Sunday, November 09, 2008

Annual Diabetes Blog Day

Today is Annual Diabetes Blog Day, so here's my attempt to blog about diabetes.

Trouble is, there's not a lot to say. I watch my diet, I take my insulin (3 or 4 shots a day of two different insulins), I check my blood sugar before & after meals...and things go pretty well.

Here's the people I feel sorry for:

1. Diabetics who don't have good health insurance, or any health insurance at all. Insulin is expensive; blood sugar test strips cost about a dollar apiece (I often use 5 a day), the various oral medications (which I don't take) are also expensive. Without good insurance, I don't know how diabetics can afford all the stuff they need -- I suspect that they don't, and instead skimp on necessary medication or equipment.

2. Diabetics who manage without insulin. If my blood sugar starts getting high, I can just take a larger dose of insulin and everything evens out. [Well, okay, sometimes a larger dose of insulin means that my blood sugar goes too low, which could make me pass out, but I take a few glucose tablets to get it back up.] My dad, on the other hand, doesn't use insulin -- if his blood sugar is too high, his choices are (a) go back in time and eat less or be under less stress, (b) do some additional exercise to burn up the excess glucose, (c) put off his next meal, or (d) live with it. That last choice is a particularly bad one, because high blood sugar does all kinds of invisible, systemic damage in the body.

Sure, taking insulin is a chore and a pain, and I don't always get the doses right...but it sure beats the alternative.

3. Diabetics who don't have access to modern high-tech medicine. If my grandmother wanted to know her blood sugar level, she could use urine test strips...which gave a hazy reading of how much sugar was in her blood several hours ago. (Or she could go to a lab, pay a fortune, and get her results in a week or so.) She had only one kind of insulin, and dosing was total guesswork. She had to boil and reuse glass syringes and nasty needles. And she died relatively early. That was forty years ago; there are plenty of people in the world today who don't have access to even the level of technology that she did. They'll go blind, lose limbs, get multiple infections, and die early from all kinds of complications.

Me? I have nothing to complain about.

[Okay, I lost a toe, and a year and a half later the foot still hurts all the time...and I spend a whole lot of time & effort managing this disease...but really, I can't complain.]

Meanwhile, if you've just been diagnosed with diabetes...or if you know someone who this flyer and check out this website. And use all available tools to manage diabetes. It's important.


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Monday, August 25, 2008


On Tuesday morning, 26 August 2008, Don is going into Saint Agnes Hospital for fairly routine surgery to correct a pinched nerve that's been causing him pain for quite a while.

The surgery is scheduled for 7:45 am, and with great good luck Don will be able to return home Tuesday evening or on Wednesday. He'll be out of work for an undetermined time, probably a week to ten days.

Meanwhile, Eurovan is in the care of our fine mechanics, who are still diagnosing problems and coming up with a plan.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Safe at Home

We are home and safe. We got home about 2 am on Tuesday, 19 August 2008 and spent Tuesday recovering. On Wednesday we were back at work.

One place we stopped was the meteor crater in Odessa, TX. This is the second-largest meteor crater in the United States (the more famous Berringer Meteor Crater in Arizona is the largest). A local tv news guy was there taking video of the crater and of us; here is a clip from their broadcast that night.

And Eurovan? It is now sitting at the shop of our local mechanic. The engine is seized up and probably needs to be replaced. We'll know more when we get the full poop from our mechanic.

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Friday, August 15, 2008

Our Poor Eurovan Takes a Ride

At 5:19 pm we pulled off the Interstate at Bardstown, Kensylvania for gas. As we approached the gas station, the oil pressure alarm went off, and the engine quietly and peacefully died. We coasted to the gas pump, filled up the tank, and put in a couple quarts of oil.

We turned the key, and there was a click. This is odd, because when you turn the key in Eurovan, usually there is no click...just the roar of the engine starting up. We tired again. Click, but no roar. In fact, Eurovan would not start up. We begged, we pleaded, we had a nearby car guy look at the engine, we sacrificed a goat (the emergency goat that's stored next to the spare tire)...all the usual stuff. And all to no avail. Eurovan just would not start.

So we called the VW Emergency Roadside Service number. After determining that Eurovan was no longer under warranty (we knew that), and that we had attempted the sacrifice-the-emergency-goat maneuver, they called a tow truck to take us to the nearest VW dealer -- fifty miles away in Louisville.

Jason the manic tow-truck guy showed up in quick order and hoisted Eurovan aboard his truck and drove it (and us) to Louisville. There was only one bad moment, when we went over a bump at 85 mph and Eurovan tried to jump off Jason's truck. But Jason stopped and secured it some more, and we made it to Louisville without incident. (A damn good thing, too, because "incident" in this case means "Eurovan toppling sideways off Jason's truck and into the middle lane of I-65 at 85 mph." It didn't help our confidence that Jason kept saying "I'm really nervous carrying this sumbith.")

We left Eurovan at the VW dealer, packed up stuff we needed for the night, and hiked down the road to Clark's Motel, where we are now resting somewhat comfortably, albeit shaken (and stirred).

Tomorrow, we will find out (a) if the dealer's mechanics will work on Eurovan on a Saturday, (b) if they can figure out what's wrong, (c) if they can fix it, and (d) how we will pay for it.

Needless to say, our plans to get home on Saturday night have been derailed. We are 612 miles from home, which we could conceivably do in one day. But we'll have to see.

Stay tuned.

Amepica the Beautiful

Sign at our motel in western Tennetucky.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Con Suite

The Worldcon is officially over, but the Con Suite (hospitality area)
is still open. Like refugees from a natural disaster, those of us who
remain in town gather together to preserve the atmosphere of the con.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Clone Wars Sneak Preview

Costumes fans at the Clone Wars Sneak Preview in Westminster, CO.

Clone Wars

Waiting in line for the Clone Wars Sneak Preview at the AMC Orchard
Theater in Westminster, CO.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Worldcon or Bust

We are heading off on a road trip. We're driving out to Denver for the World Science Fiction Convention (Worldcon), and then we might toodle off to somewhere else, like maybe Carlsbad Caverns.

We'll be blogging along the way, posting pictures, etc. And through the magic of iPhone, Don will be Twittering as well. The most recent Twitter updates appear in the sidebar here; click on the link if you want to follow Don (or follow meerkatdon directly on Twitter).

Thanks to Renfield & June for looking after the house and hamsters while we're gone.

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Thursday, July 24, 2008

23 July 2008

Insulin. It's good stuff. Top, a vial of Lantus and a standard syringe. One shot a day, lasts 24 hours. Bottom, Novolog in an injector pen, with the cap below it. Two or three injections a day, with meals or as needed. So who needs a functioning pancreas?

21 July 2008

Kol's boy Ascher asleep in his nest.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

19 July 2008

Comics to Astonish in Columbia, MD. Don went there for the first time

Saturday, July 19, 2008

17 July 2008

Full moon over Wally World.

15 July 2008

General Foolishness, one of the Summer Reading Club performers at
Don's library. He was a hoot.

13 July 2008

Friends at Shore Leave -- and a sample of the hideous decor at the Hunt Valley Inn.

12 July 2008

Thomas ran the Masquerade at Shore Leave. Here are some of the contestants, and also the trophies (which Thomas designed and made).

11 July 2008

Thomas was at Shore Leave, a big Star Trek convention in Timonium this weekend. Here's one of the attendees.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

10 July 2008

Kol's boy Ascher climbing after some delicious sunflower seeds.

9 July 2008

Thomas is wearing mismatched sandals these days. He has another pair
that's a mirror image of these.

Monday, July 07, 2008

7 July 2008

What has it got in its pocketses?

Don's customary gear includes: PDA, phone, keys, flash drive, swiss
army knife, glucose tablets, wallet, billfold, business cards,
change, handkerchief.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

4 July 2008

Thomas and Sharon saw the Independence Day fireworks in Catsonville, MD. Here's a small portion, which Thomas shot on his Palm Treo 680.

3 July 2008

Here's our faithful 27-year-old microwave oven sitting in the back yard.

2 July 2008

Don had an appointment with the cardiologist today in this building.
He also had a drop-in chest X-Ray. Tomorrow he's coming back here to
see the opthamologist. The neurosurgeon's building is over Don's left
shoulder as he took this picture. He's getting to know this area
pretty well.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

1 July 2008

Our 27-year-old microwave oven gave up the ghost today, so we bought a
replacement (the white thing). Above it is our 27-year-old toaster
oven, which still works fine. Knock plastic.