Although it is not something that I spend a lot of time advertising, there is something about me that you probably don't know. I am a Type I diabetic. I was diagnosed in November 2008 and, as you can imagine, being diagnosed weeks away from my 40th birthday with a chronic illness typically associated with children was like a punch in the gut. However, I am one that is fairly adept at rolling with the punches and my diagnosis was no exception. Almost two years later, I have grown accustomed to the inconveniences of diabetes: the constant carb counting, the incessant pricking of my finger, the occasional low blood sugar episodes ("Drink the juice, Shelby!") and being constantly tethered to an insulin pump.
Last week I had a herniated disc removed from my back, which required an overnight stay at the hospital. After the surgery, I was wheeled up to my room. It was about 5:00pm and, having not had any food since midnight the night before, I was a bit hungry. I proclaimed that I was starving and, shortly thereafter, I was delivered my hospital cuisine which consisted of macaroni and cheese and some of the best damned canned peaches I ever ate. Alongside the tray was a menu, with the carbohydrates conveniently listed next to each menu item. I took my blood sugar reading, entered the BG level and the total carbs into my pump, and I had a very satisfying meal of institutional cuisine.
The next morning, after a virtually sleepless night, my breakfast arrived. This menu, however, did not have the convenience of the carbs listed next to the menu items, so I asked the nurse if someone could get me that information. After asking three times and getting no response, I stared longingly at my breakfast and resorted to my trusted Blackberry to Google each individual item to ascertain what the carb value of my breakfast was. By the time I had all the information at hand, my scrambled eggs were cold. Believe me, there is nothing worse than cold, hospital prepared scrambled eggs.
At lunchtime, as my sugar levels had elevated to near 400, the same thing happened. The food was delivered and there were no carb values listed. At this point, I was reduced to tears. Quite ridiculous, really. A 41-year-old woman sitting there sobbing because all she wanted to do was eat her lunch and get her blood sugar under control. This was certainly one of the moments that I missed the convenience of being able to eat anything I wanted, whenever I wanted. A convenience that the average, non-diabetic takes for granted.
Now that I am home from the hospital, recovering from back surgery, I spend a lot of time on the computer. Yesterday, the cramazing Susan Blackwell posted a video on her Facebook page and it came through my news feed. When I saw the [title of show] gang in the thumbnail, I clicked on it, diehard Tosser that I am.
This video, embedded below, is a call to action. Susan Blackwell's nephew was recently diagnosed with Type I diabetes and, in response, her brother built this amazing application called Tony's Plate. The application is a one-stop calculator where you can enter all of your food items and portion sizes online and it calculates the nutritional information for you - most importantly, the total carbohydrate intake. I cannot express how invaluable this tool is for a diabetic. Believe me, I wish I had known about it a week ago. It would have spared me a pretty pitiful emotional display.
This application has been submitted to Michelle Obama's Apps for Healthy Kids Competition as part of the Let's Move Campaign and, if it wins, Susan's brother gets to go to the White House and could win a couple of doubloons for this invaluable effort. So please, click on this link and take 90 seconds to vote for this application. Do it for Susan! Do it for me! Do it for diabetics everywhere! Do it because you're a Tosser! Do it because John and Susan are from Ohio! Just do it!
Rock the vote, kids!