My name is David Burren, and this site is a place to collect my ramblings about living with medical technology. Since 1982 I’ve lived with Type 1 Diabetes (T1D), and this is something that’s with me every day. At the time I was a fairly normal active boy, but my body’s immune system killed off the cells in my pancreas which produce insulin and as a result I have to constantly inject replacement insulin and balance this with my diet and exercise. My body’s automatic controls of blood glucose levels were broken, and presumably will be for the rest of my life.
Ever since I’ve always had medical technology and gadgets with me, starting with the syringes and archaic blood-letting machines of the 1980s. Today I have an insulin pump connected to me constantly infusing insulin, and sensors embedded in my skin measuring my glucose levels (and reporting those to devices including a watch on my wrist where I can see them at a glance). So we sometimes joke that I’m becoming bionic. Meanwhile I have been living life like everyone else. I finished school, went to uni, moved out of home, found a girl and married her, bought a house, etc, etc. T1D is just an extra thing I deal with each day, that’s all.
I’ve always been interested in technology (and spent years working in engineering and IT before I took up my current job as a photographer and educator). As a photographer I have and use many many gadgets, ranging from simple hand-sewn clothing items through to complex 50+ megapixel cameras. My friends sometimes refer to me as The Gadget Man. The medical technology is constantly evolving too and not only is it interesting to me, it helps keep me alive.
In my job as a nature photographer I travel to many places all over the world far off the beaten track, and it helps to be able to understand the gear (whether medical or not) and to be able to cope when something goes wrong. Which it always will at some point, thanks to Professor Murphy. But most of the time the medical technology is supposed to do its job in the background, and let me get on with my life.
This blog’s audience
I’m imagining most of the people reading this blog will have some connection with Type 1 diabetes in their lives. So I won’t be explaining all the terms and concepts from scratch (although I sometimes do explain to make sure no-one’s left too far behind). But you might sometimes want to do further reading and then ask questions!
There are no paid endorsements
If I recommend something or someone on this blog, it’s because I think they’re worthwhile (and have used them myself). I have not received anything as compensation for making recommendations, nor vice versa. If I find a product is not useful, I won’t recommend it. I might even give a negative review if it needs it. If someone does decide to pay me in some way related to the blog, I’ll let you know!
I do not give Medical Advice
I hope people get some value from the information I provide on this site, but it’s important that I be clear about this: I cannot (and don’t want to) tell anyone what to do about their medical conditions. For a start I’m not in a position to know the details of your own health issues and thus not able to give you absolute advice on your own problems. But also I am not a registered medical professional, and as such laws prohibit me from giving medical advice.
But I am someone who can tell you about my own experiences. I hope you find them useful. I can tell you what works for me, and you can do with that information what you will. Often that may involve discussing it with your own health care team. Personally I’ve found it very useful to have contact with fellow T1D folk as well as my doctor.
An important concept for anyone with diabetes to keep in mind: Your Diabetes May Vary (YDMV).
As well as living with diabetes, I do commercial work for various companies/institutes. Some of it relating to photography, some of it relating to diabetes (e.g. as a part-time software engineer for the Baker Health and Diabetes Insititute) but the information on this blog is independent from those.
As far as the title of this blog goes: I’m quite tall, and there was a time many years ago at university when I grew out my hair and beard. The names Wookiee (Wookie), Chewbacca, and Wook got used a bit, and “The Wook” has stuck to this day in some circles.
If you can’t find me on other social media, you can always use this form: