Archive for Project 365:Australia

Project365:Australia-Day 42:Drug Companies Go Green!

Lance and I are both keen and passionate recyclers.

I love to see him peering under bottles or on the back of packets looking for this symbol.

Recycle!

He will race straight to our recycling bin and tell me that he has saved a can or a piece of paper.

I am obsessive when it comes to recycling. I always feel triumphant when my recycling bin is brimming over and my garbage bin contains only household scraps.

Therefore, Lance and I were very impressed when we noticed “the symbol” on the packaging of something we have to have in our possession, like it or not.

Accu-Chek make it easy to be green!

An empty box of Accu Chek Performa Strips.

Not only that, but the plastic container that holds the strips can also be recycled!

Accuchek goes green

In these photos are an empty vial and box from a used batch of lancets. Accu Chek packaging can be recycled, which means very little to the average person, but a lot to passionate recyclers!

Diabetes cost the Goverment billions of dollars each year. It is a small but positive step that drug companies are going green in regards to their packaging being recyclable. Some days it’s tough to think of anything good about having Diabetes, but my son and I were both excited about the “symbol” appearing on essential Diabetes equipment.

Insulin is not a cure.

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Project365:Australia-Day 41:Lethal Lotto.

I haven’t had a lot of time to post this week.

I have been furiously chasing colossal build ups of sugar from my son’s blood, or desperately trying to raise the starved levels. It’s been a numbers game this week, that’s for sure.

Earlier last week, Lance was talkative, happy, but his eyes looked heavy and weary and I had heard the toilet flush for the third time in about 40 minutes. It was enough to make him test himself. This is what was on the screen of his glucometer.

Sugar laden haemoglobin

I was temporarily unable to breathe. I could feel my heart pounding in my ears and my throat. Stirrings of nausea washed over me. I looked incredulously at Lance, who was happily playing, singing to himself and showing no physical signs of hyperglyaemia. I immediately gave him two bursts of rapid and long acting insulin plus a litre of water to shoot this number down. These are the readings that notoriously spell out DKA. ( The next morning I discovered Lance had a gum infection. That’s the only good thing about hypers; there is usually a standout reason for why they happen.)

That feeling of panic and great distress reminded me of another infamous reading before Christmas last year. Chino was upset and droopy eyed. Lance was weak and pale, unable to use his cupped hands to grasp onto a handful of grapes. They scattered all over his face and down the back of his neck, promptly causing tears and pandemonium. Again I tested, and was left shaking as the glucometer flashed not a number, but a dreaded “word.”

Scraping the barrel…

That was a near glucagon incident, however, we were able to increase his unreadable levels up to 2.3mmol/L, 15 minutes later. An  hour later, he was still only 6.2mmol/L. He spent the rest of the day vomiting and unable to move off the sofa, too weak to walk.

In these photos are frightening examples of severe hypoglycaemia and hyperglycaemia. Both, left untreated, could cause unconsciousness, coma or death. The terror that lies behind these numbers is the speed in which a symptom will occur, and what little time you have to treat the problem. In Lance’s case, only a trained eye can detect when a situation is aboout to escalate into a serious diabetic emergency.

Diabetes isn’t just about having your insulin, exercise and modifying your lifestyle. Your child should know a finger prick is coming, just by hearing the machine slide out of the leather pouch, the click of the lancet in the lancet device, and your footsteps approaching them. Fingerpricking is the only way that you can maintain Diabetes at home. This is the side that people who assume Diabetes is a “lifestyle disease” never see. They will never feel that helpless panic, the fear of failure, or the guilt that is associated with taking care of your child who has Diabetes.

Insulin is not a cure.

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Project365:Australia-Day 40: My Everyday Ritual

Because I have Type 1 Diabetes, I used to get mouth ulcers, sometimes three or four at a time.

Then I’d have hypos, because my mouth hurt too much to eat.

That was until we learnt about how Zinc keeps mouth ulcers away!

Mum spoke our pharmacist, and he said that it would be really good for me to have a zinc tablet, with lots of other vitamins and minerals in it as well. I have been taking Multi-Vitamins for Kids for almost two years, and I hardly ever get sick, and if I ever get a sore or a bump, it heals super fast. I have lots of energy too from all the B Group Vitamins! With all the fruit and vegetables and nuts I eat, I must be healthy, because when everyone else has a cold, I’m the only one that never gets it, or if I do get it, it goes away in a day.

Just lately, I have had to start taking another tablet. It is only really tiny and white. In Queensland, they don’t put fluoride in the water, but Prime Minister Rudd is changing this soon. For now, I have to take fluoride tablets to keep my new adult teeth really strong and healthy.

I don’t mind taking tablets if it means that it is going to help my body fight infections and keep me strong and safe. I have to remember to be as strong as a warrior in my mind and think myself healthy. It really works!

Mum has my two tablets ready for me as soon as I get up in the morning.

Tablets to help keep me strong

In this photo, is the two tablets that I take daily to help supplement my diet and help protect me from Diabetic complications. People with diabetes have trouble healing well, getting rid of colds quickly, and mouth ulcers. Without taking a multivitamin everyday, I don’t think I would be as healthy as I am today.

Diabetes means more than having insulin and finger pricking. It affects every facet of your life. Any preventative measures should be taken to prevent complications in the future. Little things like protecting your feet, getting dental checks, annual eye checks and having check ups with a dietician are so valuable. Every parent dreads diabetic complications, so whilst your child is young, get them into good habits by teaching them ways they can fight major health problems caused by Diabetes for their future.

Insulin is not a cure.

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Project365:Australia-Day 39:The One About The Afternoon With Friendly Lego Aliens And Juice.

It was about 5.30pm and I was preparing a healthy wheat free, low fat, vitamin packed meal for Lance and me. (It was Gluten Free pasta with spinach and cheese sauce, with a medley of colourful vegetables to accompany.)

Lance was building a Space Station out of Lego, and whilst I chopped, diced and stirred, he twittered away about how there was a friendly alien talking to him.

 “Oh really? What colour lego did you use to make him?” I asked playfully.

“Oh no, he’s not an lego alien. Is Lego called Lego because the man who invented it had an alien with legs?”he enquired curiously, and seriously.

I dropped my kitchen utensils and grabbed a popper from the fridge. There was Lance, slumped over, with a rainbow of Lego pieces surrounding him. He heard me coming, and he slurred, “You didn’t answer me!” Immediate tears.

 I opened the juice and told him that I was putting the straw to his mouth. His hand snapped up and flung the box out of my hand, covering me with juice..(again!) and sighed, “I am so tired of  poppers, Mum.”

I wiped the dripping juice off my chin,( I am going to start wearing a raincoat from now on..) and asked him if he would have it because it would give him power to build the best alien ever. He reluctantly put the straw to his mouth and I gently squeezed the box, as I wasn’t sure if he was lucid enough to know he had to drink. However, he started to swallow, so I knew he was receiving it.

It was usless, he was unable to sit without falling and hurting himself. I lifted him up and laid him on the sofa, propped up with pillows. I gave him one of his “flavour-of-the-week” raspberry glucose tablets whilst I rubbed his hand and talked him through how sucking the tablet would soon make him feel better.

I used this opportunity to do a test and remove a lego piece that was painfully embedded in my thigh.

Hmm..1.7mmol/L. How on earth did that happen?? He was 12.4mmol/L only 70 minutes ago.And he had eaten the best part of a wheat free scone with jam!

He reached out his hand, feeling around for the other half of the glucose tablet.

These glucose tablets from America are so fantastic. He enjoys the flavour so much that even when he his levels are lower than a snakes belly, he is still willing to eat them.

I could see the glassiness fading from his eyes. He asked for the juice.

Lance drinking juice whilst I hold up his head-his strength has been sapped from a hypo

In this photo, Lance is barely able to lift his head high enough to reach the straw of the juice-the juice that is saving his life. He has very little physical strength left as a sudden and severe hypo has left him weak and listless. His blood sugar level is currently 3.4mmol/L.

Diabetes can be so infuriating. It made no sense that Lance had this hypo. I do all that I can to compromise and cooperate with Diabetes, but it doesn’t always repay the favour. Lance had no warning signs, I was only able to detect he was in grave danger from one nonsensical reply he made to a question I had asked. Not only was our dinner ruined, the smoke alarm was alerting and Lance had high blood sugar, as his insulin dose was about to run out, and from the sudden rush of sugar he was forced to consume. After a hypo, he often feels nauseated and doesn’t want to eat. Therefore, he wasn’t able to eat until 8.30pm, I had to make dinner all over again, and calculate what insulin dosage would be safe for him to have to see him through the night. Diabetes can change the entire workings of a home, and ruin any plans you have made within seconds.

Insulin is not a cure.

 

 

 

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Project365-Australia-Day 38:Under My Pillow Lies The Recovery Serum.

 I have many hidey-holes around my house where I have non-perishable snacks to treat a hypo.

I learnt long ago that a frantic dash to the kitchen or medicine cabinet whilst your child is skimming around 1mmol/L, screaming or jerking in a life threatening situation leaves you riddled with panic and unable to think clearly.

 I am a freak when it comes to glucagon, because I have seen how it restores my son’s blood sugar levels so that he is in a safe zone, and back from the extreme depths of hypoglyaemia.

I carry one in my bag, I have one under the cushions of my sofa, and lastly, I have even resorted to sleeping with one under my pillow each and every night.

 

Does anyone else in the world sleep with Glucagon under their pillow?

 

In this photo, is the injection that has saved my son’s life too many times to count. When he was 3 years of age, I found my son with no pulse and miraculously revived him with CPR. He had fallen unconscious in his sleep due to severe hypoglycaemia. It scarred me so deeply that I feel anxious and unsettled without a glucagon kit nearby.

Diabetes leaves me tortured with worry and recalling past hypo memories during the night. I have learnt to sleep so lightly, I even wake up if my son rolls over. I exist on very little sleep, but there have been so many occasions that if I had been sleeping soundly, a tragedy could have easily happened. I know it borders on ridiculous to sleep with a life-saving injection literally under my head, however, the precious seconds that tick by when you are trying to reverse a hypo are crucial for recovery. Night time hypos are often more difficult to treat as the child is still sleepy and will not cooperate with food or drink consumption. That’s why I hold Glucagon’s reversal properties close to my heart, and head for that matter.

Insulin in not a cure.

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Project365:Australia-Day 37: A Bloody Ending To A Colgate-Fresh Beginning.

Lance is recovering well from his first experience with blood, pain, medication and an invasive procedure.

He has had seven injections of insulin today, as his blood sugar is everywhere between the middle of the “normal” range, to 18mmol/L. This is only because he is required to have a diet of soft food only, which basically consists of jelly. mashed potatoes, yogurt, custard and smoothies-all High GI foods with plenty of carbs. At 2 am will be his 15th fingerprick in 18 hours.

He is taking a liquid antibiotic four times a day to give him a headstart with the healing process, and to fight off the threat of infection, which is a great worry as far as Diabetes is concerned. He has been very brave today and rejected pain relief, opting to tough it out instead.

He has begun iodine rinses, they taste absolutely putrid, but he is happy to swish and swirl it around his mouth, with the knowledge that it is going to help heal and get him back to real food quickly.

There was still some post-operative blood-stained drool on his pillow this morning, but the blood clots have formed very well.

Overall, he has had a positive experience from what so many people all over the world fear and dread-teeth extraction.

Even though the worst is over, a lot of care and attention is required at this point to assure that everything is progressing as it should. Diabetes often interferes with this process.

In this photo (1of 2,) are the remnants of Lance’s teeth, that were rotting, aesthetically displeasing to look at, and certainly painful-directly caused by Diabetes-related gum infections and absesses over the past 5 years.

These horrid fossil like objects are actually my son’s teeth-the black areas are from nerve damage, a direct result from Diabetes-related infections.

These were the teeth that suffered nerve damage, causing the ends to turn black. The blood drenched gauze beside them were a few of many that were used to apply pressure to halt the bleeding.

In this photo (2 of 2,) is the assortment of medications that have been required to ensure that Lance’s Diabetes does not interfere with the healing process, or that infection does not interfere with blood sugar levels. Hyperglycaemia is notorious for causing any injury or post-operative wound to heal slowly, and also heartily invites infection.

Paracetemol, Antibiotics, Iodine Solution, and of course, carefully measured amounts of insulin-all essential for a speedy recovery.

Lance will now have to have 3 monthly dental checks to ensure that there are no further gum problems, or issues with  tany other of his teeth. Fortunately, he has a second chance, as his adult teeth ( he has 6) are all in perfect condtion. 🙂

Diabetes can cause devastation to many parts of the body. After his 5 year checkup, I consider myself lucky that there was nothing more urgent that needed immediate attention.

If my son was not fortunate enough to be in the situation where he had the best care possible and the problem addressed immediately, he would have had no choice but to be placed on the Queensland Health Oral Health Waiting List; currently, it takes two years for a child to get an appointment. ALL children, but especially those with medical conditions such as Type 1 Diabetes, need to have 2 dental checks a year, to avoid problems with their teeth in the future. Our Health Department needs to step in and take control of a problem that concerns all children, even those WITHOUT Diabetes. It is appalling what can happen to baby teeth that are neglected. The worst scenario in this particular situation is that Lance could have developed an absess on one of the extracted teeth, which easily could have turned into fatal blood poisoning.

Insulin is not a cure.

 

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Diabetes365:Australia-Day 36:Glucose Is Better In America!

After I go to bed, my Mum and Aunty Liz often stay up late and chat away on MSN Messenger. Liz usually checks to see if I’ve been ok, and Mum checks to see if she and her husband, James are OK. James and I both have Type 1 Diabetes and even though he is a man and I am a boy, we have some similar problems with hypos.

My Mum and Aunty Liz both do the shopping when it comes to buying Diabetes supplies for James and me. They pick up our scripts and make sure we have enough of everything to keep our glucometers working.  Mum and Liz also give each other tips on how to treat a hypo. James usually has softdrink, milk or something High GI to eat, where as Mum usually gives me glucose tablets. There are only two types of glucose tablets available in Queensland and Tasmania, and maybe the whole of Australia. After 5 years of Diabetes, if I am really low, I HATE chewing these chalky white tablets. They are called Glucodin, and we have bought so many packets in my life that I could  draw the picture on the box! (The other ones are a big square shape and they are too big for me to eat; by the time I am finished eating one, my blood sugar has dropped lower.)

So Aunty Liz went hunting on the net. She found a place in America (!!!) called Fifty50 Pharmacy that sell different flavours of glucose tablets!! They have raspberry, grape, orange and even watermelon flavours!

This week, I ran out to get the mail. I found a strange package in the postbox; it was all lumpy and felt like it had little bottles inside of it. It had my name on it! I quickly rushed inside and showed my Mum. I looked on the back and saw that it was from Aunty Liz! I pulled really hard and found four bottles of RASPBERRY (my favourite) glucose tablets!!! They came in little tubes and when I opened each tube, the smell made my mouth water. Mum said that I was allowed to try half of one. Even if I didn’t have diabetes, I would eat these. They are just like lollies and it’s so exciting to have something new and yummy for when I have hypos. Aunty Liz bought some for James, too. She picked Grape flavour for him, so she sent some grape ones for me to try also.

I have had two bad hypos since I got them and they have helped me within minutes. They work so fast, and I can feel them pulling me out of the hypo. They don’t let me sink into it too far. Tonight, I was at the supermarket with my Dad and I crashed into a whole shelf of M&M’s. A sneaky hypo tapped me on the shoulder and made me brain send strange messages to my legs without me being able to help it. Dad quickly tested my blood sugar, and I was 2.2mmol/L. He popped open my glucose tablets and I crunched up two as quickly as I could. I felt better pretty much straight away. The funny thing about this hypo is that I was in the lollie aisle when it happened! 🙂

My Aunty Liz is so kind to me. I know it’s strange to be excited about glucose tablets, but the day I got them was a really good day.

Sweets for my sweet from across the Pacific

In this photo, Lance is showing off his new hypo treatment. These raspberry glucose tablets were ordered from America, arrived in Australia and sent to my friend, Liz in Tasmania. She then sent Lance a package containing 50 of them to us in Queensland. Between currency exchanges, shipping charges and postage, it was a slightly expensive but highly worthwhile exercise.

There are 140 000 people with Type 1 Diabetes in Australia, and that number is rapidly growing. The general rule when diagnosed is to treat a hypo with 6 large jelly beans or 8 small ones. It’was only after a while that I discovered glucose tablets and was amazed at how well they worked in comparison to  jellybeans. Lance is prone to hypos where he is becomes very disorientated, scared and confused, and it is often a struggle to get him to eat anything, especially something that he has grown tired of.  One of these tablets will at least make him cooperate with me enough that he will  drink something sweet or eat something that will reverse the hypo.

 I find it stupendous that we have to resort to ordering child-friendly diabetes products from the US!!! People with Diabetes deserve a choice too, especially when so much of their lives revolves around flavour and taste! Jelly beans work for some people with diabetes, however, every person is different, they have different hypo symptoms and have different recovery times. Lance has symptoms that are very different to a lot of other children that we have met.  I am ecstatic that Liz bothered to research where we could order a different brand, and despite having to resort to ordering from America, I’m so glad she did, because three potentially difficult hypos were halted by these delicious discs of pure glucose.

Diabetes management isn’t an easy road to follow. It takes hours of research, hundreds of conversations and pages of reading to get current, helpful information and useful tips. I am so relieved that we have discovered something that is highly beneficial to assisting my son through these severe attacks, but there is also an element of sadness when I look back on his delight of discovering that he had aquired new glucose tablets. I found him that same night, studying a poster of the continents, and tracing his finger from the United States over to Australia. To order these 50 tablets cost approximately AUS$30.

I would happily invest every cent I owned into anything that helped or relieved his difficult and devastating days where hypoglycaemia sets in and drains his body of energy, leaving him with terrible headaches, fatigue and ironically, high blood sugar, a result from consuming so much sugar to reverse a hypo in the first place. It’s a horrible and exhausting vicious circle.

Insulin is not a cure.

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