At Music City Tech today, I had the chance to watch Scott Hanselman deliver an opening keynote called Solving Diabetes with an Open Source Pancreas. It was an engaging and humorous talk that I enjoyed. Scott is a great speaker, and you can watch a previous recording from Webstock if you like.
I met Scott years ago, and he talked about his sensor at that time that got his blood sugar on his phone. At the time I thought that was cool, but in an abstract way. I’m blessed with good health as is my family. My eyes are bad and one of my ears is fairly broken, but those are really minor issues.
This is really my life, a shot from Scott’s talk.
I mostly do what I want and my blood sugar works well. In fact, my morning was wake up, a little hungry, but I hit the elliptical for a bit before eating breakfast. As a contrast, here’s another shot of what Scott does.
This past year, while coaching volleyball, one of my players was diagnosed with Type I diabetes. For a time I wasn’t sure if the player would return, and when she did, we had to be sure that she took time to prick her finger and check the reading during practice and tournaments. At some point she got a continuous glucose monitor, which Scott talked about, that sent readings to a small cell phone sized device. Over the season, all the girls learned to check the device periodically and warn the young lady or her mother if the numbers went too high or low.
I was quite impressed with the way this 14 year old managed her health, but more I realized just how lucky I am. As Scott delivered his talk, he also mentioned that he was lucky in that he’s in a first world country with the resources to manage his condition, something that many people struggle with.
Scott is working with the NightScout Foundation to use technology to try and automatically manage his diabetes. He has his real time blood sugar uploaded to the cloud so that he and his wife can track it, he gets data on his phone, and he has his pump low dosing him throughout the day. It’s an amazing system, and he even has his blood sugar appear in his git command prompt.
On one hand I’m amazed and thrilled that technology has really found a way to help people improve their lives. On the other, it’s a maddening situation where proprietary systems limit the access and ability of most people to manage their health. My heart angers over corporate greed and feels anguish for the struggles that should be much more manageable.
If you feel this is your cause, check out NighScout and maybe get involved.