If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

4 03 2011

A while back, I started doing some videos about the usability of my new Animas Ping insulin pump.  It was a lot of fun, but the holidays and some other personal things sort of put a hamper on that.

However, the real reason I started doing those videos was that I was preparing for a presentation at a local usability conference called STLUX.

My emphasis in college was Human-Computer Interaction (HCI), but I am not a usability professional.  I do not doing anything related to that in my daily job.  However, it has always been a curiosity of mine, and I try to keep up with that world.

I’d been meaning to get back into HCI and thought that STLUX would be a great way to stretch my wings.  The obvious choice was my insulin pump and similar medical devices.

Since I’m not a usability professional, I tried to keep my talk light and interesting.  I’m not the best speaker, but I did have a few people come up to me after the talk to discuss things further.  I had a lot of support from my colleagues and it was a great experience all around.

My session was not recorded, but I have posted my slide deck on Scribd.  The first 13 slides are as the viewer would see it, and the second 13 slides contains my speaking notes.  You can Ctrl+click to visit the hyperlinks at the end of the document.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

In addition to my presentation, I was also volunteered to be the photographer for STLUX.  I’ve posted a bunch of pictures on Flickr already and I think there will be more from the secondary photographers up soon.

STLUX 2011 Flickr

Thanks to everyone who provided assistance and I hope you guys learn a little bit about the challenges of designing user-oriented medical devices. Now, where is that glass of milk? =)


Not all bad

23 11 2010

I know I’ve ragged on my new Animas pump a little bit (lack of site reminders and I:C ratios and noise), but since it’s Thanksgiving week, I thought I’d talk about a couple things I really like.

I would never have been able to wear this dress with my old pump.  It is skin tight (although stretchy) with no pockets and nowhere to clip anything.  I am not exactly the most well-endowed, so the thicker Cozmo was pretty obvious if I tried to hide it in my bra.

Not so with the Animas.  There is just no way you can see it.  I could even tell you where it was and you wouldn’t believe me.  I am so excited for the fact that I don’t have to worry about where to stick my pump when I go shopping.

The other part to the hiding-in-the-bra trick is the Ping remote.  I can just whip this thing out, bolus for lunch, and tuck it back in my purse.  No one even needs to know what it was for.  The Ping has a food database in it, so I can look up carb counts without having to haul around a separate Calorie King book.  If I used One Touch strips, this could also serve as my meter, but I {heart} my Freestyle Lite too much.  =P

So thanks to Lucille, I have increased freedom and flexibility, which will certainly come in handy this week.  😉

6 things for 6 years

9 11 2010

Happy D-blog Day!

To celebrate the 6th annual d-blog day, here are 6 things I think people should know about diabetes.

  1. Yes I can eat that! With the advent of insulin pumps and CGMS, there is no real reason I can’t eat whatever I want.  Not to mention that sugar-free stuff just plan tastes nasty.  If I’m going to eat the carbs anyway, it might as well be something delicious.
  2. Taking insulin is not “bad”. I do not have it “really bad” because I have to take insulin. My body simply doesn’t make insulin anymore, so I need to replace it manually.
  3. I’ve got it, but sometimes I need help. Most of the time, I am super aware of all the intricacies of what’s going on in diabetes-land.  I know that my blood sugar is going up, but it’s okay because I just ate and I know I bolused accurately, etc.  Or that I may be dropping, but that’s good because I was high before.  However! Sometimes I am low and I don’t know why and I need someone to cut me some slack and get me some Starburst.
  4. My CGMS is amazing. This thing catches everything.  It tells me when I’m high; it tells me when I’m low; it tells me when I’m going up or down too fast; it will remind me later if things haven’t improved.  Because of this device, I have kept my A1c at 6.2% or lower (below 6.0% is NORMAL) for 2 years.
  5. Diabetes is expensive. 4 endo visits, regular doctor, OB/GYN, eye doctor, dentist.  6 test strips per day x 365 days = over 2000 strips per year.  New infusion site, pump cartridge, and tubing every 3 days.  A CGMS sensor is $135 before insurance, which is only supposed to last 7 days.  The pump itself is over $6000.  I just started with new insurance, and next year I will EASILY hit the out of pocket maximum of $2500.  Probably by May.
  6. The D-OC is awesome. George, Kerri, Scott, Bernard, LeeAnn, and Allison are all household names.  You are all my friends.  And not qualified with “diabetes online friends”.  Just “friends”.  ❤

I’m back!

4 11 2010

Hey everyone in the D-OC! Loooong time no blog.  Last we spoke, I was busy living my IRL, and while that is still the case, it’s time for me to get back into diabetes-land.

I recently got involved with a local usability group and it has inspired me to apply that knowledge to my diabetes.  I plan on putting together a number of videos about my experiences with my various diabetes devices.  Below is the first, introducing my new insulin pump.  I hope you enjoy it and I look forward to being a part of the blogosphere again.

Disclosure:  I am not affiliated with Animas or Dexcom in any way, shape or form. I am simply a user who would like to see some improvements.  All opinions expressed in this blog via text or video are mine and mine alone.

Another trick up my sleeve

7 10 2009

I’ve been using the super correct method to get my blood sugars down.  I have updated my technique to make it work a little better.

1.  I did end up doing the super part as “fill cannula”, which does annoy me that it doesn’t get tracked anywhere.  However, I imagine newer pumps will have this feature built in.

2.  I do the fill cannula in 2 steps, per Bernard, so that the last number listed is the correct “fill cannula” amount.  This prevents any weird things happening when I change my infusion site.

However, the newest trick added to the arsenal is using a temp rate to combat a low without having to eat Starburst.  =D

This mostly works because I have a Dexcom and can see these things coming.  If I am just above target, but going down too fast or have too much IOB, I will set a 10-15% temp rate for half an hour.  This small drop in insulin is enough to get me to my target and stay there, instead of dropping below and having to eat something to bring it up.

Just one more thing to add to my arsenal.  Take that, diabetes!

Not just a blogger

21 08 2009

As you are no doubt aware, I have not posted since January.  8 whole months.  But you know what?  I don’t care that much.  Instead of spending my time carefully crafting a post for 5 people to read, I have been actually living my life.

I knit.  I sew.  I bake.  I throw parties.  I go to parties.  I visit with family.  I make new friends.  I see old friends.  I watch TV.  I play new video games.  I play old video games.  I watch movies.  I ride my bike.  I play tennis.  I read.

Oh yeah, and all the diabetes stuff too.  I test.  I eat.  I bolus.  I test.  I basal test.  I treat lows.  I treat highs.  I test.

Sometimes it’s good to get away from the screen.  This blogging stuff?  I don’t really miss it.

P. S.  I’d be lying if I said I was “unplugged” all the time.  You can check out my Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/Amalas

Charlie’s first Christmas party

20 12 2008

Last year was Lucy’s first Christmas. She hung out in the back of a very strappy blue dress.  This year, though, I had two girls to keep track of.  Target to the rescue!


OMG, this dress is so awesome.  I wore it two other times before this party and it’s just great.  The shoes kick ass too.  And you can never go wrong with pearls.  (Ignore my hair, this was taken after the party ><)  I also wore a shawl for some of the night too.


However, here is the best part of the dress:


That’s right.  This dress has pockets.  FTW.  All I had to do was cut a little slit in the inside of each pocket so I could slip my tubing through.  I also added a little velcro to keep the slit shut.  I had absolutely zero trouble bolusing or checking Charlie or anything.

I totally can manage my diabetes and look fantastic at the same time.  =)