Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Drooling acidity as a diabetic

The first thing that came to my mind as I was trying to figure out what title to give this post was ...  yeah, that drooling alien that makes you just want to hug it and bring it home to meet your Mum.


Picture from Geek

Today, I went to have my fangs scaled.  Something I'm doing now in between the once a year cleaning.  As of September, this will no longer be covered since medical insurance that we've had through my husbands work place ... stops.  No more, 80% payout for anything we have performed that isn't covered by the provincial healthcare (optometrists, eye ware, dental, specialist services).  So, of course, I'm stressed out (and maybe my Dad is right, my recent ocular rosacea flare up that sent me to ER since my regular eye doctors were both on holidays and their answering machines said ... take thyself to the ER ... which I did).

It didn't help that I was having a low about an hour before hand, and as I was telling this to the Stephanie, my dental hygienist, that I was okay at 4.1 (yes, yes, yes, I know, I was below 5 - but sometimes we break our own rules that we try to get others to follow - don't shoot the messenger).  Oh darn, I'm just realising as I write this, that I was supposed to contact the dental office that I arrived home safe .... uhmm ... that was like 4 hours ago.



Stephanie went off to my dentist, and they both came back to my chair to make sure I was okay for this small procedure.  If it hadn't been myself in the chair, Dr. Chadwick said if it was anyone else, she would have rescheduled.  So, we proceeded while I suspended Big Blue, my Animas Vibe (and the CGM was way off with saying I was 2.8 mmol/l when I was actually at 4.1 mmol/l ).

So, the point of this long winded story?  Here I was thinking, since I am known by many of my dentists over the year as the "Drool Queen" that this was a good thing.  It is ... and it isn't.  It's better to not have a dry mouth as this can cause problems.  In my case, Stephanie went on to say that with being a Type 1 diabetic, we tend to have acid saliva which causes tartar build up.  It doesn't help as she explained that when we have a low blood sugar we are eating sugar.

At that point, I told her that I after eating foods containing sugar when I have a low blood sugar, I tend to rinse my mouth with water, and eat either a few nuts or cheese to offset the evils of the sugar decaying on my teeth.  While it is good, what she suggested next for future use after eating a meal is something I wish I'd known about before!

You know how we've all been told to brush our teeth after eating?  Well, again, it's 50/50 sorta good.  Because we have such acid saliva, and because the majority of the foods we eat (yes, eating healthy foods like fruits, vegetables have/create acid in the mouth) ... that if you go to brush your teeth after eating a meal ... you are only pushing the acid further into your gums.



Her tip?  Before brushing your teeth, always rinse your mouth out with mouthwash BEFORE ... not afterwards.

So, here's my take on the whole thing ... that I will retain in my sponge brain for future, and maybe you will too, since as we all known healthy teeth and gums as a diabetic are important, and many people overlook this thinking

If need be (and do this on a daily basis anyways before bed), after your meal, FLOSS your teeth to remove any food debris stuck in between your teeth.   RINSE thoroughly with WATER to remove any dislodged particles.   GARGLE mouthwash for 30-60 seconds, then SPIT out.   Then without rinsing again,   BRUSH  your teeth for 2-3 minutes with a toothbrush, being sure to follow the correct brushing procedure shown to you by your dentist and/or hygienist.

Friday, June 2, 2017

Big Blue and Bowie - in bed together forever

So, if you haven't read my blog post about Big Blue, my Animas Vibe's first week of use, then hop on over to this LINK.  The rest of what I write about below will make more sense.  I'll try to keep this short and sweet since hey, it's TGIF!   Let the weekend begin!!!



After posting the blog on my disappointment with the accuracy of Big Blue who has CGM capability (this sounds like the Six Million Dollar man ... we have the technology ) along with a few other quirks.  Here's my update.

I cannot return the Vibe.  Plain and simple according to the Animas representative that came by after my blog went around the globe.   Due to the ADP program in Ontario, you cannot just pick and choose a pump, then decide it's not to your taste.   A wee bit disappointed with that, but the rep made things abit easier with the following suggestions that I will have to live with for the next 5+ years, or until Big Blue bites the dust.

The reps suggestion?  While I still have a functioning Ping aka Ziggy.  When I want to wear something slinky that I can't access my insulin pump in order to bolus, etc.  Simply use Ziggy along side Stardust my One Touch blood meter with Bowie my Dexcom receiver.  Simply remove insulin cartridge from Big Blue - plop it into Ziggy.  Best of both worlds as the rep put it!

We also came to the decision that due to incorrect sensor placement on arm, that this was the reason for the Vibe CGM and Dexcom receiver being off that I wrote in my previous blog.  I can agree on that after removing the sensor due to the fact that it was not sticking well on my arm and sensor wire looking not too straight. We think it was barely in my skin.  Plus, I had placed the sensor incorrectly, since the muscles in my arm when it's placed HORIZONTALLY, tends to pull the wire back/forth, cause sensor tape to not stick as well.

Silly me, deciding to try the horizontal placement for a change of pace, thinking well, if it works great on my "flat" stomach, why not the arm too?  NOPE!  Muscle, muscle, muscle ... pull ... pull ... pull. The rep of course reminded me that we are not supposed to place our sensor anywhere else but our stomach, and basically just pretends he doesn't know that many of us do things with our medical devices that are not approved of in the manual.

So, after placing a new sensor in ... correctly ... this is where I found both the Vibe and the Dexcom receiver were spot on with each other.  Cancel that FAIL quote from the previous blog!


So, I am now only using my Vibe for seeing my trend (when you press the Contrast button, you can see the last CGM screen viewed).  I tend to to like to see the current blood sugar, that shows which way the arrows are going, along with the IOB (Insulin-On-Board).  Bowie, takes care of all my other needs for info on my blood sugar trend, etc.

Handy Trend Arrow Chart from Animas representative


The trend, and other information that is shown on Bowie aka the Dexcom receiver.  It is far is better for viewing than the Vibe pump screen. Also, when it comes to alarms, as stated in previous blog, hands down for Bowie who sings like a Hero in my eyes to save me from either going too low or too high.

Remember use me as an example .... don't rush in too fast for something until you do your research, which I should have done!  You might regret it!  DOH!!!


Sunday, May 21, 2017

First week with Animas Vibe aka Big Blue

I finally took advantage of the ADP program here in Ontario and now have been in possession of Big Blue .. aka an Animas VIBE and CGM System.  The program pays for all age groups of Type 1 diabetics in the province of Ontario for the pump and $2,500 a year towards pump supplies.  So, no more paying outright for my pump ... and making Visa travel reward miles on the purchase - boo! hoo! The pump warranty is for 5 years rather than the 4, when I would purchase my pump privately, so win win.  So until the pump breaks down, it's my buddy until it's death date of ... get this ... 2040!!!  Unlike my previous pump, a ONE TOUCH Ping aka Ziggy Stardust ... his death date IS December 31, 2022.  I'm still keeping Ziggy, as a back up for holiday until then.  He served me well!  I just wanted to have the pump and CGM integration that the VIBE offers.

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A few people have written to me privately, asking me what I think of the Vibe, and after a week of using it, here's my honest thoughts.  I'll keep this as easy to understand as possible.  If it doesn't make sense, comment below and I'll do my best to answer you.

Comparison of Ziggy and Big Blue

PROS:

  • The pump is a little bit bigger then the ONE TOUCH PING, so the screen is abit larger.  Probably due to housing more hardware inside due to the CGM being incorporated into it.  See below in CONS.
  • When it comes to entering the TOTAL that is shown on your screen when doing an EzCarb or EzBg.  You no longer have to scroll the numbers from 0.  If your TOTAL is showing 3.0 units ... as soon as you touch the OK and the UP BUTTON ... you are at 3.0 instantly.  It is still taking me time to remember this ... since you can rapidly go up to 6.0 in a nanosecond.
  • You have your CGM display available to you.  See below in CONS.
  • You can use any blood meter you want to - which in my case when I was using the 2020 - was FreeStyle Lite which uses the smallest droplet of blood and according to research has better accuracy of many other meters on the market (plus the strips are less expensive - a big factor for me come September when I no longer have work coverage).

CONS or as I call it FAIL:

  • I'm finding the screen keys abit less soft, so you do have to press abit harder.  For someone with arthritis (which I have), it could be problematic in time.  Also, I wonder if the plastic on the buttons is more hardier, since the 2020 and PING seemed to wear down faster.  I never had these problems, but have heard from others who did.  Again, warranty for most people should cover this problem if it occurs.
  • For the CGM ALARM settings -  they suck compare to the DEXCOM Receiver!  You only have options similar to what you use on your insulin pump portion for ALARM settings.  It's annoying as all hell when you're driving, and it's going off on some hissy fit.  Hard to distinguish one from the other.   FAIL!!!
  • Accuracy between the DEXCOM receiver and the VIBE are not as accurate as I thought.  I had started them both off within 5 seconds of each other when booting them off so that Calibration times would coordinate.  The DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.  FAIL!
  • You cannot set the REMINDER time on the PING for HYPO any lower than 30 minutes.  The receiver you can enter in as low as 15.  Not good in my opinion.  This also surprised my CDE's when they witnessed me experiencing a 2.8 while in their office (and I amazed them further by acting the same way ... cool and under control ... actually I was sweating like a pig ... and sadly ... the alarms on the VIBE did not forewarn me of my rapid decline in blood sugar like my DEXCOM receiver does.  FAIL!
  • Too many screens to go though to get to the CGM area.  DEXCOM receiver wins hands down.
  • No ability on the VIBE to enter in Activity or additional Insulin perhaps given by IM for high blood sugar (a no no still in my endo and CDE's eyes ... I swear I have whip marks on my behind from them!!!).  DEXCOM receiver - wins hands down.
  • I am now limited to wearing separates again when it comes to being a Fashionista, no remote for pump entry for blood sugars, and also if you rely on pump soley for CGM reading ... you get it ... I dare you to look at this naughty picture!!


My lust for the ANIMAS Vibe was bigger than my brain!     

CONCLUSION:

If you are with the ONE TOUCH PING ... stick with it.  The only thing that got me into going onto the VIBE was the representative wiggling a carrot in my face at the yearly Insulin Pump meeting in March that all ADP participants have to attend ...  that for only $800 I could get a box of sensors, transmitter, and receiver IF I purchased the VIBE soon (Animas Canada is no longer going to be selling Dexcom supplies as of this summer, so they're getting rid of all their G4 stock).  As many of you know,  I live on handouts of expired sensors, receivers (and I even have a transmitter that may still have life in it from someone who went onto a G5 system) due to paying out of pocket.  Here I was with lust in my eyes for this great deal (as bad as I am when I see a deal in a thrift shop, but this is a life saving article that isn't $2!!).

A week later .... this is how I feel ... blah ... and wishing maybe I'd just stuck with good old Ziggy and his  side kick Stardust (the ONE TOUCH blood meter)  who sucks up alot of blood, but means I don't have to pull my pump out all the time to bolus, look at CGM reading.  Really fun when you're wearing a dress I'm telling you, make sure you are wearing clean, unholey underwear!!) - and if you didn't click on the "naughty" picture in the CONS area ... scroll back up - I double dare you!!

Sigh - I should really be more serious when I write shouldn't I?  Chin up and all that stuff.

Anyhow, I've turned off the CGM on my Big Blue, gone back to the DEXCOM receiver, that I've had for almost 4 years that is still working strong.  I had hoped with the VIBE that I would not have to use it, but I guess I was spoiled by using the receiver, and it works, it notifies me when it's unhappy with me.  Perhaps if I was a newbie to the CGM system on the pump, and had nothing to compare it to, then I'd not be writing this.  I wouldn't know any better.

In hindsight, I should have just waited it out until the end of my ONE TOUCH PING life when perhaps updates could have been made on the programming of the VIBE.  I'm going to contact both my CDE and Animas (they'll be getting a link to this blog) next week to see what we can do.  I'll keep you posted in upcoming blogs on my progress and I hope it's good news.

By Manny Hernandez - 2008 - Hope: Diabetes Supplies Art 






Sunday, February 26, 2017

Vampire testing on the fingertips


Okay, kidding aside ... as diabetics ... testing your blood sugar on your finger tips can be abit of a drag at times.  I've been doing this process since home testing was introduced back in the 1980's  (you can read more about the history of these blood sucking devices at David Mendosa's link HERE).  Even with wearing a CGMS (aka Bowie) which many people think means you won't have to do the old finger prick anymore, I still test on average about 6X a day, sometimes more, depending on what is going on in my life.

Recently, a family member of mine was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes.  Luckily, with the help of their spouse, they're are diligently performing 4 tests a day in order to stay in a good blood sugar range to avoid any complications of high blood sugars.  The one thing they admitted to me the other day, was how much it hurt.  I discovered the "nurse" was pricking the fatty portion of the finger tip, where numerous nerves exist ... that beg <NOT> to be heard when they're mistreated.

Screaming Hands by http://lintza.deviantart.com/

I then slowly explained the best way to avoid the pain, by testing on their finger tips, which over the years I've shown nurses how to perform this task on their patients hands.  What better person to show them how to treat their patients, and not have them stop testing when they go back home to deal with diabetes on their own.

I even went as far as to post a few pictures on my Instagram account that you see below, since sometimes pictures are worth a thousand words!   If you've never tried testing on the sides of your finger tips, then give it a go next time, and be rewarded with no pain or scars.

Here's some of my tips to get the best results out of a pain free blood test:

  • Always wash your hands before testing, simple soap and water are fine (alcohol dries out the skin).
  • If your fingertips are cold, rub them gently to warm them up and get better blood circulation.
  • Use your lancing device on the SIDE of your fingertip to get a drop of blood sufficient for test.
  • Then hold the edge of the test strip to the drop of blood and wait for results 😀 





Saturday, February 4, 2017

I finally got inked for Diabetes!


I've been humming and hawing for awhile about getting a tattoo representing my diabetes status for sometime.  I finally decided to give it a go last week and made an appointment, since I'm celebrating my Diaversary of over 1/2 a century.  Along with this treat of being inked I'm going on a well deserved break from social media / work this Spring and I thought if I meet up with anyone from Diabetes UK  it would be fun to show it off!  

The good thing with this holiday treat though is that it's been basically paid off by a few years of purchasing diabetic meds, pump supplies, food, clothing, you name it with a credit card that gives back the most travel rewards.  I figure, if I've got to have diabetes, I might as well enjoy some rewards from purchasing all the crap needed to stay alive with a credit card (and yes, I pay off my balance EVERY month especially at the current 19.99% interest rate).  So, it's win, win all around with getting to see family / friends overseas - relax on an ocean voyage and not doing dishes for a change of pace!

So, with further adieu ... here's the design that my new best tattoo artist Nat from The Skinwithin and I came up with after she looked over some of the designs I'd come sent to her during the week.  She knew I wanted to incorporate the blue circle from IDF, along with my pen name of FatCatAnna which evolved from my diabetic cat Beauduoin (though on hindsight ... I should have asked Nat to maybe tweak the cat  to be abit fuller (okay fatter) since this cat looks a bit malnourished ... but as my skin stretches with age ... maybe it'll blimp out <lol>).  

All in all, I'm happy I did it, and found out that having it on the left wrist is actually the best place to put a tattoo like this.  According to a paramedic, the left arm is where they first go to when checking your pulse, etc.  Even with the tattoo stating my being diabetic, I'll still wear my other piece of medical ID from Mediband ... just to be on the safe side. Again, as the paramedic told me, they still look for medical ID over a tattoo when they are performing their work in an emergency situation!

If you're looking for advise on getting a tattoo SAFELY - check out T1D's Chris Clement's blog post at this link.  He's got some great tips so you can safely have one done by your fav ink artist.  He should know, since I've viewed a few of his up close and personal ;)   

Below is how it's looking at the moment, after removing the plastic wrap it was kept in for about 12 hours.  I'm using Aveeno baby cream to keep it moist.  Luckily, I heal well from cuts, surgeries (due to my being a healthy diabetic probably).  Now what will be my next tattoo?




REMEMBER - ALWAYS WEAR A PIECE OF MEDICAL ID - A TATTOO MAY NOT SAVE YOUR LIFE IN AN EMERGENCY SITUATION!!! 



Sunday, January 8, 2017

Here I Am!

Wow, I can't believe how long it is since I've had time to sit down and compose a blog.

The last one I wrote was in the summer, dealing with my husband's motorcycle accident (his ribs and face are all healed).  Along with other issues, like work, still sorting out from house move, took me away from my usual bit of fun with composing a blog filled with fun links to click that are both educational and entertaining.

So,  ♩♬ HERE I AM ♬♪ ...  it's a new world, a new start .... ♪♪ my time has come .... ♬♫

And along with this, I'm trying to get into the New Years resolution crap  links that I'm working on for one of my contracts I do.  Resolutions have never been a big thing with me, but  I decided to take one of the ones I gave to them, which probably will not be chosen and just go ahead with it on my own (because I think this is a really good)!  I've been abit down and out, so anything to help get more motivated to being active,  Does running up and down the stairs of our house REALLY count as activity because my menopausal brain has leaks in it for forgetfulness?

So, what is it that I'm rambling on about? 

Fit2Me  is an online coach to get you active and into eating healthy.  It's aimed for those of us with chronic health conditions according to it's website as well, but I think it would work for basically anyone.  Even better, it is FREE (which I like) !!!   I've picked my own personal coach by the name of Tim (I feel like such a Cougar), who supposedly is a surfer and laid back and won't hopefully bark orders at me if I don't full fill my commitment of 150 minutes of exercise that I've set for myself.


I've chosen the types of exercises (and there are LOTS)  plus it is YOU that has to chose your exercise plan.  Originally, I had assumed that the site would chose them for you, but I am fine with doing my own thing.   Which is good in away, and probably why the Fit2Me site requests request that your own health team be fully aware of what you are doing (which I will be talking to my team about this Tuesday).  The site also gives you the option  to print out a form to take to them.  The last thing you want  to have happen is some health issues occurring to you without first consulting with your team, especially if you've been inactive for abit.


Setting up My Food preferences was easy and luckily I eat pretty well everything under the sun (my Mum had an easy child to feed) ... and one of the recipes suggested for me ... which is making my mouth water is this one - Greek Tuna Casserole (24 grams of carbs and 20 grams of protein - WIN WIN).  I'm already salivating over when I'll be making this one up!!!  I've yet to explore what suggestions they will make to me, but I'll give it a go during the week when I have some free time.



So, that's it in a nutshell.  My plan is set in action to get more active, starting off with this online tool. Though, warning to non-Americans,  it states  that it is for residents of the USA.  I'm just pretending that I am semi-American, since I do only live about 5 kms from the American border!  Though if they see this post, hopefully they don't shut it down to outsiders like myself.

Work it! Work it! Work it!
Pete the Cat 



Friday, July 29, 2016

Stupid Girl

I’ve been abit behind in trying to blog lately … life has got abit crazy and if you follow me on some of the sites I post at … you’ll know why … with my DH aka Mr. Evel Knievel‘s wipe out on my D-anniversary motorcycle I’ve had for abit (it’s repairable … and luckily … he is repairing too with 3 broken ribs and stitches to the face).  It was scary the first 24 hours, watching the monitors, and him being out of it.  I basically broke down 48 hours afterwards due to  lack of sleep, food and just the fact I could have lost my husband, I was exhausted and needed a Calgon moment (hasn't happened yet). 

Taking someone to ER is scary, especially when it’s someone you love.  I’ve only been rushed to ER once in my life, when I was 13, and in DKA … at that point I was in and out of comatose state for a few days, while my body fought to regain control.  Yes, I was a really really #badass with my diabetes as a teenager.  I often hear of other diabetics being Frequent Flyers at the ER, but even in worst case scenarios (e.g. when I had a bad experience while sailing a few years ago) … I sort things out.  I hate hospitals with a passion, and even more so when it comes to surgical procedures that require me to put myself in someone else’s hands, and my diabetes control is temporarily out of kilter.

This is now where I finally explain Part Deux of what occurred with a recent colonoscopy that I had at a local hospital.  If you haven’t yet read it yet (how could you not have already – shame, shame) and wonder why I’ve entitled my blog this way … go to this link  to play catch up.

Do ya like my tush twinkle?
The day after having my colonoscopy done a few weeks I had my 3 month endo appointment.  Due to not being able to think properly, I had my DH drive and accompany me to the appointment (the hospital had told me 24 hours after the procedure not to operate any machinery or drive).   I needed his arm to support me for walking /  thinking and probably should have had him help with my infusion change the day before ( it seemed to take forever because I was so out of it and I’ve really got to show my DH how to perform this duty if I’m ever in this situation again).

As I’m trying my best to stay “ with it “ during my appointment, my DH is talking for me to help explain the situation.   I know at some point I tell the endo that I kept my insulin pump on, and that I’d told a fib about reducing the basal.



My endo basically slapped me in the face for my stupidity

Okay, she didn’t really “slap me”, since I only see her face on a screen since she lives 100 km away, but she was not happy with me.  Her reason for calling me stupid?   Well, I think after reading what she said, you may come to the same conclusion … I was plain stupid and taking a risk with my life not just with the colonoscopy but previous surgery that I’d had a long overdue repair on my knee for a meniscus tear (it couldn’t be saved).

She explained to me,  " what would have happened if by accident the surgeon had perforated my colon, and what is a simple 10 minute procedure could have lasted an hour or two "?  Meanwhile, unknown to the surgeon or RN’s, my pump is still running full throttle with basal not having been reduced as I told them.  What if the pump had started to do something wonky?  She admits that not many surgeons or RN’s understand pump technology … and even if they did … a mistake could happen, since I am the one responsible for how it is run. 

I of course went on about how the surgery I’d had almost a year ago where my blood sugars had zoomed up to 22 mmol/l after what was supposed to be a 1 hour surgery became 5 hours.  No insulin had been in the drip (they no longer do this) … you can read that blog at this link if you’re interested. 

I found out she has a Type 1 diabetic brother (still on MDI) and that if he was on a pump she would NOT have him wearing it during surgery.  She would rather see him go high then low; since it can be more easily corrected then if he went low  (I can hear a few of you making some noises at her statement).  And as my DH pointed out to my endo that after the hysterectomy surgery last year, he was there advising them how much insulin to give to me to bring me down since I was semi-conscious at the time and was trying to tell the RN's the same thing.  So it wasn’t like I was in exact danger of going into DKA, though I could have gone into hypoglycemic mode if he’d not told them at the time to not give 10 units of rapid insulin … I would have crashed with that amount since I’m still sensitive to insulin after ½ a century of being diabetic. 

I’d never really looked at it her way before.  Of the what if’s ….

I then told her how just a month previous to the colonoscopy that an anesthesiologist (Dr. McDreamy aka Dr. Cook in reality) had actually allowed me to wear my pump (after I showed him how to shut it off if my CGM started to go alarm I was going low).  It was so nice waking up after that surgery with perfect blood sugars, and feeling like I could leap over tall buildings  (well – not quite exactly like Superman) 


Ohh, ohh, another virtual slap (this is started to sting abit)

Once again, she explained all that could have gone wrong, and I actually began to see where she was coming from.  She even said that if I had one of the CDE’s beside me, watching things, it still is dangerous, that they may make an error despite all the knowledge that they may have, they are not YOU! 

It really made me face reality with what could/can occur during even the simplest procedure, while you are out flat on your back.  In future, I will rethink my control freakiness to have the perfect blood sugar during and after a surgical procedure (I’m hoping to not have another one for many years … well … at least 5 more years until my next colonoscopy).

So I've now come to the conclusion that MDI will be my future way to go … and know that even if I do spike high in my blood sugars, that I’ll be okay. 

I'm no longer a Stupid Girl