Jim Varagona

Category: diabetes

Adventures in Diabetes: Spraying

I am a Type 1 Diabetic. I wear a pump which contains 3 days worth of insulin which is delivered to me through 4 feet of tubing that I stuff in my pants and that is connected to a catheter in my belly. Multiple times in the day I check my blood sugar. This is a story of what happened during my blood sugar check last night.

I was getting ready for bed around 1 a.m. One of the last things I do is check my blood sugar. I admit I reuse the lancets which pierce my fingers. They say they get duller with every use, but I’m all about being a Green Diabetic and reusing. So I pricked my finger to check from and I squeezed it to get the blood out. Instead of making a droplet which is the normal thing to happen at this point, blood sprayed onto my face. I have encountered a spray before but never onto my face. It was quite an experience.

Here is a depiction of what happened:

I’m not sure if this was from my dull lancets or from pricking a calloused finger too much. Either way, if I could figure it out, it could make for some great Jackson Pollock influenced, blood based art.

Here is what it really looked like on my face:

Blood spray on face

I know it’s not much, but I stopped squeezing.

For more Diabetes art by me, here’s my video “Diseased Sensations.” It’s a tad dramatic, but it does the trick.

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>Pump It Up

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>The Diabetic Revolution

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>Diabeto’s End of the Year Extravaganza

>So yeah, it’s been about a month since last posting. We moved into our new digs and had to go on borrowed internet to check messages until a few days ago when it finished moving here. The move itself was rough considering the last day occurred during an ice storm. We went throughout the night moving into a place without power due to falling frozen tree limbs.

Now things are settled, so we hope. With the new year, change lies ahead for everyone. It really seems like there’s been a push to tie up loose ends before the end of the year though. It’s odd to hear that Saddam was executed and then see flags at half staff for the days following. The death of former President Ford threw the balance of the news off a bit, but it was nice to hear about a fine President instead of all of the crap that our current leader is doing or not doing.

Today, the last day of the year, we learn that another “milestone” has been hit in Iraq. Our 3000th soldier has been killed since the war began. I love the smell of freedom on the march. Meanwhile Bush weighs his options, since “staying the course” didn’t work for 3 years of death and destruction. What happened to the Iraq Study Group‘s recommendations anyway? I realize those folks weren’t military leaders and all of their suggestions may not have been feasible, but at least they were trying to find a solution. Their recommendations included diplomatic means which are foreign to our current administration. If all else fails, throw more boys into it and hope for the best, eh Georgie?

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Photographing babies is a fun job, but it’s downside is resembling that of previous positions. I’m driving way too much and being compensated too little for the work. I do get to go from trailers to $3 million mansions, but the entertainment value of that doesn’t help my finances. I do get a kick out of kids exploding green poo and rolling around in it during the naked baby shots however, but I still get no bonus from those occurrences.

My insurance from this job still won’t kick in for at least another two months. I attempted to get insurance on my own to fill in the blank period, but apparently I am uninsurable to every company because of my condition. Well, not exactly. I could pay $475 a month for coverage, but that’s about a third of my income.

I have already spent the past few months without coverage, but stocked up on insulin pump supplies beforehand. Two days ago they ran out. Now for the first time in over 5 years, I am back to taking injections. It’s weird to not have the pump connected to me at all times. I’m used to adjusting the position of it throughout the day, but now I feel naked.

If I stick with this job and get its insurance, it is not the most affordable. Do I stay for the needed medical insurance and let my income suffer, or once again jump ship to find greener pastures? It’s a pain in my ass and even more so since I began shooting insulin into it again.

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I’d like to wish everyone the best new year possible. I foresee more excitement and volatility in my life and in the world, so we shall see. Hasta luego.

>Responding to Responses

>Man, don’t you hate when you go two weeks between blogs. My last posting about my personal opinion about embryonic stem cell research really touched some nerves. While I appreciate Maire‘s opinion, I have to say that her two main points didn’t do much for me or fellow diabeto, Mr. Momarsh.

The violence against women argument doesn’t do much for me. For an argument coming from feminist groups, it doesn’t say much about females if you say that they are completely susceptible to offers to buy their eggs. Why is it so wrong for offers like that to be made on the backs of our alternative weekly papers or on college campuses? People do desperate things for money, but at the same time, it must be their own responsibility to research the pros and cons of the procedure. It only makes sense for something that pays $2,000-$10,000 to look into things. And besides, this legislation bans buying or selling eggs for the purpose of obtaining cells.

I agree that SCNT is cloning. My argument is that feeding it to the general public in 30 second ads doesn’t give them much background, and as much as listing a web address is giving background information, I don’t think a lot of people actually take the time to read those partisan informational sources and consequently any opposing or bipartisan sources. I think when folks hear cloning, they think of Dolly in human form. Now, Dolly was conceived through SCNT, but the process is not taken any further than the blastocyst stage when extracting embryonic stem cells, which I don’t think is really explained thoroughly by either side too much. By creating a blastocyst from my adult stem cells and an unfertilized egg, the idea is that it is an extension of me to heal me.

I must also emphasize that SCNT is a very small part of the current initiative being voted on in Missouri. The process hasn’t progressed very far anyway to be a viable option anytime soon. The main point in my mind is to make use of the cells in embryos that are thrown out from fertility clinics and from abortion. Keep in mind that this is all legal already, but not federally funded. The most important passage from the initiative states it will “prohibit state or local governments from preventing or discouraging lawful stem cell research, therapies and cures”. I would think that by making this an amendment to the state’s constitution, it would help clarify the issue. While Maire states that the researchers she works with do not like the idea of this as an amendment, I have seen plenty of researchers on the other side as well, which only show how divisive this issue is.

The issue will continue to spark debate well after it is voted on because I am sure other states will follow with similar measures. It would be helpful to list more factual information in the ads and to inform anyone involved in any related process of the full scope of what is involved.

On a larger scale, I wish there was a check and balance system in political advertising to lessen the back and forth of he said, she said. There should be a bipartisan board made up of equal numbers of folks from the various parties, including the “others”, that review each ad before it is run and release it to the public only after its claims are verified. I realize there are groups now that have ad watches in effect, but it should have to be done before the ads are aired instead of questioning them after folks are basing decisions on the information in those ads. I think it would cut down on campaign spending and wasting by negating the need to respond to every ad by the other side and simply state your case instead.

That’s a dream though. Politics don’t work that way in America, and it’s a shame.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=diabetoboycom-20&o=1&p=12&l=st1&mode=books&search=stem%20cells&fc1=F3E9E9&lt1=_blank&lc1=FFF100&bg1=1F23A9&f=ifr

>For Those Against Stem Cell Research

>For those that question stem cell research, tell your family, friends, and co-workers with diseases that could benefit, that their quality of life means nothing to you. No babies are being killed for these cells. They come from otherwise “discarded” embryos.

The current Conservative administration has not outlawed abortion, so it will occur. I don’t think more women will abort for the purpose of furthering stem cell research, so until someone repeals Roe V. Wade, why not make something good of something you find despicable.

And yet other cells come from embryos stored by couples at fertility clinics. Once they get pregnant, or reach a desired goal, the rest of their stored embryos are thrown out at some point. So until someone decides to save all of these discarded embryos and make a commune of discarded humans from them, I say help find cures from the cells, which were taken from the woman with her consent, so don’t throw in a violence towards women debate here.

Opponents of my opinion have said that you can get the same benefit from adult stem cells, but adult stem cells can’t transform into any cell, which embryonic cells have the ability to do, no matter what part of the body they’re from.

As far as cloning goes, I have yet to see any scientific document from an American scientific publication that states this will lead to the cloning of humans. Now there is SCNT (Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer), which is labeled as cloning by the opponents (the link is to what I consider to be a funny, yet blunt domain for the opponents…http://www.nocloning.org/). It is therapeautic cloning, which differenciates from reproductive cloning, what people generally think of when it comes to cloning.

In SCNT, the nucleus of an unfertilized egg is replaced with the nucleus of an adult somatic cell. The egg evolves into a blastocyst, which is one of the earliest stages of an embryo, with about 100-200 cells. Compare that to an adult human with over 10 trillion cells. Once at that stage, the stem cells are taken and may be transplanted back to the patient with no danger of rejection, since they are an identical match. Maybe in that case, the adult stem cells could provide the same benefit, by creating embryonic stem cells.

Reproductive cloning would involve taking that blastocyst and continuing to help it along until it can exist outside of the body, but the chances of a healthy embryo coming from SCNT are still small.

I’m sure everyone knows of somebody that has died with a disease that could be helped with this research. And cures may not happen right away. What in science does without years of research? Whose to say that those folks and those with those diseases now do not deserve a better quality of life? If you are against that, then you are inhumane.

I myself have Diabetes and know others with it as well. It would be great to live without multiple shots in a day or a device connected to my body at all times in order to live. It would be great to not have to bleed everyday to better control my blood sugar. A life without messing up one insulin calculation and suffering with a seizure or being nauseated for days sounds really nice. And I’m sure Michael J. Fox would love to simply sit still. And Christopher Reeve would have enjoyed walking again or simply to live another day, but since you are humane people, we must deny people what may be available to us through science.

That makes as much sense as a war in a country that had nothing to do with killing our people and only takes more of our people’s lives, especially considering that our tax money could be going towards saving lives instead of killing our boys and innocent Iraqis, not to mention it has more factual evedience backing it than the reasoning for that war. It’s a shame that the President used the only veto of his tenure to prevent more lines of cells to be backed by federal funding. It only shows his continued ignorance. This whole debate may be based on an idea that doesn’t have many years of research behind it, but the possibilities are backed by fact. This would require a bit of hope on our part, but as Michael J. Fox said when in St. Louis on October 5, “You can’t quantify hope. And I’ll come down on the side of hope every time.”

Missouri, the state I have lived in all of my life, will be voting on this issue. This is from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

All eyes will be on Missouri for the Nov. 7 vote, the first of its kind in
the nation. Some say the outcome could provide clues on national voter sentiment
on a contentious political divide, perhaps spawning similar referendums in other
states. To this point, the legislative battle has largely been confined to
Congress and state general assemblies. In the case of Illinois and a handful of
other states, lawmakers have backed embryonic stem-cell research with state
funding.

The measure seeks to ensure that any forms of stem-cell research that are
legal under federal law also would be legal in Missouri.But voters are being
asked to do more than simply preserve the status quo. The measure would negate
the state Legislature’s ability to ban certain forms of controversial research,
such as those involving cloning technology.

Once again, it’s this cloning technology that scares people away, but I urge folks to look beyond the word “cloning” to see that it isn’t bringing cloned humans into the world. Cloning technology is used in the world today to bring people like me our insulin. A lot of biotechnology today involves “cloning technology”, but this involves human cells, so it creates the idea of creating humans. When used in SCNT, I believe an extension of the person is being used to save them. For it is their own adult stem cells that are being used in the process to prevent rejection. And while some would say that the blastocyst is a child being murdered, I would say you’ve gone too far. It’s amazing that the anti-abortion movement doesn’t stand up for the lives of those with these diseases, those fighting in wars, and those innocents our country kills in war. It’s a bit of a double standard if you ask me.

http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?t=diabetoboycom-20&o=1&p=12&l=st1&mode=books&search=howard%20zinn&fc1=F3E9E9&lt1=_blank&lc1=FFF100&bg1=1F23A9&f=ifr

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