Hello all you happy people. I’ve got another diabetes issue clanking around my brain lately. First, let me explain about that funny word in the title…
GLUCAGON- n. (gloo-KA-gon) Glucagon is a naturally occurring hormone. It raises blood glucose whenever it falls too low. …in a REGULAR person, that is. For us diabetics, we may or may not still secrete some glucagon naturally. The thing is, if we’ve over-dosed our insulin or had more exercise or stress or missed a meal… we could end up with LOTS more insulin in our bodies than would ever happen normally in a non-diabetic. So, if that happens, and we still secrete a little glucagon ourselves, it will still not be enough to prevent hypoglycemia. We will still go severely low and may lose consciousness or even die. (here is an even better explanation!)
Low blood sugar is SERIOUS! That’s why you always see a type 1 with tons of snacks or other means of raising blood sugar if necessary.
RABBIT TRAIL: While I’m on this topic, let me just say that it is tough having to treat a medical condition, a potentially deadly medical condition, with food. Countless type 1’s have been heckled, bullied, scorned, gossiped about…you name it, over this self-preservation method we MUST use.
Let me explain…let’s say for instance, you are in a roomful of high school students, taking a test perhaps, and you begin to feel your sugar dropping. The rule of this class, from this teacher, is no candy in class. The fastest way to counter the impending hypo is to quickly chew up a couple peppermints or glucose tabs or Lifesavers (my fave). The teacher is aware of your condition (because you informed them, like a good diabetic) but the kids sitting around you may not. Even if they do, because they don’t know anything about diabetes, they think you are faking, milking it or worse, doing it for spite. Then there are those times (BTDT too many times!) when you have a substitute OR even a regular teacher who doesn’t understand diabetes and is completely uncooperative or gives you a hard time about treating hypos in or during class. (remind me to tell you about the middle school teacher I had who had flunked out of med school & insisted on making a major production every time I went low in his class!! GAH!!)
Then there are those wonderful times when, as an adult…maybe a parent, even, when you have to treat in front of children. That’s always lovely. Here… these photos will give you the gist of what I mean:
(thanks, Jimmy Kimmel, for these perfect examples of how kids respond when they think you’re hogging all the candy)
Then you have co-workers and such who will respond this way:
Yeah, no matter how many times you explain, no matter how much info you give them, they STILL don’t get why you have to stop and EAT FOOD and you call it “treatment” or say it’s because you are sick.
That’s the big problem…people don’t see food as “medicine”, they don’t relate food intake with how the body functions. They don’t get that as type 1 diabetics, we must MANUALLY balance food intake with energy expenditures and insulin dosages. EVERY DAY. ALL DAY. And even while we sleep. They don’t get that if we have too much insulin (or perhaps overexert or expend too much energy for the nutrients in our bodies) or if we don’t inject insulin according to our food intake, or if we experience an illness (like a cold, people. A COLD can derail our diabetes!) or excess stress, it can cause all sorts of problems for us simply because we do NOT have a functioning pancreas to do all that thinking for us like everyone else.
deep breath Sorry…thought I needed to throw that stuff in there. Heh.
Okay, so back to the glucagon question. You see, like EVERYTHING ELSE with diabetes, (and most any other illness or disease these days!) medication and supplies are NOT cheap. With diabetes, there’s a never-ending list of supplies that we need and most of those need to be kept with us, on our person, all the time. Especially when travelling or any sort of activity where we are away from home.
The point to all this is…when trying to decide what to spend our family’s limited funds on, medically speaking, I sometimes have to choose what is absolutely vital over what is not-so-absolutely vital. Yeah…stinky choices, I know. So when I have to pick, I must choose my insulin (because without that, I will die) and all the instruments I need to administer the insulin (reservoirs, tubing sets, batteries, alcohol swabs, syringes in case the pump fails) and also testing supplies so I know how to dose the insulin (test strips, lancets, sensors, transmitters and batteries). Other than those, I also need adequate food supply and foods that can be carried easily, so certain types of snacks and candy and/or glucose tabs or gels. When figuring all this up, most often, spending another $50 on a glucagon kit, which always has a short shelf-life and will likely expire before I need it (which means it must be thrown away) becomes an easy “no” and usually a very distant after-thought.
Fifty bucks might not be a lot to you, but to us, it’s a small fortune. I have a REALLY hard time laying out $50 that most often has to be thrown away in a few short months.
However, when you are sitting on a highway in another state with no exits in sight and no way to get off the road (because you’re with the Hubby in his work truck pulling a trailer) and you are popping Lifesavers in your mouth, chewing as fast as you can, drinking a can of Coke and trying to fend off a very aggressive low that feels like it’s threatening to put you under…you begin to feel really stupid about not spending that $50 bucks. That is, you feel stupid in between your life flashing before your eyes, wondering if you told your kids you loved them enough or hugged your mom the last time you saw her or if your best friends know how much you love them.
I’m not exaggerating. That’s how it feels when you are close to passing out while your blood sugar is plummeting. It’s horrible and you do NOT want to experience it.
So what’s a poor diabetic supposed to do?
I honestly don’t know right now. I mean, if it was just a matter of scrounging up the extra money so I’d have the thing, it wouldn’t be a big deal. But when it expires so quickly and it’s not every day/week/month or even year that you even need a kit?? It’s hard to know what to do.
However, it’s those times that you never suspect, the times you could never “plan” for, those times when you ~thought~ you planned everything very, very well–when you ate properly, counted all the carbs, dosed exactly as prescribed but STILL everything goes wrong….those are the times you keep a kit for.
How do YOU deal with this? I have been reading and chatting with folks in the DOC about this and some have great insurance so keeping a good kit isn’t an issue, others speak of never being without several for their children (which would TOTALLY different! it’s much easier to risk my own life…I’d never be without a kit for one of my children!) So how do YOU handle this issue? What do you think should or could be done?? I know making the kits more affordable would be an awesome first step for me. Even half that price would be helpful. I don’t understand why insurance doesn’t cover them more than they do since having one of these kits can help me avoid a trip to the ER or worse.
Before we discuss, let me drop this info on you…I know many people, even in my own family, who would shudder at the thought of having to mix a medication and give me an injection in an emergency. I understand. Opening a glucagon kit when someone you love is passed out can be intensely scary! People panic, especially since it has to be mixed, not just drawn out like insulin. Maybe I’m just way out of the loop on this, but Eli Lilly has an app to show people how to use glucagon! I’m not sure how this would work, especially if you use a password on your phone (and I think most people do these days!) but there IS an app!! Look:
Okay, so let’s dish…what is your stance on the glucagon issue? Is it hard for you to afford and/or justify purchasing it for yourself? How do you handle it?
Inquiring minds want to know…
So, my Diapals…how many vials of insulin do you suppose you’ve devoured in your diabetic life? If you’re only a few years in, that may be several hundred, or if you’re like me and you’re several decades playing with the Diabeast, it could be close to a hundred thousand by now.
Honestly? I haven’t estimated how many, many, MANY vials I’ve gone through over the years. My mind avoids math and numbers whenever possible, so I’m just not geared that way, I guess. But now that I’m thinking about it, I wonder…
How far would they reach if you lined them up end-to-end? How high would they stack? How far would they all roll? Ha, ha, ha!! That one makes me giggle. I’m picturing setting them all loose and a bunch of white-coats trying to figure how far outside a defined area they will wander, how many will end up in a ditch, how many will be crushed by the tires of a vehicle, how many will be carried away by a curious animal….and probably how much I’d be fined for setting loose so much trash on the world. Bahaha! That would probably be the highest number of all, right?
sigh Don’t get me started on the government and their fines and regulations!
Nope. This post is about pondering how many test strips and such we’ve used. I have a sort-of love/hate relationship with that “dia-art” that seems to get posted, especially during Diabetes Week or Diabetes Awareness month or whatever where people use their used-up supplies to create a sculpture or picture of some sort. I mean, some of them are really neat, but some of them are depressing.
Don’t get me wrong, I KNOW living 24/7/365 with diabetes can be depressing. I get that, people, trust me! But we don’t have to wallow in the negative, ya know? Life’s too short as it is. Why not focus on the positive?
I have to or I’ll go insane. Sometimes I get really down and I know (and you should know it too) that it’s okay to let yourself deal with those times. It’s okay to get thoroughly disgusted with trying to manage your diabetes and just be full-on ANGRY!
But you can’t live there, okay? Have your tantrum, stage your protest, rage against the Diabeast and then take a deep breath, put your big boy/girl pants on and get on with life.
There’s my sage dia-advice for the decade. Bahaha! Don’t dwell on the negatives. To me, this is just what my life is…this is what I must deal with and it’s no punishment (I finally learned that one!) and it’s not my fault (I was 7 years old, after all!) and it shouldn’t make me feel “less than” in any arena in life! I just have to do a few extra things, be a little more cautious, take a little extra care in order to “go about things” the way most other people do.
Which leads me back to thinking about how massive the pile of trash is if I had been piling all my supply junk up all these years. CAN YOU IMAGINE?!?!
Oh my goodness…I get embarrassed if I’m out somewhere and need to throw away the pile of stuff that results in just changing my reservoir and tubing for my pump! It’s like two handsful for me. I couldn’t care less about changing the thing in front of people. If they stare, I’m cool with it. If they have questions, that’s great. But go to throw that garbage away when they didn’t see me unpack and use all the stuff and I get all sheepish. I know! That’s weird, huh? I guess I wonder if they think I’m some loser who doesn’t “care about the earth” or something. Maybe it bothers be because I always think of how much sooner we’ll have to empty the trash compactor when I toss that stuff in there?? Bahaha!!
The things that go through my mind sometimes…sheesh!
So let’s dish…do you know how many vials or other stuff you’ve used over the years? (and if so, I wanna know why you kept up with it! ha, ha, ha… non-mathie types wanna know!) Does it bother you the amount of trash created by the things we need to live? Did you ever think about it before?
Talk to me, people! In the meantime, have an awesome weekend!
Say what? Yes, I just read about this new stuff that could be coming out soon. Instead of depending on someone who is with you knowing how to mix and inject a traditional glucagon pack for you, they could just spray it up your nose!
That’s a pretty awesome idea! This company who’s been doing research, Locemia Solutions, has basically been working in secret on this stuff but is now sharing that they are ready to apply for all the FDA crapola to be put on the market!
For those of you who don’t know, THIS is the current and ONLY method for delivering glucagon:
About the worst they could do giving a shot of spray in your nose is give you a nosebleed, right? And how much less freaked-out might they be having to do that instead of mixing, drawing and giving an injection?! Let us know, any non-T1Ds out there…which would YOU rather do for your friend or loved one?
This was especially close to home for me this morning because last night, I did it again. insert furious face here I have had my pump for about 12 years now. I have NEVER taken a break from it, never opted to go back to MDIs (multiple daily injections) for awhile. Getting that thing really saved my life, and as much as I hate it sometimes…like when the tubing gets hung on a doorknob as I’m working in the house or when I’m struggling to find a comfortable place to wear the thing with some more fashionable clothing, I wouldn’t part with it!
Maybe that’s why it’s such a habit for me to just press that button and dose without stopping to think sometimes. That’s pretty much what I did last night. Yes, again!! I was SO angry with myself that I probably shot it a bit lower just from that emotional surge, ya know? (Tell me I’m not the only one who does that…intense emotion can drop my sugar! Do any of you experience that??) I was up watching TV by myself since Tommy had gone on to bed. He’s staying super-tired from all his projects out in the garage so after trying to settle in with him, I found I just wasn’t sleepy yet and thought I’d catch up on something from my watchlist on Hulu. I had the munchies for some reason and wanted to eat a few chips. I rarely buy those, but heh there was a special at Kroger, so I had some of my fave bbq chips. I faintly recall bending over to get them out of the pantry while simultaneously pressing my trusty button…and I have no clue what I gave. After I realized what I’d done and was in the middle of trying to treat myself for the hypo (about 20 minutes later) I looked on my pump to see how big a dose I’d given. SEVEN UNITS!! What?! WHY on earth did I do that?!?! I don’t even know other than it is such a habit for me now!! Especially after that last episode doing this kind of thing?!?! WHY!?!? I could have just strangled myself, really. SO angry!! And scared. Not a good combination when you’re trying to raise a low blood sugar.
If any of you Ds out there have had this sort of issue, how did you STOP yourself from going auto-pilot with your pump dosing? I am thinking of putting some tape or some sort of fuzzy sticker on the button so I’ll stop and think about what I’m doing. Maybe I should just put the whole pump in a ziplock or some sort of case so that I have to take it out to use it? Have you tried any tactics like that to retrain yourself to test first or at least THINK before you dose?? PLEASE don’t tell me I’m the only one who does this?!?!
Tommy commanded (yes, he did!) me to go pick up a glucagon. I haven’t yet, but we will probably do that tomorrow. I’m getting ready to call the endo’s office right now for a prescription AND to find out if they can help with another insurance-related problem that is making me furious. Maybe I’ll share about that once I ever get any hint that there’s a solution. SIGH
Happy (& SAFE) weekend to you all! Happy Mother’s Day to all you moms.
Okay folks, once again, Friday is for us PWD’s (that’s People With Diabetes) but as always, I hope you will all enjoy the post and it will get you thinking about things maybe for the first time!
I just read this article that initially sounded like yet another “we’re closer to a cure for diabetes” thing, but when you got into it, I found that it’s about getting closer to a way to detect future development of T1D and then possibly a way to prevent it from ever developing.
You can read the article here: Type 1 Diabetes Breakthrough: Scientists Identify Key Molecule Targeted By Immune System
See what I mean? The title is like “DIABETES BREAKTHROUGH!” and you’re all like “WOW! YAY! YIPEE!” then it just tells you they’ve discovered a fifth molecule that is attacked by the immune system during the development of type 1 diabetes.
depressing letdown Yeah. I mean, that’s great news and obviously it’s progress, but for me, it is definitely a little anticlimactic!
How does it make you feel when you hear news about a possible cure for diabetes? I’m not talking about the okra-water cures that are constants on Facebook. I mean the news reports from legitimate sources researching a cure. What goes through your mind? Whether you are a diabetic or not, I’m interested in how that makes you feel.
For me it’s a mix of emotions. I’m usually like, “Yay. Thank God those coming behind me might be spared living with this nasty disease.” I never feel hopeful of a cure for me. If you ever look at the clinical testing sites, they want people who were diagnosed t1d within the last year or two, or maybe sometimes you’ll find a study looking for people who have had t1d for as much as ten years, but forget being eligible if you have had it over 20 years. I know this isn’t the case, but to me it feels like they’re saying, “Oh man, you’re practically dead from it already. Sorry, we can’t help you.” Pshhh! Sorry… did I shock you with my killer negativity? Yeah, I apologize. It sneaks out sometimes. grin
So how do you feel when you see things like that? Are you “new” enough to have hope that a cure will be found in time to benefit your life?
If I’m totally honest, my conspiracy-theory self thinks there is already a cure, but it is being suppressed because just think of all the money that would be lost if we didn’t have to pay out big bucks to live?? See? I have this completely pessimistic side and she comes roaring out when it comes to stuff like this.
ANYhow… it IS encouraging that they are learning new things about how diabetes occurs and which genes might be responsible for the misfire that causes our immune systems to attack themselves. Really, guys, it is. I just can’t get too excited because progress is so slow and it’s really already too late for “a cure” to save me.
Heh.. I was telling some friends last night that I’ve had diabetes for so long, I don’t know any other way to live. If I got cured right now, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. How do you go from spending every waking moment calculating and figuring out food values and dosages for everything that crosses over your teeth and trying to decide how this or that activity will affect your fickle disease to … well, to NOT worrying about those things constantly? Ha ha… I guess it’d probably be a lot easier than I imagine, but wow… it’s just not something I can really fathom.
I’m gonna close now, but something has been on my mind that I want to share… a couple of weeks ago, I was talking to a friend while waiting for a low to pass so I could drive home. (fyi: don’t drive when your sugar is low, ‘kay?) I was explaining something or other about dealing with diabetes when she said, “I thought your pump took care of that.” I’m pretty sure I contained my dumbfoundment enough that I didn’t bump my chin on the floor, but I was really stunned that she didn’t understand any better than that.
I guess I just assumed she’d been around me enough to realize, but I guess that’s not the case. Or maybe I had never really discussed the finer points with her specifically? I dunno and really, maybe I shouldn’t have been so shocked, but I guess it really floored me that she thought my insulin pump was essentially like a cure. That as long as I was on the pump, I didn’t have to worry about the disease anymore.
WOW! People of the world! AN INSULIN PUMP IS NOOOOT A CURE!! It is merely another tool in the arsenal that helps us manage life! I guess I should admit here that I HAVE used the term “external pancreas” to describe the pump to people before. Now I’m rethinking that!! I can’t assume that people understand that while a pump is MUCH MORE like that than treating with MDI (multiple daily injections) for most of us, but we STILL have to calculate everything, still have to manage the unexpected, unexplainable lows and highs that can happen. We still have to deal with going into DKA (diabetic ketoacidosis) if the cannula kinks or we put the port into an area with scar tissue that won’t properly absorb the insulin, or we sweat too much and the adhesive comes loose and the cannula pulls out or… I could go on with a list of possible things that could go wrong, but you get the picture, right?
That’s part of the reason I am writing more about diabetes here than I ever have before. I believe this wholeheartedly:
I have diabetes. That’s me, I am a PWD, a Person With Diabetes, but diabetes, no matter how hard it may try, does NOT have me! It doesn’t define me. It makes me strong, makes me tough, makes me determined but it will not defeat me. I may die from the blasted monster, but it will never control me. I want to live my life to the fullest, be all I can be, yadda yadda… and diabetes may slow me down, it may make me do things a little differently, a little more cautiously, but it won’t keep me from doing what I want. It may put me in The Pit (depression) for periods of time, it may make me more susceptible to The Pit, but it won’t keep me there. Never.
ahem Soooo…. how DO you feel about this?? Please share. I’d love to hear your thoughts! Let’s encourage each other, lift each other up, whether you are a PWD or not, if you know me, you have a vested interest in learning about diabetes, you have reason to be concerned about possible cures and other diabetes news. Chances are, someone you know in your own life (if we aren’t friend IRL (in real life) that has diabetes. It’s like a plague these days and we don’t understand it well enough to know why! Get involved. You don’t have to go join the ADA or JDF, but learn all you can. Be knowledgeable. What you learn could one day save my or another PWD’s life, after all!
Please share this post and share your thoughts here!! THANKS!
Acknowledgement: All images in this post courtesy of Type 1 Diabetes Community FB group
I dunno if this Frankly Friday thing will stick, but for today, let’s roll with it. I apologize to my non-diabetic readers, but this is a huge issue for us and if you love a diabetic, you should be upset about this too. Let’s face it, it won’t be long before you could face this same issue with a medicine that you need!
HUMALOG insulin: the stuff I, and tens of thousands of other diabetics, depend on to stay alive
I came across an article on Facebook about this and it just made my blood boil. WHY are these companies allowed to do this? deep breath Sorry… I should probably let you in on the secret, huh? Some jerk CEO at Lilly made some really callous, idiotic statements regarding the rising cost of one of their most popular products, Humalog.
Here’s a quote from this jackwad, Lechleiter:
Asked on the earnings call about the current debate over drug pricing, John Lechleiter, chief executive officer, said higher prices make sense because it helps the company fund the research needed to find better treatment methods or a cure.
Excuse me? “higher prices make sense because it helps… fund research to find…a cure”?!?!? Um, no. I would love to know the total revenue generated by Lilly over the years they have produced insulin and find out exactly how much of that goes to researching a cure.
I don’t know who he thought he was talking to but all of us out here “in the field” trying to survive day after day with this disease know full well that no diabetes medication manufacturer is looking too hard for a cure. They make too much flippin’ money selling us stop-gap measures, granted we need them to live, but when they make comments like that and tell us they’re trying to fund research while jacking the prices up for the ONE thing that keeps us breathing??
Nope. You’re full of crap. Sorry if you’re offended by my watered down language. I’m mad!! I’m furious that this is allowed to go on. It’s not bad enough that we have to deal with insurance companies that dictate which medicines we can or can’t buy if we want their policies to cover a fraction of the costs, it’s not bad enough that they can deny coverage of some things telling us they’ve been deemed unnecessary. I have always believed that big pharma and insurance companies are in bed together. Premiums go up, co-pays go up, covered percentages go down, cost of medications go up… you see the trend? The only people this crap “makes sense” for is all those suit-and-ties in these companies who are making billions off all our pain and suffering.
I gotta get off here and try to calm down. This stuff just sends my blood pressure through the roof. What kinda price-jacked medicine do you want to sell me for that, Lechleiter? puke
Wishing all my peeps a beautiful day. mwah!
Hi everyone. I had such big plans for yesterday. We had another awesome sermon that filled me with all sorts of good thoughts and scripture to share with you. If you haven’t checked it out, go watch the latest sermon series from our church or listen to the podcast.
I have to say, I had a really great weekend. We had all our kiddos over Sunday afternoon for a cookout. We haven’t been able to do that in quite awhile. I put off hitting the house, really getting it cleaned up, til way late. I’d been cooking, doing some make-ahead recipes and food prep after all.
Honestly though, I started on the house at midnight! I’m thinking maybe I should always do that because by the time I went to bed at 2:30 am, the house was in better shape than it’s been in awhile.
Granted, I don’t mean the entire house and we have those “unused” rooms that stay hidden from guests. I need to just suck it up and start on them, but boy, those are going to take several days and I haven’t quite got the nerve up yet.
Anyhow, we had a great time and a ton of company. We should’ve known since Tommy said something about taking a long nap after the kids leave. He doesn’t often slow down and if he stops, he usually falls asleep, so it was odd for him to even think about a nap let alone mention it. Me? I am down with a nap anytime and almost any place. I think I could sleep at just about any time of the day or night. ALWAYS tired!!
But nope. Surprisingly, our kids stayed longer than we had expected. They usually have things they need to run off to do or people to meet. Maybe they didn’t have to leave because several of their “peeps” came up to the house! Ha ha! We had about 5 of the kids from Corey’s church come up to the house. Then a guy Tommy had sold a transmission to on eBay came from Ohio to pick that up along with his wife. Someone else showed up in there somewhere but I forget who at the moment. I think when we counted them all up, there were 11 people at our house Sunday! That’s pretty unusual for us too. So anyway, there was no nap taking done on Sunday.
The guys finished up a dreaded part of the Jeep modifications, so they worked a little later than normal and Tommy was wiped by the time he finally came in.
We had that awesome sermon and once again, it tied right in with things we’re discussing and studying in our LIFE group as well. God’s working on us, I believe. Moving us closer to Him, maybe preparing us for something.
Monday morning, like I said, I had big plans and lots of ideas for a blog post. Seems like I normally have a new one for Monday, but I didn’t feel so great when I woke up. My first thought was that it was in spite of the sermon the day before (seriously, go watch it! then you will understand my statement) and I tried to just ignore it. It wasn’t anything in particular, I just didn’t feel good. My initial thought? The devil is trying to thwart my efforts to practice what was taught Sunday! Hmph! That may or may not be, but whatever the case, I was sick. No ifs, ands or buts!
Around 11 am, I decided to test my sugar. I’m almost out of strips and my shipment isn’t due for a few days, so I’m trying to conserve all I can. Anyhow, it was 432!! I about passed out from disbelief! That is of course, way too high. Normally with a blood sugar at this level, I’ll feel queasy and headachey, really lousy, but not much else. I texted Tommy to let him know. I gave a correction bolus with my pump (to “correct” my sugar), grabbed a bottle of water and went to lie down. I downed the water since high blood sugar can dehydrate you and also the water helps flush your system.
By this time, I had a more serious headache, but I was able to fall asleep. About an hour later, I got up, drank another bottle of water, tested 372 so I could see it was going down, but slowly. SO SLOWLY! I gave another correction bolus and went back to bed because I felt SO tired and was a little dizzy when I got up. The headache had gone from highly annoying to alarmingly insidious. I’m serious you guys. I have never had a headache that bad, not even a migraine. Maybe I should clarify and say that I was really aching all over. My arms hurt, sort of throbbing, my head hurt from my shoulders up and a weird, different kind of pain. I was a little concerned but didn’t know what to do. I had grabbed a soft ice pack from the freezer so I slapped that on my head and tried to get comfortable again.
I didn’t sleep as much as I just dozed in and out of sleep. I was hurting really bad. I guess it had been around 30 or 40 minutes when I started to feel sick at my stomach. I eased off the bed and headed to the bathroom. I also needed to pee really bad! It was definitely time for the “flushing” part of all that hydration. I reached into the laundry room right beside our bathroom and grabbed our trusty “puke pan” before I sat down. I don’t get sick often and I hate throwing up as bad as anyone…but I got SO sick. I hadn’t had anything all day besides the one cup of coffee around 8 am and then all that water. And every bit of it came up. After I dry-heaved awhile, each time seeing stars and worrying that I was going to pass out, I was finally able to get up and clean myself up. I texted Tommy to see if he could come home…told him I’d been sick and felt like I was going to pass out. He said yes, he’d leave right then, bless his heart. I dragged myself to the bed and realized I felt a bit better than before, so I called him back and told him not to come. I didn’t feel “passy-outtie” anymore.
I drank more water and laid back down and slept pretty hard for about an hour and woke again. Time to test again: 463!! I was FURIOUS! I get mad enough at myself when I’ve done something or forgotten to bolus for a food or miscalculated the amount of carbs in a food, but when I’m giving corrections and ingesting nothing but water and my sugar is still high, I get REALLY angry!! Stupid diabetes!! Why can’t you just sit over there and behave? Why must you torment me this way? ARGH! So, I decided maybe my pump site was no longer absorbing or something and gave an injection of insulin this time. Before I’d got out of bed though, I’d texted Taylor to ask her if she thought it would be okay, with my weird symptoms, to take some Tylenol. I was about to the point of going to the ER just to get relief from the pain of whatever this was. She said she thought it should be fine and she felt I probably had a virus of some sort. I had to agree. My sugar has been well over 400 before without making me feel this horrific. Normally, I’d have been queasy, headache-y and felt generally crappy, but this was off the charts. With such a short-lived high, I shouldn’t have been this sick.
Then again… it seems the D and me, we don’t get along as well as we used to. I mean, I’ve never been really fond of Diabetes, but in the past few years, the symptoms that I’ve come to rely on have started to change. I can no longer be sure that my dry mouth means a high blood sugar or know that I’ll have the shakiness, the cold sweats, the numbness around my mouth or any reliable symptoms of a low blood sugar in time to treat it myself. For decades, I’ve trusted my body to send me those signals to tell me when something’s not just right and now, I feel betrayed because I can no longer depend on getting those signals or that they will even mean what they always have.
Oh well…whatcha gonna do? There’s not much you can do when something like this happens. Learn the new symptoms or realize there won’t be any and make yourself be even more diligent. That’s all I know to do. Thankfully, this time didn’t land me in the hospital. I really should get a small bottle of keto strips, though.
My endo asked if I had ketones and we didn’t know because we had no strips. Like the issue with glucagon, I hate having something like that just expire without me ever needing it. I don’t know if keto strips have gone down any in price, but I’m betting they haven’t. I’ll just hope I can get a very small package that isn’t too expensive. Seriously guys, I DESPISE paying for something that I know I won’t likely use up before the expiration date. Drives me up a wall!
Type 1 Diabetes Sick Day Rules
Bad, bad Geannie. I know. Deal with it. Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only one who doesn’t buy seldom-used diabetic supplies because they are not cheap and always end up expiring? Tell me if I am. (but I bet I’m not!) 🙂
What DO you guys do when you’re sick? I usually end up low when I’m really sick like this, so that’s another reason I’m not sure it was the level of my sugar that made me so sick. How do you T1Ds respond to illness? Like the books say or differently? Is it always the same? Have you experienced changes in the way your body reacts to things after 10 or more years of T1D?? I would love to hear!!
DISCLAIMER: Let me say right off the bat that I KNOW I messed up in the story I’m about to relate to you. I’ve been dealing with this disease for over 40 years, day in-day out. It gets old. It gets tiresome. It gets almost impossible sometimes. So yep, most of us T1D’s will at least once in our lifetime (usually many more!) fall off the proverbial wagon of good diabetes management. Therefore, I really don’t need you to scold or lecture me about what a big no-no it was, okay? Thanks for your understanding.
I wanted to title this post Oops, I Did It Again but all I knowRead More »
I often struggle to explain my “medical stuff” to people. Not that I go around dumping the whole morbid story on everyone I meet. But for those I am around often, they kinda need to know I have diabetes. For others, it just comes up in conversation.
I don’t mind telling people and I appreciate folks who want to know and will allow me to educate them about diabetes. But it can be really hard to explain. It’s one of those things you can’t actually understand unless you’ve dealt with it. Sometimes it just takes having someone who knows explain it to them. Other people just won’t ever understand because they don’t have the ability to sympathize or put themselves in someone else’s shoes.
There are also the times you have to go to a new doctor. Then dumping the whole mess is pretty crucial, but there’s no real rhyme or reason to it so it comes out a big, jumbled pile of bits and pieces of my medical history. I start telling them one thing that relates to the reason I have come to them in the first place (ie: a sinus infection, etc) then they’ll ask another question or it will lead to needing to explain background. It’s just hard to relate 40-plus years of medical history in a few minutes, no matter how much training the “doctor” has, it just doesn’t happen quickly or easily.
Let me stick an aside in here for anyone who happens to read this and has an inkling of what this is like, if you have a good way of doing this, could you please share? I’ve thought of trying to list everything on paper, but it’s not easy, especially at this point when I can’t even remember many of the doctors’ names or what they tested or diagnosed. I can’t remember what year things happened in unless it was major like the 2 weeks in the hospital with Stevens-Johnson Syndrome in 1994. That I can remember since I spent another 2 years recovering from it. But the many, MANY times I’ve been to an allergist or ENT for ear and sinus infections and the various tests they ran and treatments they prescribed? Um, no. Sorry. My mind can’t hang onto that much stuff!
So yeah, in case I’ve never said before, I hate going to new doctors. I feel like I need a moving van to haul all my medical ‘baggage’ into the exam room. I have felt like the doctor was thinking, “What the heck? How many different diseases or medical procedures can one person have?” or “She has GOT to be making this up.” or “This lady and her ton of medical problems are more than I want to deal with.” Now, perhaps NO doctor has ever had those thoughts about me, however, if I were a betting person, I’d bet you that some of them did.
Does that make me paranoid? Maybe, but here’s the thing that you won’t be able to understand if you don’t have a chronic auto-immune disease…going to a doctor, and I’m talking a general practitioner not a specialist, with more than a couple different complaints or health issues is like being an alien. Many doctors don’t want to deal with you. You are too complicated. Others immediately decide that you are somehow non-compliant, in other words, you’re not doing all you can to take care of yourself. You aren’t “trying hard enough”.
For instance, this new doc I went to see this week… well, she’s an ARNP but I really liked her. My mom and my youngest son had recommended her to me because she was so thorough and took her time with them. She did the same with me, but because I was there for a persistent cough, she started with that then started looking through the lab work I had in August. She was telling me everything looked good and asking me if I was on any meds for cholesterol since those labs were good, etc.. then she flipped a page and asked me if I was taking Metformin. Of course, I was puzzled about why she’d ask me if I was taking an oral medication for Type 2 diabetes when I’m on insulin and have Type 1 diabetes. I said no, thinking in the back of my mind that maybe there’s some other use for Metformin that she was going to suggest. Then she mentioned that I should be on it to help with my sugars. That’s when it dawned on me that she didn’t realize so I said, “That’s why I take insulin.”
She flipped another couple pages and then began to profusely apologize. She is a really great, down-to-earth person who has a thick “southern” accent and talks really fast because, or so it seemed to me, her mind is going so fast her mouth can’t quite keep up. *smile* She made a “total fail” comment and just kept apologizing til I said, “Don’t worry about it. I come with a lot of baggage to go through.” and she said, “Well I sure appreciate all the grace you are giving me.”
However, when she then backed up to my lab work and began to retract all the “good job” comments she’d made to me just seconds ago, I felt myself getting really frustrated. And don’t get me wrong, I STILL really like this lady. I think she’s on the right track, is very thorough and wants to help me feel better and be healthier. But this is one of those things that has always just ticked me off so bad. Where she’d thought I had good lab results because they were all within normal range like for cholesterol and blood pressure and such…those were “normal people” parameters. Not diabetic ones. No, a diabetic has to have even lower levels, even better “scores” on these tests.
Yes, I have to test my blood sugar multiple times a day. I have to take shots and count every carbohydrate that I put in my mouth and dose medication for them. I can deal with that. But tell me that I have to have a cholesterol level that is 10-30 points lower than everyone else? That runs all over me and frustrates me more than the unfairness of my daily must-do’s to live.
Is that weird? Am I the only T1D who gets madder than a wet hen about this kind of thing? I dunno, but I left there feeling so conflicted.
This doc is sending me to an allergist she trusts to reevaluate my allergies and asthma issues. She suggested I see my chiropractor to help with the tightness (that she noticed while feeling my lymph nodes, by the way) in my neck and shoulders. She also suggested a $60/hour massage therapist…not gonna be affording that any time soon. When she looked at my feet, which many doctors don’t even do, she got pretty disturbed and told me I needed to wear tennis shoes and not my comfy Chacos and that I needed to go to a podiatrist and “get that skin off there”. I didn’t tell her that what she was seeing was much better than normal! My feet are always really dry with thick callouses and crevasses/folds. And I also didn’t tell her I’ve worn nothing but my Chacos all summer long and I’m not sure what I’ll wear when it gets too cold for them because they are THE MOST comfy shoes I’ve had in years! I’ve worn them hiking through the woods and in the river while kayaking. They are my favorites and I’m not giving them up for some less-than-comfy tennis shoes. So there.
Actually, her response to my diabetes was pretty much the usual for a GP who doesn’t deal solely with diabetics. The idea that all my labs and sugars should be perfect and that I should always maintain a perfect A1c is unrealistic at best and I’ll let her in on that when I go back in two weeks. Is it possible to attain perfect numbers? Yes, it is. Is it feasible to maintain them always? Nope.
Okay, so this has been a long rambly post about how I feel living my life with type 1 diabetes and all its lovely friends…Graves Disease, Neuropathy, Kidney Damage, Early Cataracts, Retina Degeneration. Those are the just a few of the ones who have already showed up to the party.
I don’t want pity. But understanding? That I will take with gusto and gratitude.