Since I started work on THE BOOK OF BETTER, I began to notice some of those things,
big and small, that make our life Better. Not just in our little diabetes world, but everywhere
you look. More Better is about all of those things.
The insulin pump is a pretty complicated electro-mechanical device. After all, it is trying to mimic a biological entity, the pancreas, that has been developed over— I don’t know—millions of years? It is quite an engineering feat.
But how the pump works exactly is far too intricate for the likes of my small intellect. So I am at least equally enamored by bursts of remarkable creativity that appeal to my sense of simplicity. One brilliant example: the Hipporoller. It’s now been around for awhile, and there are variations and disputes about the basic design, but time and commentary make the invention no less remarkable.
In cultures where water for personal use has to be moved manually, some African peoples with few other resources have carried large containers of it on their heads. As water has become more and more scarce in many Sub-Saharan regions, the hardship of moving water, and the limits of only moving as much it as can be carried on one’s head, have grown. In fact, in many families, the chore of gathering water from sources miles from home is relegated to children, because they are the ones who can most afford to be away from home for hours on end.
SO, the Hippo Water Roller was invented in 1991 by two South Africans; Mr. Pettie Petzer and Johan Jonker. It is stupendously simple—a rugged plastic barrel with a simple bent metal handle. The barrel is both the wheel and the water storage receptacle. OF COURSE! You push, or pull, the handle, it rolls the barrel, it moves your water to where you need to go. OF COURSE! It can carry as much as FIVE times the amount of water that can be carried on the typical head. OF COURSE. BRILLIANT BETTER.
Simple brilliance: www.hipporoller.org
I’m always going on and on about the wonders of moving, and all the great benefits it infers almost equally upon those with diabetes and those without. Of course it is more complicated than that, especially when we’re somewhere not at home.
On a recent trip to China, I started the day with my usual every day 30+ minutes of vigorous running or cycling. For the last 30 years or so, that reasonableeffort has helped moderate my blood sugars. After my early morning moving (and a shower and breakfast) the family and I filled the day attending appointments, exploring a perplexing and fascinating NanChang or Guangzhou, and various walking errands to restore our stocks of bottled water and milk in aseptic boxes.
The 30-minutes of vigorous morning activity was no different than ever. The all-day moving however, was much different than my usual watching-the-computer daily routine. That difference—to my blood sugar—was notable. I was awakened in the middle of the night several times extremely low, and had to eat a significant amount in order to recover my senses.
At first I was stunned by the development. Meals were about the usual size, insulin was about the same, or a little lower, and the exercise routine was about the same. “So what the—?” as we often say about our diabetes reactions. Slowly (as it usually does) it dawned on me that it was the extra physical activity that I hardly noticed—walking and standing and pushing strollers and maybe straining to remember how to say “Thank you” in Mandarin—that dramaticallylowered my blood sugars.
So is that Better? A severe reaction in the middle of the night somewhere in China is Better?
Nope. A surprise severe reaction is diabetes.
But understanding that extra moving around can lower our blood sugars is BETTER UNDERSTANDING. Understanding that we can use to lower our BS when we NEED to lower our BS. Understanding that all that incidental moving makes a difference.
More proof: More moving is more Better.