternoon for an ice cream that I ate to cool down at work. No bolus given for tea. Instant action of testing bloody glucose. I got a reading of 9.2 mmol/L. Thankfully pasta releases it's carbohydrate very slowly. I was lucky this time, if it had been anything else I reckon that I would have been alot worse off. Moral of the story, something to which I will almost certainly not adhere to is to check if I did actually give my bolus!

Next weekend will be bloody good fun. I am meeting with a group of raving mad folk otherwise known as fellow diabetics in that jewel of the south Brighton. This basically starts out with bloody good intentions but ultimately degenerates into a drinking session with a set of wonderful people. I'm waiting on the hangover and hole in the bank balance.

What I've also done this fine day is to order the forms for my provisional driving liscence. I'm going to be learn to drive this summer. It's high time that I did so. A word of warning, steer clear of the roads and pavements in Eastbourne. I may well be bearing down upon you with great speed in an out of control set of wheels. Look out!

Sunday, 20 June 2010

So it begins....

The holidays from university are here. Now, unlike the majority of other students who work over their holidays I will be working in a field that actually counts towards my degree and eventual HPC registration. This should be interesting. At the moment I am rotating through the four departments of the local hospital pathology laboratory. I'm currently in Histopathology and I've really seen a fair few eye opening things. I won't mention what I've seen on here for two reasons. Primarily patient confidentiality and secondly, decency. There are some rather unpleasant things that surgeons hack out and send to histology to be turned from a lump of meat into a microscope slide. Ultimately this will help with my eventual HPC registration and thus allow me to practise as a Biomedical Scientist in the realm of the beloved NHS. Some doubt my sanity in doing this but the way that i see it is that I have less time after university to faff about in and the learning is all done at a rather gentle pace. Ultimately this way takes a year off my training time after univeristy as I will have all that I need to be HPC registered done within a few months of graduation as opposed to a year or two of graduation. Maybe I'll travel after university or maybe I'll do a few years as a Biomedical Scientist then go into medicine. I really don't know. What I would really like to happen is for me to change the views held by the Army on diabetes and spend twenty five years as an officer. Some hopes but exceptionally slim ones. I'll do a separate blog post about that at a later date.

Saturday, 19 June 2010

The Battle of the Bulge...

No, for those of you that have the misfortune to know me in reality may think that I am blathering on about a certain punch up in the Ardennes over the winter of 1944 - 1945 but more over my university accquired beer belly. Nine months of eating what you want when you want, heavy drinking, laziness and a total lack of exercise other than staggering to a variety of pubs and clubs has, undoubtedly taken its toll. I'm two stone heavier than I was when I went to university. For those that understand the new money of kilogrammes I was seventy kilos before university and having just got back home I am now eighty two kilos. That was a hell of a shock I can tell you.
So what am I going to do about it you may ask. Well, for starters I am back at home. This means healthy eating and much smaller portions than my usual gargantuan university American sized portions. There will be more exercise too, dog walking will become part of my day and I will have to start going to the gym again. Let's not beat about the bush. It's going to be a long and hard journey to drop about ten or so kilos but still, let's just see. Who knows, a somewhat slimmer version of myself may be posting on here in a few months time.
Now for a Big Mac.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

And he has a new shiny thing!

Beware you unsuspecting readers. I have a shiny new piece of diabetes gadgetry. It's a Bayer Contour USB blood glucose meter. I was given one by my DSN to trial things for them, my DSN who is also diabetic is going to give one a go too. Here's an interim review of the first day. This will have included a basal test aswell. Here's hoping.

Well, where do I begin. I suppose I'd best start with appearances. When you look at it there is a stonking great screen with three little buttons to the right of it. Then there is the cap that covers the USB point which you thump into the computer. The top is glossy black and the rest is a rather dull by comparison matt black. I'd be happier if it was blue though seeing as I got hold of it without paying a penny I'll shut up about that one now. That's the appearance dealt with.
I suppose the next thing to look at is the actual methodology of doing a test with it. It's pretty standard for a BG meter. Shove in test strip, apply blood and wait. However, after the apply blood step you can select if you want to mark the test in a certain way such as with a pre or post meal marker. Nice that. Then the result pops up onto the COLOUR screen after five seconds have elapsed. You then get further options for markers which vary from exercise through to illness and stress. Handy that when your memory is as crappy as mine is.
Then there is the computer related stuff. The charge time is two hours. I know that's a fair while but according to a friend this lasts her two months. After that which is a little of a let down there is the software which comes with it. For this sort of thing I am of the mindset that follows the KISS principle, no not the blood spewing, face painted glam rockers but that of Keep It Simple Stupid. Plain reasoning really as the less there is to be fiddled with or inadvertently changed the less there is to go wrong. It's quite something the Glucofacts software from Bayer. It's easy to use and fires up as soon as you plug in the meter. It's also bloody easy to navigate around and there are options that are simple to change and there is also the option to print the log book out which is lovely. Saves the somewhat lazy me from writing things out on paper or in Excel. This should work rather well with the Carelink software which I use in conjunction with my Medtronic Veo pump. Hopefully I will be able to save things as a PDF file or something similar to send them to my DSN when the mood takes me.
Now for the ancillaries. That would be the finger pricker. To me this comes across as cheap and nasty. In my opinion it's no way near as good as my Accu Chek Multiclix which I use at the moment. It only carries one lancet as opposed to the six carried by the Multiclix. It's a rather loud thing which isn't hard to make ready for use. Then there is the fact that as these things go it's rather painful to use. Much more so than the Multiclix again. Generally a pretty poor finger pricker. Next the test strips. They are rather tiny compaired to what I have previously used. There are pros and cons to this. The con is that they are a little hard to handle when you're trying to put one into the strip housing to test. That said, the fact that they are bloody tiny is the pro as well as the con.
A small word about the screen. It's in colour and rather large which is nice. However, if you are planning on testing outside on a sunny day as I did today be prepared to squint and create shade with your hands for it. Hands which aren't already occupied with lancet and meter. I think we all need to grow third arms for that.

Right, that's it as far as the interim review goes. I have just tested and got a lovel 6.4 mmol/L.