Still Learning After All These Years
I made a mistake late last week: I got comfortable with the way I was feeling.
Every once in a while, I get a sense of complacency with how I’m caring for myself; I mistakenly think things are under control, and they’ll stay that way. Usually, just a couple days after having this feeling, my faulty pancreas senses this and colludes with my liver to say “You’re not in control!” and knock me on my ass.
This happened to me last weekend. I also caught a head cold, which didn’t help the situation. During the holiday weekend, I noticed my sugars started rising. A lot. Boluses weren’t helping. Numbers kept getting higher. Basal rates had to be changed, quite a bit, over the course of a few days.
One day, in particular, was pretty bad. As the day went on, my sugars kept rising and rising. It got to a point where I started giving regular 5-unit boluses until the situation changed and my blood glucose started dropping again.
From experience, I knew that once my glucose levels started dropping, they’d fall rapidly and I’d have to be ready to stave off a hypo, so I waited and monitored and tested my sugars. Over and over. Test, bolus, wait. Test, bolus, wait. Test, bolus, wait. It kept going, on and on and on.
When my glucose drop started, it was getting pretty late. (I’m not as young as I used to be, and usually fall asleep around 11 p.m. now. Quite a difference from my days working the 4-12 shift at the paper, when I wouldn’t fall asleep until around 3 a.m.) Around 11:30 p.m., I had a little snack and thought my sugar was leveling off. Around midnight I fell asleep.
I woke up around 4:30 a.m. with Meg feeding me glucose tablets. I was soaked. Every stitch of clothing was soaked with sweat. My darling wife was awakened by my pump’s alarm. (She actually thought I was handling the problem when the Threshold Suspend alarm went off. I, however, automatically went through the motions of silencing the alarm and restarting the basal feed, which caused my sugar to continue to drop. Not my best moment.)
She fed me a tube of tropical fruit glucose tablets and a grape VitaminWater. (Not a bad combination. I’ve had incidents in the past where I’ve been fed glucose tablets and orange juice; when I’d awaken in the morning, it would feel like my tongue was wearing a sweater and it felt like I’d need about 40 gallons of water to get the sour taste out of my mouth.)
I cut my insulin feed back to 60% for the next few hours and fell asleep again, after changing every thread of clothing I was wearing and finding new pillows. (It’s disgusting how much I sweat when I’m having an insulin shock. Waking up in that is like being on a bathroom towel that happened to be in the shower with you. Yuck.)
Over the past few days I’ve worked to adjust my basal rates, and things finally appear to be back on track. Post-meal spikes have been minimized. Mid-morning dips reduced. Mid-afternoon glucose spikes eliminated.
Just because things are going pretty well, though, I don’t think I’m going to make the mistake of lulling myself into a false sense of complacency. I think my messed up pancreas is listening, and I don’t want it to get pissed off again.