Andrew and I were driving around and he saw a blind man walking with his seeing eye dog. He then asked me if I knew what they did with the dogs that couldn’t pass being a seeing eye dog… I said “no.” He said “They actually re-train them to become a diabetic dog. ” He then said “yea when he was a younger kid he was at the doctors office and the doctor asked him if he wanted to meet a special dog and he was like I love dogs.” so they brought in a poodle (they are not all poodles) and she said stick your hand out and if she licks your hand you have high blood sugar and if she nudges you and gives you an alert you have low blood sugar. He said “she licked his hand. ” He then said, “I actually volunteered for a few days at the facility in concord where they train the dogs for a project for class. I took my grandma with me and she couldn’t believe it. They use the dogs that couldn’t pass because typically they are more high energy labs that couldn’t calm down very well and you want a dog that will make it know that you need to check your blood sugar. I would get one if i could, but they are kind of expensive and I would treat it like a dog and not tool for my health. It was a great experience and I would do it again if i could.” Wow, I had no idea that they had dogs for that. He had mentioned to me before they had dogs for diabetics, but never went into great detail about it.
I asked andrew the other day if there are things some people might not know about diabetes that Would be interesting. He said, ” well yea actually… they have a special summer camp for kids with diabetes, so we can feel like a normal kid and go to camp. It is special because all of the camp couslers are either diabetic or are actual doctors who are there to help if anything medical comes up. We got to go on over night hikes, play games, camp fires and the whole nine yards. It was called bearskin meadow camp, and it was somewhere up in the mountains. It was really fun and I was able to go twice and I met a lot of kids with diabetes and it made me feel somewhat normal. I wish I could have gone more.” I was amazed that they have camp for just diabetics.
I watch andrew correct for for food and his blood sugar through his insulin pump and wondered how he it did and what it did… so I asked him how do you correct for everything? He said “I met with my endocrinologist to discuss and go over my blood sugar numbers. I correct 1 unit for every 10 grams of carbohydrates and 1 unit of insulin per 20 points to drop my blood sugar. I pre-set my pump for this, so I can just enter in the numbers. This can change whenever there is a change in my day to day life or health. I just enter in my blood sugar and how many grams of carbohydrates I eat. When I was on shots and on my first few pumps, I had to do the math on a calculator. It was a big pain in the butt. And I that is how I correct for everything.” I was kind of shocked on how much he has to actually do. he is really good at math and I kind of know why now.
This is How the insulin pump is hooked up to the body. The tube and site are changed every three days and is changed from side to side of the body for less chance of infection. Here is a diagram I made of Coleens Pump.
The pump helps with giving the right amount of insulin through the tube and slowly gives insulin through out the day.
Here is a video of Andrew explaining his pump.
Andrew being Type 1 Diabetic means he is at risk of heart Disease, Nerve Damage, Kidney disease, Eye damage, Skin Fungal. If Andrew keeps his blood sugar in a good range he is less likely to have these complications. Now Andrew has had is blood sugar in the 300, which is from not giving himself insulin and basically not taking care of himself. This resulted in him being in the early stages of kidney disease, but since he was in the early stages, he still has a chance to turn it around. He is constantly going to doctor appointments because they are checking to make sure he is on track with his blood sugar. To read more about complications click the link below.
Signs Of Type 1 diabetes
- Always thirsty (Andrew Is constantly drinking water)
- Constantly going to the Bathroom (Never like going on road trips with Andrew because of all the pitstops)
- Always hungry ( Andrew is always hungry and always eating)
- mood changes/Grumpy (Andrews mood changes depending on his Blood sugar)
- Fatigue and weakness (This happens when his Blood sugar is low)
There are other symptoms, but I did the most common in Andrew. Click on the link to see the others
Type 1 Diabetes, which is a chronic condition where the pancreas produces a little or no insulin. Insulin is a Hormone that is needed to allow sugar to enter the cells, which produces energy. Now with Type 1 there are various factors of why it may be caused such as genetics, certain viruses. Andrew being type 1 diabetic means there is no cure, but is managed through an insulin pump. Now type two Diabetes means either your producing some insulin , but not enough or your body is rejecting the insulin. Sometimes age plays a factor in Diabetes because most children are diagnosed at a young age, but you can be diagnosed later as an adult. Andrews Mom was later diagnosed and the genetic part is why Andrew has it.
This Is Andrew VanMeter and is 23 years old. He was diagnosed as baby and his mom was told that he would have a 99% chance of not being Type 1 Diabetic and was was that 1% that did. Now his brother was the opposite and had a 98% chance of being diabetic, but has never had it. Now, Andrew has never known anything else besides being diabetic. Growing up he was made fun of and people always think he is caring a pager because his pump looks like one. Andrew is still a normal person, but he does have his set backs like drinking. He can not drink alcohol because it turns to sugar and if he try to give him self insulin, it can go two way 1) it can help bring down his sugar or 2) shoot it so high that he would have to go to the hospital. When Andrew was younger he had to take shots of insulin, which where not very accurate so he was always have seizures, this was a cause of low blood sugar. Looking at Andrew you would never know he was diabetic because he seems perfectly healthy.
This First picture is of my husband showing how much blood he needs to use to get a good reading on his Blood checker. He has test strips that get enter into the machine,which you see to the right. This will test to see how much sugar is in his blood. He is required to maintain between 80-180 and a normal person stays between 70-120. Now for Diabetics to maintain, isn’t that easy, My husband has reached 300 and dropped to 30’s before. This is a constant struggle for him because he does have to watch what he eats and as well as what he drinks. Most juices make his blood sugar high, but juices can help him when he is low too. He tests his blood sugar from 3-5 times a day. As you can see he has a lot of dead skin on his finger tips from the constant testing. He says he doesn’t feel the picker anymore, which is a spring loaded needle. This is defiantly something that people should take more seriously.