Friday, June 30, 2006


Ok... so the last few days have been fun (and I'm going to wave a sarcasm flag there!). Yesterday James decided that it would be a good idea to keep everyone on their toes and start throwing up blood. He was whisked off for a gastroscopy - however his stomach wasn't empty (even though he had been fasting) and, in the words of the doctor, "the ulcer could have been hiding". He threw up more blood after the procedure.

This morning I got the following message from James "Hi. Biopsy has been cancelled cause I have ketones. And there's talk of sending me to intense care. Don't know why! I feel ok. but my ca (calcium) is low and k (potassium) and I have dka (diabetic ketoacidosis) and am dehydrated". Don't you just love his definition of ok?

So, after this there was apparently a group of about 10 people in his ward arguing over what was happening and in the end they sent him for the liver biopsy anyway. When I saw him he was attached to 3 drips - 1 x potassium, 1 x detrose and 1 x insulin. They were talking about sending him to intensive care as, after his liver biospy, he needed obs (bsl, blood pressure, temp etc) taken every 10 minutes for the first hour and then every 30 mins for the next 3 hours. They ended up having one nurse looking after only him (I think they called a nurse in specially).

By this afternoon he had no ketones left in his blood - so his dka was all gone. His potassium levels and calcium levels had gone back to normal. At the moment he only has some stuff to help his stomach in some way, but he still has two canulas in and he is in pain from them and can't get comfortable.

He thanks everyone for all their well wishes and messages of support. And he is homesick!

The Glass House - ABC

I know it's a bit late but I was told that on 'The Glass House' they have a story about a dog in America that dialled 911 for his diabetic owner. The show is repeated at 11.20pm tonight, but for those who are too tired to stay up and watch it - like me - below is a copy of a news report about it.
Kevin Weaver, 34, of Ocoee has his beagle Belle to thank for saving his life in February. After Weaver had a diabetic seizure, Belle bit the number 9 on Weaver�s cell-phone keypad, which automatically dialed 911.

June 15, 2006


There are a lot more reports about it - I ran a google search which returned 101000 results - however, I don't think they are all for this puppy!

Monday, June 26, 2006


James is going to be transfered from Katoomba hospital to Penrith Hospital tomorrow. He has been booked in for an ultrasound at Penrith at 12 (and no, as far as we know, he isn't pregnant!). After the ultrasound they are likely to do a liver biopsy, but the provisional diagnosis is auto-immune hepatitis - which will mean more daily drugs.

We all know that when it rains it pours.... I think my guinea pig (G.P) may have diabetes. He has been drinking non-stop for the last 10 mins, and we have had to top up his food and water ridicuosly often lately! So, I may have to try and find some time to get him to the vet.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Hospital (Again!)

It has been almost six months since James has been in hospital... so I guess I shouldn't have been suprised by having to make a trip to Katoomba hospital today.

James has had pain below his ribs for a few days now - but it has gotten drastically worse the last few days. After actually having to wait at the hospital (GASP! James is normally the second category - the first being immediately life-threatening - and so his normal wait is about 10 minutes max!) we got taken in and seen by the doctor who after an examination pronounced the pain "a mystery!". A canula was then put in, blood taken and a painful blood gas blood test also taken.

The results of his liver function test are apparently "abnormal" (whatever that means) and he probably has a liver infection. So he has been admitted so that the specialist can have a look at him tomorrow and hopefully work out what is causing it..... hopefully it isn't contagious!!!

Friday, June 23, 2006

Convincing the boss

James and I went to his work on Wednesday to talk to his boss about him having a dog at work. We didn't think there would be a problem as he works night shifts in a nursing home, so having a dog at work won't interfer much. We also thought it wouldn't be a problem as he works in the medical profession and they all understand (at least on some level!) what diabetes is (not mentioning the people who tried to give too much insulin to people in the place I use to work!!). So, armed with information from the website we went into the office - only to be told that his boss was at home as she had been working for almost 24 hours. We wrote notes over all the information and left it for her.
James talked to his boss this morning and she said "it sounds ok" but they are going to talk more about it soon. Legally she can't actually say he can't have the puppy with him so we are asking out of courtesy, but it's always better if work will agree and we don't have to force them!

Oh, and my friend is still waiting to hear from her boss - so fingers crossed all around!!

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Moving home

Today was moving day....

After rolling into bed at about 4am this morning the alarm went off at 6am and out we rolled agian. James and I went to Penrith to collect the truck we were hiring. It was the first time James had driven a truck - but by the end of the day we both had trouble adjusting to sitting in a car again.

When we arrived back at our house, our army of helpers had arrived (my mum and dad, James' mum and dad, and James' brother, Andrew and James' brother's friend, Tylor). Everything slowly but surely got moved. Mum and James' mum packed most of the kitchen stuff as I hadn't had any time (I have heaps of assignments due as well as trying to pack!).

By 6pm we were back at Mum and Dad's (or should I say our house!). One of the first things I did was set up our puppy's area in our room, so everything is now ready for him!

To our Army of helpers!
Thank you!!!!!
Love from Liz and James

Friday, June 16, 2006

There's two of them!

Or there will be anyway.

When I say there are two of them I am, in this case, not referring to what my nephew said when he saw my sister and I in the same room after she had been in Nepal for a year, but instead to Chinese crested powder puff puppies.

My friends parents agreed to let her have a dog so we will be housetraining two puppies. So now I have to take Ange shopping for puppy stuff.... I wonder how much I will come home with for OUR puppy.

P.S. Lou and I were trying to see how much we could look like each other in this photo... we still stand by the fact that we don't look anything alike!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

It's a boy!

Sometime last night our baby puppy was born. Both litters that were due where born around the same time. There where two male powderpuff pups and one is ours! :)

We will be bringing our baby home in around 8 weeks!


For those who have been following my sister's blog (Aussie in the Orient) and my bid to get her to the top in the MSN search for Aussie Babes, I am pleased to report that if you google either "hypo alert dogs" or "hypo alert dog" this blog is returned as the top result.

As well as that fine effort... if you google "diabetes alert dogs au" this blog is result number five!

Sunday, June 11, 2006

A little bit about Paws for Diabetics

While we are waiting for our puppy I thought I’d use the opportunity to tell you a little bit about Paws for Diabetics (or PFD as it is also called) and hypo-alert dogs. The following is taken off the PFD website (

“These dogs are the latest tool in Diabetes management, as they give their owners warning well in advance of an impending hypoglycaemic episode, allowing for prompt treatment to avert the episode from happening. A hypoglycaemic attack left untreated can lead to coma and even death, so these dogs are real life-savers.

We believe in general Diabetic Alert dogs will increase the independence, safety and mobility of the Diabetic person, providing them with a higher confidence to go out in the general public on their own without the need to rely on family or friends to accompany them, putting an end to the isolation often faced when one is afraid to go out for fear of having a Hypoglycaemic episode.”

Hypo-alert dogs warn of attacks in differing ways, depending on each dog. However, they will all do something that is out of the ordinary for them.

Having a hypo-alert dog will help both me and James. James will have a dog that will help him to not experience hypos which will hopefully lead to better control and less complications later in life. For me, the dog will provide peace of mind when James is asleep and I am at uni (James does night shifts and therefore sleeps during the day). While James is asleep it is impossible for him to pick up his hypos, but a dog will be able to wake him before they get bad enough that he needs my intervention.

If you are interested in supporting the work of PFD and helping other people with diabetes be able to have a hypo-alert dog, please become a member of PFD. It only costs $10 a year for singles, and $15 for families.


If you gave up one packet of cigarettes you could afford membership for a year

For the non-smokers (and caffeine addicted people out there – like me)

Giving up four 600ml bottles of coke would pay for membership for one year


Giving up three MacDonald’s meals would give you a family membership as would giving up a ticket for one to the movies

Please at least think about it.
(Drawing by Louise Hubbard Really bad photo of great drawing taken by me! Really bad photo of great drawing enhanced to this level by Daniel Smith)

Friday, June 09, 2006


We sold one of our cars (we had two) last week and the money from the sale came through yesterday so off we went to Pet Barn in Penrith to buy some more things for our baby. We got a brush, a crate and a bed. So now, I think, we are pretty much ready as we had previously brought a lead and collar, food and water bowls, and some toys.

I was talking to my friend (who has been a diabetic since she was very young) yesterday and she became interested in getting a dog as well... however, her parents aren't so interested. Her Mum thinks its a great idea... but for someone else! So today I spent time talking to her about how to convince her parents to let her have a dog. She may be able to convince them if she gets a housetrained pup - which means we may be house training it for her first and so we will have two babies for a while!!!

The two dogs that are having the litters from which our baby will come are apparently VERY pregnant and according to the breeder they should have their pups within a week.

So now all we have to do is wait!

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The adventures of what?

Who are we?

My name is Liz. The other person in this photo is my husband James. James and I got married in July last year.

On November 4, 2004 James had a car accident in the car that we are pictured sitting in. He was lucky to escape with only a broken heel bone - however, this needed an operation and the insertion of a metal plate and screws to fix it.

The reason for this accident is that James has type 1 (juvenile onset) diabetes. He also has a few other medical conditions that make it hard for him to control his BGLs (blood glucose levels). On the day of his accident he had done everything he should have, including eating a large bowl of pasta, having a regular soft drink and eating countless muesli bars, but his glucose level still dropped to the point that he didn't know what he was doing and eventually passed out behind the wheel, went across the double lines and into another car (the people in that car were also ok).

What is a hypo dog?

After this accident I was worried about him driving and about this happening again. As I have been involved in Puppy Raising for the NSW Guide Dog Association and I understand how much dogs can help and how easily they seem to sense how people are feeling, I searched for information about assistance dogs that would be able to help James when his BGL is low. I couldn't find anything in Australia. However, America has organisations dedicated to providing hypo alert dogs to diabetics. Hypo alert dogs give their owners warning before a hypoglycaemic episode (an episode of low BGL) therefore allow prompt treatment.

As we have just brought our own house, James and I started to think about getting a dog and training it ourselves. We will be moving into our house at the end of the year and so I looked around at a few breeds and thought about how I might go about training a dog. Eventually, after much searching I came across a link in a discussion forum on Reality Check (a site for young adults with diabetes) , with an email address for Lorraine, a founder of an organisation called Paws for Diabetics. The next day Lorraine rang me and we spoke for four hours!!!! During this time Lorraine told me about the dogs and what they do. We decided that we would like to get a Chinese Crested powder puff (Like Chino, who is pictured and who is a Paws for Diabetics hypo alert dog in training).

A few days later Lorraine rang me and told me that there were two dogs that would be having litters in a few weeks and she would let me know if there was a suitable dog born.

So now we are waiting and preparing. The litters should be born any day now and then in eight weeks we will hopefully be bringing home our new baby. So now all we have to do is buy all the paraphernalia that comes with owning a puppy and also move house! We are currently renting and are unable to have dogs in this house so we are moving back in with my parents for the next six months until we move to Tasmania and into our own house!

Thursday, June 01, 2006