Diabetes Self-Management Blog

It’s all my fault. I knew this week was coming and I should have prepared for it by writing this week’s blog entry ahead. Well, I have a huge secret: I “grew up” in a newsroom for a daily newspaper and everything I ever wrote was on deadline. There was no time to do much of anything ahead. So that’s what I’m used to and you’re going to get a bit of a potpourri of topics.

What’s this week? My granddaughter’s graduation from high school. There’s already been one party, which took place in a park near our house on Sunday. She and a friend planned it and prepared for it, with some help from the adults, but no big deal (except for buying stuff for three dozen cupcakes). It was a “friends” party, replete with water balloons and soakers, despite the chilly weather. They had a good time and the graduate-to-be was feeling better after a hot shower, some hot chocolate, and about two days of sleep.

Tomorrow, my 84-year-old mother arrives to spend a few days and to see her great-granddaughter graduate on Sunday. There is also a “family” barbecue for our family, Blondie’s boyfriend’s family, and whoever else she considers to be family. I believe barbecued brisket, baked beans, and potato salad (among other things) are expected. All nice, diabetes-friendly foods (she says with tongue firmly planted in cheek).

If I made some of those things ahead, I would have time to do carb factors on them so I could fine-tune my insulin dosage. Whaddaya wanna bet it ain’t gonna happen and I’ll be guesstimating and correcting?

Oh, yeah: Guesstimating and correcting means I eyeball what I’m eating, take a wild guess at how many carbohydrates I’m eating and take insulin based on my guesstimate (aka a SWAG — Sophisticated Wild-A** Guess). Then I check my glucose two hours after I take the first bite and correct by either taking more insulin or popping another bite or two of food in my mouth.

Another way to lower your blood glucose is to engage in some activity: Walk, dance, vacuum, weed the garden…

***

If you’re a Type 2 who takes insulin, can you help my curiosity a bit? How much insulin do you take each day, on average? My daily basal rate (that’s the long-acting insulin for people who do injections) is 113 units. My total daily rate can hit 150 units, depending on what I eat, if I need to do corrections, and stuff like that. (Isn’t insulin resistance wonderful?)

I ask because I wonder about the amount of insulin that many pumps hold, especially the ones without tubing. One of these days, I may just call some of the pump companies, tell them about my unscientific survey, and ask them if they consider pumps for Type 2s when they design the cartridge volume.

Or not. I’m the only Type 2 I know the total daily dosage for. Maybe I’m odd. (Or odder than most people believe.) And, while I take a lot of insulin now, it used to be more. Not that long ago, my basal rate alone was more than 150 units a day.

***

Is it time to garden yet? Last year was hot and dry. So far this year, it’s been chilly and wet. Nevertheless, the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant plants were ready to go in and had to be planted. Which my husband did. I don’t mind gardening in a sweater, but it’s been too wet for my scooter to get to the raised beds in the backyard.

There’s oregano, dill, lavender, and some other herb reemerging from last year. I need to check my seeds to find out what I have. I had planted radishes, calendula (a flower with edible petals), onions, and lettuce in a portable garden to demonstrate accessible gardening at a gardening resource fair, but gave it (and the leftover seeds) to a nursing home so the residents could do some gardening.

Compost needs to be screened and mixed in with the planting medium for natural fertilizer. The bean towers need to be set up. And the cucumber fences, too.

***

Did you watch the Indy 500 Sunday? Did you know that a driver with Type 1 diabetes failed to win by less than 6 seconds? Charlie Kimball, who was diagnosed in 2007 at the age of 22, came in at number 9.

Engineers have adapted a continuous glucose monitor so Kimball’s blood glucose number is displayed on his IndyCar’s panel — plus transmitted it to his pit crew so he doesn’t have to read his numbers while zooming around the track at a speed that equals driving the length of a football field in one second.

He also wears both a water bottle and a bottle that contains orange juice. The tubes from the water go through his helmet and he can choose either liquid depending on his number. I wonder what the stress of driving at more than 200 MPH while avoiding other cars driving at the same speeds does to your BGs.

I don’t race, but have ridden a bicycle around the Indy 500 track a few times. I would fill a water bottle with ice, then fill it with juice and sip on it while I rode. It was always hot enough to melt the ice. After two laps (5 miles) the bottle would be dry and I’d come in to fill ’er up.

It’s an annual fundraiser for the American Diabetes Association. You can ride around the track, too. As many times as you want. I usually did 25 miles, but some people go to do centuries (100 miles). You won’t believe how steeply those turns are banked!

If you want to keep an eye on Kimball, his car is No. 83.

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