Thursday, December 27, 2007

December came and almost left!

Over the last month, much has been done. I have seen my Rehab Doctor for a checkup. My endocrinologist has switched clinics and no longer takes my insurance. I have dealt with the Christmas rush and have survived without going postal. I have also kept weight steady with all the extra treats foisted on all this holiday season. My blood sugars have been quite good. (120 average). I have also had lots of broadcast and studio equipment to repair and maintain over all of this and my ladyfriend and her little one. Erik has had it rough. He had an ankle which got rammed by a little friend's power chair when it went haywire. Shattered his ankle in 24 places. He also had an artificial hip get an infection and both hips need replacement. And having to deal with his Type 1 diabetes on top of that. He's home and doing better and got the casts off. I have had really high levels of spasticity on top of that. I have been advised to get another Baclofen Pump surgically implanted. (I had one from 2001-2003). I see the neurosurgeon next Monday about this. I also will be referred to another endocrinologist, Dr. David Huffman soon in Chattanooga. I am also in the process of considering a continuous glucose monitor. Will likely get a Dexcom 7. Stay tuned for future additions to the state of the engineer.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Today's new D adventure!

T0day began as an ordinary day off and routine. I got a message that my new Diabetic shoes were ready in Knoxville. I then got an invitation to lunch with a friend and colleague. So, I drove to Knoxville and checked on my shoes. They were the wrong size (size 10 1/2) and I wear a 8 1/2. They are going to order new shoes and modify those. I had lunch with my colleague. We ate at a Peruvian restaurant which just opened. Not a good choice. Our stomachs ached and digestion wasn't good. I also had swollen hip and knee joints from 4 days of adventure. I visited my friendly nurse practioner and got a Toradol injection and a steroid shot. Not the best thing for blood sugars. But neither is extreme pain. I plan on resting up. I also had an allergic reaction to lunch. Turns out to have had guacamole. Not a fine day.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thanksgiving in D land!

I have successfully survived Thanksgiving (no leftover turkey, either). I drove to Oak Ridge, TN with my grandmother and we saw my stepbrothers and their wives and children. Had a fine time. Excellent food from excellent cooks. The insulin pump was put in overdrive. The only glitch in the whole trip was having my left hip dislocate and get severely inflamed. Had a trip to the ER to check if it was in. It was but very uncomfortable.

I also have had some changes in my diabetes arsenal. I changed my infusion set to the new Inset 30 from Animas, I got some samples and supplemental training from my new Animas Territory Representative, Holly Samples. We also reviewed my pump issues and she went through the site changes. Turns out the main problems with loss of prime was a major pumping concept, filling the cannula. I was never told you had to fill the cannula after you connected the infusion set. This caused a delay in basal delivery and air in the tubing. This and kinking in my cannulas explained my problems with losing prime. My trainer was only with Animas for a short time and training was just before a holiday at that 15 months ago. This visit was valuable and reminded me that having more training as a new pumper is valuable. My experiences are much better now and the IR 1250 is happy. My HbA1c was 5.4% so all is groovy! Holly was key to improvements in my pumping know-how.

It has been busy in the world of broadcast engineering. I have had a Vol Network football broadcast (the UT-Kentucky game we won by 2 points in 4 overtimes) 51-49. We are playing LSU in Atlanta, GA next Saturday. Go Vols!

Today, we had 4 FM exciters, 2 audio processors, and 2 FM multiplex generators fail due to a power surge. A 60 mile drive to Knoxville, TN again and a trip to Sharp's Ridge to the transmitter building to repair the affected gear. Many capacitors, resistors, diodes, transistors and a tube or two later WUOT-FM 91.9 was back on the air. Took 5 hours to repair all!

I am glad to have this week over due to the excitement and all the traffic and repairs attended too. Broadcast engineering never is dull, always repairs and maintenance to be done. Next week, I have to go get my new shoes and inserts. I had to get new orthotics and a new pair of modified New Balance 587 running shoes with them. I have a leg length discrepancy. My left leg is 5/8" shorter than my right. I need a built up left shoe. I was born this way and had to live with it 41 years of that before it was re-evaluated and compensated for. Very hard on backs and hip joints. My left hip was also cocked to the side a bit when I was born 11 weeks early in 1964. Also got club feet too with it. I get stiffer and more uncomfortable as I get older (I outlived my life expectancy 5 times along the way). Next week is going to be a slower one if possible.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Another Day In Pump Paradise or The Pump Went South!

Today has been unusual in nature. I got up early to drive out to the mechanic and get that hood release latch replacement on my Nissan Sentra (a 1996 model built in Smyrna, TN). I spent 3 hours there and he got it repaired. The grille and bumper cover had to be removed to gain access to the hood. I got my hair cut and ran some errands and shopped for some groceries. I had several instances of hypoglycemic episodes with no sensation of lows. I am dealing with autonomic neuropathy and the spina bifida and cerebral palsy with it. Not fun.

I put the pump in temp basal mode and only saw half the screen. I couldn't cancel the temp basal on top of that. Another call to Animas and letting the support nurse know about my issues with the screen and being unable to cancel the temporary basal. She is sending me a replacement pump tomorrow. I am on injections until then. This is my 11th IR 1250 in 14 months of pumping. Another day in paradise. I have lots of experiences with my backup regime of injections. I like my Animas pump even with the issues I have had. The technical support and the trainers have been superb too. I would have had trouble with other makes of pump as much or even more in my opinion. I am getting ready to drive to Lenoir City and pick up mom. A day on the go and in the life of a fool.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Thriller Week

This week has began in an interesting way. My PC was acting like a voodoo experiment gone bad. It crashed and I had to do some reconfiguring and organization work. I have also had to change infusion sites on my pump and use my thighs and tail end. Problem with that is being of limited and often spastic reach it's difficult to use the tail end. I have also had my allergies and rashes spread too. Saw my nurse practitioner at clinic yesterday and she advised meeting with my pump trainer and trying some different infusion sets on my pump. I am glad that I have a pump with Luer Lock infusion sets. More options that way and you can use whatever your body likes. I was also advised to try different adhesive removers. Confucian curses strike again.

Also, got my flu shot last night and a HbA1c ran. Got the result back 5.5% a few moments ago. Bliss! With very few lows at that. I have been listening to lots of fine music. I heard the Haydn String Quartets by the Lindsays. Superb recording. Also, been listening to lots of singer/songwriters and looking back to the old days. If you have a turntable, get thee the new Warner Brothers/ Because Music Matters reissue of "Sweet Baby James". It is superb and the best you'll ever hear this classic. Thanks to Steve Hoffman and Kevin Gray at Acoustech Mastering. Costs about $25 and worth the investment. Act now as the edition is limited.

With this post and onward, I will also have reviews on records, compact discs, and audio equipment old and new. I love music as a way to unwind from Diabetes and disabilities. Also, some commentary on the arts is now a feature. Also, I will comment on wheelchair athletics and adapted vehicles and their maintenance. In short, broadening my horizons.

I drive a 1996 Nissan Sentra with hand controls and a knob on the steering wheel. My wheelchair is a Quickie Ti Titanium I have had since 2002. I use Loftstrand Crutches for short distances. I use Walk Easy ultralight crutches and they are superb and save energy.

I prefer Nikon manual film cameras for my photographs and get my film scanned. I also use a Kodak Retina 1b from Germany with a Schneider Xenar 2.8 50 MM lens which is focused by distance scale. It was made in 1957. My Nikon FG was made in 1982.

My audio preferences will be discussed next time. I do prefer vintage gear for the most part. Have a super Halloween and a fun time.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

A Day In The Life Of A Challenged Man

This week has gone by in a blur. I have gotten rid of a serious ear infection. I have also picked up a urinary tract infection (the bane of a Spina Bifida person). I have had a visit from some friends from Knoxville and fellow audio enthusiasts and photography buffs. We had tea and listened to much music and had superb conversation. I also looked for a source for custom orthotics for my club feet and plantar fasciitis. My gait is hard on feet, legs, and hip joints. One reason why my wheelchair is thought of as a booster amplifier for my lower half. I have also dealt with insulin pump infusion site issues. I have had the quick disconnect and the fitting it attaches to fail frequently on my Animas Comfort infusion sets. I contacted my educator and discussed it with her and my Animas rep. They agreed that I likely had a bad batch of Comfort sets. I called Animas Pump Support and discussed it with the lady who was working. Turns out that there was a problem with them. I love the quality and promptness of Animas Corporation's Support people. A superb company to deal with and essential to the good pump life. I have had to deal with being in sick day mode. I am draggy but surviving. My primary care clinic and D team have been as fine as I can ask for.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Major upgrades!

Yesterday, I received my replacement pump from Animas. I changed to a Silver colored pump from a blue pump. Working fine at the moment. Had fine blood sugars except for a drop suddenly to 46! I had to get out the glucagon and prepare and inject it. Got my blood sugar up to 123. Had a rash which started spreading. Breathing got a little tight. Out came the Epipen! After 2 doses, I started improving and returned to my day. Turned out my basal rate was on my high setting.

I have decided to change blog styles since I felt the current style looked cleaner. I am doing OK outside of stiff hamstrings and hip muscles. Spasticity and aging disabled body rear their ugly head. Did do some stretching. Am getting very hard on shoes due to gait being an issue. I will have to change approaches to spasticity control. This is also having bearings on my basal insulin needs and even insulin/carbohydrate ratios. So, some basal tests and a meet with my diabetes team is in order. I have been listening to a great deal of jazz lately. Especially the work of John Coltrane. A Love Supreme has gotten me through much meditation and stretching. I do some Yoga but couldn't get within 50 miles of the Lotus Position. The good news is I am still upright. Does make dressing and transfers a bear. Gotta leave for now and see my internist at clinic and my PT for advice. Also, I play caregiver to my 86 year old grandmother who has a lot of issues and my lady friend and her toddler, Erik!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

More spastic adventures!

I drove my mom and Alex to Lenoir City this afternoon. Dropped them off at Krystal (a small, square hamburger which is excellent. 1 of them is 17G carbs or about 1.1 U bolus. 1.15 carb ratio and delicious. Equivalent to White Castles for northerners). On the drive to Lenoir City, hit several bumps putting the left hip out of socket. Reboot needed. Put hip in socket and drive to Knoxvile, TN for a staff meeting at WUOT-FM 91.9 concerning the new satellite receivers and other technical issues. After meeting, cut several LP records on the old Neumann Lathe ( A German made record cutting system which most fine records were made on, built in 1971). After supper, drove home to Athens, TN (60 miles) in my old 1996 Nissan Sentra ( a fine small car). Got home, napped about 45 minutes and logged on to the WWW. Also looked at some LP records I am considering purchasing for my collection and saw my lady friend and her toddler. Just another day in paradise. Good BG values for the day. 100 on the low end and 144 on the high. 122 for the day average. Thanks, Pump!

I have had quite a weekend!

I have had an interesting weekend! First, my left hip went out of socket 3 times and was swollen and inflamed. Meaning a late night trip to the emergency room for a Toradol shot in my left hip to calm that down.

I also had issues with my Animas IR 1250 insulin pump. I had a difficult time with priming cycles on the pump. Would go to prime my pump and the pump would get stuck in the middle of the priming cycle. It usually worked fine on the second attempt. Then I got a Call Service alarm on the pump. So I called Animas Pump Support (wonderful people) and they walked me through the issue. I had to take the battery out of the pump and reinsert it, I then had to rewind and prime the pump. So far, so good. Until Saturday night.

I was at WJSQ/WLAR studios in Athens, during a Nascar race broadcast. My Blood Glucose was dropping (misjudged a carb count on the supper bolus). So I opted for a 70% basal reduction, I entered TEMPBASAL on the pump, it wouldn't let me enter one. So another call to Animas Pump Support. After trying several different things, the support engineer recommended sending me another IR 1250 pump. I chose Silver instead of my usual Blue. Superstition perhaps. I called my girlfriend and let her know about the issue. She suggested I try activating Child Lock as Pump Support said I had a stuck button on my pump. The pump is OK for now.

I attended a street fair in Athens Saturday morning. It's PumpkinFest. There were many booths with community services and businesses, food vendors, and arts and craftspeople and a large crowd. Beautiful old small town, Athens is. I got quite a workout in my chair with my mom, Helen and my nephew, Alex. Had a superb time. Slept in this morning. I am taking Helen and Alex back to meet Stephanie, Alex's mom in Lenoir City, TN halfway. Then back to reality for the week.