Life after birth

Someone's family, somewhere, yesterday
Someone’s family, somewhere, yesterday

It’s three weeks now since we started playing at being parents, and we’re having lots of fun. My caesarean scar has healed beautifully, which is of course amazing as most clinicians seem to expect that it should be oozing green pus and festering nicely by now, me being diabetic and all. I still can’t lift anything heavier than the baby, but I am able to walk much better now. The first time I stood up after the surgery I honestly thought all of my internal organs were about to fall out through my scar. I’m now starting to believe that this won’t actually happen.

I think my diabetes is best described as “interesting” at the moment. It’s a generally well behaved toddler who is prone to more tantrums than usual. A bit like an older sibling who’s had their nose put out of joint by the arrival of a new baby in the house. I think a third of the problem is down to the massive changes in hormones, a third is down to breastfeeding, a third is down to me struggling to believe that I no longer need a bucket of insulin for every meal and the fourth third is down to the fact that as you can probably tell, I’m a bit tired and have other, much more enjoyable things to focus on.

Breastfeeding has surprised me. I innocently expected the impact on diabetes to be relatively predictable. I know, I know, I’m a naïve fool. Generally my blood sugar drops an hour or so after I feed, but not all the time. Some of the time it has no impact whatsoever. And sometimes the drop comes later than 1 hour post feed. So I’m running at a reduced basal rate of 80% and eating 10-15g of carbs with each feed. And then I cross my fingers and more often than not it works out ok.

Continuing with the “I didn’t expect it to be like this” theme, my brain is struggling to come to terms with post birth diabetes. It’s spent 9 months running diabetes with military precision and attacking carbs with ever increasing amounts of ammunition. Now I don’t have the time, inclination or mental ability to do the military precision side of things, but my brain hasn’t quite caught up. So I’m over-correcting highs and over-bolusing for meals, because I simply don’t believe 5 units is enough to cover that sandwich when a month ago I needed 20 units for the same meal.

Generally though, the diabetes is as well controlled as it needs to be for now. The CGM helps a lot because it squawks at me when I go too high or low, meaning that I don’t forget completely about the pancreas business. Because to be honest, when you’ve got sick down your back, wee up your arm and a crying baby, blood tests aren’t really top of the agenda.

Poll results – Who do you think is the most useless member of your healthcare team?

Shoot Up readers wait to vote in this month's poll
Shoot Up readers wait to vote in this month’s poll

Like the cyclical inevitability of a routine A1C test, the results of the monthly poll have come round again. Last month your soaraway Shoot Up questioned who was the most useless member of your healthcare team.

Only 15% of you voted for yourselves – the patient. I suspect if we had run this poll exclusively with health care professionals the results would be different, with a significantly higher proportion of votes for the patients. But there we have it, patients and doctors not seeing eye to eye. Who’da thunk it?

Speaking of doctors, General Practitioners topped the poll with 34% of the vote. You lot just don’t like generalists do you? And, as Barry Norman would say, why not? This top result was fairly closely followed by dieticians with 22% of the vote. The general consensus divined from earlier comments on the blog was that dieticians were generally regarded as lovely but mainly useless. I imagine the dieticians reading this over their nut roast and low fat crème fraiche dinners won’t know whether to laugh or cry. I would do the former, followed closely by the latter.

Down at the bottom of the poll, with remarkably few votes, were pharmacists and specialist nurses. I’m not sure why pharmacists got off so lightly. Maybe you were all just feeling generous. As always, specialist nurses seem to be a popular choice – probably because they’re about the most knowledgeable and empathetic of our healthcare team.

Finally, optometrists garnered no votes at all – the first time that’s happened in a Shoot Up poll. Maybe we are all secret masochists who enjoy the Drops of Doom™ or having that horrible air-puffy thing in our eyes done. Who knows? I certainly don’t.

Anyway, this month we ask “How often do you meet up with other diabetics?” Cast your votes now! (Points to the bottom of the front page or to the right hand side if you’re in any other bit of the site).

Those results in full:

Who do you think is the most useless member of your healthcare team?

  •     General Practitioner (34%)
  •     Dietician (22%)
  •     Hospital Consultant (17%)
  •     The Patient (15%)
  •     Pharmacist (7%)
  •     Specialist Nurse (5%)
  •     Optometrist (0%)


The greatest diabetes-related ABBA-song-preference survey in the world

Complex statistics, yesterday
Complex statistics, yesterday

Avid account holders at your soaraway Shoot Up will be aware that when you sign up you are asked to tell us what your favourite ABBA song is. Some people thing that this is a clever anti-spam mechanism, others a complex physiological test of some description. In actual fact it’s a piece of paper-thin whimsy of little or no merit which has no greater meaning whatsoever.

Despite this I thought it would be interesting (read: I had nothing better to do) to extract the preferences from the mySQL database which runs your soaraway Shoot Up and collate the data to create the single greatest diabetes-related ABBA-song-preference survey in the world.

The extract gave us about 4,000 data records, which was a great result. When we removed the spam accounts and songs that only had one vote we were left with 121 records. We get a lot of spam accounts you see.

Anyway, the Shoot Up boffins had enough data to generate us the results below. For the sake of accuracy I have expressed each song preference as a percentage to at least eight  decimal points.

Dancing Queen > 35 > 28.92561983%
Waterloo > 23 > 19.00826446%
The Winner Takes It All > 10 > 8.26446281%
Fernando > 8 > 6.611570248%
Take A Chance on Me > 8 > 6.611570248%
Super Trooper > 6 > 4.958677686%
Money Money Money > 5 > 4.132231405%
Does Your Mother Know > 4 > 3.305785124%
Mama Mia > 4 > 3.305785124%
Knowing Me, Knowing You (ah-haaaaaa) > 3 > 2.479338843%
Lay All Your Love on Me > 3 > 2.479338843%
Chiquitita > 2 > 1.652892562%
Eagle > 2 > 1.652892562%
Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight) > 2 > 1.652892562%
I Had A Dream > 2 > 1.652892562%
Thank You For the Music > 2 > 1.652892562%
The Day Before you Came > 2 > 1.652892562%

Sadly Dancing Queen came in as a clear winner. I don’t really like Dancing Queen; despite its title, it has a plodding, slightly dreary four/four beat, which make it a pain to dance to when it’s inevitably played at wedding discos. Waterloo – tragically relegated to second place – is in my view a far better song – dum de dum de dum de dum daa daa! Not only is it great to dance to, it also teaches you something “…the history book on the shelf / is always repeating itself”. A salutary lesson to us all.

Behind the two champions came “Winner Takes It All” – which is good, but a little depressing – and “Fernando”, which is just an odd song.  “Take A Chance On Me” (that’s all I ask of you) romped in next with “Super Trooper” – a song with utterly inexplicable lyrics – following closely behind.

So there we have it – thank you, ABBA, for the music and thank you, Shoot Up readers, for helping us to build such a world class dataset. Knowing Me, Knowing You – ah haaaaaa!

What? The? Stats?
What? The? Stats?

Don't you just hate it…

…when you get your diabetes running nicely and then something interferes with it.

Last week I needed to take some new drugs for something or other. I asked the very sensible question of whether experience showed they had any impact on glucose levels. Dr helpfully said maybe, maybe not. Marvellous.

So I resorted to the ever helpful Dr Interweb, a mine of useful info if approached with a healthy dose of scepticism. The overall conclusion from a 20 minute appointment with Dr Interweb (a 20 min Dr’s appointment, can you imagine that!?) was that said drugs may well increase my blood sugar levels. But then again, they may also decrease them. And in some cases they may have no impact whatsoever. Even more marvellous.

So, aware of these possible eventualities and the fact that I was none the wiser as to which was most likely I jumped in and started on the drugs. A week later the main impact seems to be that if I pump in enough buckets of insulin I can keep levels steady in the low teens, but getting below that seems to be virtually impossible (even when I get really brave and put in double what I think I need, I can only get to about 9).

I admit to being baffled as to how I can run relatively steady, just at a level higher than I’d like to, but as it’s only for a week or so I’ll just be grateful that I have that problem rather than massive highs and crashing lows.

Wish me luck though, tomorrow’s challenge is to finish taking the drugs and abseil safely down from this drug induced high back to a more desirable altitude without plummeting head first into the valley of the hypos.

Comatose and rotting toes – the lighter side of insulin dependency

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