Saturday, 30 April 2011

I wanna rock and roll all night!

... And party every day!

Thank you Kiss. Gotta love a bit of glam rock.

Given the nature of my work there is always the obligation to do night shifts. The first one was last night. 2000 start, 0800 finish. Now, to say that I was a little nervous would be fair as I've never done those before. That and I was rather unsure of the effect on the diabetes.
Fortunately, the shifts and colleagues are lovely. The work is easier than in the day and you tend to learn a little bit more easily. Any opportunity to learn is a good one. It's also very nice to put names to the faces that I see at eight in the morning after starting a day shift.
As for the diabetes aspect of things that was lovely. I spent most of the night with BG's in the sevens. There was a slight hypo at five ish. Abnormally for me, I didn't test but trusted in my senses for once. I suppose that the acuity of my hypo awarness increases in the hours of darkness. After getting home my BG was 6.9, I had something to munch on. A few hours of sleep later I awoke for something to eat. My BG was 8.5 prior to that. Overall, the BGs have been behaving nice over the night. What seems to be increasingly common is that I require a temporary basal on for the entire day. About 125% is roughly what I've been on for the past few days. I can't quite fathom why but I'll keep on going with that as it seems to be working.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

My day in all but one way - diabetes really does suck.

My new method of cannulating myself. Note best mate behind to give support and commentary to the paying public.

So, today has been a pretty good day bar one thing. Since about midday my BG's have been steadily sat at around 12 mmol/l. Nothing too dramatic about that bar the fact it was over an extended period. What did I do? I decided to change my set. Turns out my Sure T set had found it's way into a blood vessel. That's why I was flying a little bit higher than usual. So I went to change it. The first time I managed to get it in without much pain at all. Then the problems came. I noticed that there was blood backing up the little part of the Silhouette set that you can see. Not a good sign. I took it out. Bad move. I took it out and blood just gushed out. I had to grab a load of swabs that I'd found in my uniform after a day at work. I ended up holding that thing to my side for a good five minutes to stem the flow. More irritatingly I've got blood on my beloved Iron Maiden T shirt.

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Medicine Balls...

Now in my world those can only be one thing or another. The red pill is a large leather ball which weighs the devil and is hurled around in PE lessons at school by some sadistic beast masters known as PE teachers (paedophiles in disguise I swear!) or the alternative blue pill means that Medicine Balls is a column in Private Eye magazine. I've seen much more of the latter lately.
Interestingly in the most recent issue of Private Eye (issue no. 1286) Medicine Balls focuses on diabetes. The column highlights the short fallings of diabetes management within the NHS. More precisely it highlights the post code lottery that is to be found in all aspects of diabetes care. The distinction between type one and two is a little blurred but is there none the less. However, there isn't a distinction between adult and paediatric care.
What the column does highlight is the lack of education amongst general nurses on a ward about diabetes. Now, I am fortunate to say that the nurses I work with are diligent in their duties. As the article highlights, there are some aspects of diabetes care that are beyond the capabilities of a general nurse. For example, a patient with an insulin pump would most likely be beyond their capabilities. The number of diabetes specialist nurses available to a hospital is rather limited and they can't be everywhere.
What is well known to the bunch of insulin armed lunatics known as the diabetic online community (DOC for short) is that good education helps to prevent further complications. Carb counting courses and a supportinve team to name but two of the essentials. Surprisingly some trusts do not provide these when the costs of running them are much cheaper than the costs of treating complications which are nasty and of many variety.
It's a bitter epitaph then that Medicine Balls leaves us with that points out should a small improvement be made in the way diabetes is managed could save enough to fund universal health care.
The article cites the Diabetes Inpatient Audit. (

Friday, 22 April 2011

Does diabetes get into every part of your life?

In short, yes it does. No two ways about that. It's omnipresent and creeps into all corners of your life.
So, how does it affect your life? Well, for each person it's different. For me well, it's affected my choice of career and many other parts of my life.
Career choice you ask? Well, at the moment I'm working as a health care assistant in my local hospital. In essence I am the nurse's understudy. Although the job doesn't sound glamorous, wards wouldn't work without HCA's. Simple. So how does this have anything to bear upon my choice of career you might ask. That's something you're more than entitled to know. I have always admired the way that my DSN's have worked with such devotion to my health care. If I can ever be half as good as they are, then I will have done well. So then, I think that you may well be able to deduce that I am looking to become a nurse sooner or later. Those of a Holmesian nature reading this blog are correct. I'd love to do my nursing training. However, since starting my current job in January of this year I feel less like I want to be a DSN and more of a general nurse. Should I find myself doing DSN work then that'd be nice. However, should I find something more interesting along the way then I'll crack on with that. Simple. I see enough about diabetes in my current job. I also see how poorly educated some patients are in their own care and what they can do for themselves. They have been let down by the system. Something within me wants to buck the system and change it all for the better. Then again, I can't do that as alot of the patients who have poor care are type twos under the care of a GP who sees them ever six months and does sod all to help them. Then there's the knowledge that you can't save the world. No matter how hard you try, there will always be time when you can't win.
Am I defined by my diabetes? If you asked me the same question every day for a year you'd get a different answer every day. There are days when what I have to do in relation to my diabetes just sails on by and doesn't affect me at all. Then there are the days when it can be looming upon the horizon and it plays a reasonably large part in your day. After that there are the days when a good set of blood glucoses can make the day and in that same day one poor one will break it. Then there are the worst of those days. Those are the days when you can't do anything without diabetes seemingly getting in the way of things. There are the days that you hardly notice that you're diabetic. As hard as that is to understand, believe it or not, it does happen. Then there's the inbetween. Those days are the ones when you can forget diabetes until you're reminded that it's there through a hypo or needing to test before lunch for example. Each day with diabetes is different. They are often brittle too, with diabetes it doesn't take much for things to go wrong.
My social life. Now, not for a moment would I dream of my life without my friends of a very special circle. They are my pancreatically challenged friends. I really do love them all however, I do hate the fact that we only know each other because adversity brought us together. Then again, if it weren't for diabetes we'd all be totally ignorant of each other's existance. I've been very close with them over the past few years.
Now I feel like doing something for charity, which one? Well, for a pancreatically challenged mong such as I there is only one choice really. My favourite D related charity is JDRF. I'd also do things for mental health charities but the reasons for that will remain private. So yes even the part of me that likes to be a do gooder (rare as it is for me) will do it for diabetes.
Being a bit of a nutter. Now I do apologise for my behaviour on the last full moon. Yes, it does happen every month. Simple. Diabetes does make things a little different in terms of mental health. As it stands, diabetics are much likelier to develop depression than persons without it. That's the bad part of it. On the good side of things, despite being a few slates short of a roof you gain a certain mindset that is unique to those with diabetes. I can't quite explain it but it's balancing on the knife edge between being completely lost to insanity and the sane world. You develop strategies that are unique to the induvidual to cope and get through the darkest times. Anything goes on that account. Keeping yourself from cracking completely is quite an achievement. I've accepted that I'm not quite the full roof thanks to the diabetes. Being able to hold onto what sanity I have is a nice thing. Even if I do lose it from time to time.
To sum up then, pretty much every part of your life gets involved with your diabetes for a certain period of time and to different extents. The damage can be varied in extent and form but it exists none the less. How we react to that is what defines us. If, like me, you howl at the full moon the sectioning is quite a possibility, a fun one at that haha...
I must leave you now, it's close to midnight and he's barking at the moon!

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Changes at the top! Across the entire board infact!

Well, given that over the past few weeks I've needed a variety of temporary basal rates to just get through the day with a decent set of numbers. The fun of it. So then, I've taken the decision to make changes that should, in theory keep me in a decent range of numbers. Well, it's more a work in progress than anything else. First a rough cut then the fine tuning. That's still to come as I only made the changes today.
So, you think one set of changes would be enough for me. Seems that it isn't. That's because I've started doing long days at work this week. Those are thirteen hour days. Massive effort but I do like four days a week off. Those do need something of a basal to suit them. That said, I've got to have a baseline that I can work from as, each day can be very different. Some are absolutely hectic and you don't stop. Others are rather more relaxed. Then again, in the second type of day you're constantly waiting for things to happen so there is the element of stress which can really make things interesting as all D folk know. That's why I want a baseline that'll suit most, if not all days.
Here's hoping that my changes work, or if they don't work, that they don't need much fine tuning.


Thursday, 14 April 2011

Cooler Ives! Twenty days!

Apologies for the Great Escape reference. It does happen to be one of my favourite films and I think it should be mandatory viewing. Then again, diabetes does feel like you are in solitary confinement. It can really get to you and feels like you are the only one.
That aside, it's been a a year since I started pumping. What's happened in that year you might ask? Well, many things. Both good and bad. For the good we have had my HbA1c brought down from above eight percent which it always was pre pump to the sevens (seven point one percent at it's lowest). I can tailor my basals to suit what I'm doing. I have a much greater range of freedom and I'm rather more at liberty to do what I want, when I want thanks to pumping offering me a "tap and go" lifestyle that MDI couldn't. I've found that only one type of cannula doesn't work which is a good thing. I've currently got a steel one in that needs changing.
In the bad corner now; my pump has failed and since been replaced. That sent my BG's up to the thirties and consequently, my HbA1c has gone up eight percent. I've had many a cannula fail on me. This is quite a drama but one that is easily rectifiable. I get caught on door handles which canbe rather painful. I have something attatched to me all day, every day. It can be quite something that.
Overall, I wouldn't go back to how I used to be on MDI a year ago. Pumping, for all the catches that can be found, is more than worthwhile. I love it. Now to pop to the GP and pick up my repeat prescription.