PhoneBoy's Personal Blog I am PhoneBoy, this is my personal blog. 2015-03-13T23:35:15+09:00 EN hourly 1 10Centuries | 15B150 How Am I Sleeping? 2015-03-13T23:35:20+09:00 PhoneBoy fd86f5f7dd0a2de21f2a0377594236b3 It's been a week since I got a CPAP machine. I've slept with it on every night since I got it, and I have to say: I've definitely noticed the difference. I'm less tired in the morning and during the day.

My family noticed it, too. More specifically, they've noticed the utter lack of snoring. It was quite loud before I had the CPAP. Now, just the quiet hum of the CPAP machine. I even used an old iPhone app called Sleep Analyzer to record any loud noises that occur when I sleep to prove it to myself. The loudest thing it recorded was me turning over in bed--a far cry from the snores it used to record.

Even better, of course, is my Apnea Hypopnea Index (AHI) number, i.e. the number of breathing events per hour that occur in the middle of the night that interrupt my sleep. Over the last 7 days I've averaged a 1.3, which is a definite improvement over what I had at my sleep study.

Another stat: I'm averaging about 7.5 hours of sleep a night over the last week. This is what my CPAP machine is telling me anyway but it gives a slightly higher number in terms of "therapy hours" which reflects when the machine is actually running.

My only issue at this point is traveling. At the very least this is one more thing I will have to carry with me on the airplane. I probably won't be able to use it on the plane for the really long trips but it's not like you can get really good sleep on an airplane anyway.

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Current Status: Mostly Refreshed 2015-03-06T10:24:20+09:00 PhoneBoy b8bd22c2ffe76101889b3e5171cf515b After finally meeting with my pulmonologist, getting directed to a medical equipment supplier in my area, scheduling an appointment, and going to said appointment, I finally have a CPAP machine.


The machine I got (pictured above) is a Philips Respironics DS560S, or by another name, a REMstar Auto. The device is an Auto-CPAP, which means it adjusts the amount of pressure needed depending on how well I'm breathing at any given moment. This pressure is designed to keep your airway open while sleeping to minimize the number of apneas (stop breathing) and hypopneas (shallow breathing).

Last night was the first night I slept with it, and I have to say: it made a difference. This morning, I was actually awake when I woke up, rather than my usual grogginess. I can't remember the last time that happened. That said, I woke up several times during the night as I'm clearly not used to sleeping with a mask on.

One stat my machine gives me is my AHI value. This is the Apnea Hypopnea Index, i.e. the number of breathing events that occur in the middle of the night that interrupt my sleep. Since this machine auto titrates, it has to know when I have an event in order to ramp the pressure up.

During the recent sleep study I did, my AHI was 8.9. Last night with the CPAP: 2. That puts me into the normal range and it makes a noticeable difference.

I also got a humidifier with my unit but I didn't use it last night. Compared to my usual non-CPAP sleeping, my mouth was actually less dry so I don't intend to use it unless it becomes an issue.


The mask I got, for those who are interested, is a Fisher and Paykel Simplus. It's a full face mask and it fits me comfortably--more so than the masks I tried on at the hospital. That said everyone is different as to what works for them and their are many choices available.

So far I'm liking the results.

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Diminishing Returns, a.k.a. The State Of My Investment in App.Net 2015-03-01T09:51:00+09:00 PhoneBoy c2b69c0729e5ebb61181e3e2a566bf76 I've been pretty consistent that I view the monies I've paid to App.Net (ADN) as an investment. However, like every investment, you have to evaluate what you've put into it compared to what you think going to get out of it. Eventually, you come to a decision: do you continue to invest or not?

I know ADN is a whole lot more than Alpha, the thing everyone compares to Twitter. I know ADN as a social platform is superior in many ways to other things out there. It is, unfortunately, lacking in one very critical thing that becomes apparent more and more with each passing day: people who actually use the platform as it was intended.

Plenty of people that used to be on ADN have already made the decision to retreat back to Twitter. I never left Twitter and, as my Alpha stream is showing contributions by fewer and fewer unique voices every day, I am spending more and more time on Twitter and Facebook.

Further, I really don't have any idea what, if anything, the ADN guys are doing beyond keeping the service running. Given the number of people I've seen not renew, I have no idea if the money coming in covers the costs, much less the time it takes to keep things running.

And the other things that ADN is good for that aren't Alpha? Most of the devs that were building apps gave up, mostly because the people just weren't there to justify the effort.

The investment I made in ADN did pay off. I met some great people that I wouldn't have met otherwise, I got exposed to some new technology, and I learned a great deal about myself in the process.

Unfortunately, with the trajectory things are on, and the likelihood that trajectory will change for the better anytime soon, it really doesn't make sense for me to continue to pay for ADN. Sure, $36 a year is not much in the grand scheme of things, but the continued returns on that investment just aren't there.

So, yes, I'm planning to drop to the free tier, but unlike a lot of people who have come to a similar conclusion, I am manually pruning my follow list now to get below the 40 user limit so I know who I'll be following when the time comes. I intend to remain active to the bitter end.

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Taking Back My Internet and Social Media Presence 2015-03-01T09:51:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 183bdd84a0ddda07e421bbb5c9b4a04c From The Internet, social media, and me.:

When I look at my posts on my blog from 11 years ago I feel as though I’ve lost something vital to my writing because of social media services. My posts on my site resonate with me much more than my posts on Facebook do. And that’s assuming that I can even find my posts on Facebook. What I realize is that I no longer feel like a creator, I’m back to feeling like a passive user. It’s not that I don’t make things and put them on the Internet, but I don’t feel as though I own them. They don’t feel as though they are mine. I am making content that either is transitory by design in the case of microblogging, or enriching a company’s product. The feeling of ownership is a subtle and tricky idea, especially when it comes to things on the Internet, but I miss it.

In the early days of the Internet, there was no widely used thing like Facebook where you could share whatever it is you wanted to share. You had to build a website, either by hand in HTML (which I did several times) or, later, using some sort of content management system (of which I tried many over the years).

I remember when my son was born and my wife and we wanted to share photos with family and friends. The way I achieved this back then was to set up a hidden URL on my website that I didn't publish anywhere except in email to those I wanted to share it with. The photos were on my server and I could easily take them down anytime I wanted. Obviously my family and friends could have reshared them, but in those days, that was much more difficult.

These days, of course, we'd use Facebook or a text message. Mostly because that's what everyone we know uses and convincing them to go use some other site they weren't already using is just too high a barrier to entry.

I've been thinking lately, perhaps along similar lines as my friend Isaac that I quoted above. While I don't see myself necessarily getting rid of social networking altogether (though the mix of services I use will change over time), I do want to feel closer to that which I create. Rather than simply pumping content into the various social media machines, with no expectation of seeing the content again, I want it all come from a single canonical location where I can take back of the control from the Twitters and Facebooks of the world.

In practice, this is going to be tough. Even this blog post is coming from a platform on a server someone else maintains, but at least 10 Centuries aligns a lot closer to my philosophy (and I pay to boot). Version 3 of the 10 Centuries platform (hopefully out soon) will bring me closer to where I want to be.

I have no issue federating some of my content to other platforms. That said, the critical stuff I want stored on my primary, central platform, whatever that ultimately will be. That way I have some assurances that I can access it again whenever I feel the need.

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Notes From My Sleep Study...And My Sleeping 2015-02-20T22:33:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 2135d5cba77ce369f3acf10fb23d5361 It's going to be another week or so before I am able to see my pulmonologist to discuss treatment options for my sleep apnea, but today I received the notes from the doctor that observed the sleep study I had last week.

First, let's start with the actual diagnosis: mild obstructive sleep apnea syndrome.

What is obstructive sleep apnea? This is when you stop breathing in the middle of the night because your airway is obstructed. This happens because, when you sleep, all your muscles relax, and this includes the muscles in the throat. The soft tissue surrounding these muscles can obstruct your airway. Clearly, this is happening for me.

When you're sick, say, with a cold or a throat-related infection, even people without sleep apnea can have temporary issues with their sleep. This is because things in the mouth and throat are inflamed or have additional mucous that can restrict the airflow. This might be one reason why sleep may not do as much for you when you're sick--you're not able to sleep as well as normal!

One thing that can create or exacerbate issues with sleep apnea is your weight. It might explain why, more than 10 years ago when I was thinner, my snoring wasn't quite as bad and why I feel I'm sleeping better now that I've lost some weight. Being over 40 and having a large neck are also risk factors for sleep apnea.

Some symptoms of sleep apnea also include: hypersomnia (otherwise referred to as excessive daytime sleepiness, something I'm sure I have) and morning headaches. I've had morning headaches on and off for most of my adult life. The last few years, they occasionally turned into migraines, which have thankfully not been an issue in the last 6 months or so.

So what is "mild" sleep apnea versus, say, "severe"? It comes down to the number of events per hour in a given night where you either stop breathing entirely for longer than 10 seconds (apneas) or you breathe more shallowly because your airways is restricted (hypopneas). Per the Harvard Medical School, having more than 30 respiratory events per hour is considered severe sleep apnea. Less than 5 events per hour is considered "normal" (or at least not sleep apnea) with "moderate" sleep apnea being between 15 and 30 events per hour.

The number of events I had per hour? More than 5 but less than 15. That puts me in the mild category. Hopefully, this means anything I can do to treat my sleep apnea will probably help a lot. There are lots of possible treatment options, but the most common one to start with, because it is the cheapest and most effective, is a CPAP machine. Which, as I noted earlier, I already know is in my future.

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Eat This, Don't Eat That, or is it Eat That, Not This? 2015-02-18T23:42:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 28e30b7869d6a00580ded1aa294b13bb On a recent podcast, I pointed out some of the dietary guidelines we've had been given in the last few decades was full of crap, more specifically the ones that said we should eat a low-fat diet. It generated some discussion on my Facebook timeline.

At various points in my life, I have tried to eat differently in order to lose weight. The only thing I did that approached success was Atkins, but I could not sustain it long term. Many other things I tried either didn't work at all or did only for a very short period of time and probably weren't healthy for me in hindsight.

Now that I know I am diabetic, it turns out a diet lower in carbs is what I need to not risk complications from uncontrolled diabetes. I know that being as hardcore about carbs as when I was on Atkins is simply not realistic, but I can see very clearly in my blood sugar numbers when I have too many of the wrong carbs on any given day.

Lowering my carbs, along with keeping an eye on my caloric intake and being more active has improved my weight situation. So far I'm down about 30 pounds since October, which is nothing to sneeze at, but I could lose a whole lot more.

In general, I would be wary of any dietary advice with the possible exception of the dietary advice provided by Brazil's Ministry of Health. Ultimately, you have to figure out what works for you.

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You'd Think They'd Read The Laws They Pass...Or Watch The News Or Something 2015-02-16T22:03:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 458421e83b91e184387b8da3f302d6ae From Democrats seek relief from health law penalties:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The official sign-up season for President Barack Obama's health care law may be over, but leading congressional Democrats say millions of Americans facing new tax penalties deserve a second chance. Three senior House members told The Associated Press that they plan to strongly urge the administration to grant a special sign-up opportunity for uninsured taxpayers who will be facing fines under the law for the first time this year. The three are Michigan's Sander Levin, the ranking Democrat on the Ways and Means Committee, and Democratic Reps. Jim McDermott of Washington, and Lloyd Doggett of Texas. All worked to help steer Obama's law through rancorous congressional debates from 2009-2010. The lawmakers say they are concerned that many of their constituents will find out about the penalties after it's already too late for them to sign up for coverage, since open enrollment ended Sunday.

Even though I don't regularly watch my evening news, I paid attention to enough things to know two things about Obamacare (or what is more formally called the Affordable Care Act):

Now Obamacare is the law of the land and the very same Democrats who pushed Obamacare through Congress are now realizing what they signed their constituents up for--a tax they may not be aware they have to pay and may only find out about it while filing their federal income tax. And, due to the fact the Open Enrollment period is now closed for ObamaCare health plans, constituents who aren't covered by a health plan have no way to get covered. Democrats are asking for a special enrollment period to give these people a chance to get covered.

I'm not a lawmaker, nor do I play one on TV, but wouldn't anyone reading the bill before it was a law think, maybe, this would have been a good, common sense idea to incorporate? Or even better, making the Open Enrollment period coincide with tax season? Did they think their constituents would be happy with a mandatory tax for choosing not to have healthcare insurance?

Of course, with the Affordable Care Act clocking in at nearly 1000 pages, I doubt any one member of Congress actually read the entire thing, much less could accurately articulate everything it implements. Is it too much to ask to expect our Congress critters to actually read the legislation they vote to pass into law? Are there any other unintended consequences hidden in this law that haven't yet been brought to the surface? I'm sure we'll find out, I just wish we knew before it was the law of the land.

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A Different Type of Sleep Mask 2015-02-15T17:24:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 36850172b36364314196e43d9fe83668 One of the things I don't wear at home, but often carry with me when traveling is a sleep mask. You know the kind. You wear it over your eyes so, maybe, you can fall asleep. I can generally sleep without them but it sends an important signal to my fellow travelers: I'm trying to sleep, let me be. Also, in the quest for shuteye at 35,000 feet, every little bit helps.

However, it turns out I really do need a mask to sleep. Not just at 35,000 feet, but anytime. And not just any mask, but one attached to a CPAP machine.

I generally don't have a problem getting to sleep. However, when I am sleeping, I tend to do so very loudly, as my wife will attest. Not only that, my sleep is not always restful. I'm getting better at sleeping the right amount, but clearly there's a problem.

My doctor recommended a sleep study with a particular pulmonologist in the area. I had a sleep study done some time ago, so I had an idea of what to expect. Back then, it didn't point to any treatable issues, so I had my doubts if any would be found this time around.

Despite not being woken up during my sleep study to wear a CPAP mask, which I was told was a possibility during the study, the pulmonologist called me ahead of our upcoming appointment to tell me I need a CPAP and that I should come in sooner if possible to get started right away. Sadly, between my doctor's vacation and my work travel schedule, the appointment I have already scheduled is the soonest I can see him.

For those who don't know, CPAP means Continuous Positive Airway Pressure. It's a treatment that involves wearing a mask hooked to a machine that forces air into your nose and/or mouth to aid in breathing. It is used to treat sleep apnea (which I clearly have), among other respiratory disorders. This means wearing the mask while I sleep.

I briefly tried two different CPAP masks while I was awake at the sleep study. One mask covers just the nose and the other covers the nose and mouth. There are some variations within these mask types, but generally, you use one type or the other. My preference was a mask that covered both the nose and mouth based on the brief test I did. The pressure on my nose and nasal cavity felt a bit weird in both cases.

One huge issue with CPAP treatment in general is non-compliance, namely patients don't like wearing a mask to sleep. I admit the idea does not appeal to me, but like with many new experiences, I am approaching it with an open mind. Even if doesn't work for me, there are several other options.

However it turns out, I'm looking forward to getting a good nights sleep for the first time in a long time.

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The Skinny Drawer 2015-01-17T21:27:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 81775e248d22ef5f3a62516544ae46c9 Back when I started doing Atkins more than 10 years ago, I dropped quite a bit--to the tune of 100 pounds! Naturally, when you drop weight, your clothes need to change to accommodate, so I had clothing at sizes a bit smaller than my current size.

Unfortunately, when I stopped doing Atkins, the weight eventually came back and my clothes no longer fit. Some of the clothes I got rid of due to wear and tear, others I kept, some in my closet, others in a drawer in my dresser.

I've dropped some weight as a result of actively managing my diabetes (eating habits and lifestyle changes). Nowhere near the 100 pounds I dropped on Atkins, but its a start. People have noticed and it feels good. I feel good.

That said, my pants are starting to be too big. And since I'm mostly going to be traveling for the next couple of weeks, I decided to peek in my "skinny drawer" to see if I had anything that might work a little better.

The smallest thing I have in there is a size 44 slacks. That's inches for the non-Americans, and even that is not really "skinny." Compared to where I'm at now, even a size 44 is a huge difference. I also have a couple of pairs of pants at size 48 in there, which I'm not quite small enough to wear just yet but I see me wearing those pants in the not too distant future.

My goal years ago was to get to a size 38, which is about the largest most "normal" stores go. I still think that's an achievable goal but it's going to take a while at this rate.

In short the skinny drawer was a bust. That said it was nice to get a concrete reminder of where I was, and where I know I can be if I keep working at it.

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Downright Normal 2015-01-16T08:17:10+09:00 PhoneBoy e4f35f4762dddb28a877ec43c451ff3d It has been three months or so since I was first diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes. After I saw the doctor in October, he ordered up a set of blood work to be done in January to see where I was. I did those labs earlier this week, and have results.

While the blood tests checked many different things, the only result I cared about personally was my A1C number. According to the Mayo Clinic []:

The A1C test result reflects your average blood sugar level for the past two to three months. Specifically, the A1C test measures what percentage of your hemoglobin — a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen — is coated with sugar (glycated). The higher your A1C level, the poorer your blood sugar control and the higher your risk of diabetes complications.

So what should the number be?

For someone who doesn't have diabetes, a normal A1C level can range from 4.5 to 6 percent. Someone who's had uncontrolled diabetes for a long time might have an A1C level above 8 percent.

When the A1C test is used to diagnose diabetes, an A1C level of 6.5 percent or higher on two separate tests indicates you have diabetes. A result between 5.7 and 6.4 percent is considered prediabetes, which indicates a high risk of developing diabetes.

The number I had in October was 7.9. This week: 6.3. This is a very good sign what I'm doing to keep my diabetes under control is working.

This week in particular my blood glucose tests have been in the upper end of the "normal" range. 96 mg/dL for pre-meal, 107 mg/dL after.

Sadly I suspect this will not remain the case as I will be traveling on and off for the next couple of weeks. Unusual food and different eating patterns always makes for higher blood sugars.

The only other notable result from my blood tests was my LDL cholesterol, which was below the normal range. I guess when you take statins and already had normal cholesterol levels, that's bound to happen.

That and I appear to be sleeping better, so all things considered, I feel downright normal for a change.

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A Small Portion To Be Polite 2014-12-20T11:05:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 19cc6c357dc3d14f3410910f8009d3ad Back when I was attempting to do the Atkins diet 10+ years ago, I pretty much didn't eat anything with carbs in it. It worked really well for losing weight, but after a while, it got harder and harder to do. Because, let's face it, carbs are tasty.

Now that I have diabetes, I have a somewhat different view of carbs: carbs can kill. Not immediately of course, which is the problem. The main problem for me: my body is not efficient at breaking down sugars in my blood. When it remains high over a period of time, different parts of the body start having issues. I'm sure my high blood pressure, swollen feet, and migraines are all related to it, and they have been much better since I started getting treatment.

But the reality is: swearing off all carbs is next to impossible. First of all, they are everywhere in everything. Second of all, cravings for particularly carby things are sometimes difficult to overcome, especially if you've been repeatedly denying yourself.

So, I try and have some once in a while. A small portion to be polite. Often times I find it wasn't nearly as good as I thought it was going to be. Especially when I see the impact to my blood sugar a couple hours later.

At the end of the day, if I'm going to have something I know isn't good for me and it doesn't taste good, what's the point? But then again, now that I know what the negative impact is and I can even see an indicator of it right away, maybe that's playing a role in how I feel about how it tastes.

Will I find something really worth it? Not sure but I'm gonna keep trying. Because I already know not trying ultimately results in failure. Now that I know what's truly at stake, failure is simply not an option.

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Post Nine Hundred... At Least On This Blog 2014-12-15T08:57:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 54b7f18c35af444182d089a0625e7db4 The one thing I see on 10 Centuries that I haven't seen on Posthaven is: the number of blog posts I have in a blog. Apparently, this is post 900 for this blog. Which is sad because I have more than 3200 on, some dating back to the 1990s (note this also includes nearly 730 episodes of the PhoneBoy Speaks podcast).

That doesn't include the more than 26,000 ADN posts, the nearly 39,000 tweets, the thousands of Facebook posts, and who knows how many posts on various other social networks.

Clearly, I put a lot of stuff on the Internet. In the grand scheme of things, it is probably all for naught as it will all get lost in the noise of everyone else's postings or the great EMP pulse that will take out all electronics everywhere.

Kinda depressing, if i think about it too much.

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Green Pill Redux 2014-12-14T22:20:00+09:00 PhoneBoy de8f57c5eaa3e651587d43468f4071f4 It's been a little more than a week since I got new blood pressure medication. I've been checking my blood pressure periodically, and sure enough, it's crept back into the hypertension levels. Not as high as it was (yet), but I'm definitely concerned.

So, of course, I checked the Internet and found this little gem []:

It may take 3 to 6 weeks of using losartan before your blood pressure is under control. For best results, keep using the medication as directed. Talk with your doctor if your symptoms do not improve after 3 weeks of treatment.

Fantastic. It's been a little over a week since I changed medication. Hopefully this will resolve itself in the next couple weeks, if not, back to the doctor...

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Welcome to the New and "Improved" 2014-12-14T20:41:20+09:00 PhoneBoy c53da77c43e53cfa4eb709030844b750 I followed through on previous threats and I've moved my personal blog onto 10 Centuries. Thanks to some handiwork by Jason, other than the temporary DNS hiccups that occur with these changes, you shouldn't notice a thing. All the previous URLs should work as before.

The one benefit I get from the current 10 Centuries platform is that, when you search on this site, it will also search all of my App.Net postings (which I've had quite a lot of) as well as recent tweets (starting from around 20 November 2014). Hopefully when Jason gets 10Cv3 launched, I'll be able to import my entire Twitter archive and have that searchable as well.

Another benefit with this new arrangement is that it allows me to blog using App.Net private messages, which ends up being fairly convenient as I can use Drafts to craft the post and send it to Chimp, which will get it to 10 Centuries. The downside to that approach is I'm limited to 2,048 characters which isn't the end of the world.

Meanwhile I posted several blog posts in anticipation of having my blog moved over to 10 Centuries. I didn't advertise them because the URL for those posts were going to change, so I just wrote them and figured I'd let folks know about them once the changeover occured. If you care, here they are:

Meanwhile a few of my other blogs will also move over to the 10 Centuries platform in the very near future.

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It's End Of The Season As We Know It, And I Feel Fine 2014-12-14T18:27:10+09:00 PhoneBoy bcaa1ad1a9d41e90b7ecc24e6d410806 As I expected, the 49ers lost to Seattle in Seattle. And since Detroit won, the 49ers are out of the NFL playoff picture for 2014. And you know what? I feel fine.

Sure, I would have loved to see the 49ers compete for another Lombardi trophy, but the Quest for Six will have to wait another year. With all the injuries suffered during the Seahawks game, the penalties (some questionable), and the poor execution and play calling, it just wasn't meant to be.

I came to terms with the fact the 49ers weren't making the playoffs last week after the Raiders loss. Given how bad the Raiders have played this year, there was no reason they shouldn't have walked out of Colosseum with a win.

Of course, as much as I enjoy watching the 49ers win, and I occasionally feel depressed when they lose, I have to remember: it's just a game. Whether they win or lose, it does not materially change my life. I still have my family, my health (which is generally improving), and everything else that's important. It also doesn't change my faith in the team.

I'll enjoy the last two 49er games of the season and go back to whatever it is I do when it's not football season, which is: live my life.

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The Green Pill 2014-12-08T22:21:10+09:00 PhoneBoy be7eecf9f0a209d56ccbcbe80a72bdac When I asked my doctor for different medication for my high blood pressure, he gave me Losartan. As usual, the potential side effects [] are always a frightening read, making me wish I had taken better care of myself when I was younger.

One of the side effects listed there, of course, is a cough, very much like the cough I have when taking Lisinopril. I still have it, but it seems better than before. Still have to drink a bit of water to keep from coughing too much.

Unfortunately it takes a while for the drugs to reach their full effect and I can already see my blood pressure numbers creeping back up while my body adjusts to the new medication.

On the plus side, my blood sugar has been below 100 mg/dL for the last few days. At least that's going right.

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Oh Christmas Tree 2014-12-05T21:21:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 033c4885f43e847e234ebe362e66e8ab It's that time of the year when, at least in this part of the world, many people are putting up their Christmas trees. Personally, I could do without Christmas, but the family likes it.

To be perfectly honest; I don't remember too many Christmas trees as a young child. Oh sure they were there most years. Because I was with my mom one year and my dad the next and they both moved regularly, there just wasn't anything I could consistently remember.

I did remember a couple of trees from Hawaii. Typically, an evergreen-type tree is used for this, but those are exceptionally hard to come by in Hawaii. And they were pretty expensive. While we did a "Christmas Palm" a couple of years, my stepfather "won" a real Christmas tree one year, which of course we put up. But beyond some lights and maybe a few ornaments, none of which I remember particularly, that was that.

Now, with a family, we have boxes of ornaments that my wife has acquired or the kids have made for us over the years. Surely, there are memories associated with each one for my wife and/or kids. I recognize most of the ornaments, of course, but most of them hold little memories for me and just feel overwhelmed by the whole thing.

Maybe forgetting all the Christmas trees is my coping mechanism for that...

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Zen and the Art of Blood Sugar Maintenance 2014-12-04T21:55:10+09:00 PhoneBoy dc5e066a9bf2821ec6e52eeed1367f32 One of the rules of diabetes club is: blood sugar readings don't always make sense.

Like today, both of my blood sugar readings were under 100 mg/dL. I'm certainly not eating no carbs but I'm not pigging out on them either.

The treadmill my wife found from someone who lives a couple streets away was a real find at $20. It's not in the best shape but it works. This means I can walk indoors when the elements are working against me outdoors. I walked a good 40 minutes today, worked up a nice sweat, and was able to proceed straight to the shower.

I even ended the day well below my target calorie range. Not intentionally but that's how it seems to have worked out.

All in all its been a good day for my blood sugar. Maybe today is a reflection of the good work I've been doing to manage it. I'm hoping numbers in this ballpark are the new normal.


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The 49ers "Crisis" 2014-12-04T10:14:10+09:00 PhoneBoy 16dedc051b569460182885928a32074a Many of us 49ers fans have high expectations for the team. It comes with the rich legacy the team has had, not to mention the last few years where the 49ers were in the NFC Championship game and a Super Bowl. No, the Lombardi trophy was not brought back to the Bay Area in 2012 (first loss in a Super Bowl), but still, there is an expectation among 49ers fans that the team is usually in the playoff hunt.

Of course, that ignores the fact that a lot of the playoff activity was in the 1980s and 1990s. The 2000s, quite frankly, were terrible. I wasn't football aware in the 1970s, and wasn't alive before that, so I can't comment much on that.

This year, 2014, the team is not doing so well. Not by most teams standards, of course, who would probably be really happy with a 7-5 record, but by 49ers standards, it's not so great. The offense is absolutely anemic this year. The 7 wins this year has occurred because the defense has been nothing short of outstanding, despite all the talent currently on injured reserve (Bowman, Willis, etc). Special teams is also not that special right now.

Among 49er fans, there is a lot of finger pointing about who is to blame. The most vocal bunch are ones who are clamoring for the firing of offensive coordinator Greg Roman. Some are starting to blame head coach Jim Harbaugh. There's also folks calling for the replacement of quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

I'm in none of those camps, at least not yet. Unlike a lot of fans, I remember that, even during the dynasty years, the 49ers played some really bad football games. Yes, five Superbowls were won, but 13 playoff games were lost between the years of 1981 and 2002. A few of those losses were ugly, too.

And then there was the 1991 season where, despite a 10-6 record, the 49ers didn't make the playoffs at all. I don't recall anyone demanding that then head coach George Siefert or then offensive coordinator Mike Holmgren be fired, but of course this was before the Internet Outrage Machine existed. Beyond the newspapers and the conversations you had with your friends, this kind of rhetoric was simply hard to come by. That said, Mike Holgrem went onto coach the Green Bay Packers the following year.

I know we are all passionate about this team, we want them to win, and we all think we know the best way to make that happen. The fact is, the 49ers will not necessary hear, or do, anything we say. The team at all levels is very aware of their situation with respect to making the playoffs. They understand what is at stake and they understand they must execute at the highest level from here on out to have a shot at a Lombardi.

And if they don't win? Changes will surely be made for next year in order to improve the 49ers chances for a Lombardi. Even if they do win, changes will be made next year because of the draft, injuries, free agency, or whatever. Either way, things will change next year. Arguing over the minutia of what those changes should be? Not my thing, personally.

Meanwhile, I'm not worried about the "crisis." I'm looking forward to the next game.

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So Yeah, That Cough I Have 2014-12-02T23:19:10+09:00 PhoneBoy 99b79c5643a18541d6ed98e1e26611fb I've had this little cough for the last month or so. Seems like my throat is occasionally dry. Sometimes it turns into a coughing fit, which is quite unpleasant.

My wife pointed this out to me today and told me it was a common side effect of Lisinopril, the drug I'm taking to lower my old pressure. Sure enough, it is []:

Common side effects of lisinopril include:

  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Weakness
  • Sneezing
  • Runny nose
  • Low sex drive
  • Rash

Serious side effects can also occur. If you have any of these side effects, call your doctor right away:

  • Swelling of the face, throat, tongue, lips, eyes, hands, feet, ankles, or lower legs
  • Hoarseness
  • Trouble breathing or swallowing
  • Signs of infection, such as fever, sore throat, and chills
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Chest pain

So yeah, I should get that cough checked and my meds changed.

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>
Going All In With 10Centuries? 2014-12-01T20:20:20+09:00 PhoneBoy 71e39597e63533973fbda5228e0ff792 It seems every few years or so I get tired of whatever blogging or content management system I've been using and I try something else. And, of course, every time I do it, I swear this is the last time I'm doing this.

And yet I do it. Again and again and again. I've actually lost track of everything I've tried, but it included the ever popular Wordpress and I'm even using Jekyll for my main site because it gave me the most control with the least server overhead.

But it sucks, it all does. And quite frankly, I have better things to do with my time than to try and move things between various content management systems, which have all sucked in various ways.

Ignoring the content management systems themselves for a moment, let's also look at the cost. Sure there are "free" services out there, but do you want someone else's ads all over your content? Do you trust that company will be around in a few years? Do you trust what that company might do with your data?

And while I'm thinking of conventional blog-like content, I'm also thinking of microblogging content. I've put quite a lot of data into Twitter and App.Net over the last several years. Who knows how Twitter will change their Terms of Service or their public API to the point where I'll even want to use the service anymore. And App.Net? It was a nice idea but, sadly, the lights may still be on there, but it's hard to know if anyone's home or not.

And Facebook? I don't even know what to say there, but I've given up trying to manage my privacy settings on Facebook. I just assume everything I post there is public. I also try and post as little content there as possible, as I know it's basically a roach motel.

Basically, I'm tired of it all. I just want to put all my stuff in one place, have it go everywhere everyone else is, and at the end of day, know that I have control over the original copy of said content and actually own it, unlike with the other services, that is not entirely clear.

Have you heard of 10Centuries? Unless you've been on App.Net, you've probably never heard of it. The mission of 10Centuries is simple: "ensuring all of our content is readily available and readable by future generations." And no ads. Ever. Those are principles I can get behind.

Will it last 10 centuries as the name implies? Who knows. I know nothing lasts forever, especially anything that man makes. But I gotta respect someone with the gumption to try.

10Centuries will handle most of my blogging needs for the time being, which are pretty meager. What about the social networks? Version 3 of 10Centuries will hopefully solve some of those pain points once released. Meanwhile, I can import all my Twitter and App.Net stuff so it's searchable on this site.

Hopefully, in a few days, most of the blogs I have on Posthaven will move over to 10Centuries. I have a couple of other, static websites that are not appropriate for 10 Centuries. I opted to move those off of Dreamhost and onto 123systems, which has a reasonably cheap CPanel type hosting setup for websites and email as well as a virtual private system which will host Amazon will be my backup solution of choice, mostly because of the pricing on Glacier, but the flexibility of S3 is also a bonus.

So I guess I'm not going all in with 10Centuries, but I'm certainly consolidating and 10Centuries is part of my plan.

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>
Amazing What Blog Posts Get Traction 2014-11-23T21:28:10+09:00 PhoneBoy 5309a983618ea08d887f10acaf1b429b I'm looking to move some of my blogs over to the 10 Centuries platform and, for kicks, I decided to look through the hit counts on some of my blog posts on my personal blog, currently hosted at Posthaven. A number of posts had a high hit count from when they existed at Posterous, which is where I imported some of the posts from. But a couple really got some traction:

Most of the other page views I see were old, so I don't believe their page view counts.

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>
Lies, Damn Lies, and Blood Glucose Meter Readings 2014-11-23T02:41:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 1c35d45effbdbd025e2a5cf5748b33f3 My doctor had originally prescribed me the Accu-Chek Aviva Plus Glucometer to check my blood sugar. It's a good enough device, but with it, it didn't take me long to learn the dark secret of diabetes monitoring.

Namely, that these devices are sold under the Gillette model. Except rather than give away the razors and make money off the blades, it's glucometers and test strips. Same idea, though.

The Accu-Chek Aviva strips cost me $25 for 50. And that's after the insurance pays their share (whatever it is). If I want to get more, say, before a long trip and I'm not "due" for more, well, I have to fight with the insurance company to get them at that price or pay the out-of-pocket cost, which is a hell of a lot more than $25.

Needless to say, I was looking for a cheaper solution. Also, it'd be nice if I could get something that would also send the data right to my iPhone where I'm tracking it.

Enter iHealth Labs. They actually two Glucometers: one that is Bluetooth enabled, and one that just plugs into the headphone port on the iPhone (they also work with Android devices too). Since I didn't always want to be tied to my iPhone when checking my blood glucose, I opted for the slightly more expensive wireless model.

That's all fine and good, but what really attracted me to these glucometers: the price of the strips. At $12.50 for a box of 50 (two vials of 25 each), it's half the price of what my Accu-Check Aviva strips cost. Better yet, I don't have to deal with my insurance company if I need more, I can just order them from iHealth Labs and they'll arrive in a few days.

I ordered a new iHealth Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System and a couple boxes of test strips in early November. Given they are based in Mountain View, CA and ship UPS Ground, it only took a few days to ship once the items came in stock which I knew when I ordered. I ordered before my recent trip to South Africa, so the "extra long" shipping time wasn't an issue for me.

When the meter and strips arrived, I of course tested myself using both meters. The iHealth one was giving me very different results. When I looked at the strips a bit more closely, I noticed that the strips I had been shipped were going to expire on 2 January 2015--less than 60 days away.

Another dark secret of blood glucose meters: they're not as accurate as, say, a blood test. They are good for getting a general idea of where your blood sugar is at, which is the reason your doctor tells you to use one. That said, different meters should give you similar results (within a few mg/dL of each other). When they're off by tens of mg/dL as I was seeing, something is probably wrong.

Given where my blood glucose is averaging, which is 117 mg/dL over a 30 day period, consistently higher test results could mean I test ok on the iHealth meter when, in fact, my blood sugar is actually at hypoglycemic levels.

I contacted iHealth Labs customer service via email. I asked for a bottle of the control solution, which is used to verify the meter and strips are working correctly (it has a set amount of glucose in it) and a box of strips with a later expiration date since there was no way I could use the strips I had ordered before they expired. I got a return email saying both should arrive in a few days.

Meanwhile I continued to periodically test with both my Accu-Chek and the iHealth meter. The iHealth results were consistently at least 20 points higher than my Accu-Chek, sometimes much higher.

I finally got the new box of strips in the mail today, but no control solution. My Accu-Chek strips are starting to run out and I really don't want to get another vial of those at $25 a pop, so I decided to test with iHealth using a strip from the new box I just received to see if it's a problem with the strips I had originally received.

On this test, the iHealth result was about 5 mg/dL lower than the Accu-Chek one. I tested with strips from both of the older boxes of iHealth test strips and the results were more than 40 points higher than the Accu-Chek number. This suggests I got a bad batch of test strips.

I just sent another email to iHealth Labs customer service. Hopefully they'll send me another box of strips and, this time, a bottle of the control solution.

Bottom line: if you're going to change blood glucose meters for one reason or another, make sure you test with both meters for a while to ensure the results are similar before completely ditching your old meter. Also, make sure to get the control solution for your meter.

I plan on doing a full review of the iHealth Wireless Smart Gluco-Monitoring System on a future episode of PhoneBoy Speaks.

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>
Carry That Weight 2014-11-20T18:50:00+09:00 PhoneBoy c1a7b57b21745cf4da08893fb03d5d0e Earlier this week, I went to the doctor to follow-up on the high blood pressure I had. Thanks to medication and the other changes I've made, it is now very close to the normal range. This is good news.

The other change I've noticed is my weight. Since I started tracking a month or so ago, I've dropped about 15 pounds. Not that I'm trying to lose weight, but I guess with the dietary changes I've had to make, the natural result is: less calories consumed. This along with the increase in activity means I'm losing weight.

My blood sugar, meanwhile, has mostly settled into a normal range after returning from South Africa, with a 7 day average of 116 mg/dL.

Hopefully these trends will continue as we enter the holidays.

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>
Different Strokes for Different Diabetic Folks 2014-10-31T16:27:00+09:00 PhoneBoy 65b8e883e5157b8c2819e2b09a0fbac5 As I've been finding others on the Internet that also have Diabetes, I've got a few different observations. They're probably simplistic and obvious, but here goes:

  1. A lot of people have diabetes, including people I know. I keep finding out about more of them every day.
  2. There is no shortage of information about Diabetes on the Internet or from your doctor, some good some bad.
  3. There are a few different "types" of diabetes. It's not just Type 1 and Type 2. Regardless, of the reasons or the treatments used, it's ultimately about getting your blood sugar down to a normal level.
  4. What works for one person won't necessarily work for another. Everyone responds differently to different things (see previous point).
  5. A lot of folks have it way worse than I do. I'm on the Internet whining about numbers that are not that far above normal when some people have numbers that are downright dangerous, for example one of the comments on my last post on Facebook.
  6. Diabetes is expensive once you find out you have it. I feel bad for those who don't have health insurance because even with insurance, the supplies you need to monitor and maintain your blood sugar gets pricey.
  7. Monitoring, testing, and keeping track of your food intake and activity is the best way to figure out what's working for you and what's not. Right now, my doctor has me testing twice a day. I try to do it: in the morning before I eat, and two hours after some meal during the day. I'll either do it after dinner or, if I have something unusual for lunch, after that. On a few days, I've tested three times in a day.

I'm sure I'll have more to say on this. :)

Copyright 2015 - PhoneBoy's Personal Blog ]]>