Thursday, 9 April 2015

Episode 7: Ropes, Rides and Inversions

Welcome to episode 7 in my series of video blogs - or vlogs as the kids call them - about the Medtronic 640G pump system.

This week's edition is a wonderfully eclectic mixture touching on a wide range of subjects and for the focused ones amongst you I'm afraid it's not all about the D! We've got travel reviews, weather phenomenon, rope fun and the usual cuteness hijacker at the end!

So have a look at the video below and then I'll fill in the gaps and also post some more of those fantastic cloud images.

Thanks for viewing. For the Martha fans she loves watching herself on the TV so every time I tell her someone has made a nice comment she starts to prepare her Oscar speeches for years to come!

Anyway, first was a trip down to Tamworth. We stopped in a standard chain hotel that did exactly what was expected of it. We had planned for a meal on the Friday night and after being out and about in the afternoon it was expected we'd have a couple of drinks in the bar before returning to get changed and then popping back for our reserved table at the restaurant. Well that didn't quite happen. After the couple of beers we got very comfy and just stayed out. This was a drinking challenge but my research into the effects on blood glucose of alcohol continued. I'm dedicated! The meal for me was a simple (but well cooked) steak and chips with which I made a decent attempt at carb counting using Carbs and Cals and a carb counting resource - great book and app!

The next day saw us at the Drayton Manor theme park which provided thrills and spills for everyone. As I said in the video I made a deliberate act to not worry too much about my glucose levels but I knew I had SmartGuard as a back-up if I did drop. And yes it came into action a couple of times. I disconnected the pump for the looping 'coasters so I didn't suffer any g-force induced extra insulin doses. It might not have been necessary but better to be safe than sorry. Overall I stayed upright and my average was decent for the day even if the highs and lows would suggest otherwise.

Monday for me had two linked things to make it memorable. On the way up to Honister the fog was very solid in places. Although the weather forecast was good it still caused a few doubts on the drive. However, once we'd driven out of Keswick and started to rise up Honister Pass the sun appeared and the views became spectacular.

The cloud stayed below the car park until just before we got kitted out with harnesses and helmets for our climb. The journey up from the centre to the starting point lifted us up above the cloud again and the views became even more amazing as can seen below with the cloud inversion captured well in the photos taken by our guide.

Our guide for the day was Adam a combined experienced climber and thoroughly pleasant chap. After I help my hand up at the start answering the "any medical issues?" question there was no panic on his side and he let me look after myself. The action shot of the 640G was my request and this gave another chance to discuss it's strengths and also how a T1 who worked there might benefit from it.

My previously mentioned 80% basal did the job perfectly all morning keeping me between 7 and 9 for the duration. I had a few of my favourite sweets on the penultimate rest but this was for the energy boost not because my levels were low. This was proved by everyone else gladly accepting the opportunity to grab a couple too as they needed a glucose boost too.

In truth, because of how I managed my basal rate SmartGuard wasn't needed on the activity but the presence of a reliable CGM number on the screen was incredibly useful. And knowing that if I did drop I'd be covered was a massive reassurance. Stopping to test wouldn't have been impossible but it would have been significantly inconvenient. And at times impossible whilst I wasn't letting go of anything for fear of falling backwards and testing my carabiners and harness!

If up in the English Lake District I'd thoroughly recommend a visit to the top end to visit Honister Slate Mine and take part in the Via Ferrata Extreme activity for some great views and knee trembling fun.

As weekends go, this was a pretty special one and sharing it with family and close friends made it even better. Diabetes was there as it always was but the help of the 640G gave me a chance to really not make it the number one focus of my life. I'm certain this shouldn't be the reason for getting one but as an occasional consequence I think this is a good thing. Diabetes takes a heck of a lot of time (as mentioned here) and sometimes even the most motivated need some time to recharge and just forget it. For me that's made easier at the moment not having too worry too much knowing that I'll either get bounced back up when low or alerted if I keep dropping or rise too high. A definite with for CGM and SmartGuard.

So I've just passed two thirds of the way through my 64 days. If Medtronic are reading I still believe they've named this experience wrongly. To fully match the 640G name I need to trial it for 640 days. It makes sense really and in the interest of a proper experience I'm willing to sacrifice myself for the cause. Whether you want to watch another 84 vlogs is another question. What the next third will bring I'm not sure but there's definitely time for some more tech reviews with the new Contour blood glucose meter and looking at the pump without the CGM element.

One last comment is that I've taken delivery this week of some Quickset pump infusion sets with the shorter 45cm (18 inch) tubing. I'll be trying one out tomorrow for the first time to see if I can minimise and maybe win the battle with door handles across the country!

Thanks for reading as always. Share, comment and feedback so I know I'm telling you what you'd like to know about.

More again next week.


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