For those of you that have read my first couple of post you understand what I am doing. I’m coping. My daughters 4th birthday is today and it is also the second week of us trying to control her T1D. I tend to relate difficult subjects to things I am familiar with in order to cope with them. So yes, I am relating T1D control to Nuclear Reactors (My wife calls me her Sheldon). You can start laughing now but just keep reading. In the end T1D control is way more complicated than nuclear physics.
A nuclear reactor is relatively simple. Hot rock (yes, Uranium pellets look like a rock) heats water, water turns to steam (directly or indirectly), steam turns turbines, turbines go roundy roundy, electricity is produced. To put it simply the reactor being critical is when the reactor is "turned on. " This simply means that the reactor is in a steady state. Think of this state as a BG of 100. Not too high, not too low, just right. For the reactor power to go up (supercritical) or go down (subcritical) it needs units of reactivity. Think of this as Insulin and Food. For reactor power to go up positive units of reactivity are introduced. This is often done by relatively cold water being introduced into the core (not like a bucket, more like drawing heat from the core). For a person this is done by ingesting food. When someone ingest food inherently and eventually their BG goes up. For reactor power to go down, negative units of reactivity are introduced. This can be done by stopping the cold water from getting into the core, or inserting control rods. Think of this as either letting a high BG ride and coast down or injecting insulin. The rate at which power goes up or down is determined by the amount of reactivity inserted. Larger amounts of positive reactivity spike power faster. This is very similar to drinking apple juice and getting your BG up immediately following a low. Or, you can eat carbs with fat and have a much slower but longer increase (Pizza).
The main point is that both reactivity and insulin are not instantaneous. If you eat a candy bar but don’t bolus till 10 minutes afterward the damage is already done. The rate at which your BG went up means it will spike early and continue to rise until the insulin can bring it down. This is called power turning in reactors or “chasing it” in T1D control. Most reactors used for power production are designed to be safe. That is to say the more heat you add to a reactor the more it wants to “shutdown”. This is the safety of the reactor. This is like having Lantus in your body. It’s there just in case everything else went wrong.
What have I learned in two weeks?
- Planning is crucial. Plan meals, count carbs, get in front.
- Sometimes WAG’s are as good as it gets.
- Nuclear physics is way less complicated than T1D control due to the human element.
- I’m a nerd and I will always take the nerdy approach to problem solving.
- I’m still just as Restless as day 1.
Happy Birthday Felicity!