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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Past, Present, and Future

Well, after this weekends "educational" experience, I'm spending some time sitting back and re-evaluating my current goals based on the New Reality (yecch).  First up: what I can't do any more!

- Handle very small, delicate items
- Do anything requiring sensitive fingertips
- Drink alcohol
- Eat large amounts of anything
- Eat candy/cookies/cake/muffins and the like
- Travel to real exotic places (because I need my meds daily)
- Go far from civilization (what if my blood sugar crashes)

I guess that's not as bad as it could be. It kills my plans for international travel as it's a serious pain to get meds on to the plane with you, and in an 18-hour flight to Europe you can be sure I'll need my glyburide/metformin tablets.  No hiking or camping in the wild, eh, again not a big deal.  Not being able to deal with fiddly small things is a pain in the butt but not a serious impact.  The fingertips issue - THAT can affect playing guitar, and I really wanted to start again, so I have to go experiment at Guitar Center for a while and determine if I can still do it of if I'm condemned to a life of keyboard playing.  Well, they make keytars again, so that's a real PITA and depressing but non-fatal.

But no partying!  Well, not the way I used to, going out on a Friday night to a club or such, having WAY too much of a good time, and getting a taxi or limo home.. not going to happen.  Excessive alcohol consumption has a VERY bad effect on blood sugar, as does the wild consumption of masses of nachos and other carb-loaded snacks.  I *can* go out, if I have diet soda/non-sugar fizzy water, and don't eat the carb-overload snacks.. but.. that's part of what made going out a blast for me! Now, THIS is a depressing one.. especially if you're hanging around people getting a buzz on and having a good time.  Feh.

Well, the past is gone.  While I certainly went into a seriously self-destructively party overload after Sabine's passing, before that I wasn't quite as spectacularly crazed.. so.. some parts can likely be recovered.

So, for the present, I'm doing the following:

- No alcohol.  Period.  End of story.
- No finely detailed mechanical work.  If I need it done, hire someone!
- Restricted diet.  I still eat spicy and exotic foods, but they're all low carb.
- VERY limited dining out, right now, that's "none".
- Exploration of what kinds of instruments I can still play.  I'm really more performer than composer.
- Travel in the U.S. and Canada only.  I have a dozen places I want to visit that I can still reach.

And for the future?  Well, write more for one.  Also get back into interactive fiction authoring and the IF community.  And get my dang music OFF THE COMPUTER and back to actually performing it, even if it's just me + a drum machine + a keytar + a synth!  I miss grabbing my axe and wailing away, it's a great stress reducer.

Other than that, saving saving saving.  I need a new laptop for 2D/3D work, I need a better laptop for ePublishing, and I need something to perform with.  I can use my field recorder to capture anything I perform  until I cough up for a dedicated multitrack.

We'll see what the future brings.  I'm trying to take it one day or so at a time.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Another Monday, Another...

..really darn hot day!  Managed to hit 100F, should be in the low triple digits all week.  Argh!

Lots of work at work, nothing really worth reporting.  I'll be busy until I drop down dead, which I guess is a good thing.

Today was "make my own way home" day for the first time in a month.  I walked on my cane to the bus stop from work, then shopped, then walked  home.  Foot/leg is slightly sore but this is expected.  I'm getting a ride TO work all week, so I can break back into the whole round trip gently.

Bless the pharmacist at Walgreens!  She told me about the "W" card, $20/year and I get a HUGE discount on things.. my $80 of diabetes and blood pressure meds were only $30 with the card!  I'm sooo gonna save big on my meds, thank Heavens!  Every bit saved goes to medical bills and a couple of new laptops (lol)!

Other than that, just TIRED.  I take the last antifungal Wednesday and I'm really looking forward to not being on a pile of drugs just to fix the foot - bad enough I'll be on my BP and diabetes meds for a Very Long Time.  Urgh.

Cooking beef and veggies in Sri Racha sauce - Indonesian style!  Should be supertasty, moderate carbs, and some left over for lunch tomorrow.  Tomorrow night it's chili-lime shrimp with peppers!

Time to rest!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Oh Well.. another thing bites the dust.

When you have major life changes, sometime during he process you usually discover something that you can't do any more.  Well, today I got to discover it.

I've had parts to assemble a new computer for some time, and today I finally felt energetic enough (despite the stupid anti-fungal) to dive into it.  I had my toolkit, my flashlight, and all the parts neatly laid out, ready to assemble into a kick-butt i5 quad-core 3D machine!

Then, after struggling with it for 3 hours, it hit me - my fingers are no longer nimble enough to be able to deal with the tiny screws, microscopic connectors, and dozens of small fiddly parts that you have to handle in order to assemble a compact, small-form-factor machine.

I continually dropped (and lost) screws.  Connectors refused to connect, holes were so small that even with the magnifier they were impossible to line up, I had a very difficult time  handling tiny bits and bobs, and bent a few things in the process as well.

Well, one advantage to being old is knowing when to quit before you ruin things further.  The chassis and motherboard are shot, but I stopped before (trying to) put in the RAM and CPU, so both of those are sellable on Craigslist.  The 2.5in hard drive  I'm keeping since it's easy (Famous Last Words) to replace the 320GB in my Asus (which is failing) with it, the USB wireless LAN I'm keeping for backup, and my Windows 7 Pro will go on the Asus machine once I swap out the hard drive (which will happen once I get a new i5 laptop to replace it with).

Depressing?  Sure as Hell is.  But it's been 6 years since I've tried to build a machine and I've lost my skills, not to mention my fingers aren't as nimble any longer.. sigh.  There's no way I could build a whole machine at this point, and well.. it's best if I don't try again.  I can get a laptop that'll handle all the 3D work I need for about $1100, and will work "out of the box" with no hardware work.

Oh, I can still type like crazy, that's not an issue! And play synth, I was wailing when I was at Guitar Center yesterday (checking out instruments).  But teeny tiny parts are out of my league now.

Oh well, at least I'm alive, getting healthier, and can still write, program, and perform music.  I should be happy with that!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Saturday random babblings

I managed to sleep late - all the way intil 8:15AM - then a glucose check, took my pills, and back to sleep until 10:00AM.  Argh!  Where in heck is all my energy?

I'm arranging the computer parts for the build, but if my brain stays fuzzy I'm going to put it off.  I was feeling OK until I took the GRIS-PEG, a quick check seems to indicate "lack of energy" is common.. so I might be stuck for another 10 days, gaah!

Cane shopping today, and picking  up the last bottle of GRIS-PEG ($110 oww).    And some foot bandaging supplies (cloth wrap, gauze pads, non-stick medicated gauze pads).  There goes my money, byeeee!  Well, I have plenty of food money and a bus pass, so it's not like I need to spend it on anything else this week (rent+utils got paid yesterday).  Could be worse.

Everything I earn for the next two weeks will go to production infrastructure - a new laptop, a large backup drive, and (possibly) a new hard drive for the old Asus laptop.  Current plan is to install Linux (Ubuntu) on it and make it a server machine, which will be nice - I can back up my 2 main production machines to it without a lot of work.

I'm probably going to go ahead and get a upper-midrange Core i5 system as that helps future-proof things, should I decide to un-mothball my music production,  I can get a kick-butt system for about $750, ready to rock out of the box.  I'll buy it locally as it's nice to be able to take it back if it dies inside the 30-day warranty.

All in all, hings are going *acceptably* if not as fast as I'd like, but given how bad a shape I was in, I should be happy with the current situation.  It beats going into diabetic ketosis, falling into a coma, and dying.

Oh, my medical ID arrived and I love it!  Has all the essential info on it (type 2 diabetic, what I'm on, what I'm allergic to) and it's a stylish leather band with a silver/black ID (engraving on the back, Med Alert symbol on the front).  I'm set if anything unfortunate happens.

Back to organizing things!  Dang, my production pipeline was a chaotic mess - no WONDER it was so hard to accomplish anything!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Carbs Ahoy! Or.. I picked the wrong number

When I was in the hospital, I had a nice 4-1/2 hour long session with a dietician, and she gave me The Scoop on Type 2: WATCH THE CARBS.  That's what it all came down to, and DON'T EAT SUGAR.  Simple enough for an engineer like me to handle!

Well, I decided that I needed to get things down FAST and, as is my usual deal, went overboard.  I've been holding it down to around 30g of carbs per meal, which it turns out is TOO LOW and explains why my blood glucose is so low near mealtimes - I'm not eating ENOUGH carbs.  According to my research, I should be getting around 45-50g per meal to slowly lose weight (I need to drop 25lbs).. and given that breakfast was 28g and lunch was about 30g, I shouldn't be surprised that my pre-lunch glucose was at 74 despite having chowed down on 4 turkey sausage patties and 2 slices of bread (only 28g there).

This also explains why I feel slightly iffy after walking a lot (despite the injured foot) - there's not enough in me to support the work level!  Argh!  Blech! Other noises!

So, I'm going to add in some healthy carbs - more beans, peas, carrots, and taters!  I'll monitor my before and after glucose levels so I can make sure I'm not overcompensating in the opposite direction, but 45g per meal seems like a safe bet for now, with my level of exercise (which will increase as my foot heals).

I'll keep you updated with my experience.  It's kind of odd to be using myself as my own experimental subject, but apparently everyone is a bit different so I can't just go on what other people say, I need to see how my body responds to it all.

In the meantime, I guess a mid-afternoon snack of plain Fritos (15g a bag) is fine.  Or plain Lays chips (18g a bag) as well, neither have any sugar in them.

Interactive Fiction

Well, as I try to refocus myself on visual arts and writing, I find myself being drawn back into interactive fiction - yes, the old "Zork type" text adventure games.

The authoring systems have really evolved, and it's possible to create real "playable literature" - I've tried a few games (Emily Short! She kicks butt) and I'm pretty impressed with what's possible.

So, it seems reasonable to me to try to field a few interactive fiction (IF) stories as part of my writing work.   I like playing them as I find "twitch-type:" games to e boring as heck and very been-there-done-that.  And it fits in with my writing and programming as well!  Plus, I can think of some HILARIOUS IF novels, and even a few erm romantica-type IF stories (blush).

Also, it's one of the few places left where one person can create a playable game without a $1.5M+ budget. Just me, Inform7, and my trusty (soon to be new) laptop.

Argh! I need to completely redo my Website! Mostly it's going to point to my blog here and my DeviantArt site, with a bit of verbiage about me and what I do, and my current resume' in HTML.  Just 3-4 simple pages  should do the trick, with a touch of artwork.

Notice there's no mention of music in the above pile.  I'm going to mothball my music work right now to focus on sharpening my writing and 3D skills.  I'll come back to the music later on, I'm sure, one way or the other.. I'm seriously tempted to get the music OFF the computer and get a guitar, bass, and drum machine and perform blues/rock/experimental stuff.

It's back to work time!  Need to polish off this C# app, I have some embedded C coming up as well as potential C++ or Python.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Blech in General

Well, today I get to spend $100 on 1/2 my prescription of Gris-PEG antifungals.  A whole prescription would be $200 (HOLY CARP) so I can only afford 1/2 of it until Friday {(my next paycheck).  Dang doctor must think I'm made out of money, even though she KNOWS I don't have insurance!  Thankfully my new primary care physician is sensitive to my situation, so he's not ordering anything too expensive for me.  That's good!

Coming off the antibiotic is rough.  My body feels LESS weak in some ways, but things in my digestive system are still jacked up.. guess I'll be getting digestive aid tablets on Saturday.  I still have ten days of the stupidly expensive antifungal, so that's going to be a "feel blech" thing until it's all gone (along with my freaking MONEY, dang stupid doctors and drug companies).

The new doc is keeping me on my blood pressure and diabetes meds "as-is" since they're working so well.  I'm pretty happy, my blood glucose stays down under 150 even after a McMeal (amazing!) and will hover in the 80s/90s before meals and when I wake up in the morning.

Today I used my "lunch bucket" for the first time - an insulated cooler with a freezer brick, and pockets for things like pills, tissues, and my blood test kit.  Works a treat, my food is still very cold and I don't have to fight for fridge space!  It'll also be useful for taking perishable groceries home in the Texas heat, without having them go bad on me.  And cheap, only paid $16 for the thing at Target!

My Win 7 Pro DVD arrived yesterday, so as soon as I feel like I'm mentally aware enough (probably this weekend) I'll build Scylla.  I still need a big external HD to back things up to and for moving things off the laptop to the big box, but it's not a huge rush as I have tons to do writing-wise that doesn't require a pile of horsepower.

As to the laptop - well, the Asus is showing its age, so weekend after next, it's time to go out and buy a nice i3 based laptop to replace it.  The HD in the laptop is acting up, so I'm going to move everything off it and then see about repairing it and selling it off to some student (or loading Linux up on it, not sure right now).

Urgh, back to fighting threading issues.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chicken Wing Sunday

Here it is, a hot Sunday in lovely Austin, Texas.  Normally I'd go out for chicken wings, but after some research it turns out that my favorite wing places put sugar in ALL their sauces (yecch).  But.. never give up!

I decided to make my OWN spicy lemon-pepper wings!  I have lemon-pepper seasoning without sugar and a HUGE bottle of Franks Red Hot Sauce, and let me tell you, these wings are just as good as Pluckers!

Here's what I did:

- Bake 10 wings in a pan lined with nonstick aluminum foil.  Turn wings over 1/2 way through.
- In a wok, combine lemon-pepper seasoning, Franks Red Hot, and some butter - vary the amounts on how hot and lemon-peppery you like the wings.  Me, I went heavy on the lemon-pepper and medium on the hot sauce.
- Once the wings are done, heat the sauce in the wok to steaming.  Throw in the wings and toss, turning the heat up to medium.
- The sauce will cook down and cling to the wings.  Once it's thick and on the wings, turn the heat off and remove the wok.
- Put the wings on a plate and go CHOW DOWN!

These things are semi-crispy with killer lemon-pepper flavor and a little more kick than the Pluckers wings.  And they're 100% carb free!

Next Sunday - White Pepper Wings!

Friday, July 20, 2012

The Vicky Chronicles!

Well, after a very long gestation period, lots of re-reading my old Vicky Diaries, and considering things, it's time to take the next step!

I've come up with a decent plot-line that will allow me to have elements of adventure, drama, epic action, romance, noir, mystery, comedy, and even erotica!  It's going to be a genre-bender, but I can promise you as weird as it sounds, it's going to be amazing!  I promise you'll never get bored, I've seen too many Webcomics devolve into tediously long panels of exposition.. ugh.

The Vicky Chronicles (TVC) will be the primary focus of my DeviantArt site as I can post even the more, erm, adult panels there without getting into hot water as I can individually rate each comic page.  I'll also be doing most of my TVC blogging there, so that all things TVC are in one place.

I have a lot of other ideas for Webcomics, but they're getting shelved for now.  I figure that, time-wise, I have enough bandwidth for one (1) novel project and one (1) Webcomic project, so TVC is the focus right now (and for the foreseeable future).

It's not like I'll be spending time going out, after all, and I need something to fill the void left by not eating out and going out drinking and bar-hopping.  Might as well do something creative!

I'll make sure my DeviantArt site is on my links page here, in case anyone actually cares (heh).

Since the last component for my screaming 3D quad-core machine is in the mail, I'll have all the compute resource to do the job.  I'll install my Wacom tablet and Photoshop Elements on the new machine as well as Anime Studio Pro, Poser Pro 2010, Daz Studio 4.5, and Carrara 8.  I might buy Comic Life if I can't coerce Anime Studio or Photoshop Elements into doing what I need.

Look out world, here comes Vicky!  Impractical armor, overzealous sword, and all!

Another Friday, another stabby day

Random complaint of the day: test strips for my Freestyle Lite are a buck each, and you can only get then in 50 strip and 100 strip containers!  Admittedly the 100 strip containers are $75 so that's a "break", but still, OWW!  Maybe I can find someplace cheaper than Walgreens, but I sure don't want to risk any kind of generic strip.

Random nice thing: Gamestop takes PAYPAL! So, I bought Dungeon Siege III and the expansion for $13, and tonight I'll install Steam on my laptop and load it up!  It should run "ok" on the thing, since it's not leading-edge graphics.  This might make a good excuse for getting a newer laptop, even Intel HD Graphics 3000 smear the GMA that's in my current machine.

I suppose I could build a SFF PC with a fast i3 and a PCI Express video card, for the same price as an i5 laptop, and get better graphics AND keep my portability.  Newegg time to price it out!

Almost lunch time.. darn I'm hungry!  Blood glucose a happy 98 right now, woot!

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Lunch box!

Everything old is new again.

Back when I was going to elementary school, I had a really cool lunch box - G.I. Joe (I know, really) and Mom would pack in all kinds of goodies for me.  It was usually pretty healthy and tasty, and sometimes she'd  slip in some hot soup in a Thermos during Winter.  Very nice, it helped me grow up strong.

So, here I am at 53,, unable to just wander out and eat at the local squat and gobble (not to diss Kens Tacos and Subs), due to my restricted diet.  And as much fun as it is bringing lunch meat and cheese into the office in a grocery bag, the fridge here is already packed to the limit and finding my supplies is taking longer and longer.  What's a poor boy to do?

My boss had the solution - a high-tech lunch box!  His is amazing, it has super insulation all around and a slot for a freezer brick - it keeps his lunch cold without needing the fridge easily.  He showed me, and even at the end of the day the dang thing was STILL cold inside!  Well, this is ideal for me - room for breakfast, lunch, and a water bottle, and some spare space for other goodies.

This is ideal.  I can shove Tums, Kleenex, and a water bottle into it along with my breakfast and lunch, and not have to carry my backpack unless I need to grocery shop.  I can avoid the crowded fridge and the packed breakroom during lunch (whew!) and happily feed myself my diabetic-friendly home made food.

There are an amazing variety of these things out there.  I'm going to hit Target and Walmart this weekend to get one as it's now #1 priority for me.  But not a G.I. Joe one this time!

In other unrelated news: I finally coughed up for a copy of Windows 7 Professional for my 3D/Music machine, so that should arrive next week, and with any luck next weekend I'll put Scylla together.  It'll be great to finally have a screaming quad-core, especially in a small form factor PC.  Easily portable, low power consumption (relatively), and plenty of RAM and HD space.

I'm still kind of on the fence about replacing Charybdis with a newer i3, she's getting kind of old and it'd be nice to have something that isn't aging rapidly.. but it's hard to justify the $500 it would be for it.  I'd be good for another 4 years, so amortized over that timespan we're only talking $125 a year for a machine that's twice as fast with twice as much RAM.. maybe I'll go for it, I'll see how I feel when the money is available.

More as it happens!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Antibiotics, antifungals, anti-energy

I'm supposed to be feeling a lot better at this point.  My blood sugar is stable and pretty constantly below 140, my foot is healing like mad, and I haven't had a drop of booze for nearly 3 weeks.  Yet, I feel like someone ran over me with a bus, backed up to check, then drove over me again!  What gives?

Well, a little research showed that both the antibiotic and antifungal I'm taking make you tired.  This, in conjunction with my body being in "heal mode", appears to be keeping me flatter than a road-kill armadillo.

I'm not inspired to write, or play music, or do much other than chat and work on the occasional 3D scene (and that rarely).  Bedtime is around 9:30pm and I sleep like a brick, with a LOT of dreams.  I know I have a multi-year sleep debt, but do I have to catch up all at once?

Other than rampant narcolepsy(heh), not much else happening, or WILL happen until I stop taking all the tin-things.  I don't expect mu ch to get accomplished until mid-August, if I'm lucky.

I did get the anesthesiologists bill - $695! For 1/2 an hours work!  Dang, I should have been a doctor - what a ripoff!  No WONDER everyone is screaming about health care.  Well, nobody gets a penny until I get ALL the bills, then I work out a payment plan.  Worst-case: bankruptcy, which is a non-problem sine my credit is pretty poor already.  I'd rather pay it back, but I hear rumors that the medical collection agencies get mean, well, I can play mean too.

Todays surprise: mayo has 3 grams of carb per tablespoon and I loaded my bean salad with a TON of it.  Well, no wonder my blood glucose has been higher.. sigh.. goodbye mayo!  Guess I'll stick to the no-carb mustard (I check the labels) and no-carb hot sauces.

Back to hacking C# code and eating meat and cheese!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Another Monday

..in a seemingly endless series.  Still, I've had worse Mondays!

Finally fund a place online that makes medical ID bracelets that took Paypal, and now have a nice ID bracelet saying I'm a type 2 diabetic, on glyburide/metformin, allergic to tetracyclene.  Now if I have a sugar crash and pass out, the paramedics will know what's going on and I'll hae a better chance og being properly diagnosed and treated.

Blood sugar is consistently between 98 and 120, which I call good.  I have enough data points now to create charts and look at my food log, so I can see what kind of effect which food have on me.  It's very educational!  And, amazingly enough, I don't really feel like I'm depriving myself - I still eat tasty meat, tasty cheese, and tasty veggies!  Just less of the high-carb stuff and NOTHING with more than 1g of sugar per serving (zero grams most of the time).

I'm going to end up making my own chicken wings a lot.  All the sauces at the store have a ton of sugar, like the restaurant sauces.  I like spicy lemon-pepper so a low-carb version of that will be in the works, based around Franks Red Hot sauce.  The only hot sauce that I own that has sugar is the SriRacha and it's 1g per serving, and one serving is PLENTY to turn anything into an inferno!

The foot is healing nicely.  Medical supplies to keep it bandaged and clean aren't cheap, but what can I do?  I need the thing to heal up ASAP and if that means I don't go out for a few months to make up for it, so be it.  Beats having it amputated!

Not much else going on.  The antibiotic and antifungals have me feeling wiped out, so I'm not very creative right now.  Thankfully I can still code in this state, but I'm pretty sure even if I were a rotting zombie I could crank out good software (lol)!

Need musical instruments.  A Alesis Vortex first, then I'll see if I want a guitar.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Notebooks, PCs, tablets..

Ok, for years I was a real early adopter type, upgraded my PC every year, always searching for more power.. but..

At t his point, the quad-core i5 I'm building for 3D and music is far more powerful than I need to do stills for Web comics/book illustrations and serious overkill for music production.  Once it's done, I just use it - it's going to be "build and run".

I considered getting a Core i3 notebook to replace my aging Asus, but.. Iuse it for listening to music, Web surfing/email/Hulu, and writing.  It's more than enough for all of that, with power to spare.  So why spend a ton of cash to solve a problem that doesn't exist?

And don't get me started on those stupid overpriced Ultrabooks.  Why do they exist?  Nobody I know wants one.  I don't want to spend $1000+ on something that's just eye candy.  I have plenty of other things to do with that money.

My tablet covers for everything else  - notes, alarm clock, reminders, Kindle/Nook books, and watching Hulu in bed.  It cost me $199 and came with a leather portfolio.  Do I need a $400 multi-core tablet? Nope, the laptop covers that base.

So, I'm one of those responsible for the "PC sales downturn".  It's reached the stupid point, where even a $400 laptop does all I need with power to spare.

And Windows 8?  It SUCKS.  A tablet UI on a desktop system?  Forget it, Microsoft can keep Windows 8, I'm not wasting a penny "upgrading" to a less-productive interface.  Blech.

Now back to listening to music, writing, and Web surfing on my wheezy dual-core.  CPU use? Less than 5%, and over 2GB RAM free.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Slowly But Surely

Well, I'm finally getting enough data points on my blood sugar chart to see how my body reacts to carbs.  It's very educational!  Expensive and painful, but educational.

I know bread and beans tend to make longer-lasting increases in my glucose, but nothing horrible.  My blood sugar seems  to be stable between 101 and 130, which I regard as "good for now".  This is on the glyburide/metforin twice a day pill, no insulin, so I'm Ok with that.  I'm going to cut back to one slice of bread when I make a sandwich or burger and see how that works out.  And a smaller serving of means, it doesn't seem to take much to maintain things.

All of this does, however, explain why for the past 5 years I've been drawn to a high-protein diet.  I prefer to eat meats and few veggies and tater, I guess that was my body telling me "You have issues, fool".  Argh.

Not much else going on - this is Recovery Weekend, catching  up on my massive sleep debt.  I've been napping off and on all day, and dreaming like mad - I didn't dream at all at the hospital (bad sign).  I feel a LOT better right now, still beat up, but getting there.

I'm reinstalling some of my music software, I'm going to get a controller keyboard and go back into performing soundscape/ambient /darkscape tunes.  Maybe still get a guitar, don't know - right now all te finger stabbing is too much to do AND re-learn guitar.  Keys, I can handle.

I hope everyone is having a good weekend !

Friday, July 13, 2012

Friday, Friday

Gotta get down on Friday!  Well, with a hurt foot I'm not going to boogie oogie oogie, but still, it's the thought that counts!

One of the things that amazes me is how fast I've come to terms with my Type 2.  It doesn't bother me to stick myself at all, and I'm really interested in seeing how my body reacts to foods.  I already know things to avoid (bananas, sugary yogurts) and things to eat (beans, pita chips) just by seeing how my glucose goes before and after each meal.

Things have been rapidly stabilizing - when I first came home, I'd peak around 154, now I hover from about a high of 135 to a low of 100.  This is a MAJOR improvement of routinely breaking 250 while I was at the hospital!  I think my body is responding nicely to the Glyburide/Metformin combo.  And it sure as heck beats shooting up insulin!

I'm eating fairly well - sausage, chicken, roast beef, beans, carrots, peas, and a little bread.  I might get some canned potatoes and scallions/green onions as well, I can afford a bit of tater if I don't go overboard.

The real key to all this is MODERATION.  As long as I don't go overboard on any food, I can have a happy life and finish my novels (lol).

I' going to have to make my own hot wings, though - too much sugar in all the sauces out there.  Sigh, goodbye Pluckers!  goodbye Bikinis! Oh well, could be worse.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wound Care 101

Well, I changed the dressing on the foot this evening.  Since I had lessons from the hospital wound care person, it was pretty easy: unwrap, dab with saline-soaked gauze, put on dressing, add gauze pads, wrap with gauze, wrap with cloth wrap, tape down, clean up.  Simple!

So, my foot is definitely healing fast.  I can see the skin  growing back!  I just need to be REAL NICE to my feet now that I'm Type 2.

My blood sugar has constantly been "ok", 162 or less.  I'e learned that eating a banana will spike that sucker up to 162, but it drops pretty quickly.

It's going to take some time to get a feel for how things  work, I'm keeping a spreadsheet on Google so I can log from work and home, it's been very educational.  In about a month or two I should be able to cut back testing to 2- 3times a  day.

Back to dinner- turkey sausage, pinto beans in mustard sauce, and 5 pita chips.  Could be worse!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Carbs comment

Just a note: 2 hours after eating, my blood sugar was 86.  Now,normally this would be cause for celebration but after some research it appears I didn't eat *enough* carb!

While too  much is bad, so is too little.  I need to consume between 35 and 45g of carb PER MEAL to keep the blood sugar stable, in conjunction withe the medicine.  Thankfully I had 1/2 a loaf of pumpernickel so I stuffed down a slice (15g) along with a sausage mini-biscuit (14g), which should tide me over the night.

I'm hopeful I wake  up around 4:00AM so that I can test myself again.  My spreadsheet needs WAY more data points, and I'm also keeping notes on what I eat carb-wise.

I'll need to keep a couple of granola bars around in case of crash-down, like the dietitian said.  And one in my backpack as well and/or lunch bucket).

Dang, do I have a lot to learn!  Study study study! I need a diabetic bracelet as well, in case of emergency.  Sigh.  Well, it could be worse, I might have gone long enough to go into ketosis, which is potentially quickly fatal!

I do feel odd, not bad, but odd.  The nurses told me it's probably that my body has gotten used to t he elevated blood sugar levels and now sees normal as "too low".  Supposedly this goes away in a few weeks.

More as I experience it!

Escapeeeeeeeeeeeee!

Well, I'm home.  After a thorough working-ver from the podiatrist and physical therapist, I was declared "good to go" and sent home with crutches and a HUGE bag of medical supplies since I'm going to have to clean and wrap my own wound.  They wanted Home Services to take care of it, but if you don't have insurance, too bad, go home and die.  Hardly matters, the doc and physical therapist/wound specialist taught me what to do and what to do it with, once  I proved to the nurse I could raise my foot to my face!  20 years of off and on yoga - come on - I'm still flexi at 53!

So, I took my prescriptions to the Walgreens to be filled.  The lady came back in 5 minutes and said "This is going to cost over $300, you still want it?".  I answered "I'm screwed, I have to take it, sorry."  And lo, once the bag had replacement reading glasses (mine broke in the hospital) and new test strips for the glucose meter, it totaled $411! Damn!  Well, $150 of that was the anti-fungal, which is apparently rare.  The actual diabetes medicine was $60 for a month, and the blood pressure medicine was a cheap $20 for a month.  Killing off the infection and fungus appears to be an <expletive deleted> expensive process!  Well, I get to keep my foot, so I should just shut up.

Anyway, so here I am at home with $300 worth of meds in front of me.  I have my glucose test kit and portable lancets, the ones that came with the kit were too expensive AND rarely worked!  Forget that!  I also set up a spreadsheet on Google Docs to track my blood sugar, when I'm not hear a computer I'll just write 'em down.  The Freestyle Lite will apparently hold up to 500 measurements, so I don't necessarily need the pen and paper - I can buy a cable that'll let me download to the computer, it's on my to-buy list now.

Blood sugar as of  1/2 an hour ago was 113, which is pretty decent.  Given that I was at 360 when I went in it's nothing short of a miracle!  Too bad it means drugs the rest of my life.. sigh.

Metformin eats up B12 so I have a Stress B supplement that covers it all.  One a day will do the job!

Broke now.  Well,  I'm too physically messed up to go out, I'll hang at  home until I can walk without crutches.

More as it happens! And people, GET TESTED.  If my glucose was a bit higher I might have gone into ketosis and been in danger of dropping down dead!  I dodged the bullet, but don't YOU take the risk! It's a crappy way to die.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Update - good news!

Yeeee-haw!  They're looking at discharging me tomorrow afternoon/evening so I can go home.  Finally!

Even better - my blood sugar is stable at 130 WITHOUT INSULIN!  No shooting myself up several times a day!  That's excellent news!  And my blood pressure is stable as well at 140/90, which is acceptable.

Someone phoned the podiatrist after I said I was going to file a complaint (heh) and he'll he here tomorrow morning.  He DID give permission for the foot to be unwrapped, and according to THREE (!!) different doctors it's healing very nicely.

I'll be on antibiotics and antifugals for 2 weeks, and crutches for 2-3.  This is annoying but acceptable.  Transportation will be a pain but short-term can be dealt with.

I'm going to need diabetic shoes, that's high up my purchase list as I walk a LOT.

Nap time!

Hospital, Day 6

Urgh, was way too tired from sleep deprivation to blog yesterday.

They added a new med, glipizide, to my med mix, and changed my antibiotic.  Apparently my poor foot has both a strep AND staph infection, nasty!  Neither is the resistant type so the new antibiotics should knock it out.

Blood pressure consistently decent, only slightly up - and my blood sugar was 135 this morning,  OMG OMG!!!  That's a HUGE improvement over te 360 I came in with!!  So, SOMETHING is working.

Still no podiatrist - he has until tomorrow A.M. before I file a formal complaint.  he's now the one thing keeping me from going home! Grrrrrrrr!!!!

At least the Discovery Channel and Tribsl.fm along with my chat friends, are keeping me sane!  I can't imagine surviving this without them!

Back to resting up!

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Hospital, Day 4

Note:  it's really hard to sleep when they wake you up every 3-4 hours to take your vitals (BP, pulse, temp). Worse is when they ALSO take blood every other time!  And getting stabbed in the finger isn't good for sleep, nor are getting shots.  Meh.

Today should be a quiet day.  i'm mainly here to keep on the IV antibiotic at this stage.  I've gotten a fair amount of practice puttering around in a walker, I'm going to start practicing with my crutches next.

The foot feels OK, sometimes really warm but according to doc AND nurses that's normal.  There's enough bandage on it to make me look like an NFL player injury!  No more pain up the leg, or even in the ankle.

BP is down to normal, blood sugar still a bit high but that's going to take time to work out.  It hovers around 160-210, which is bad, but not as bad as the 340 it was when I arrived!  I can beat this!

I also discovered you can take blood out of the SIDE of your finger! This means I can go back to playing guitar if I want to! And I also learned BB King has Type 2, hell, if he can play then so can I!

Looks like I can eat a fair number of things that I love, just in moderation.  Talking to the nurses, the main thing is just to eat regularly and for the first few weeks test my blood sugar BEFORE and then an hour AFTER a meal to see what happens,  Every body reacts differently, so I just need to learn how mine works and adjust accordingly.

With proper care I can live a while - BB King is in his 80s, has had Type 2 for 20+ years, and he's going strong,  I have good genes (except for the blood sugar thing), Grandma Nell passed at 95 shoveling her walk in Michigan in Winter.. so I think I'll be fine.

Great food here, but I want to go home!  I want to go back to work!  I WANT OUT OF THIS DAMN BED!  Argh!  Well, at least I'm only on the IV for an hour at a time, not 24/7 like I was at first.

back to research!


Saturday, July 7, 2012

Hospital, Day 3

Well, the podiatrist came by late yesterday.  Not much on the bedside manner but very professional and DAMN good.  He went over the procedure, told me it'd be an IV anesthetic and ran off.  Sleep last night?  Non-existent, maybe 3 hours.. not from stress but from being continually woken up for vitals, blood tests, and the like.  Crikey let me sleep already!

So this morning at 6:30AM I got a thorough working-over, and then at 7:45am they took me down to OR.  We had 4 people: the podiatrist, the anesthesiologist,  an OR nurse and an assistant nurse.  They hydrojet water scalpel was cool,  a little thing on a cart that I wish I had been awake to watch (lol)!  But the knockout guy gave me this tiny injection through my IV attachment and... nighty night!

Woke up hungry and thirsty and only slightly sore.  Got rolled back to my room (the bed is portable) and I slept another 2 hours.  But I didn't miss lunch, yaay, even though I had no breakfast.

I'm still hoping I can get out of here Monday or Tuesday, I need to get back to work!  I'm already going to spend a year paying all this off.. argh..!

Lemon from lemonade: I'm watching cooking shows and thinking about how I can apply those techniques to diabetic cooking!

Friday, July 6, 2012

Hospital, Day 2

Well, here it is late afternoon and no sign of the internal medicine doctor or the podiatrist.  I'm feeling like the maybe-surgery isn't going to happen, which is fine by me as I cleaned all the glass out of the wound when it first happened.

The food is good, the nursing and dietitians are great, but I wonder where in hell the doctors are?  I'm not going into surgery without a LONG talk about it, things seem to be healing nicely and I'm not sure that I want to get it cut back open unless there's a compelling reason to do so.  I want to see the x-rays and MRI results first!

Other than that, swelling seems to be going down, my blood sugar is meh, and it's impossible to sleep when someone wants to take your blood sugar every 3 hours!

I need to be out of here ASAP.  Every day I'm here is a day I'm not working and another $$$$$ I owe.  I say, get the infection blasted out, get my blood sugar and pressure stable, and THEN go from there!

I did my little stabby test kit and lessons, and a nice lecture on what to eat and how to eat it.  One trick: don't skip meals!  In effect you're having to kind of act as your bodies blood sugar regulator instead of your pancreas, and skipping a meal can cause bad fluctuations in your sugar level, so eat 3 meals a day of te right foods.  And that means low/no sugar, and low carbs!  You can't quit carbs (bad thing to try) but cu back.

Other than that, nothing to report - I'll be here all night again.  Feh, I wan to go home!  But I did get a cool pair of crutches.

And things go to heck!

I'm keeping the blog title clean since who knows who might be reading this!

Sunday night I stepped on a piece of glass that came right through my shoe.  Oww!  So, I went home, took off the shoe, cleaned the wound up and dressed it.  I figured this would be the end of it, but oh, I was so so wrong!

First, more skin peeled off the wound, making it bigger. Then, despite the Neosporin, it got infected.  So I packed myself up and went down to the Medspring clinic to get looked at.

First,  the people there were as nice as could be!  I got poked and prodded and finally the removed the bandage.  The doc took one look at it and said "We can't handle this, go to the ER".   So, they actually called  the ER and sent all the medical info, then dressed the wound and sent me on my way.  Very nice!

So, at the Austin Heart Hospital, I wobbled into the ER and got looked at.  Not good!  the doc ordered X-Rays right off and an IV antibiotic, as well as full bloodwork.  I tell you, I got poked and prodded plenty!

To make a long story short, I had high pressure and - yecch - very high blood sugar.  So the internal med specialist talked to me and told me I was diabetic.  Yaay.  I got a nice shot of insulin and the IV stuck into me.

After a modest wait, I got an MRI on the foot.  I've never had an MRI before!  The thing is LOUD and makes the kind of science-fiction noises you'd expect out of a 50's sci-fi film.. I was thinking "Forbidden Planet" the entire time I was in the machine!

Then, up to my room, where I've been for about 16 hours now.  I've had 3 different antibiotics, insulin, heparin (anticoagulant to make sure nothing clogs up while I'm in bed) and saline.  I feel like a combination science experiment and pincushion!

They're planning on doing something called a "debris-ment", which is basically to go into the wound and clean ip up - it's a surgical procedure (argh) but is simple.

So here I sit in bed, wired up to an IV pump, with my Dell ultralight.  The hospital has WiFi, TV, and amazingly decent food (even if I'm on the diabetic diet).

With any luck I'll be out early next week, but it appears there will be lifestyle changes - te biggest of which is "no more alcohol".  Bye bye happy microbrews, hello diet soda and unsweet tea!

As long as it holds me together long enough to finish "Dead Ringer" and the Split Worlds trilogy, I'm OK with it.

The biggest pain is going in debt, as being a temp worker means I have no insurance.  Think paying medical bills for a couple of years.

Interesting fact:  Heparin the anticoagulant is made out of pig intestines!  And apparently they make some other thing they're using on me out of horse urine.  I can hear it now: "By the power of HORSE URINE, be healed"!

Ugh, back to feeling unwell.