Monday, January 20, 2014

Google Contact Lenses?


Google develops contect lens glucose monitor: ​This undated photo released by Google shows a contact lens Google is testing to explore tear glucose.I saw the Google contact lens glucose monitor. At first, I was like, Bionic Robot Eyes! Cool, sign me up. But, then I started wondering...

1. What about accuracy? Yesterday my meter said 205 but Dexcom said 97.

Which is right? What do I do? Correct or eat a snack? I need the right information and it frustrates me when I can't get it. (In case you were wondering, I washed my hands and re-tested and got 111. When in doubt, wash hands and retest.)

2. What about when I'm sleeping? My Dexcom wakes me up and beeps when I'm too low, or too high. That below 55 alarm has saved my life.

3. What about driving? What if a distracting alert happens in my lens when a kid runs into the street after a ball?

Those were three serious concerns I had right away. But, even if all those questions were answered, these lenses would still give me the heebie-jeebies.

The idea of wearing these things make me seriously paranoid.

First off, these lenses are being made by Google. Not a pharmacutial company, but by the people who created Google Glass. What is preventing Google from putting something else in these lenses that transmits information about how my blood sugar is doing to an unknown third party?

Following that paranoid rabbit hole a little further, would these lenses be able to spy on me? From what I understand, Google is planning on integrating technology that relays information from the lens to my smartphone. How do I know what else is being transmitted? Are the lenses sensing what I'm seeing? Products I buy? What I'm watching on TV?

I know it's tinfoil hat territory, but it is also the world we live in. I choose what I put online. Could these lenses be used without my permission to monitor my habits and record the data?

Google provides information. Not just useful information for me, but useful information for advertisers.

Alert: Client XJ0461 just surfed for information about glucose tablets, try to sell her diabetes swag, quick!

Client XJ0461 gets side bar ads for meters, pumps, and strips, and diabetes treatment plans...

This has happened to all of us for years. It happens so often we put ad blocker on our computers so we don't notice being tracked. This is why the Google glucose monitoring contact lenses give me pause.

Imagine I have wireless lenses in my eyeballs that are transmitting data. My eyes lock on a cookie. I reach for the cookie, and...

And ten members of the food police show up at my house. "Warning! Warning! Warning! Our sensors indicate you are about to eat a cookie."

Or, maybe ads for cookies will flash on my contact lenses. Or cookie ads will show up on my iPhone. Hello there, Marie. We noticed you like cookies. Try our soft, delicious chocolate chip cookies. They're made with 100% natural spyware.

Yikes! There is something very creepy about wearing lenses that transmit data from my eyes. It feels like something out of a spy movie and I'm not sure if I'm the hero, or the dupe. So, I'll go ahead and stick this tinfoil hat on my head and say it... Yeah, I'm a little paranoid about the Google glucose monitoring contact lenses.

Truthfully, I don't even like the camera on my laptop staring at me. I struggle against the urge to cover it with tape, because even I know that's just crazy. Although now that I'm thinking about it, the little hairs on the back of my head are standing up.

Someone is watching me through the iSight camera.
Relax, no one is watching you. You are so damn boring they would fall asleep.
Someone is watching me.
No, they aren't.
They are! They are! I just know it. AHHH! Shut it down! Shut it all down, pull the plug and stick the computer in the garage!

Given how I feel about the camera on my laptop, I can't imagine wearing contact lenses that transmit data, any kind of data. It's too freaky for me.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to poke my finger, bleed on a test strip, and check my number. Then I will proceed to bolus and devour a chocolate chip cookie while I am 100% certain no one is watching.

C is for Cookie that's good enough for me...


Monday, January 13, 2014

Normal People Problems

I've got a normal problem for a change. Last week when it was -17 degrees outside, I went outside and tried to start my car. Click, click, click... The engine wouldn't turn over. Try again. Click, click, click... Nope.

Get out of the car and go back in the house. Warm hands on the dog. it just needs to charge. I brought the emergency jump start battery to the car. I pulled the lever inside the car to open the hood.  The worst part was finding the lever under the hood to unlatch it the rest of the way. My fingers burned like I touched a hot stove. Prop open the hood, attach the red jumper cable to the red battery terminal. Attach the black cable to a piece of frozen metal. Push the button. Charging.

Get out of the driveway and go back in the house. Warm hands on the cat.

Go back outside into the Polar Vortex. Feel like I've dropped on Mars without a space suit. Get in the car, sit on the rock hard car seat, turn the frozen key. Click, click, click.

Get out of the car and go back in the house. Warm hands on other dog.

Repeat this several times. Finally, I gave up. The car battery is dead and it's way too cold to replace it with a new one. A few days later my husband and I wrestled the dead battery out of the car, went to the store for a replacement. Ka-ching! Ow! That was expensive. We went home and wrestled the new battery in place. I turned the key in the ignition... VAROOOOM!


While the car was warming up, I noticed a trail of exhaust coming out from under the driver's side. Um, I don't think the car is supposed to smoke like that. But, it's probably steam from melting snow, so I'm good to go.

Two days later, I started my car and instead of the happy VAROOOM, my car made a roar loud enough to be heard three counties away. VAROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR! OK, maybe that smokey trail under the car wasn't just steam from melting snow after all. VAROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR! VAROOOOOAAAAAARRRRRR! OMG, I have the world's loudest Ford. Something is wrong. Very wrong.

The world's loudest Ford is at the shop getting a new "flex pipe." Or, at least that's what the mechanic told me. "The flex pipe is broken at the flange." He could have told me, "The snargle-fargle is broken." I wouldn't have known the difference. Still... Ka-ching! Ow! That was expensive.

In the middle of all this, I kept thinking, "Wow, I have a normal problem." Car trouble happens to everyone. It's not, my blood sugar is soaring at three am and I'm too tired to deal with it. It's not, chemo is making me feel horrible. It's not, my left arm won't move from MG. Nope, I've got a normal people problem. Even though it's expensive, at least it's a problem everyone can relate to for a change.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Chronically Adapt

This morning, Chicagoland rediscovered what Lake-Effect Snow means. Wave after wave of snow fell along the Chicago side of Lake Michigan, sometimes as much as two inches an hour. When it is snowing that hard, it’s hard to clean off the car. Clear one side, go around to the other side, and the first side is buried in snow again. Shoveling the driveway is an exercise in futility. The municipal snowplows can’t keep up, either. We have 13 inches of snow, which may not seem like a lot to some of you. In Chicago, we usually get 3 inches at a time. 13 inches is an event.

This morning my daughter had to get to work two towns away. Together we dug out the car, and the driveway. Into a blinding snowstorm, I backed out of the driveway. The moment I turned the car onto our un-plowed street, I realized how deep the snow was. I had no traction and the back end of my van skidded. My heart was already in my throat and I hadn’t even traveled more than a yard from my driveway. Driving Evelyn to work normally takes 16 minutes. Today it took 40.

As I steered out of skids, struggled to see through the snow, and did my best to stay on the road, I realized how much driving in bad weather reminds me of life with chronic illness. I can’t always tell what is up ahead. Will diabetes complications sideline me? What about side effects from long term chemotherapy? My visibility is limited and I have to deal with the fear of not knowing what is up ahead. I do my best to pace myself and focus on what is in front of me right now. I will deal with what is around the bend when it comes.

Just like driving in the snow, I have to steer my entire life with calculated precision. Too much insulin and I will go into insulin shock and die. Too little and I risk DKA and death. Every day I make adjustments to stay in range, but I don’t always get it right. A few days ago I had two below 45 lows in the same day. The next day my blood glucose was 356. Like driving in the snow, losing traction happens to me. Then I risk skidding into an emotional tailspin.

I want so much to stay in range at all times, but I can’t. I can’t control a bad set, or funky insulin in my pump. Highs happen. Extra insulin to lower high blood sugar is called a correction bolus, not a punishment bolus. I need to remember this and not get down on myself. Even though it is difficult sometimes, I don’t always screw everything up.

When my blood sugars are in range for days on end, and everything is working smoothly, I feel like I’m driving on a clear patch of road. The plows came by and got rid of the snow. Salt dried up the blacktop. The sun is out in my life and all is well. But, even then, it’s still winter and I still have to be on guard, because trouble is as close as my next meal.

Maybe next time I eat, the bowl of soup will have less noodles than I predicted. I’ll use too much insulin to cover it and go low... again. Or maybe before bed tonight, I’ll misread the label on my snack and confuse sugar grams with total carbs. I’ll figure out my mistake around 3 am, when my blood sugar and the time are the same… again. Even on a clear day things can go wrong.

The only predictable thing about driving in bad weather is, it’s going to suck. The only predictable thing about living with chronic illness is, it’s going to suck.  Knowing that diabetes sucks, and MG sucks, reminds me that it’s OK to get upset about it. After all, diabetes is upsetting. MG is upsetting. I have every right to feel upset over upsetting things.

I found out this morning that driving in a blizzard sucks. I couldn't stop the snow, so I adapted. I can't stop chronic illness, so I guess I'll have to chronically adapt to it.


I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

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