Empty as a pocket

Thursday, February 22, 2007 | 8 comment(s)

I don't know how women do it.

If I didn't have 3 pockets in each and every pair of pants I own, I would be lost.
A wreck. A disorganized wreck.

Below is a blue-print of what I keep on my body (in my pockets) at all times
(in case you want to rob me, though please don't):

Left-front pocket:
  • keys
  • cash
    Scary details
    ...folded in half, ordered from smallest bill on the outside to largest bill on the inside, and all bills with the same orientation. A friend who used to work at a bank once told me that this was called "bank faced" but I couldn't find any support for this phrase on the internets.

  • a vial of OneTouch test strips
  • a lancet device
    My beloved Accu-chek Softclix, lancet device, specifically.

  • a pen (sometimes two)

Right-front pocket:
  • OneTouch Ultra glucometer
  • a tube of glucose tabs (grape flavored)
  • loose change (and yes, occasionally ordered from largest coin to smallest coin)

Left-Rear pocket:
  • my wallet (a bi-fold, black leather wallet, that I try to keep thin -- no Costanza wallet for me)

Right-Rear pocket:
Usually empty, but occasionally holds:
  • plastic bags for picking up after Jorge
  • a bottle of beer at a concert or other social setting
  • bottle caps (so I can keep track of how many beers I've had)
  • grocery lists (though (much to Megan's chagrin) I prefer to just try and remember everything rather than make a list)
  • directions to whereever I'm going

Sometimes I think I'm slightly autistic.
Other times I feel like Dennis the Menace.

The nice thing about this is I rarely misplace things, like my keys.
They're either on my bedside table, in my backpack, or in my left-front pocket.
It's a system.
It works.

Though it's funny.
Occasionally I reach for my keys in my left pocket, and they're not there.
I panic a little. Then I find them in my right pocket.
Little moments like these are when I think I'm losing it.
Crazy, I know.

So pockets are important to me.

I like fob pockets, too.
(Though I don't usually use them -- I just like calling them fob pockets.)
Oh, and I while I like pants that have a little change pocket inside the pocket, it's only in these pants, and right in these "pocket pockets", that I get holes that I have to patch up with an iron-on patch. It's also particularly nice that these little change pockets are always located in the front-right pocket -- where I like to keep my change.

Depth, is especially important.
Too shallow, and things either just buldge up on my thigh, or they constantly fall out when I sit down. Too deep, and it can be hard to fish stuff out. I have a pair of corduroys that have pockets that are too deep. Whenever I reach in for something, either my medic alert bracelet or my watch gets snagged on the top of the pocket. Very frustrating.

All this yammering about pockets has a point (sort of).

Last night my lancet device fell out of my pocket.
My beloved Accu-check Softclix lancet device is sitting on the floor in the penultimate row of the Verizon Center (I was at an ice hockey game last night, and we had nose-bleed seats).

Easily the second
First Place
First place went to the OneTouch Ultra and UltraSmart meters I switched to. I know that I've read complaints about the Ultra and the UltraSmart, but believe me, changing from the OneTouch Profile to anything is life-changing.

The Profile required a liter of blood and took 45 seconds for a reading. 45 seconds! If I'm testing 12 times a day, that's an extra 8 minutes/day that I'm picking up in free time! AND that's an extra 2920 minutes/year! That's more than 2 days of time savings! I have NO idea what took me so long to upgrade my meter. I'm still kicking myself.

best diabetes-related upgrade I made in 2006.

Seriously, I love these lancet devices.

The Accu-check Multiclix is far more popular than the Softclix, but because they have a drum of lancet devices in there "so you don't have to change them as frequently,"
As if
Since I'm one (of the many) who change their lancet once a year (if at that), and I don't have a whole lot of germ-phobias, the Multiclix just doesn't make any sense to me.

the Multiclix is a bit bigger. Small and compact are where it's at for me (it needs to fit nicely in my pocket, mind you). And that it's a breeze to use, is quieter than most other lancet devices I've used, and is actually less painful than any other device I've used is an all-around boon for me.

Last time this happened, I went looking for another Softclix. They're surprisingly hard to find. The Multiclix is on practically every pharmacy shelf, though. And get this: Both the Multiclix and the Softclix sell for $29.99. BUT the Accu-chek Active meter sells for $19.99, AND COMES WITH A Softclix! Needless to say, I bought the meter and have never used it once.

I'm hoping I can find another one of these things around.
Though I'm guessing that I'll have to buy another Accu-chek Active meter that I'll never use. If anyone would like one of these, I'll be more than happy to send it along.


Friday, February 09, 2007 | 17 comment(s)

A few days ago we had a going-away party for a colleague. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but it fell to me to set up the cookie tray during the party prep...
"Huh. What?"
"Watch this," they wispered.
"Watch what?"
"We'll make the diabetic put out the cookies."
"Hehehe... Cool. It's fun to watch him twitch in self-restraint."
"Yeah...Hehehe. I can see the veins start to buldge on his forehead already."

...Setting up the cookie tray entailed nothing more than opening the pack of cookies and arranging them on a tray.

Nothing to it, right?
Nothing fancy, either.
Just your standard-issue Chips-Ahoy!
Just spread them out around the perimeter.
And put some Reese's Peanut Butter Cups in the center.
To make it look nice.
That's all.

I haven't had a sweet since before thanksgiving.
Let me tell ya: I almost stuffed eight
Kinda Like This

of those little devils in my mouth while no one was looking.

But I didn't.

I went the very next day to have my blood drawn for my A1c.

I've made it.
No cookies, no cakes, no pies, no ice cream.
No candy, no doughnuts, no pop tarts, no brownies.
None through the holidays, none so far this year.

I'm pretty damn proud of myself.

Now, I sit and wait for the results to come back
(note to self: make an appointment with endo to get A1c result).

But I'm pretty impressed also with the remarkable effect this no-sweet diet has had on my blood sugars. See here!

Here is the table of averages from November:

November Stats
days mg/dl # tests tests/day S.D.
7 149 89 12.7 62
14 149 182 13.0 62
30 143 402 13.4 60
60 155 799 13.3 67
90 154 1,229 13.7 68

And now here is the data as of this week:

February Stats
days mg/dl # tests tests/day S.D.
7 136 88 12.6 57
14 132 202 14.4 56
30 130 436 14.5 51
60 139 859 14.3 61
90 137 1,335 14.8 60

Pretty cool, huh?

My average blood sugars have fallen about 15 mg/dl - pretty cool.
My standard deviation has also decreased by about 5 mg/dl - also pretty cool.
I'm testing slightly more frequently than usual.
I've been slipping upward the past couple weeks.
My 30 day average was the best in both periods.
My 60 day average was the worst in both periods, too (odd).
I know that the 60 day average this time included the holidays, but I have no idea what was going on back between September and October to make my averages drop like they did (all I know is that Halloween certainly was no help!).

Based on these averages, my A1c SHOULD come back in the sub-6.0 range. But if I've learned anything from my previous experiences, I know that I don't really lie on the regression line.

Perhaps I'm an outlier.
I originally wrote this post at 1am on Friday night. When I woke up on Saturday morning, the first thought in my head was: "Of course I don't lie on the regression line. In fact, it's completely possible that NO ONE lies on the regression line. We could ALL be outliers (though, technically, that couldn't be true)."

Somehow all my statistics training was already fast asleep at 1am.

The regression line is just an estimated linear relationship between average blood sugars and A1c results across many individuals. The relationship is unique for each individual. Like in the graph below, each dot represents the unique relationship between average blood sugars and A1c results.

There's clearly a pattern in the relationships: higher average blood sugars correlate with higher A1c readings and lower average blood sugars correlate with lower A1c readings. But the diagonal line is just a best linear estimate of that relationship. It's the simplest way to say "ON AVERAGE your A1c reading is equal to [{average blood sugar + 77} / 36]" (which is approximately what the regression results from the study I'm familiar with found).

Although, I could very well be the organge dot (in which case, perhaps I really am an outlier).


My money's on 6.6.
I can almost hear the clicking of a roulette wheel and a bouncing marble looking for its home.

New Rule of Thumb

Sunday, February 04, 2007 | 11 comment(s)

When dining out:
  • Survey the plate of food.
  • Make as best an estimate of the carbohydrate (CHO) content as possible.

  • Then double it.
    (consider throwing a dual wave bolus in there, too).

Three-hundred-thirteen-milligrams-of-glucose-per-deciliter-of-blood-plasma three-hours-post-meal is NOT cool.

Restuarants are evil.

I've got an A1c test coming up.
I can't have crap like this popping up.