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April 2024
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Life is pretty cheap round here

Of course, that’s compared to three professionals living in a single house. We do our own cleaning, keep extravagances down to a minimum, and do most of our own cooking.

If you weren’t already aware, and this has made several news channels, last year’s cocoa crop fell well short of expected quantities and quality. That means, chocolate is going to be much more expensive.

But it always was a luxury. I bought a bunch of bananas earlier today, with far more nutritional value that the equivalently priced chocolate bar, including potassium.

Of course, the weather has always made a huge difference in farming. With levies likely to be coming in for air and freight to ensure climate warming doesn’t progress at its current rate, food is going to be much more difficult to grow. Farmers fields in my part of Britain have been underwater for most of this calendar year, robbing it of vital minerals that help our food give us the nutrition we expect.

Oh, you can take a pill to make up the shortfall!

Sorry, but where do the vitamin tablets get the digestable forms of minerals from, please?

Even if it is completely manufactured, the sources still need to be found. Unused produce is a really easy way of doing that.

The joy of movement…

There was a great article on BBC’s Look East last night, discussing disabled accessibility when it came to sports.

I have found many gyms, pools, tracks, etc, really difficult to navigate as time has passed. The “anti-sugar” lobyists mean I have to carry suitable hypo treatments – lucozade has been off the menu since they started putting aspartame in it. I mean, why are you drinking lucozade if not for the sugar content? It tastes horrible. As my leisure drinking options have decreased, so too have my emergency sugar options.

Although, I have to say I was impressed in Pizza Express yesterday when our espressos arrived with no sugar free sweetners – it has been a long time since that has happened, not that I have…

Back to the point, please!


The food thing is a biggy. Getting plain food, that’s easy to guess at bolus values and absorption patterns is also tricky – what is the obsession with putting mayonaise on everything? It’s fat, pure fat. The stuff that stops carbohydrates being absorbed. Why?

Of course, I need to travel places to get to do the activity. Since the fire at our local gym, they have stopped having water available (actually, that could have been post Covid), but as much as sugar is useful when I’m hypo, water is vital if my blood sugar goes above 9mmol/l and I’m exercising. Along with the ketones I’m burning to generate energy from the exercise, I’m now flusing that with the ones that my body is screaming for as my blood sugar is high.

Showers are not great as a cabled pump user. At home, every shower has a shelf or at least a hook for a bag, so I can keep wearing my pump. Those are non-existant in most facilities.

I use gentle shower washes and shampoos that I know I’m not going to react too. The missing shelf for my pump, means these are often on the floor. Lovely.

I haven’t spoken about parking. My car, for work and play, is an extension of my carrying capacity. If I’m high, it’s carrying spare injection equipment. When I’m low, it has safe, measured, or injectable, means of recovery. Paid car parks are a nightmare. Say I’m doing something for the first time, the chances are, I’m going to be low. A car gives me somewhere safe to treat the hypo. But only if the parking isn’t charged. Tickets are difficult to assess – how long will it be before I can safely drive?

That’s without all the fuss of figuring out how to shower safely and effectively and protect my equipment in the lockers – did you many are now air-conditioned in some places? Think of the precious liquid, a fragile protein being heat or cooled while you’re showing or getting dressed. A warm coke is less tasty, insulin becomes useless. The pump may be carrying a week’s worth.

Then there’s the aftermath. An hour’s exercise has repercussions: a 100 mile cycle ride the impact wasn’t just the next couple of days. Muscle filling can lead to sudden lowering of insulin requirements. Perfect job for a hybrid loop pump, but of course, it shuts off my insulin to protect agaisnt a hypo, which can then lead to a high. I certainly can’t just go do and forget.

I love exercise: I ski, cycle, motorcycle (270 kCal per hour!), walk, play badminton and tennis, I’ve been known to canoe and dance. Me doing any of these is not just packing my trainers and going to a place where it’s happening.

Prograstination is the thief of time

It could be said, as I am writing this, I am not sitting here doing nothing. But this is a poor substitute for being utterly lazy.

I normally find the winter is my busy time, both physically and mentally. But that just hasn’t happened this year.

Normally, I plan to do things – but that hasn’t really happened as the goal has been to clear the mortgage, so life has felt a little, well, paused.

The end is indeed drawing nigh, in three months time, we should have made the last payment. Reasonably, my husband asked what I was going to do with the spare money in July?

Good question. The thing is, I don’t know. I’ve stopped wasteful spending and, to be honest, like the fact I’m not buying more clutter to fill up our home. I enjoy my home cooking having got the basics mastered and that has made a stunning difference to my blood glucose levels, waist line, as well as our wallets.

The house is well cared for; yes, the windows that were put in do need replacing – we’re considering triple glazing. Not cheap, so not a rush out and do the second the mortgage is paid off. The kitchen units could also do with laying out differently. The bathroom has the same issue. In price order, the bathroom is the cheapest, then the windows, then the kitchen. So that is likely to be the order.

Of course, planning things in helps. I did that on Sunday. Monday, I stuck to the plan. Tuesday, I rested. Up to a point, that’s the aim of this break: to gently catch up on the house hold chores, take stock, and chill.

But it is such hard work!

And the lesson for today is…

We have to go back a couple of years now, to when the “energy crisis” first hit. Our electricity was locked but the smart meter reader we had in the house didn’t even have that latest report on it, so the price doubling per unit had no reflection to what our “smart meter” was reporting to us.

I’d tried various forums looking at how to update the device. To no avail.

Today is my first day off for a long while and I’m having a bit of a decluttering day today (tomorrow and Wednesday to be honest, I’ve got a bit behind…)…

Are you going anywhere useful with this?!

OK, so first things first, I start to move the useful electrical devices we have in an open shelving unit. The first of these being our smart meter reader (also called a IHDU). Now, the batteries have obviously died, so unplugging it cause the power supply to “reboot” the device. And when it came back up, it had the right tariff for both Gas and Electric.


Wait a *ing minute, this is more than my bill says the charge is per unit?

Agreed, but then the bill is pre-VAT. Add the VAT at 5% (for fuel charges) and the price is what it should be.

Price per unit, including VAT.


Catching up March 2024

I was a little quiet last week, my apologies. Now, no-one died or found out some terrible news, but while at my diabetic screening, I left my phone behind and someone took it with them.

Thankfully, I realised within 30 minutes and had all my financial business sorted out not much later.  I keep a spare phone, while not fully functional, it meant my CGMS only dropped a few hours of data (old phone had a completely flat battery).

One of the things I lose as a type 1 diabetic is the ability to trade in my old phone.  Thankfully, this doesn’t happen to me that often, but I cannot be without the communication device.  Having a phone that my CGMS software is happy to run on is invaluable, worth considerably more than £450.

Unfortunately, while I’d only had my S23 Ultra 9 months, it is no longer available 🙁  More over, the obvious replacement is not yet available.

That wasn’t the only loss that week – my husband managed to drop my ancient Kenwood Chef and it very much looked like it couldn’t be resurrected.  I did very well, I did not cry or shout, but it did feel very much like losing a trusted confidant – this robot had helped me through Covid and beyond, enabling us to enjoy simple food when all we could get were the raw ingredients.

With the focus on shifting the mortgage, I was not planning on replacing the old one any time soon and it is not a decision to be made lightly, so when my husband said, I’ll cough-up and cover it, the decision took 45 minutes to make and that was with some consultation.

Of course, salvaging the parts that could be reused freed the mechanisms and it sprang back to life the next day.  Ooops.

As I said, no-one has died, this has all just been a massive waste of effort trying to get back where we were.  (Can I say the new mixer is really good, so much quicker and quieter than the old one.  If the bread maker ever dies, it could directly replace it too, albeit with significantly more hassle).

I have the next two weeks off work, and that home cooking thing is what I love doing.

Getting a new phone is not going to be anything like as straightforward…

Where do I fit in?

For many, I don’t count as being disabled. The fact I lost use of my beta cells that mean, without subcutaneously delivered insulin, I would die.

Now, my insulin is not delivered in the same way as a non-type 1 diabetic. I programme in my basal to make use of the stores in my body I release to power my body – just as those stores would be released if I wasn’t type 1. When I eat, I have to give extra insulin to make use of the energy – whether that energy comes from protein, fat, or carbohydrates (that’s sugars in common parlance).

Like anyone else’s body, I am not fussy about what I convert into usable blood glucose – what’s different about me is the fact I am getting my insulin in a form that lasts a long time. Which means, if I get it wrong, I have no safety net – the numbers are big enough that my body can’t necessarily do everything I need to pull me back out of trouble.

Each morning, I make some fundamental choices on my pump, forming a base plan on which I base the rest of my decisions – if I get that right, I don’t have do much other than get my boluses right. If not, my foundation is a disaster and it’s very much like living in an active earthquake zone…

Yesterday, I got it pretty much perfect – 24 hours in zone. Today, was not so easy. I’m only 5% out of range, but as a result, everything hurts, including my head and it has been a battle to get that good a result.

Why not use a hybrid loop pump, is that better than you?

To be honest, yesterday, I didn’t use the control loop at all – 100% in range. Today I did and at least one high and one low were caused by the hybrid loop. It leaves me to pick up the mess.

Despite that, not everyone sees me as being disabled. In fact, the tech makes people believe “type 1 isn’t really a problem anymore” is something I hear many times a month.


We don’t say to migrane sufferers that have painkillers or have identified their triggers. So why do we say this about type 1 diabetes that is a complex condition that expects the people who have it to replace a highly difficult function in the body to mimic?

While there’s moonlight and music and love

let’s face the music and dance. As the song goes.

The past financial year has seen many companies look at their books and make some key investments in AI and future proofing their industries.  America and Europe have seen a similar climb to the UK, leading to wage increases unseen for nearly fifteen years, when the banking crises hit the global economy bank in 2008.

Redundancy rates are rife in many industries, while vacancies are looking for people who can hit the ground running.  Companies are struggling to protect work forces and customers.  Times are still tough and likely to remain so entering the new financial year.

All companies are looking at their costs and seeking ways to ensure they can maintain growth in a smaller and harsher economic environment.

So it seems odd that the UK government is choosing now to lower national insurance rates.  This weird tax in the UK was designed to fund the NHS and the welfare pot.  You had insurance, while working, to pay for health-care, etc.

No-one enjoys paying tax, but many in the UK feel a bit cheated as the government is funding less and life is harder, while not asking the rich to pay.  More importantly, by maintaining income tax thresholds where they were three years ago, is moving the tax burden more on to the young and less comfortable in society.

Economically, I’m right wing: I would like the government to own natural monopolies and maintain infrastructure and provide welfare and opportunities for education.  That means the people most able, need to pay taxes.   What I’d really like is an honest and morally incorputable government making the best decisions of the world country.

Times may be tough, but is not that how it should be?

Sitting, looking out on the rain, waiting for it to get better…

I’m sitting watching the rain come to a stop on a cold March day in the UK. The sun is making an appearance and, for the time being, I am waiting for the miracle that is fiasp insulin to work its magic.

I’d had a good day yesterday with the insulin I’d programmed in a few months ago for this stage in my menstrual cycle, and the bolus decisions I’d made for the food I’d eaten all came to fruition. I was a little heavy handed for my evening bolux but on spotting that early still scored a respectable 99% time in range.

The night was even better, little variance over the period. I’d cleaned up the house and walked into town. The exertions meant I was a little low, but no biggy, I had emergency rations with me and treated appriotely. The low hid the fact that my cannula had stopped functioning about 10am in the morning. My blood sugar started soaring at 12:27 and by 12:57 it was obvious walking back home was not an option.

I’m lucky, I could afford to take a taxi back home, I stripped off my rain soaked outer clothing and less than 4 minutes later was admistering insulin through a newly inserted cannula. Of course, even an insulin analague takes time to lower blood glucose down from 3 hours worth of missed insulin doses, but 90 minutes later it is all looking good. I wait until we’re back down to 10mmol/l before working out how much I’ve potentially over treated and then compensate with the minimal amount of carbohydrates to ensure I won’t be hypo the rest of the afternoon.

I’m often told that as a “good diabetic”, a compliant diabetic, a diabetic who is “really well controlled” that I am not disabled. I do not incur costs related to my disability and I do not have anything “holding me back”. Technology is going to make my “burden less”.

Do not get me wrong, the fact I could see my blood sugar rise from 3.4 to 16 mmol/l in less than 45 minutes meant I knew what was happening, but given the cannula had failed, nothing was going to stop that happening.
I’m still disabled. I still have to wait for the subcutaneous insulin to do its thang and because this is an “unexpected event” this is not something I can leave to the hybrid loop to sort out. If it sees too much insulin on board, it will shut off the temporary correction I need to bed in the new cannula for a few hours and I cannot have it work out that is not a good thing.

So, please stop telling me it is going to be so much better because of the technology. I have a splitting headache caused by interrupted insulin infusion and a blood sugar 4.3 times higher than a none diabetic and it isn’t because “I’ve done the wrong thing”. My cannula should have been good until 9am tomorrow.

I’m still disabled, life is still not the same as it would be with type 1 diabetes.  I do incur monetary costs because of that disability.

Experiments in the kitchen

Taking advantage of a discount and the fall out.

My husband has an interesting package with his job and after asking both me and our son if we wanted to take part in a small experiment, our grown son finally said yes.

To give a little background, I first met my husband before it was found that stomach ulcers were caused by a bacterial infection. I mention this has he had managed to treat a stomach ulcer successfully by moderating his diet for nearly two years. It’s never come back but since the ulcer, his stomach hasn’t really felt right.

Now his work deal was a (controversial) IgG test looking at what you may be reacting to in your diet.

The results duly came back stating that my beloved might benefit by giving cow’s milk, lemon, and eggs a miss and yeast was also in the “best avoided” list. So, Jon is giving it a go.

Unfortunately most of my recipes collected over the past four years contain these three ingredients!

Let’s start over. He can eat gluten, just not yeast => soda bread. Without milk or lemon juice to “activate” the sodium bicarbonate. Tricker but not impossible.

Isn’t it complicated enough with your thing going on?

Life never promises to be uncomplicated.

As you say, cooking from scratch has taught me a great deal about several foods.

Carbohydrate wise, pizza and french dough does not have extra sugar added to get the yeast going. French dough takes a long time to cure to get a similar rising to “English” bread. Ciabatta has more sugar added than an English loaf.

Pizza dough (used for pizza, garlic bread, and dough balls) takes 45 minutes to rise. Both french bread and pizza dough needs far less insulin to use.

Pizza is a little awkward because it has a great deal of cheese, typically. This means it has a really long bolus requirements. Dough balls don’t.

I’ve had ciabatta a couple of times – it not only requires a great deal of insulin but its fat content means a longer bolus as well. Let’s just say, I avoid it like the plague.

Soda bread, because it uses weak flour, is actually a great bolus pattern. For the weekend, it might be a great option for me.

So are you doing the IgG test?

No. I definitely benefit from having breaks from bread every so often, and I get clues when that’s coming up. I know about the aspartame.

I’m obviously not allergic to anything. I think I’d rather not know…

The truth about being a parent

When I was diagnosed diabetic, one of my parents’ concerns was if I’d get to have children.

As a young child, with a mum and dad who didn’t spend much time at home while they were growing up due to going to boarding schools, they didn’t have much of a social life outside of work. Few of their friends had children.

I did not feel a social pressure to have kids as a kid but it was a vague idea. I was absolutely certainly I didn’t want to be having kids when I was past 30 – at that age, I’d have had type 1 diabetes for 26 years and that didn’t seem a viable option.

I’d spent a great deal of time travelling round the country for work before I got to university. Many of the men I dated seemed to want to get married. Getting married wasn’t really an ambition either (I am coming up to my 25thth wedding anniversary this year). I’d dated and did feel quite sad when things ended, but it wasn’t love in those cases. My husband is the only man I’ve cared about enough to argue with.

The travelling (and dating) made me want my own home. I didn’t go on holidays or buy flash toys and cars. I bought my house as a singleton in 1998. It was near my family, as mum had promised to help if I had children – both my parents were still working when I had my son.

Of course, life happens around plans. My pregnancy was not the joyous experience we’d waited two years for: an ovarian cyst meant it was painful for the majority of the time. We’d also bought a house 8 weeks before our kid was born in another village. Whihc meant my savings were not going to cover a year – my savings were swallowed up in the move. My granddad also had a stroke.

So my folks went from looking after their grandchild for a day down to nothing. Indeed, we my grandfather died moved 45 miles, but 124 minutes journey away.

I was lucky, my childminder was able to pick up the extra day.

And here we are.

Yawn, so what? You’re a boomer…

No, I’m a gen Xer, I just happened to do the kid thing early. I did get sterilised when my son was 4. This shocked my friend, who ended up having three kids: the doctors agreed to that? Type 1 diabetic, I have had a child, I knew what I was asking for and, long term, it would have been much cheaper and less impact on my body. My husband wasn’t even there for the conversation though he did chat to the obstetrician on the phone.

If you are not diabetic, women do not seem to be allowed to do this, even if their partner feels the same way. This seems bizaare: pregnancy and childbirth are not trivial processes to go through.

Of course, my friends are not the only people not having children. The number of births last year per woman went down to 1.6 children in the UK. I was considered a little young at 27 when I was doing this long task, the majority of new mums are in their late thirties.

At least we’ve done our bit.

My son has no plans of having children, it’s so far off his radar as to be unviewable. House prices had trebled since I bought my house as a junior manager, and wages have not yet doubled. Doing this on his own is not an option.

Childcare costs have more than trebled in the time. Quid pro quo, only young adults with private income can hope to have a chance of having young while they are young.

Because their 60 year old parents are still working and likely to be for the next decade. Unless they are rich and actually, they are the people with the interesting jobs…

We’re so obsessed with older people “earning their keep”, the young are ending up not having jobs.

In the meantime, while interest rates have gone up, house prices haven’t deflated because if you have a job, you cannot afford to move.

The people having child tend to be in bigger, nicer houses, so are using flexi-time to perform their own child-care.

Being disabled, it wasn’t an option for me. I would have been doing two jobs badly. It was hardwork anyway, but I can see why many are delaying the start.

Oh yeah, what should we be doing then?

The minimum wage works here. A parent has enough to live on while the other can earn a bit more than they’d have staying at home.

More importantly, gran and gramps can take that dip in pay to help out. This is what happen for my folks when my brother and I were babes and for a few months, helped me and family.

That reduces the need for as much paid for childcare, which allows the prices to drop. This works.

It works at another level too. Life is difficult with young children if you work and don’t have a car. The costs of housing and childcare mean those having children benefit from having two cars, and best will in the world, a push bike with a kid larger than a baby is very hard work. This is a nightmare for the environment – I have never done as many miles as I did when my son was below 12 and we had full time jobs.