A Little Bit of Hydrogen Peroxide and A Dryer Sheet Go A Long Way

Last week my pod expired at work. You know my pod as Gizmo 2.0 – a wireless insulin pump that helps me manage my blood sugar levels and keeps me alive. It will always alert me to its pending expiration date by two consistent beeps … four hours… two hours… oh and it has less than 10 units left… one hour… expired.

I rarely let it hit that expiration mark, but that’s mainly to prevent the one long annoying beep (similar to when an EKG goes flat) that literally requires me to use a hammer to smash the pod until it stops (yes, I’ve done this – inserting a pen into the pod to deactivate this sound has never worked).

I have back-up supplies at my work desk (I like to be prepared). And even though I carry a vial of insulin with me and an extra pod, I failed to carry any alcohol swabs. I use these to wipe the dirt and grime from my skin before inserting the pod for a three-day life cycle. But this is an office, so I checked the first aid drawer in the kitchen (underneath the drawer with the ladles, who would have thought?) and found some hydrogen peroxide. It would have to do (three days later I ended up with a rash on my skin where the pod had been so note to self: hydrogen peroxide is not a good alternative). Continue reading

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30 Days With Diabetes: The Last One

Well, this is not the “last” one. But I have finally come to the end of my 30 Days With Diabetes series. It went by fast. And I want to thank you for sticking with it and for supporting my blog with your readership. It means a lot.

I started this series to make a daily commitment to my writing and re-connect with you – the online community, who have enabled me to maintain this blog and feel less alone living with an incurable chronic condition. The posts that resonated the most with you – diabulimia research, blood sugar mayhem, eating, dating, sleep, fathers and acetaminophen (essentially the sum of our lives) – will continue to astound me.

But I hope you learned something. I certainly did. I loved experimenting with form, style, humor and vulnerability. And apparently, I have a lot to say – some positive and some negative. But isn’t that what life is all about? Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Alarms, Alerts and Beeps

I’m constantly being alerted by my diabetes devices. It’s amazing I haven’t been conditioned to tune them out. Sometimes, the beeps annoy the hell out of me, and I yell at these devices with little to no effect.

So, what’s with all the beeps? And why do I keep certain alerts on, even to the detriment of office cube mates and dinner companions? Some of these alerts literally save my life. Others just keep me in check. Each alert is different, and over time, I’ve learned exactly what each type of beep or alarm means. But that’s hard to explain in words so instead, I’ll just give a quick summation of what I may be alerted to when you hear an odd sound emitting from my bag. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: Ketone Test Strips

After posting about testing my blood sugar levels with test strips and a glucometer, someone reached out to me and asked if it was possible to measure ketones with the same meter and test strips.

With diabetes, it’s important to test ketones when you’re sick or have high blood sugar to ensure your body doesn’t go into diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). When I was diagnosed, I was given urine strips to test for ketones and never thought to question that method. Until now. Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: DIY Pancreas

In the 9 years since I’ve had Type 1 diabetes (T1D), it’s been amazing to see what parents of children with T1D have done to improve management of blood sugar levels. Well, I learned today that parents are now hacking into diabetes management systems and creating their own form of the artificial pancreas (at a much cheaper cost than the official FDA-approved $7,000 device).

And all of this because of a security slip-up in 2011 – when many Medtronic insulin pumps were left open to hackers and apparently do-it-yourself (DIY) parents. Some companies have now hired or consulted with those DIYers to improve products and share ideas. It’s hard to believe that I could one day owe my life to someone who had the guts to hack into an automated system and tinker.

As one parent said of parents with T1D kids, “They know their kids the best, and sometimes technology or medicine is slower and doesn’t know what we need as much as we do.”

Patient advocacy at its best.  Continue reading

30 Days With Diabetes: The Beach

The sun is my best friend in the midst of this new monsoon season in DC. But it’s more like a distant acquaintance with my insulin.

Heat aka long hours exposed to the sun can reduce the effectiveness of my insulin therefore impacting my blood sugar levels therefore impacting my overall quality of life.

Unfortunately, the pod that carries my insulin is usually exposed in a bathing suit. Today, it was under my left arm. Tomorrow, it could be on my stomach. Continue reading