A life in the day

7/28/2004

Numbers looking good

Filed under: — site admin @ 2:08 pm

Graph of Scott's  morning blood sugar levels for June and July, 2004
Graph of Scott's  evening blood sugar levels for June and July, 2004

Well, the trends are definitely for the better. Even with my unfortunately high reading last night of 159, you can see in these graphs that I’m doing okay.

Clicking on either graph gives a larger version of it.

 

Blood sugar: Tuesday pm: 159, Wedneday am: 109

7/27/2004

BMI

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:28 pm

I don’t understand the justification for the Body Mass Index (BMI). I guess they’ve found a strong correlation between BMI and body fat percentage, and the correlation is the most important thing. But I don’t understand the units. It’s measured in kg/m2. Wouldn’t kg/m3 be more logical? Are we supposed to be two dimensional?

This scale would give the same score to a five-footer and a six-footer who weighs just 44% more (62/52). I would expect that the logical equilibrium point would be 72.8% more (63/53.) I know that children are treated somewhat differently, but in the existing scale, a 25-pound three-foot tall child would scale up to a six-foot tall adult weighing only 100 pounds.

(For those with more logical measurement scales, 2.2 pounds = 1 kilogram, and 1 foot = 12 inches = 30.48 centimeters.)

I can find many BMI calculators online, and some medical references to the relationship between BMI and body fat percent. But nothing explains why the units are in mass/height2.

I’m puzzled.

Update: A more recent entry notes that the use of the BMI by medical professionals is being eliminated.

Weight a minute!

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:38 am

And I thought I was doing so well with my weight. I lost about eighteen pounds in the first month. Since then I’ve gained back some of it, and am bouncing around between ten and fifteen pounds down. The trouble is that it’s still far too heavy. I need to lose sixty-five pounds more. (That’s thirty kilograms for my horde of international readers. ;-) ) My caloric intake is down substantially; my exercise has increased a lot. The blood sugar numbers are reasonable, although I’d like them a little lower. Blood pressure is around 125/75. Now if I can only get the weight down.

Blood sugar: Monday pm: 120 Tuesday am: 114.

Blood sugar: Sunday pm: 110, Monday am: 97.

Blood sugar: Saturday pm: 115, Sunday am: 116.

Blood sugar: Friday pm: 92, Saturday am: 122.

Blood sugar: Thurdsay pm: 139, Friday am: 104.

Blood sugar: Wednesday pm: 92, Thursday am: 103.

Blood sugar: Tuesday pm: 102, Wednesday am: 95.

7/20/2004

Comparison Dieting

Filed under: — site admin @ 9:03 am

Just when I think I’m doing great with fasting blood sugar levels of 100 - 120, and bedtime levels 100 - 140, I hear from Hosea Kelly, from my diabetes training class, whose levels are 85 - 95 and 100 - 135. Show off! :-) Actually, congratulations to Hosea for doing so well! I am actually quite pleased with my progress. I’m hoping my HbA1C levels end up pretty good at the three month mark.

Still eating too much ice cream. Not a lot in any one day, but I keep finding my levels are low enough that I can justify a little. Not a good idea except as a special treat, but this one’s turning out to be harder than I thought. Even harder than orange juice, which I thought would be the killer.

Blood sugar: Monday pm: 81, Tuesday am: 109.

Blood sugar: Sunday pm: 132, Monday am: 119.

7/18/2004

How long do I stick with new dosage?

Filed under: — site admin @ 5:17 pm

I can’t figure out how long to stick with my new dosage. I was warned about diarrhea, and I had it for the first three days. Then a day without. Then back again for another day. Gone for two days. And back for two days. It’s never been severe. But twice it woke me up at my witching hour, and I couldn’t get back to sleep for hours. I guess if it wakes me up again tonight, I’ll call the doctor tomorrow. But I’m afraid that I’m just wimping out becasue I simply don’t want to increase the dosage. I want to be getting off of it altogether. Mild diarrhea is nothing new for me. I get it often enough and don’t think twice about it. Hmm….

Blood sugar: Saturday pm: 140, Sunday am: 105.

Blood sugar: Friday pm: 119, Saturday am: 102.

Blood sugar: Thurdsay pm: 114, Friday am: 102.

Blood sugar: Wednesday pm: 99, Thursday am: 97.

Blood sugar: Tuesday pm: 154, Wednesday am: 110.

Blood sugar: Monday pm: 142, Tuesday am: 105.

Blood sugar: Sunday pm: 98, Monday am: 117.

Blood sugar: Saturday pm: 131, Sunday am: 102.

Blood sugar: Friday pm: 144, Saturday am: 143.

Republicans Still Hope to Score Points on Gay Marriage

Filed under: — site admin @ 3:22 pm

From the New York Times: Republicans Still Hope to Score Points on Gay Marriage

Even in defeat, the effort by Republicans to thrust [Jim DeMint (R-SC)] front and center illustrates how the party intends to capitalize on the fight over gay marriage.

Republican lawmakers, strategists and activists said in interviews that they would seize on the issue to motivate conservative voters - and draw a clear comparison with Democrats on an issue on which Republicans think they are in sync with most Americans.

I’m trying to decide how I feel about this. My first take is that it’s horrible. I have no objection to gay marriage. I think in a generation or two its opponents will be viewed as anti-miscegenationists are viewed today. And so my first take says that this pandering to the right-wing on a measure known in advance to be well shy of the votes necessary for passage is politics at its worst.

With quotations like this, it becomes very clear that the main motivation of many proponents is purely political:

“Conservative members of both political parties will be risking liberalizing the definition of traditional marriage and eroding thousands of years of Judeo-Christian values, unless they vote for the Republican nominee,” said Kirk Humphreys, a Republican Senate hopeful in Oklahoma.

But there are certain to be some people who truly and honestly are pushing this because they think it’s the right thing to do. I voted for Nader; I can’t object too much to pushing hopeless causes. There was some pragmatism involved in my decision. Notwithstanding my objection to polls, I took into account the near-certainty that Gore would win Connecticut. If it had been close here, I might have voted differently. But I don’t think it is wrong to vote for what is certain to be a losing proposition, or to bring one forward if there is some overriding moral imperative.

So where does that leave me? I want to defend these elected officials’ right to promote their moral agenda, even though I disagree with it. But in the end, I don’t think it is a moral issue for many of them. I think it is pure politics. Mostly the people voting for such an amendment are the same people who claim to want to reduce the scope and size of the federal government, who advocate states’ rights over the federal government. It is very hard to square that with a sudden need to overturn the Massachusetts ruling granting homosexuals the same rights to marriage as heterosexuals. It just smells wrong.

So I guess, in the end, I’m not only opposed to the actual amendment, but I am upset by the fact that it’s proceeded as far as it has. I think people need to stop playing these stupid political games.

7/17/2004

Tough choices on the BOE

Filed under: — site admin @ 12:13 pm

For those who don’t know, I’m on the local Board of Educations. It’s a somewhat unusual board in that it’s responsible for only a single school. Our elementary school houses nearly 400 students in pre-Kindergarten through 6th grade (about 12 years old, for my vast horde of international readers. :-) Also note that in the US, “public” schools are ones operated by local and/or state governments, generally open to all students of age in a geographical region.) In most of Connecticut, and indeed, most of the United States, Boards of Education are responsible for a number of schools, covering through 12th grade. But we share regional schools for grades 7 and 8 and for grades 9 through 12 with two neighboring towns. Those schools have their own independent Board of Education.

The number of members is also unusual. Most boards and commissions I know of have an odd number of members. We have six, although that should change when our new charter goes into effect. There is no provision for breaking a tie, so tie votes simply fail. This has rarely been an issue; the board has rarely ever come across as political, and the majority of votes taken are unanimous. The only time I’ve seen the 3 - 3 split of the board cause any real problems were this past spring, when we had a fairly rancorous budget debate and a board very split on one hiring decision.

The chairperson plays a funny little game though, and it is starting to get really annoying. Of course he runs the meetings, which means that he can really control the debate. After each significant motion, he polls the members to see if they have anything to add and to get a sense of how they will likely vote. But he rarely contributes to these discussions himself. Then, when the vote comes, he votes in a politically expedient manner. If he thinks a motion is necessary but likely to be unpopular with some group in the community, he waits to see if his polling has provided the votes necessary to pass it without including his. If it does, then he votes against it. Or the reverse, if he thinks a popular motion needs to be rejected, he tallies the votes and if there are enough votes to defeat it, he votes yea. Sometimes he tells the rest of the board that we really need to vote for something, that legal or other important considerations mean a motion really needs approval; but then, knowing that it will pass, he votes against it. This man was the biggest vote-getter across all contests in the last election, and I’m beginning to see why. He gets to play the good guy for the public, and avoid many of the hard decisions.

At this past week’s meeting this all came to a head for me. We were shy two members, the two who are, along with me, the more liberal side of the Board. And we had one contentious issue on the agenda. There is in our area a public Montessori school with an interesting funding method: there is a $2,000 tuition due not from the student’s family but from the local board of education in the child’s town. It’s an interesting approach; presumably the idea is that no child should be excluded for economic reasons. That surely cannot be the only source of funding for the school. I assume the state subsidizes the rest of it. I don’t know their costs, but in my town, it costs approximately $8,000 per pupil. So it sounds in one sense like a good deal. But that’s misleading. The marginal cost of adding a student is nowhere near $2,000, really just additional supplies and maybe an extremely minor increase in heating/cooling costs.

Nonetheless, I would love to support this. One of our members is very much in favor of the “school choice” program. I don’t support the usual version of it. I don’t think public monies shoulc go to fund religious schools or any schools which don’t take on the strict mandate of the public school system to educate all children in a district without regards to race, religion, gender, economic status, or disciplinary problems (within reason.) But this is a different situation. It is a public school, with a similar enough mandate. The only substantial difference I see in their mandate is that this Montessori school only accepts a student if the school — together with the parents — decides if their unorthodox pedagogical methods are likely to help the child. I think it’s a wonderful idea. When parents of a local child brought us a request for funding, we had no policy to allow us to support a student in this manner. I helped write such a policy and get it passed. But there was no funding provided for it. The policy very intentionally only said that the board could support a child in this manner if it so chose.

The trouble is money. This was a very tight year economically. As well as an arbitrated large increase in teachers’ pay, we had some legal expenses and an overdo restructuring of our administration, all of which increased our budget substantially. In order to submit a budget with a realistic chance of passage, we had to cut several staff positions. These were teachers’ aides, people fundamentally involved in the educational process, including one aide who’d been absolutely wonderful this year in my daughter’s class and another who is a personal friend. I don’t think there was any reasonable way to avoid the cuts, but it hurt to do so.

In this environment, I could not in good conscience vote to spend $2,000 to send a child out of our school. Even if times had been really hard, if we didn’t have to do layoffs, I would absolutely have tried to find a way to afford this. But not as it stood.

Unfortunately, the chairperson started playing his games again. We had discussed this before, and there was a clear consensus that although we would create a policy to allow us the option of sending a child to such a school, we wouldn’t be able to fund it this year. The mother of the child in question was in the audience, and I think the chairperson was playing to her when he did his polling. He knew that I was troubled by the thought of funding this while laying off aides, and he knew that another member agreed with me on this. He knew that the remaining member present was very much in favor of school choice. Although he had recently told other Board members unambiguously that he didn’t believe we should fund this, he knew that he could safely vote in favor of it. And he did so.

The vote was called. Two ayes. One nay. I hesitated as they stared at me. I know the school in question; I have two nephews attending. I like the school and the Montessori philosopy. I think this is exactly the right way to offer school choice. But I had recently voted to lay off several useful people at the school. And now the chairperson is playing politics with the issue. The total money was not insignificant; two thousand dollars is substantial in a budget the size of ours. But I’m sure we could have found a way to swing it.

I probably only hesitated ten seconds or so. But it felt forever. I was so very tempted to abstain, letting the chairperson’s vote help swing the vote in favor of the issue. He would likely have been furious, with no outlet to express his anger; that possibility amused me. It was obvious to anyone watching that I was torn by this issue; I could certainly have gotten away with abstaining. I would love to be able to tweak the chairperson about money thereafter.

In the end, though, that is not what I was elected to do. I was elected to make sure that our school does everything possible inside our budget constraints to ensure that our children learn what they should. In the end, I didn’t play the chairperson’s games. In the end, I voted no.

From now on, I will deal with the chairperson’s games in a different way. I will still ask questions and state some opinions when he does his polling. But he better not count any more on knowing which way I’m going to vote. And he damn well better not bemoan the passage of a motion that he himself approved.

7/9/2004

Medication

Filed under: — site admin @ 11:34 am

Although the doctor (and the medical student on rotation in her office) seemed very happy with my overall progress, my dosage of medicine is still increasing. I’ve lost fourteen pounds in the last six weeks, got my blood pressure down to around 125/80. My fasting blood glucose is generally 100 - 120 mg/dl, and two hours after a meal it’s 100 - 150 mg/dl.

The doctor would clearly like to see my sugars still lower. She’s upped my metformin dosage from 750 mg per day to 1000. Last time I tried upping my dosage I ended up with gastrointestinal problems. She says to live with them for a few days if they are not severe to see if I can adjust. I’m sure I will adjust, but I really don’t want to. I’m hoping to get off all medicine as soon as possible. I know that most people can’t do that, but I’m shooting to be part of the five percent who can. I’m still on 5 mg per day of glipizide ER, too, and I thought she was going to have me off that one by now. Interesting. I was sure I would always be one to ignore doctor’s instructions I don’t like; but I’m sticking with it for now. And I’m going to try for still lower numbers for my next visit. (not until October!)

Blood sugar: Thurdsay pm: 133, Friday am: 117.

Blood sugar: Wednesday pm: 138, Thursday am: 117.

Blood sugar: Tuesday pm: 136, Wednesday am: out of test strips.

Blood sugar: Monday pm: 103, Tuesday am: 103.

Blood sugar: Sunday pm: 115, Monday am: 102.

Blood sugar: Saturday pm: 152, Sunday am: 131.

Blood sugar: Friday pm: 122, Saturday am: 119.

7/2/2004

Bodily signals

Filed under: — site admin @ 8:54 am

It’s very strange not to be able to interpret certain signals from my body. I can’t easily distinguish between “too full” and “starving”. I guess it’s the change in my eating habits, but when my stomach isn’t quite right, I have to stop and think about how much I’ve eaten recently to figure out what I should be doing. It’s an odd dissociation. I just expect to stay in tune with what my body is doing. Very odd…

Blood sugar: Thursday pm: 112, Friday am: 117.

Blood sugar: Wednesday pm: 129, Thursday am: 117.

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