Gadgets for those with incurable diseases

There really isn’t much good to say about diabetes. It has changed everything in our lives, and Raelene and I are still dealing with the repercussions of my diagnosis. But the disease has allowed me to indulge my inner gear head a bit, which makes it somewhat easier to deal with. 🙂 At least I’m having fun taking charge of my health.

I have a OneTouch UltraSmart glucose meter for testing my blood sugar. It’s nice because it keeps track of when I test automatically, and I can add all sorts of annotations to each test. The UltraSmart is nice because I can log the exercise I do and the food I eat, and keep track of that and how they effect my blood sugar. I also have the OneTouch Diabetes Management Software, which allows me to chart and graph and plot everything I’m tracking with the meter. It was really helpful when I went to see the diabetes educator, because we could easily see exactly how I’ve been doing over time. The customer support at Lifescan, the makers of the meter and software, has also been great. I was having problems with some test strips reading too high, and when I called they verified that the strips were defective and sent me a new batch.

For exercise and general health I have a pedometer and blood pressure monitor made by Omron, along with their Health Management Software, and so far I’m really pleased with the products. I’m wearing the pedometer full time to count my steps and make sure I get enough exercise, and I’m checking my blood pressure every morning when I check my blood glucose. The software displays your results in daily, weekly, monthly, and even yearly, so it’s easy to keep track of what you’re doing. And for extra motivation, if you slack off compared to your set daily goals you get a 🙁 next to the measurement.

Of course there is serious side to all this gadget fun. By tracking of my health, complete with graphs and pie charts and histograms, I’ve been able to keep motivated to keep doing healthy things (as well as motivated to avoid cheating because I know it’ll show up in the charts). And by making tracking my health as easy as plugging a device into my computer’s USB port, I’m ensuring that I’ll actually do it. So far it seems to be working, my blood glucose numbers are getting better and I’ve lost over 15 pounds since my diagnosis.

Yea for technology!

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