Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Routine Doctor's Visit

Since there isn't a doctor who specializes in diabetes in our area (an endocrinologist), we're seeing our GP, Shawn Foley, for Karl's checkups. We got a thumbs-up, as we knew we would, and Karl had gained a couple of pounds since last time, which is good, since the bout of diabetic ketoacidosis that resulted in his being hospitalized and diagnosed left him thin. And we got a prescription for more test strips per month, since 200 test strips is only 6.7 per day, and we often go above that. (Especially because the school is very good about testing his blood-sugar levels before and after P.E. to ensure that he doesn't exercise his way to low blood sugar and its attendant problems.)

Is Karl's "honeymoon period" lasting? That's the big question. At the hospital, the doctors claimed that his pancreas' ability to produce insulin was a write-off, and it would vanish soon, in a matter of weeks or months (it's been four months now). This would reveal itself through degraded blood-glucose control and increased insulin requirements. Before this week's doctor's visit, I printed out the trend graphs from Karl's Bayer Contour USB blood-glucose meter, and noticed that his blood-sugar was under slightly better control during the most recent 30 days than it was during the previous 30 days, and his insulin requirements are about the same. That's good!

He might have been doing a little better before that, but it's a little unclear because we didn't start taking after-meal blood-sugar readings in the early weeks, so this revealing piece of the puzzle is largely missing. On the whole, it looks like he's holding steady.

This is good, because, for example, if he comes home from school with a blood sugar of 140, it will be down to a more normal 80-90 by dinnertime without corrective insulin. While we want to keep the load on his pancreas down to a minimum, we're glad it's there to fill in the gaps!

We have been adjusting Karl's insulin dosage on our own, which seems to be standard practice these days. The first several times we did it, we bounced it off someone on our diabetes support team, but since they always agreed with us, we kinda stopped. It's always a matter of tweaking doses up or down by half a unit and keeping a watchful eye on happens, and Karl eats the same meals over and over, so this is not rocket science! What works and what doesn't is revealed quickly.

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