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Emergency Plan.

Was just 106 mg/dL.  Tumbled fast to 40.

Took minutes.  Felt like seconds.

Dizzy.

Wait – get phone.

Put the baby in his crib.

He’s safe in there.

Already drank juice – plenty of it – now wait wait waaaaaaaait.

…. waaaaaaiting.

Wall edges seem wiggly, like if I poked them they’d shudder like Jell-O.

Baby is safely in the crib, giggling and playing with his feet.  I sit on his floor with my phone in my hand, ready to make a phone call to a neighbor if the waves of confusion start to erode my mental shore.

Briefly wonder what I’d say if I called.  “Hey, this is Kerri.  Can you come over?  I feel like I’m going to pass out.”  I’m sure I’d try to sound casual when casual is not how I feel.  I keep 911 dialed so if I need to just hit the call button, I’m ready.

Emergency plans.  I have them.

My tongue becomes less thick, less clumsy in my mouth.  I flex my fingers, which are attached to my still-shaking hands.  They feel responsive but like their wings are still clipped.

Juice starts to change the course of my blood sugar.  CGM alarms still blaring from my phone, less urgently now.  Walls seem less gelatinous.

Baby burps and then laughs at his own burp.  I laugh, too, the fog of hypoglycemia unwrapping itself from my brain.  I remember that it’s morning.  That it’s a week day.  That I’m due on a
conference call in 20 minutes.

CGM shows me a comforting arrow.

Emergency over.  Status quo returned.

Before I retrieve the baby from his crib, I grab a cloth and clean up the juice that leapt from the glass while my hands were birds.

 

 

Cauliflower Rice.

Not a cook.  Nope, not me.  Which is why this recipe for cauliflower rice was so useful, because it requires little thought, little cooking, and very little insulin.

Cauliflower rice

  • Buy a head of cauliflower.  Become friends with it.  And then rip it into small sections, keeping hold of mostly the florets (the tops of the trees, in Bird terms) and discard the stiffer stems.
  • Rinse the florets.  Dry them.
  • Put them in a bowl and mix with a little bit of olive oil and salt, to taste.  Also add garlic, if you’re gross.  (We’re gross.)
  • Take a food processor, if you’re one of those fancy people who has a food processor, and pulse the florets for 20 – 30 seconds in order to reduce them down to the teeny rice sized bits.  If you’re not the fancy type who has a food processor, take the blender and use that.  And if you’re full analog, grab a giant cheese grater and grate the florets.  (This last option will take a long time and you may be adding finger to your rice, so choose wisely.)
  • Fluff the “rice” with a fork and put into a bowl.
  • Take a picture of the bowl and realize it doesn’t photograph well, but put it on Instagram anyway.
  • Realize the whole process took four minutes and high five yourself for making such a healthy thing in minimal minutes.

Cauliflower rice

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

At our house, we used the cauliflower rice as a base for our eggplant parmesan, replacing the pasta.  I won’t lie and say it tastes just like pasta, but I won’t lie and say it caused a wildly high blood sugar, either.  We had eggplant parmesan that required 1.8u of insulin to cover it (mostly for the pasta sauce carbs).

Most recipes online that I saw clocked the cauliflower rice in at 5 grams of carbs per cup, so that’s the ratio I used to calculate my insulin doses.  Which means I did not bolus at all for it, since I only had a half a cup and my I:C is 1:12.

WARNING:  If you put it in your fridge overnight, even if it is in a tightly-sealed tupperware container, your whole fridge will smell like gas.  And not the “runs my car” sort of gas.   Beware.  

Let’s Get it ON!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  Whether you’re Irish (I am) or not, today is a day when people will wish you top o’ the morning and will also potentially offer you a beer at 9.30 am (I am not).  Today I’m looking back at a post from ten years ago wherein Mills Lane mediates a melee between a beer and a cocktail.  Read on to find out who wins …

*   *   *
The microphone drops down and Mills Lane plucks it out of the sky.

“In this corner, bringing a bevy of boluses and carbonated carbohydrate content, wearing Gold Shorts and a lime wedge, weighing in at about 12 oz is the mysterious new challenger, La Corona!”

He raises his fists in the air and burps.

“And in this corner, The Titan of Tight Control, the A1c Ally, weighing in at about 9 oz and made up of cheap vodka, cranberry juice, and a splash of Tropicana orange juice – the reigning champion, The Mighty Madras!”

Madras also pumps his fists, holding tight to a thin, red straw and a test strip.

“Gentlemen, this is the title match. Nothing below 50 mg/dl and nothing, nothing above 250 mg/dl – do you hear me? I want a good, clean fight. Now let’s get it on!”

Bell rings.

“And the Corona lurches forward right away, fists flailing! Look at those carbs, folks! The Mighty Madras is backing off a bit – I can hear those ice cubes clanking against the side of him! Corona reels back, swings out and oooooh! A solid hit to the jaw of the Madras! He’s falling back! He’s staggering! Could he be out already? Is this newcomer going to knock the ol’ Tried and True out of the ring?

The Madras is leaning against the ropes … he looks exhausted! Only a few minutes into this fight and the Cold Corona definitely has the upper hand! This could be it! …

… But wait, what’s this I see? Yes, the Mighty Madras is on his feet! He’s taken out a blood glucose meter from his pocket. He’s looking to test Kerri – judges? Are we allowing this? Yes, the judges are allowing a blood test. And Kerri, after having two of the icy cold Coronas, is up to 253 md/gl! Her bolus was grossly under estimated! They’re flashing the results across the marquee – indeed, Kerri is high and the Corona can’t stop staring at the number!

And – ooooh! – the Mighty Madras has snuck in a jab while the Corona isn’t paying attention! He’s now pummeling the Corona! There’s lime juice everywhere, my friends … this is truly a gruesome beating!”

Corona is leaning against the ropes, exhausted from the beating. The Madras reels back his fist, angry that Kerri didn’t measure correctly for her drinks and is now high as a kite. He knows he would have been easier to count. He knows he could have let Kerri enjoy steadier blood sugars and a night out. Why did she pick Corona? Was it the price? Was it the fact that “out having a beer” is what she preferred over a more pretentious mixed drink? Madras didn’t know. He didn’t care. All he knew is that the Corona was horning in on his woman and he wasn’t standing for it.

“And the Madras has brought out a bottle of insulin!! And OH MY GOD he’s cracked it over the Corona’s head! Corona is out! It’s a knock-out, dear viewers! This fight is over! Over!”

Corona falls flat against the mat, out cold. The ring smells of sweat and insulin. Mills Lane grabs the championship belt and thrusts it into Madras’s hand, declaring him “Winnah!” Madras, bleeding profusely from the eye and crying, raises the belt to the air and yells, “Kerri! Kerri!” Kerri comes running from the stands, meter in hand, and stands in front of him as she tests. “153 mg/dl. I’m coming down. I’ll be more careful next time I drink high-carb beers, O Mighty Madras. I promise!”

They embrace. The “Rocky” theme swells in the background. Kerri decides that the next time she wants to have a beer, she needs to measure more carefully and bolus with more precision. She also discovers that she has run this storyline into the ground.

Mills Lane wipes the tears from his eyes. “I love a good fight.”

The NEW Jerry the Bear.

Since they’re local to me here in Rhode Island, I drove up to the Jerry the Bear office to meet with my friends Aaron Horowitz and Hannah Chung, creators of Jerry the Bear.

“It’s awesome to see you guys! Where have you been the last few years?”

After hugs and hellos, I realized my question was unfair. Because they haven’t been hiding but instead, the team behind Jerry the Bear has been working tirelessly to change their business in efforts to meet their mission of getting Jerry into the hands of every child diagnosed with type 1 diabetes globally.

That’s quite a mission. But if anyone can accomplish this goal, the driven, passionate, creative, and all-heart team behind Jerry can.

Just your friendly neighborhood Jerry the Bear!

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“As a business, we know that Jerry the Bear works, but in order to succeed and survive, we need to make the business work. We’ve been working to move our company from a direct to consumer model to a business-to-business model. This means we’re not selling our bears directly to people but instead have partnered with two different distributors in order to get Jerry into kids’ hands,” said Jerry the Bear co-founder and CEO, Aaron Horowitz.

Namely, they’ve partnered with Beyond Type 1 to handle domestic and international orders (except Canada) and Diabetes Express for our neighbors to the north.

“We want to improve life with diabetes for kids by giving them something positive to associate with diabetes,” said Hannah Chung, co-founder and CCO.

The Sproutel team did a lot of research in developing new Jerry. In addition to marathon sessions with post it notes, building paper prototypes, and “body storming,” the team went into the field to access kids in their natural play habitats. Hannah told me that she went to playgrounds during the development phase in order to work with kids and see if they could hold a bear and a phone at the same time, testing out how the app might be physically managed by their target age range of 4 – 9 years old.

“I’d go into the playground with a bear peeking out of the back of my backpack and a handful of permission slips, talking with kids and their parents. We play games like Simon Says in order to see if kids could find the bear’s belly button or elbow, and whether or not they preferred phones or tablets.”

The mental image of Hannah traipsing through Rhode Island playgrounds with a mission to improve the diabetes experience and a stuffed animal keeping watch over her shoulder sums up the Jerry philosophy for me. This team – Hannah, Aaron, Joel Schwartz, and Brian Oley – are changing the way newly diagnosed kids with diabetes are introduced to diabetes.

I think about my own diagnosis back in 1986 – what a difference it would have made to be handed a friendly bear instead of an orange to practice injections on.

In meeting the new Jerry the Bear, the first thing I noticed was that the touch screen tummy of his predecessor was gone. Coming in at a price point of $55 versus the $299 cost of Original Jerry, New Jerry (henceforth known simply as Jerry) is a soft, plush animal without any plastic or metal hardware attached to him. He’s snuggle-ready. Looking similar to my daughter’s army of Build A Bear stuffed animals and sporting giant, Beanie Boo-esque eyes, Jerry looks like huggable buddy, the perfect comfort companion for kids with diabetes.

What’s replaced the touch screen belly, however, is an amazing upgrade. Jerry now comes with a digital world that lives on an iOS or Android device, and the app is completely free. And on Jerry’s plush body are scannable patches that serve as unique QR codes, giving rise to augmented reality play.

“We were excited to see Pokemon Go! come out and see such success,” said Aaron. “Jerry has that same kind of virtual world superimposed onto the real world. Now it is easier for Jerry’s actions to be procedurally detailed.”

Checking Jerry's BG.

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

This means that you’re not just squeezing the pad of Jerry’s finger, but instead you’re walking through all the details of checking blood sugar, from putting the test strip into the meter, pricking his finger, squeezing out a drop of blood, and applying the blood to the strip. The tasks feel real, and they feel thorough.

DO feed the bear!

A post shared by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

The app doesn’t require an actual Jerry the Bear stuffed animal to engage in Jerry’s world, though, and that’s one of my favorite upgrades to this experience. While Jerry himself requires a purchase, the app is free for download. And with that download comes a full world of diabetes experiential learning through the Jerry lens.

“My favorite things about [new] Jerry are that you can explore Jerry’s world in full just on the app, and also that scanning his sites gives you detailed steps around how to use Jerry’s diabetes kit,” shared Hannah. Aaron agreed, adding, “Also that you can experience Jerry instantly through the app. And that the action of scanning changes the world around you, through augmented reality play.”

“What’s the weirdest thing you saw during the test group sessions?” I asked.

Aaron laughed. “You wouldn’t believe how often kids feed Jerry’s butt.”

So there’s that.

While Jerry is aimed at helping kids in the  4 – 9 year old range who are newly diagnosed with diabetes, his potential reaches FAR past that specific demographic.  Jerry, in our home, has been used to help my daughter understand her mother’s diabetes.  He’s been a teaching tool to show kids in her class and our neighborhood what diabetes is all about.  Imagine Jerry as part of a diabetes camp experience, where teenagers can lean on levity and being silly with a stuffed animal to work through some of their frustrations.  Or helping open up discussions for all age ranges about diabetes distress or burnout.  Jerry could be a powerful conduit for conversation for all people touched by diabetes.

This little bear has potential, and plenty of it.

One more thing:  I’d love to share Jerry with two Six Until Me readers, and all you need to do is leave a comment.  Through a random number generator, I’ll select two commenters to ship a snuggly Jerry to.  This giveaway will be open until Sunday night at midnight eastern time, and winners will be notified by email.

Want to enter?  Leave a comment, and be sure to include your email!

You can check out Jerry the Bear’s new app by downloading it from iTunes or Google Play. You can also follow Jerry on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. To order your own Jerry, visit Beyond Type 1 (or Diabetes Express, if you’re in Canada). Thanks to the Sproutel team for letting me come over and play!

The Friday Six: Snowed In Edition.

Haven’t done one of these in a while.  But the snow is falling fast outside and school was cancelled before even a snowflake had touched the ground, making a link-love post the only option … as children circle me like cute sharks.

Borrowed from the Glu Facebook page:  “Glu and T1D Exchange are fighting to protect affordable health care for people in the U.S. living with chronic medical conditions. Please do your part by sending a message to Congress and the Trump administration.”  Act now.

This infographic on phone-y healthcare.

This post is terrifying.

“The only good aspects of the proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act are the things it would keep from the Affordable Care Act. The rest of the bill is bad news for Americans and the future of their health.”  More from A Sweet Life.

A deep dive from diaTribe about automated insulin delivery systems.

Patient and family engaged care—going beyond tactical buzzwords” – an editorial at the BMJ.

Looking for some diabetes sisterhood this fall?  There’s a DiabetesSisters conference coming to Virginia – find out more here.

Diabetes Forecast tackles adhesive allergies and efforts to increase general stickability.

And some favorite Tweets:

 

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