Of continuous glucose monitors and increased health insights.

This week was a big week for me. I acquired my first continuous glucose monitor, a FreeStyle Libre 14 Day system. I received a standalone meter along with a puck that gets attached to my arm. The meter also has a standard blood draw glucometer attached to it, so that I can do a regular draw if necessary.

I was a little leery when I first unpacked everything, because there’s all these parts — a glucometer that charges via MicroUSB, a charger and cable for that, and then this big box that contains a sensor that you’ll attach to your arm. The sensor puck kit seems large, but it’s because it’s shipped in two parts. You’ll combine the two parts after verifying numbers on each half, and then this gets pressed against your arm. There IS a needle in the sensor kit, but the needle isn’t left behind — it’s used to break the skin for the sensor filament to go in.

This is my arm with a CGM sensor attached.

No, I didn’t feel much at all when I applied the sensor to the back of my left arm. I jumped mostly because of the sudden ‘pop’ sound from the spring-loaded mechanism that I wasn’t fully expecting. If anything, it’s like someone poking you with a pencil lightly, which is a far cry better than the constant fingersticks I’ve been asked to do.

I’m horrible with the fingersticks, because I just cannot abide by the concept of jabbing my poor fingers with a specially designed knife to draw blood multiple times a day, even though it’s beneficial to my health to ACTUALLY DO THAT, according to my doctor. They need to know what my numbers look like, and if they’re just raging away at 300 mg/dl with no data, they can’t help me.

This meter is game changing in that I can wake up at four in the morning for no reason whatsoever, and without leaving bed, check my blood glucose levels since my meters are at bedside.

Yes, meters plural: The FreeStyle Libre 14 day sensors are NFC compatible, and this means I can read them with the LibreLink app on my Android phone. All I have to do is unlock my phone with a fingerprint, and point the tip of my phone to the side of the sensor. I’ll have a reading in seconds, and don’t have to go find the app and open it first. Or, I can grab the meter actual, press a button on the lower front, and wave it at the puck.

This process removes the internal (and external) whining about having to always stick my damn fingers, and how much this hurts, and how much it sucks, etc etc. Sure, I’ll still have to occasionally stick my fingers, but it’ll be a case of “Hey, Xial. Something’s fishy with this number, can you get me a different number?” instead of “You have to.” It transforms the plain demand into a reasonable insistence, which I’m more likely to comply with.

This just gives me a sense of clarity in data, and a better way to really try to keep an eye on my health.

… and Vacation Goes.

I had a beautiful time out in Ocean Shores in the state of Washington.

I got to spend time with my better half, a person I frankly do not get to spend enough time with because we’re one country and three time zones apart. If I could see them more often, I’d be thrilled.

I just have to find out what’s wrong with my ears to make flying so abysmally unpleasant as to make me refuse to board a plane unless I have absolutely no other choice. It’s so unpleasant that I’ll take a Greyhound or figure out the costs to rent a car before I consider flying.

That aside, the community of Ocean Shores was quite welcoming to the lot of us that visited for a weekend to have our furry convention, Furvana, at their convention center. There were, of course, curious folk that would stop us when we’re walking around to ask questions, and I hear that even the local law enforcement wanted to just take photos with a few folks that were in fursuits, which is pretty cool in and of itself.

If I could change anything about my attendance at the con, it would be my relative introversion in crowds of folks that I just don’t know at all. If someone said hi, I was happy to respond, but it’s a little harder as of late for me to relax and come to the surface, compared to younger me, who’d happily jump into everything, face first.

… oh, and the lack of photos taken, because I worry about folks who don’t want to be caught in my soul catcher.

I didn’t explore Ocean Shores quite as much as I wanted, because an unfortunate event befell the electric bike shop the day before we headed out there. I had initially planned to check out an electric bike to use it to explore the length of Ocean Shores, since I didn’t want to figure out the logistics of hauling MY personal bike up from Oregon via Amtrak and a rental car.
This would be annoying in several ways, as my feet started hurting in a way that made walking long distances irritating, but I refused to drive the rental for fear of having an accident with the local wildlife that had no surplus of hecks to give about cars and people.

You don’t need *munch* a lawnmower, *nibble* dude. But can you pass me the vinaigrette?

I did, however, get to check out the Ocean Pours Tap Room there on my last evening in town. Having been mostly a fan of my local brewery, Ninkasi, and specifically their Yours Truly Easy Drinking Ale, I was afraid I wouldn’t find anything I would like. I was delightfully surprised (and maybe a little drunk afterward) when the four beers I had selected for my flight were all really delicious and smooth. None of that harsh bitterness that I seem to get from the frequently bandied IPA beers — we avoided those for my inaugural flight at the tap room.

I had to walk back home afterward, and realized during the walk that I hadn’t eaten first or during the drinking. Whoops.

The local grocery store, an IGA, was also rather friendly. Hadn’t been in an IGA in years, the last one being back when I was in Florida. Mentally, it was a little disconcerting, because the generic product brand there used to be the generic brand Albertson’s used for the better part of a decade before moving on to a different label.

I hear we did quite well for the charity fundraiser we did for Coastal Raptors. Still waiting for official numbers to be posted, but the preliminary statement was a quite impressive number for a brand new convention.

After I had originally posted this, the official numbers were posted; so it goes.

We had 452 folks in attendance, and raised a delightful $3,142.86 for Coastal Raptors. I’ve got my snow bunting picture I acquired from the charity auction posted in my cubicle at work (not pictured, because HIPAA is a pain in the thang), and a few keychains to sort things to at some point.

My first time seeing the Pacific Ocean in person, with a car party to the left, and someone walking to the right.

For now, I leave you with a photo I took at the beach out at Ocean Shores with my phone. Hopefully in the future if Furvana repeats here, I’ll be back to take more photos, and explore the area in depth. 💙