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It's Like Pinning Jello to a Tree!

07/06/2013 10:21

If you have type 1 diabetes or treat your diabetes with insulin, you may have also adopted the saying, “there are days when keeping blood sugars in range is like pinning jello to a tree on a humid day!”  On a humourous note, years ago I worked with a guy who insisted that no matter how full anyone was that everyone always has room for jello.  He was a jello-a-holic!  You may or may not enjoy jello yet pinning it to a tree you will likely admit is not a sport that many of us are going to succeed at!

We are all pretty familiar with the analogy of blood sugar fluctuations being equated to roller coaster rides.  Well, maybe not exactly like roller coaster rides.  Why?  We sure know that blood sugar coaster rides are precisely zero fun!  Blood sugar roller coaster rides are the type of ride that we cannot wait to see end.

Last weekend was one of those roller coaster ride weekends living with type 1 diabetes in our household.  Normally, when I am ill, I need a lot more insulin.  That is the usual trend.  I had caught a cold that had been donated by our local school.  Due to this, I was keeping a pretty close eye on my blood sugars to see when they were going to start to make the climb.  Strangely, this is the one time that for some mysterious reason, my sugars did not climb.  Since there was no blood sugar elevation, I left my settings on my insulin pump on “normal.”  On Saturday afternoon, I was wiped & had the opportunity to have a nap.  Once I woke up, it was time to start to make dinner.  I checked my glucose & I had a beautiful reading of 5.4 !  I felt thrilled.  Within 20 minutes though, I started to feel “wanky.”  Severe nausea set in & the shakes & it felt like it was 100 degrees F & man was I dizzy.  In the absence of something like a stomach bug, I had never felt so nauseous.  Well, yes, I remembered that in fact I had felt this nauseous once before. 

If you have type 1, then you may share this next feeling with me.  It was the thought of denial that a low blood sugar could be happening because I had tested just 20 minutes ago.  We may wonder how things can possibly change that quickly.  Despite the logical arguments going on in my mind, my “gut feeling” was that I needed to do another blood test.  Aha, sure enough, my “perfect” blood sugar had changed to a low blood sugar reading.  The strange thing though was that it was a 3.4 which usually for me is something that I can bounce it back without too much trouble with a glass of juice.  Fifteen minutes later, my glucose reading was going down even after the juice.  Long story cut short, I had to take 3 fast acting sugars to get myself back up to 4.5 blood sugar readings & over 30 minutes of time.  The other bizarre thing in the meantime was that the brutal nausea that was continuing for about an hour.  The voice of reason & common sense was then in the room in the form of my logical husband.  He reminded me that I had been having a very challenging time with a batch of test cartridges and that there was a distinct possibility that they are defective.  4 boxes in a row last week were only testing every 1 in 4 times.  My husband suggested to me that my 3.4 & maybe even my 5.4 were not accurate due to the strong likelihood that I had purchased a defective batch of strip cartridges unknowingly.  Now the extreme nausea made perfect sense.  If I am having a major low blood sugar, I get more & more clues from Mother Nature in the form of nausea, unbelievable shakes & the sweats.  Needless to say that I contacted the test strip company to advise them of what was happening & gave them the batch number.  There is no way that I would want anyone else going through this.

If you are someone that loves someone with insulin dependent diabetes, then you may be curious about what a severe low blood sugar feels like.  Everyone is exactly an original.  To share my experience with you, I would equate last Saturday’s low blood sugar feeling to one that even to this day is vivid in my memory & mind.  It was the one & only time that I had a hangover.  That was in first year university when my friends & I were getting gussied up for a formal party.  My girlfriends & I got it into our minds that it would be fun to mix up a batch of fuzzy navel drinks (you know peach snapps & orange juice).  After that, we got to the party & had some French wine.  There are 2 things that to this day I have never consumed again & they are peach snapps & French white wine!  Remember, I did not have diabetes at that time.  If I had, I would not have been drinking those beverages.  I was a “light weight” alchohol consumer from my earliest memory.  I did not have a great deal to drink that evening yet it sure did a number on me.  The next morning, I had my first & only hangover.  The nausea was brutal & the headache was memorable.  I decided that day that I never wanted to feel that way again.  And I hadn’t until last Saturday when I had those feelings again from the low blood sugars.  It goes without saying that I had not been drinking obviously.  It was like that hangover without the alcohol. Thankfully, within about an hour, those physical feelings went away unlike a hangover.  As an aside, I have only a glass of wine a handful of times a year.  I find that first of all that I simply do not desire alcohol together with the fact that I find that it can really either cause a high or a low blood sugar result & that to me is not going to add to my enjoyment. 

As we know, when we have type 1, what goes down must bounce back up again to the extreme.  That is exactly what happened to me 2 hours after the low blood sugar on Saturday.  I began to feel severely tired & tested my blood sugars.  A whooping 16.3 was staring back at me.  When this happens to us, none of us are amused by this roller coaster summit.  I think of it this way; the roller coaster that results from a low blood sugar  becomes like the bailing out of a boat with a massive hole in it!  I don’t know about you, but when I have a low that goes below 3, my liver starts spewing out sugars & I go into a ridiculous high blood sugar.  Then we have to watch the teeter totter to give just the right correction without overdoing or else we go low again & so on & so on.  The boat with a massive hole analogy is for me at least an accurate one.  With the low blood sugars I find that my liver delivers huge amounts of sugar into my bloodstream & my insulin cannot “bail” these sugars out at the rate that they are coming back in until I can get it “patched” hours later.  If we wonder what a ship’s caption & an amusement park operator have in common, it is type 1 diabetes!  (just in the analogy form)

We are sure to agree that none of us really want to be this type of ship’s caption or amusement park operator.  If we are going to ride any roller coasters, let’s enjoy one at one of our amusement parks like Disney World instead!  And hey, if there is going to be a massive hole in a boat, none of us want to be part of that either.

My heart’s hope for you is that the vast number of roller coasters & boat rides are the literal ones & filled with fun!

Smiles, Saundie :)

Enjoy your weekend & happy walking this Sunday to all the Dear Hearts walking in a JDRF Walk for the Cure this weekend!  Monday's sharing is entitled, "Jeepers Creepers, Thankful for the Peepers!"  :)