Baby Bullets

Friday, September 28, 2007 | 20 comment(s)

  • Wow!
  • We've been home from the hospital for a week now
  • In the first 48 hours after birth, they test the blood sugar for infants every 8 hours

  • The "normal" range for infant's blood sugars is 45 mg/dl - 90 mg/dl
  • Both babies hung around the mid-40s to low 50s for the first day before pushing up into the 70s once they were getting some formula in their bellies
  • They're not checking for diabetes (as a nurse kindly explained to me) because they are much too young to have an autoimmune attack kick into gear (and hopefully never will)
  • OneTouch has pulled off a mini marketing coup
  • Rather than explaining to parents that they're checking their newborn child's blood sugar, they say, we have to "do a OneTouch" every 8 hours" (and it even says this on the official medical records!)
  • The machine they used was ancient though, and took a good 45+ seconds to perform the test
  • As for me, I'm completely off my schedule
  • I rely on being on schedule to help maintain my control
  • Usually, I change my infusion sets every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings after my shower
  • I occasionally waste a little insulin this way, but to know *exactly* on schedule brings me a peace of mind that is well worth the waste
  • Now, I don't hardly know what day or hour it is, so I've been setting up my pump with the maximum amount of insulin it can hold and hoping I remember to change it in less than 4 days
  • I haven't logged my blood sugars through any of this, so I have next to no idea how well (or poorly) things are going
  • They (the doctors, the books, etc.) recommended using a log to keep track of the babies feedings/sleep/pee/poop
  • I refrained from doing this for some reason
  • I think it's because I'm a little OCD and wouldn't be able to really do it unless I designed a log myself
  • And I just don't have the time for that!
  • And besides, things have been going so well, the babies have been feeding rather well (and until recently pooping and peeing rather well -- L hasn't pooped in 24 hours, so there's a low level of concern, but E has been a monster eater and pooper)
  • Logbooks are best for debugging (at least that's my rationalization for not logging their feedings, etc. (and when I'm slacking off in logging my own blood sugars))
  • I also have been ridiculously over-treating my low blood sugars
  • A reading of 43 mg/dl is COMPLETELY different from a reading of 43 mg/dl with an infant in your arms (diabetic parents: any suggestions for dealing with this new fear?)
  • And I've found that it's increasingly difficult to distinguish between the symptoms of sleep deprivation and hypoglycemia -- not cool
  • But other than that, things are going great
  • I've been peed on, pooped on, spit-up on, I'm sleep deprived, and I've never been happier in my whole life

  • Go figure

Two New People (briefly)

Friday, September 21, 2007 | 31 comment(s)

We are extremely pleased to introduce two new people to the world:

Ian Aloysius (born Wednesday @ 2:53pm; 5lb, 3oz, 17in) and
Eleanor Grace (born Wednesday @ 3:06pm; 5lb, 7oz, 17.5in)

Megan and both babies are in perfect health.
We could not
Our friend Jerome (aka, Jerry G.) has already corrected us on this: We can be happier, and we will be -- it just gets better and better (which is pretty hard to believe considering how great we feel).

be happier.

Version 3.14

Sunday, September 02, 2007 | 288 comment(s)

Some of you know about the Excel logbook I created a little over a year ago. While I was working remotely with Gary Scheiner, I needed to record my blood sugars in detail and email them to him on a regular basis. I started off using one of his logbooks designed in Microsoft Word, but that became cumbersome to work with. I had also recently (at the time) purchased a bunch of "My Other Checkbooks"
An Offer
I have 11 of these taking up space in a closet. If anyone would like to try them out, just drop me a line and they're yours.

to try out. And while I liked the notion of simultaneously graphing and recording blood sugar readings, the whole notion of actually having to draw the graph yourself seemed pretty implausible to me (I think I only drew one). Thus I started designing a logbook in Microsoft Excel. I was pretty familiar with Excel, I have a pretty close eye to consistent layout and details, and after several hours of work, the first version of my logbook was born.

I initially shared it with Scott,
Thank you
I think it's a coin toss whether Scott or Chrissie in Belgium is the biggest fan of the logbook. But no doubt, Scott flaunts it the most and fields a TON of requests for it.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

and since then have shared it with almost 100 other folks in the Diabetes OC (and otherwise). The feedback I've received from the people I've shared this with has been incredibly, incredibly generous.

I can't say this enough: "You are all very, very welcome."
The feeling I get knowing that this little thing I created is helping folks deal with their diabetes is just about the best.

Because I'm a programmer by day and keep a lot of my work under version control,
I'm pretty partial to Subversion as a version control software.

It's open source and free (nice). And with Tortoise SVN, it integrates directly with Windows Explorer (also nice). It works beautifully for small and large computer code projects (including web pages) as well as any other type of group project that evolves over time and that you might want to have record of *every* iteration you've gone through to get to your current version.

In programming (and web design, in particular), it is not uncommon to thoroughly break something while you're "improving" it. To have the ability to go back to your previous version and figure out what went wrong, is Invaluable.

Also, if you work collaboratively with a group of folks on a project and you're constantly naming your files with suffixes like "_kevin_090107" and then someone has to synchronize changes from multiple people into a single file, then version control software can save a ton of headaches.

In short:
"I love it, I love it, I love it, I love it!"

as things get updated, tweaked, and improved, I try to keep track of the changes and tag them. It's somewhat arbitrary when enough changes have accumulated and you decide to name a new version, or what name you give to the current version, but this one is a little cheeky/geeky (And Damn!, if that's not the best visualization for a mathematical constant I've ever seen!).

Previously, I had four summary charts produced for each week:
Weekday Hourly Average Bloodsugars ("Weekday Avg")

Weekday Lines ("Weekday Lines")

Weekend Hourly Average Bloodsugars ("Weekend Avg")

All Week Hourly Average ("Week Avg")

The major changes I've made to the logbook is to include three new charts:
All Week Line Chart ("Week Line")

Distribution of Readings by Time of Day ("Pie Time").

Distribution of All Readings ("Pie All")

If anyone would like this new version of my logbook, just ask (nicely). I'll be more than happy to send you a copy of it. (Oh yeah, I also have a version in mmol/l for our friends to the North, Down Under, or Across the Pond, so please let me know if you'd like it in that flavor).

While overall I'm pretty pleased with the logbook I created, I really wish that I had the skills and the time to develop something more along the lines of SugarStats or Diabetes Logbook X (for Mac users). If you haven't seen these yet, I encourage you to check these out as well.

There was a great quote by renowned author James S. Hirsch in the most recent DiaTribe that really rung my bell (DiaTribe is really worth checking out if you haven't seen it yet).

But if you believe that diabetes is an endless dance to the same old song, we now have some new partners who can engage, enrapture, and even awe us, long into the night.

-James S. Hirsch

Although he was talking about insulin pumps and CGM systems, I think that it can be extrapolated to logbooks (or practically any diabetes related product) as well. Mix it up, try new things, because we're going to be doing this for a long time. If you fall off the logbook wagon, try a new wagon. What ever works. Stamina is a big part of this game.

There are (of course) pros-and-cons with all of these logbooks but keeping track of blood sugars, exercise, carbohydrate intake, boluses, basal rates, and tracking patterns and keeping on top of or improving all of these is critical to "managing" your diabetes. Try one out. If it works for you, great. If not, find something else that works. If one works for a while and then starts to fizzle, try another one. Perhaps it'll know a new dance step or two to keep you going for a while longer.

A Nowhere Near Complete Comparison of Logbooks

SugarStats Logbook X
Kevin's Logbook
Store data online


Need to install new

Use widely available

Record A1cs/Doctor's

Hold more than a
week's worth of data

Has a chart called
"Pie Time"