My Attempt at Socialising

So, I don’t have a particularly busy social life I’ll admit…. But, I do know a fair few fellow diabetics. A lot of which I spent this weekend with in a Caravan Park, the weekend (Friday to Monday), nicknamed Hoburne.

My mum actually organises this particular weekend, and has done since I was 6 years old. This year was our 9th year! The time has really flown since the first year.

I really really love being around others with diabetes. I just fit in so easily it’s crazy! At school I have my friends of course, but I find I have more in common with other type ones and/or thier siblings

Even if personality wise we’re poles apart. I think it’s to do with how we all have to deal with the same type of burden, so we understand each other on a whole other level, even the siblings who aren’t T1 themselves!

It’s not even the in depth conversation of what regimes you’ve been on, or your scariest hypo stories that I enjoy. (Yes I do like to hear those types of things, it’s interesting!) But it’s the moments that an insulin pump beep and no one knows which pump it was, so everyone pulls thier electronic pancreases (has someone invented the plural for pancreas yet?) out of thier pockets.

We’re a family. When you haven’t met before, or when you’ve known each other for years. There is just a connection between diabetics, and the siblings that get dragged along. It’s amazing. You don’t know what it’s like unless you’ve been there. I love it. I love them:)

The Idiot Within Me Strikes Once Again

Guess who was an idiot and forgot to take any spare strips on a school trip this last week? Moi!

I was off to London to a University with the school, I’d been told the day before that two trained Teaching Assistants (two that I know quite well, one more so than the other) would be going on this trip too, just in case I needed help.

So that morning I was all ready, bag packed with my test kit, spare needles, lucozade, glucagon, creon (digestive enzymes, taken because of my lack of pancreas), spare set change and even an injection kit in case my pump failed! And I never carry a spare injection kit (I know I’m meant to……). I was definitely ready for this trip.

It was quite a long journey, especially as it was by coach. I think it was 3 and 1/2 hours. Not my longest journey by far, but it wasn’t exactly fun. About 1/2 hour into this journey, the smartguard activated. So, because smartguard isn’t working very well for me, and I go low anyway, I tested. I was 2 mmol/ls above the sensor. So, I turned smart guard off. It then activated again 1 hour later. (If I remember correctly!) I tested again, using the last test strip in the pot in my kit. The sensor was wrong again. This was clearly a bad sensor. Suddenly thinking for once, I decided to get the other pot of test strips out of my bag, ready for my next test.

So I’m rummaging through my bag and I stick my hand in my medical kit (kept in a makeup bag within my bag) and I pull out the spare test strips. I open it up…….. Empty.

Completely and utterly empty. I had no means of knowing what my blood sugars were, and I couldn’t even rely on the sensor.

I froze. Panicked. Then actually thought logically.

So, I called my mum. She was fuming, but she worked her magic.

There was then a pot of test strips found at the hospital I’m under, and the University was told to expect a package. The strips just had to get there. Somehow, a barrista (apologies for the spelling) offered to be gofer. And hey presto the test strips were handed to me, (by the T.A who’d gone to grab them from the main desk) just in time for lunch.

I can be sure I will never not check the spare test strip pot again! ESPECIALLY for school trips!!!

Taking off more than I can chew….. Literally

I went out to dinner with my dad and his girlfriend last night, to a newly opened Indian. I’ve had Indian lots of times before and I do eat rather a lot. The curry, rice, naan, onion Bahaji and often a side dish that I share with someone…… And I tend to finish the lot. (You’re probably thinking “Oh my word she’s so greedy! What a pig!” But I promise I don’t do this often! It was a treat last night I swear!)

Anyway, we got a few poppadoms (Is that how you spell it???) with the little topping thingys and I had one and a half with a couple of spoonfuls of various toppings. We were waiting a long time for our main to come, because it was such a new restaurant so they were extremely full but with limited staff. When the main course came I piled the rice onto my plate, put most of my curry on top and some of the side dish (Saag Paneer, spinach and cheese in sauce, probably my favourite part of the meal!) I ate a forkful. And then another……. And then I was full.

I realised this would be Gastroparesis mucking around. Only a few bites into my delicious meal, I didn’t want anymore! I decided that this meal was just too nice to pass up, plus I couldn’t exactly leave heaps of food at a restaurant, so I ploughed on through it. I don’t regret doing that either! I felt super full at the end, so I didn’t have seconds sadly:( Thankfully I didn’t feel sick! I’ve felt much worse after much smaller meals before, so it wasn’t bad at all.

It was a delicious meal, so was a very good night out!:)

But, I accidentally over bolused. I actually gave the same amount of insulin as I normally do, so I don’t know why I reached 3.3 an hour after getting home. But I was minus a sensor due to it dying on my about 2 hours before going out so we’d decided to try and resurrect it (and failed) so I didn’t have one in at all that evening. I wouldn’t hve gone that low, if low at all if I’d had my CGM working-_-

My brand new MiniMed 640G!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I will start off by just clarifying that my brand new MiniMed 640G, is in fact my insulin pump. Now you know what I’m actually on about, I can start!!

So, at the beginning of February, the 2nd I think, I was due a new insulin pump. But, I wanted the new all-singing all-dancing Medtronic pump (said 640G) which was launched on the market that very same day I was due one. Basically, that meant I couldn’t get my hands on it during that appointment on the 2nd disappointingly. We were then told I would get it within that next couple of weeks. But, we are talking about the NHS here. (Don’t get me wrong, I love that it’s free and cares for you, but boy is it slow. If the NHS and a snail were in a race to get the best time, the snail would probably win, being faster). We were told they had to order the pump, train the hospital staff who were meant to train the patients blah blah blah.

So here we were, 2 and a half months later, finally getting my new pump! September before last, so 2013, I took part in the trials for the 620 which was virtually the same as the 640G except it was minus a few features and it isn’t actually available (a slight problem if you want it…. But the 640G is better, so the 620 probably lays in the corner forgotten somewhere).

My mum and I therefore didn’t strictly need the training for my new pump, having been trained a little over a year before and we were going to just stop by the hospital and pick up the pump a few days before the official training day. It then turned out that I knew 3 of the people going and were good friends with them, so UCLH managed to squeeze us in and 2 of my friends and our mums made a day of it (they both live nearby me).

Our training was in the afternoon, so after getting the train up there with them, we found a place called Kamps (I recommend it, it is utterly delicious!) just down from the hospital (UCLH). I’d eaten there before (and will definitely go back!) and had my usual tuna melt with a caramel coffee frap (both mouth-wateringly good!). I couldn’t for the life of me remember what carbs I had given, or whether it had worked last time I ate there. So, I guessed. My friend, and fellow diabetic, also had a tuna melt (minus my amazing drink) and we guessed slightly differently. I did 10 carbs more than he did (I still think I was closer carbs wise hahaha!) and added on what I guesstimated for the caramel thingy-majiggy. We had to wait and see who’d guessed better! A mini competition of sorts!

The training was fun, I won’t go into details as my post is already super long (I do hope I’m not boring you now! If you’ve managed to read this far, thank you very much! I really appreciate views and always forget to say thank you!). It was a rather hot and stuffy room we were sat in for a good 3 hours, and halfway through the session I had to test. Hello mr blood sugar of 18.0. Fabulous. I’d under-bolused horribly, and the heat hadn’t exactly helped. Luckily it came down quickly but annoyingly my friend’s blood sugars were perfect even though he bolused less (and he had a donut so we had roughly equal carbs!).

We got a new pump, a new transmitter for the sensor and a new test kit! (Contour link next USB 2.4!!) So all very exciting. The training was good fun, we already knew most things we were taught but it reminded us. The main thing we didn’t know about, only rumours and other friends being on it (and Twitter of course!), was the smart guard. (The CGM and pump work together to turn off the insulin to prevent a low blood sugar!! The graph turns orange for when smartguard is active!) Oh my word. It’s so cool! I’ll do another post on it and how it works:)

After training, those of us who travelled up together went out for dinner…… All bolused using our new pumps…… Then we travelled home……. And on the way home my smartguard activated!!! I was so excited, I couldn’t stop looking at it!

love my new pump and all it’s extras! I really love it!!!:) 

You can see how my day went with blood sugars haha!!

 

Second photo you can see the smart guard just activated because I was dropping!

Last photo you can see smart guard had been on (same section of smart guard as photo above, just hours later!). Apologies for the atrocious nail varnish, I really need to sort it out.

Sadly the smart guard didn’t work in this instance, and after giving it every chance of working, even not having lucozade when I tested at about 22:10 and was 3.5. The smart guard reached its maximum time – 2hours – and had to switch off. At which point I was 3.0, and feeling it very much so. However, later that night it activated again, and worked!

University

Now, I know I’m only 15 (And only just, I had my birthday last week! And if you wanted to know, which you probably don’t but I’ll tell you anyway, 15 doesn’t feel any different whatsoever to 14) but I am already thinking about my future. And my future is one that I hope involves becoming a doctor. Well, it WILL involve being a doctor, I’m not the type to accept no as an answer in this circumstance.

But of course becoming a Doctor involves being a medical student first, and recently I’ve been thinking about the course I want to do, (which is the A100, another fact you probably didn’t need or want but I’ve told you anyway). But more importantly I’ve been thinking about where I want to do that course.

Last weekend, I spent 3 days in Cambridge having a look at the area and the outside of the colleges under the university. (It is a very lovely area, sooo beautiful and old) but I’m not sure the course structure is right for me, I’m not sure. Oxford is exactly the same structure as Cambridge, and they are the only two in the UK that use that structure. All of the other universities either do lots of studying and lectures in the first 3ish years and then clinical placements in the last few years or do a mix of both all the way through. But it is a 6 year course either way you do it. (Cambridge and oxford appear to do two 3 years courses strangely).

I won’t bore you with all the details of the courses but the other Uni I’m very interested in happens to be UCL, the hospital I’m under for my diabetes care! I plan on talking to my consultant about his experience there. Plus as a medical student I could get placements in GOSH, the other hospital I’m under, for my CHI. (I want to work in paediatrics, and specialise within that, so GOSH would be a perfect placement! To study at UCL would be quite frankly a dream of mine!)

But thinking about the course and Universities, especially UCL because it’s in London has got me thinking about just general student life, and how expensive and busy it is!

And the point of this now rather long post is, how on earth do I fit Diabetes/CHI into it?! To try and get as high an income as I could to cover living and Uni expenses I would most likely have to get a job, but I would have to pass the course and become a doctor too (Kind of the point of being there really?) so I would be SOO busy. I dread managing Type 1 with that kind of lifestyle. Although, others will have done it before me, I’m sure it is possible.

With all that negative thoughts about fitting medical stuff, oh gosh I hadn’t even thought about appointments before now, into that life there is a positive. Well, two. No, I correct myself again, three.

1. It is after all a serious medical condition, and then combined with CHI and Gastroparesis, although the CHI more, I would probably, hopefully get some privileges. I’ve heard of Type 1 Diabetics getting ensuite rooms, for high overnight bloods, and fridges in their rooms for insulin etc. (A mini fridge of course, could you imagine a big, fat, tall fridge sitting in the corner of your bedroom?!)

2. I would be excellent at the diabetes section of the training! And a little knowledgeable about the endocrine system, the pancreas in particular I guess. But not much.

3. I would be able to empathise super well (I hope!!) with my (paediatric) patients if I worked in endocrinology, which I’m interested in at the moment. In fact I’m interested in specialising in the pancreas and/or CHI! That would be cool.

So, life as a medical student will be busy and difficult especially with diabetes/CHI thrown into the mix, but it will be rewarding too, at the end:)

The Smallest and Yet Most Annoying Diabetes Moments PART 2

– When you’re getting ready for bed and you’re just cleanin your teeth when your blood sugars suddenly drop. Well, orange flavoured lucozade and mint toothpaste is a lasting taste……. And not a very pleasant one at all.

– When you’ve had high blood sugars for a few days, not 18+ high (although this point is very true if you’re 18+ high for a few days!) but even only 11ish. Just higher than you usually are. You’ve finally gotten your bloods back down into range, you’re 5/6ish but your body is trying to persuade you that you’re low. You test over and over again during that first day back to normality but every single test you are very clearly fine. But still you’re feeling very low. It is highly frustrating because you think lucozade will help, but of course all it will do is send you high again!! I often feel like saying “brain you had one job. Give me symptoms when I’m low” because of course the rest of brain basically packs up for the non hypo but symptomatic day. Why brain why.

– When there’s loud music on and you suddenly hear what could be your pump. But you’re not too sure because there’s an instrument in the song that’s playing that sounds vaguely like your pump. Plus your pump is in an awkward place because you’re at a party. To get your pump out or not to get your pump out. So, because you don’t want to risk it being your pump and it then sirening, you get it out, (with difficulty and few odd looks). You then find out it was never your pump in the first place and you needn’t have worried or got it out.

There are plenty of other small and yet highly annoying moments that comes with being diabetic, but these are the only ones I could think of!

I also apologise for not writing this post sooner after part 1, I swore not to write this post until I finished a particular piece of homework……. I may have procrastinated rather a lot……

⬇️See part 1 here!!!⬇️

https://pancreasless.wordpress.com/2015/03/27/the-smallest-and-yet-most-annoying-diabetes-moments/