Diabetes Details 13: The Sick

I’ve spent the past day and a half with a stomach bug, which made me once again contemplate the possibility of installing Mira Grant-style sanitizing showers and blood screening tests in my house.

I’ve talked before about how I need to regularly test my blood sugar in order to keep my diabetes more-or-less controlled. Well, when I get sick, I have to test even more often. Here’s why:

The vertical axis is my blood sugar readings, and the horizontal shows each blood sugar test throughout the course of two days or so.

It would be one thing if getting sick messed up my blood sugar in a consistent and predictable way. If I knew I’d always run high when I got sick, I could adjust the insulin pump to give me a little more insulin during that time.

But as you can see, I was all over the map for the past 24 hours, with a low of 23 and a high of 468.

Not cool, diabetes fairy. Not cool at all.

The low was the most dangerous. Normal blood sugar should be around 100 or so. I was still up and walking around at 23, but had it dropped any lower, I would have been in trouble.

Here’s a fun scenario. You have a low blood sugar, which is normally treated with juice or other high-carb food and drink. But your stomach is too messed-up to keep anything down. What do you do?

Well, there are pills to help suppress nausea, which I completely forgot about because my blood sugar was 23 and my head was a bit fuzzy. So I ate high-carb, quick-acting snacks, disconnected my insulin pump for about six hours, and hoped I’d absorb some of the glucose before…um…sending a form rejection to my food.

I’m not thrilled about hitting 468, either. This happened after I finally got to sleep, but because I was sleeping, I couldn’t check my blood sugar as frequently. Oops. As much as I needed the rest, in hindsight, it might have been good to set an alarm for one or two in the morning, just to roll over and check my blood.

Short version: Diabetes + Another Illness = Visit from the Blood Sugar Gremlin.

(Also, I’m using this as my excuse for not answering email over the past few days. Sorry about that!)