Tag Archives: Diabetes

Accu-Chek Mobile, new blood glucose meter

Just received a new meter from Accu-Chek, the ‘Mobile‘.

It’s a clever and thoughtful design, I like the way they’ve incorporated the pricker into the side of the device. It is a little bigger than I’d like though: I use the Nano at the moment (2 of them, one at home and one at work) so I’ll see whether this is really practical to take everywhere with me.

The biggest innovation here is the use of a cassette to give 50 tests without needing to change, so the need for a separate tub of test strips is removed. Therefore, everything you need is in the one tidy case. They even send one of two free carry-cases for it if you register your device – nice incentive!

I use a manbag (I know, metrosexual) so maybe it’ll work for me. I can see how blokes wouldn’t want to carry yet another device around though.

The thought that’s gone into the PC connection seems good too. You can set it to either fire up the special software or a web service. I’ll try the web service when I have enough results, as I use a couple of separate laptops regularly, like most folks who have desk jobs, I guess.

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What do you think?

I received mine free, via an email offer from the Accu-Chek folks so see if it’s still available if you fancy trying one out. Don’t forget, you may need to change your repeat prescription for the new test cartridges and pricker lancets. Tell ’em Phill sent you! 🙂

Diabetes – Living with Type 1 Diabetes as a young person

Coping With Diabetes As A Teenager

In my weekly Youtube update, there was an video of a speech made by Hannah, a young Type 1 diabetic, about living as a teenager with diabetes.

Personally, I was lucky. I was diagnosed with diabetes at 20 years old. I was an independent student, living alone away from home but spending enough time at the family home for my Mum to spot something was amiss and have me diagnosed. My age played a huge part in me being comfortably able to change my lifestyle and manage my condition. Also, importantly, I didn’t have to grow up whilst managing my diabetes. I feel privileged to have avoided that.

Hannah was diagnosed at 2 years old so she’s dealt with Type 1 diabetes throughout her living memory. This audio clip is well worth a listen if you, or anyone you know, is growing up with diabetes or any condition which needs daily management. Her experiences probably aren’t unusual, and should help other people to learn about dealing with a medical condition – and with the people around you!

If you’d like to know about more about living as a teenager with diabetes, then have a look at Hannah’s blog: The Bad Diabetic.

Tell her Phill sent you 🙂

Sunday Social Shenanigans

It’s Been A While

Since starting up the #12×100 Monthly Cycling Challenge I’ve tried to keep up a regular routine of cycling and it’s definitely helped. There are very few Tuesday nights I don’t get a few miles in, and every other weekend tends to have a good ride in it, too. Most of my cycling has been done alone though.

I do like riding my bike on my own. The chance to gather my thoughts out of the house, to take in the views, to enjoy the weather and listen to the sounds around me is a chance I like to take. More recently though it’s become obvious that although I know loads of other cyclists, I don’t often ride with any of them.

A close neighbour now rides me with me most Tuesdays on his old boneshaker. I’m hoping that his Missus will let him buy a better bike once he’s proved that he likes cycling and he’s going to keep it up! At first I struggled to adjust to the possibilities of conversation and sociable tea-and-biscuit consumption, but now I have to admit that it’s been good to have someone along.

There are always going to be good chances to ride alone and I’ll keep taking them. My lack of fitness and ambition are less obvious when I’m plodding along alone, lazily winching up the hills and flowing down them. My opportunities to take photos and capture the beautiful countryside within which I live are also more plentiful when I’m not encumbered by anyone else’s conflicting desire to cover more miles or keep their heart rate up.

But, when Chris suggested it was time for a social MTB ride, he was right.

A Bad Start

Going out for morning bike rides with diabetes is sometimes a pain in the bum. Managing my diabetes means that I tend to fuel up in pretty short bursts: you don’t really carbo-load when you know it’ll push your blood sugars high. The normal short-term, in-day rules apply but carbs usually have to be ingested to suit the exertion planned. Basically, that means: eat for today, not tomorrow.

We’d arranged to set off from mine at 10am. When I got up on the day of the ride my blood sugar was a bit higher than I’d have liked, so a big porridge breakfast wasn’t on the cards. I opted for a brioche whilst the lads turned up, pottered about and we all scratched our heads over Joby’s totally screwed rear brake. More about that later.

Powered only by instant coffee and a small helping of French bread with choccy bits, I led the lads down the canal towpath and up beside Clegg Hall towards Hollingworth Lake where we were meeting Adrian, our fourth rider and expert guide for the day. On getting there, we all joked about Joby’s knackered brake, suggesting either that he should descend first so as not to hit us in the back when he went OTB, or go last so that we weren’t inconvenienced when he bit the dust on the rocky Pennine descents Adrian had planned for us.

Brief hellos done, we set off towards the M62 viaduct where Rochdale and Littleborough are left behind and “the moors” are entered. Immediately, a massive gap opened up when the lads steamed up the first climb and I just let them go. Admittedly, they did climb very quickly (Strava told me later) but I was over a minute down on my usual time for an ascent which takes less than four to finish. I didn’t know that at the time: I just knew I was knackered!

I knew I’d be hanging off the back of the party all day. On the next climb, I got up without dabbing but at the top I was properly worn out. Only 5 miles or so ridden, all of which I’ve done many times alone, and I needed to get off the bike for a long rest. Thankfully a horse asked us to hang back (well, a woman riding a horse, but a horse asking would have been amazing) so I didn’t feel so guilty sat on the grass, sweating, not talking, with three blokes wondering whether I was going to bottle it and go home.

I’m glad I didn’t. It wasn’t a race.

Starting To Enjoy It

From there, we went along to Piethorne reservoir where the descent to the waterside and the views are amazing. Adrian got told off for startling two lady walkers but he had the good grace to feel a bit guilty, so that was ok. Poor Joby’s back brake had evidently spilled all of its hydraulic innards and was totally useless, so he followed gingerly down the descent, leaning off the back of his bike with the front brake on, somehow managing to avoid any face/rock interfaces.

The lads were beginning to talk of sausage butties by this time, so I played my trump card. Everyone needs to bring something to a social ride, and I’d brought my knowledge of where the best food was! One problem though, the climb from Piethorne reservoir to the Ram’s Head is a bit unpleasant. Rocky and steep, with hefty water bars and no clear view to the top – but remember, there was a pub at the top, so we got there.

How nice does THIS look?

How nice does THIS look?

You know you’re getting a posh burger when the chips are arranged in a little mesh chip pan which has clearly never been immersed in a fryer. Suffice to say that it tasted bloody marvellous. You should go to the Ram’s Head – it’s actually easier to get to from the road than the moors, for you roadie-whippet types.

Final Legs

Dropping back to Piethorne ressy from the pub was lots of fun for everyone except Joby on his single-braked steed, then we took the easy service road alongside Piethorne and Ogden reservoirs before a little portage back up towards the junction where I’d flaked out earlier. The burger and chips were working their magic and I felt much, much better with some proper carbs (and meat, and fat – all the important food groups) working through my system.

A final little climb and back down to t’Lake finished off a great couple of hours in the hills, so we said goodbye to Adrian and headed back to mine along the canal towpath.

Lessons Learned

Let’s make this clear: I had a really good day out. I loved the cycling, the company, the scenery and the food. This social ride was a brilliant idea. Thanks Chris for the suggestion and thanks Joby and Adrian for being there too.

I learned three things on this ride:
1. As a diabetic, a poor feed means a poor ride.
2. I should ride with other people more often.
3. I’m even less fit than I thought I was.

My fitness isn’t a problem when I’m out alone. I’m fitter than most 42 year old men, but the trouble with grossed-up statistics is that they don’t reflect your individual circumstances. Most 42 year-old men spent last Sunday eating crisps and watching the Olympics – they weren’t trying to keep up with 3 fitter, younger men on mountain bikes in the foothills of the Pennines.

Being fitter than most 42 year-old men isn’t good enough. I need to get as fit as most men who regularly ride mountain bikes in the hills. I guess that means that I have a goal to achieve.

Strava map of our social ride

See the ride on Strava.

You can see the full ride on this link to Strava. Tell ’em Phill sent you 🙂

Let’s Go And Play Out, Kids.

Remember Playing Out?

If this phrase makes you feel nostalgic, then shame on you.  Reluctant as I am to criticise anybody, even you: shame on you.

Playing out is important.  Failing to play out is one of the main reasons that the current generation is the fattest and most unhealthy one yet.  It’s also the reason that the generation we’re bringing up now – our own kids – will be even fatter and more unhealthy than our own.

Getting outdoors and playing is a simple, fun and largely unseen way to:

  • burn calories
  • get further away from the fridge
  • have loads of fun
  • make friends
  • become fitter
  • avoid obesity
  • reduce the likelihood of shedloads of diseases in later life

Do you need any more convincing?

In my opinion, we adults often go out and ride out bikes to get ourselves fit.  I’ve been quite vocal in the past that I prefer “playing out on bikes” to exercising any day of the week.  That’s why I prefer a Mountain Bike, but that’s just me.  Whatever you ride a bike, stop to think about the kids and please, please check out the links below.

So, What Do You Do?

Please add your support by contacting your MP. You don’t even have to know who he/she is, Sustrans have done all the work for you.  Just fill in the quick form by hitting this link.

More information about the Free Range Kids campaign can be found here, including some great ideas to get kids outdoors.

If you’re not in mainland UK, and I know a lot of you aren’t, do something in your own area. If you have an organisation doing similar things where you are, post a link in the comments below and lobby someone who can do something for your next generation.

Tell ’em Phill sent you. 🙂

Cycling Safety And The b=n+1 Rule

Cycling Safety IDs

Clive’s blog today really struck a chord.  I have diabetes.  I ride alone at least once a week, after dark.  I have diabetes so if I was to take a tumble or get clipped by a motorist, I could potentially be having a post-exercise hypo whilst insensible with an injury.

I’ve looked at RoadID before and always thought they looked cool, but expensive and that I was unlikely to wear them each time I ventured out.  I’m not inclined to keep a wrist band on permanently, as I do a corporate job and a watch is enough adornment.  I remove the watch and my two rings when I ride as I don’t like things jangling about on me.

So, Clive’s blog was a Godsend.  These little stickers stick onto your lid, so if you’re a cyclist you’ll never leave home without them accidentally.  Now that’s perfect for me, as I don’t run. At all.

Ask yourself: if you were to come a cropper on a ride, what would happen next?  Then, think about buying the stickers, eh?

The b=n+1 Rule

Chris reminded me of something I’d forgotten this morning.  The equation b=n+1 applies to all cyclists, where:

  • b = Number of bikes required
  • n = Number of bikes owned

This equation defines us all as cyclists.  Once it takes effect, there’s no going back.

This equation is the reason that I downloaded the eBay app to my iPhone.  This equation is the reason that I saved the searches “Rz120” and “Whyte t120s” into the eBay app.  Now whenever anyone puts either of those two bikes for sale on eBay, I will hear a cheerful “BING!“, see a notification on my phone and instantly become stressed about whether or not to get involved in watching, or worse still participating, in the sale.

Oh yes, of course I rationalise: I’ve told myself that I’m just seeing how cheaply you can pick up a nice 120mm trail bike.  I’ve told myself that I’ll save up diligently and not spend impulsively.  I’ve told myself that I’m looking at shiny new trail bikes because my son is outgrowing his 24” bike and I can pass on my Fat Boy to him, so I actually really neeeeed a shiny new trail bike…

But we all know, it’s just the maths working their magic.  The equation’s got me.  I’m doomed.  I’m a cyclist.

Are you? 😉

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