You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘diabetes product reviews’ category.

1) M’s school did speak to the two year groups as promised. M reports it was handled well: an analogy with a key was used apparently, such that the key is the workings of the pancreas. In type 2 the key is a bit broken, not working so well, but a bit. In type 1 there is no key. Somehow this was used to illustrate how the types of diabetes were completely different, and most especially that type 1 is not something you can catch, or something that is the person’s fault, or anything. M did not feel on the spot. And the ‘friends’ who had teased her just the day before said nothing, even though she was sitting next to one. 

It’s interesting, isn’t it, how quiet a bully goes when shown to be wrong?

So all in all, satisfactory outcome! M is infinitely happier now that the ‘truth is out’, and we’re pleased with the school, will write a note saying so.

2) We have yet to try the Bayer Contour USB. Things have been too frantic. We need a bit of head space. And E is, as I’ve said, always slightly resistant to another unfamiliar thing when he’s full swing into his life. And who can blame him? May well be Easter break now….

3) E received a Distinction for his Grade 7 piano exam! Dig it. Barely 14 years old. Absolutely brilliant news.

4) M won a poetry reading competition on the same day. The girl understands it.

5) And I have been given a mini-residency at the Little Blue Hut on Tankerton beach. In which I will sit and write, and walk and think, for three days a week over six weeks, starting 21 April! I am so excited about this I could pop, seriously…It seems so out of reach at the moment to be able to do anything like that — but hey, it will happen. I will finish teaching next week, take a break during which I do my marking, and return to write. To write! To think! To just BE. Incredible. Watch this space.


My friend’s son’s diagnosis of course is still at the top of my mind. And I’m struck by something her message to me yesterday said: I know it will be like trying to carry water in my hands.


This seems a particularly apt way of describing the first feelings, like nothing stays with you for long. Like you start off on a walk, with your hands full of the stuff, then you take three steps and they are empty. So you go back and start again.

In our house we use the pedaling a bike slowly uphill metaphor. I think of how the front wheel twists and turns in this situation, how you just about stay on. This is how we feel. Most of the time.

And in another entry, the running for the bus one seemed best: you chase after, then when you finally get on it, you realise you should be on the one way over there, on that road.


These are all quite depressing ones, really. There must be some moments of relief. I’m thinking of my friend H here and her son. What to tell them?

What are the moments of your or your friend’s/child’s care like? What images occur to you in the middle of the night, or in the day on your own, or when you think of the people you love? Have the images and metaphors changed over time, or like us, do you have different ones for different times?

I’m just curious. Because I know that thinking through metaphors somehow helps me cope. It helps me express and articulate these complicated sets of feelings as nothing else can. I feel like there I’ve said it. For the moment, anyway!


On the home front, after a few days of highs and raised temp basals (more insulin dripping in), we realise that we are back where we started after the last unexplained round of lows. Sigh. Spluttering pancreas, growth spurt, infusion set site? Who knows. Two mornings now of finally waking in target. 

What would be the metaphor for this?! Two steps forward, one step back? No, that’s a cliche, and different.

How about following an overgrown path until you reach a sort of clearing. You take a breath, but then realise that the path continues out the other side, and that you must follow it. It’s a bit of a slog, lots of cutting back and hacking through. But you do it. When you arrive a the next clearing, after a few minutes it dawns on you. Yes, it looks familiar. You were here before, only now you’re approaching from another angle.


All being well I will update in the next couple of days about the school’s talk with M’s year group, the Bayer Contour USB. And maybe daffodils.

It’s incredible what you can get excited about. What anyone, let’s face it, can get excited about.

Like, say, blood glucose meters….

Oh yes.

Since diagnosis, E has used the Optium Exceed. A great meter. Good case, all contained. Accurate and quick. Awful flimsy finger pricker though, and TONS of clinical waste in the form of used lancets, little strips with blood on the ends of them, and all that foil from the strips…So, comfortable, easy to use — but has its moments.

You may remember my excitement over picking up the new Accu-Chek Roche Mobile meter in February. Ah, the promise of a new day! No clinical waste, solid finger pricker, no strips or lancets floating about the place.

How I wish that had worked out. Alas — no. It doesn’t work for E. And this is because: a) it’s noisy and b) it throws error messages too often. And once that happens, you have to close the machine, open it again, start the whole process…and by that point the blood is dry on your finger and you’re re-pricking and everything… His theory is that you get ‘one go’ at dabbing the blood onto the strip — and if you miss that one dab, or it’s not quite enough right then — you are stuck. It throws an error and you’re starting over…The thing about the Optium is that you can keep trying to get blood on the little strip end for quite a while before it dries out or times out…And this is useful. Believe me, how I know this…after dozens of bleary-eyed finger pricks at 3am, when I try several times to get the thing to register enough blood and not to have to prick his finger AGAIN.


Which brings me to what we’re waiting for at the moment…A Bayer Contour USB!

This one is sort of exciting for two very clear reasons: 1) I was approached to review it, so feel all flattered (along with Becky over on Instructions Not Included, I might add!) and interested and 2) it has a direct USB link (no cables) to download software and readings etc that WORKS ON AN APPLE MAC!

Yes, you heard me right. for the first time ever. This might be our saviour.

As you know, OH enters blood sugars into our spreadsheet every two days or so, with all kinds of other info: exercise, how the insulin was dispensed, at what rates etc… And we get coloured blood sugar numbers, which I replicate on this blog as you know, and which help us to spot patterns…

Well the Bayer Contour USB meter downloads with the same colours! Oh my gosh! It must be karma!

Saying that, the damn thing has yet to be actually delivered. They have tried TWICE at 8.30 am, when we are all out delivering children, going to the gym, or heading to work.

I’ve just rung today to try to get it re-delivered to my office tomorrow morning.

So we look forward to it. OH and I are hoping for a lightening of the load. E is more equivocal. He has certain requirements, understandably. And if it’s: a) too bulky b) too loud c) not reliable or d) fiddly — it’s a goner, whatever we think. And quite rightly too I reckon.

Anyway, will keep you informed! At least it’s a new toy.

AND the sun is out. Spring is well on the way.

Setting sail

In November 2008 my 12 year old son was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. The effect of this event on me -- and on our nuclear family -- was like being thrown overboard and watching the ship leave.

'Dealing with type 1' in the family has morphed into another sort of 'dealing' -- a wholesale resituating of parenting, of family dynamics...of life.

At my son's diagnosis I could not to locate a record of what living with a type 1 child in the family is like. I could not see myself or our family anywhere. I longed for a starting point, a resource and a sense of the future. Being a writer, my instinct is to write it. This space, I hope, is a start.

Blood Sugar Ranges (UK)

<4 mmols = low or hypo, life-threatening if untreated
4-8 mmols = within target range
8-13 mmols = high but not usually dangerous
14+ mmols = very high, or hyper, life-threatening if untreated


Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 28 other followers

Distance Travelled


I am not a medical professional. Any view expressed here is my opinion, gleaned from experience, anecdote or available research.