Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Twenty years ago...

The date 20 years ago was August 22, 1987.

In the weeks prior to August 22, 1987, I was spending time in Florida with my Mom, Dad, and older brother. We were staying at my aunt’s house with my two older cousins in West Palm Beach. I was five. I think we went to Disney that year. I somewhat remember a family photograph that shows my brother and I eating blue cotton candy at SeaWorld and I have to assume that it was this taken during this particular trip.

What I know for sure is that I was sick. I remember wetting the bed EVERY night and how upset everyone was that they had to change the sheets each night. I remember the trip to the doctor’s office and the diagnosis-I had the flu. And as for the bed-wetting: his advice was to give me nothing to drink after dinner.

I remember looking up at the cabinets that held the glasses that were out of my reach and wondering how I could get one. And if I couldn’t get a glass, then how could I get water from the automatic dispenser on the refrigerator? I was desperately dehydrated. I remember that I would sneak into the bathroom, run the cold water over a facecloth and suck the water out. They couldn’t figure out how I was still wetting the bed and I wasn’t about to tell them my secret!

On August 22, 1987, we were home from Florida and my mother brought me to see my pediatrician. I was still sick. I remember sitting in the chair to have my blood sugar tested. The doctor, however, was already sure of my diagnosis, having been able to smell ketones. The blood test confirmed his suspicions and changed my life forever.

The next week was spent in the pediatric ward of the hospital. I remember the Styrofoam cup that the nurse placed over my IV. I know now it was to keep me from pulling it out, but at the time I was told it was the house that my IV lived in (or something equally as juvenile). I remember hiding under the hospital bed in an effort to dodge my evening shot. I remember playing Tic-Tac-Toe in the playroom, the stuffed animals I received as gifts and visitors who came, the jello and the night that my Mother and Grandmother dutifully and lovingly separated the meat and potatoes from the corn and peas, so that I would eat dinner.

What I don’t remember is life before diabetes. It's been 20 years of ups and downs, of normal everyday living coupled with the demands of a broken pancreas. Here's to 20 more years--Bring it on!

Monday, August 20, 2007


Some rollercoasters are a ton of fun like this one, Superman--the ride of steel--at Six Flags New England. That's where I was on Saturday; although not on Superman, since it is/was closed for whatever reason (major bummer!). However, there's also the blood sugar rollercoaster that I was riding and NOT at all enjoying!!

The day started out fine. I entered the park at a cool in range number that is so typical that I didn't commit it to memory. Fast forward four hours or so. A little bit after lunch; blood sugar: 173. I corrected and added an additional 1 and a half units to cover 2 hrs of bolus. This was an unscientific whim that I took to prevent a high while spending 2 hours at the waterpark. Did it work?

Negative. Blood sugar post waterpark: 275. 1 hour after correction: 274

The rest of the evening includes dinner, more rides, plenty of walking and more unmemorable blood sugars. An on the road check at midnight clocks me in at 113. A 1am check before bed: 67. Treat the low with glucose tabs and off to bed. 3:50 am: 45 (a frequent number for my bad lows, I guess.) 15 minutes later: 51 Another 15 minutes: 68

On the list of things I ate/drank to treat the low so I could just get back to sleep!:
3 packages of fruit snacks, 3/4 a can of regular sprite, 2 glucose tabs, 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. That's what I remember anyway. Since the first 15 min check did not give me much hope, I ate more than I "needed" and then didn't bolus for any of it and went back to sleep after the 68 reading (close enough to 70 I think; Plus my stomach hurt from the snacks!)

6am blood sugar: 157 (what!? I was honestly expecting a much higher number and thought to myself, "perhaps I was going to go SO LOW that all those snacks were needed.")

This was not so. 9am blood sugar: 369 (Yeah, I felt it. It sucked.)

Not all rollercoasters are fun. I'd like to stick to the amusement park thrill rides, but sometimes I just don't know that I have any control over the situation.

I also learn from this. I seem to only overtreat at night. I think I'm so anxious to just get back to sleep that I rush the process and then feel like I'm not getting better and continue to treat. During the day I'm a lot more rational and only want the one juice or 4 tabs (I don't enjoy them enough to eat more than that!)

Overall rating on the day-

Great day for the park
Bad day for Diabetes

Friday, August 03, 2007


I'm back from England! Truthfully, I've been back since July 14th. Long enough to catch a PawSox game with a couple of fellow bloggers, celebrate my one year blogaversary (this is post #70), start swimming at the local boys and girls' club as a form of exercise, celebrate several high school graduations and birthdays, baptisms, general cookouts and all the normal summer activities! I sure have kept very busy!

England was amazing! I haven't felt quite that refreshed in a long time. It was great to just get away and relax. I was able to read a couple of books; including The Kite Runner, which I couldn't put down. This cost me a little bit of sleep at the beginning of the trip.
Another highlight of the trip was the last day we spent in London. We had hit all of our "must see" spots and even a couple of other sights. All but one; I wanted to get to St. Paul's Cathedral and in particular climb to the top of the dome.

Before climbing to the top(not the first observation deck above the statues, but the second one, below the gold topper thing), we toured some of the cathedral and stopped to sit outside of the cafe in the crypt. Feeling a little shaky, I checked my blood sugar and came in low. Found some orange juice and set a temp basal rate as we were then off to tackle the dome. As it was the end of the day, we were some of the last people allowed up, which didn't allow for much stopping time to let the OJ hit and temp basal catch up. I was hopeful that I had given it enough time and we started up. The stairs were tough! I am in no way, shape or form, cut out for climbing 484 stairs all in one trip, so I stopped a couple of times at first, but then it got to the point where you couldn't stop or turn around or really move without bumping into either the person in front of you or the person behind you.

We must have been about 10 steps from the very top, with about a dozen or so people behind us and we stopped to photograph through a hole in the ground that showed the view of the cathedral floor below us. It was at this point that I realized something didn't feel right. Someone had the forethought many many years before this incident to provide me with a bench in that small hallway atop St. Paul's and I sat to test. 45. I was 45!! FORTY-FIVE!!
I had 5 glucose tabs to eat and 2 to spare and very little time to get up the last 10 steps, enjoy the view and then make my way down--or so I thought! Thankfully, I could sit for about 5 minutes before I really needed to move out of the hallway so the woman at the top could lock up. (I did completely suspend my pump at this point too) Once at the top, however, I had to wait for everyone else in front of me to take in the scene and get moving. They moved slow and I had plenty of time to look around, take some photos and most importantly, feel my blood sugar come up.

At the time, I was frustrated, but not angry and the enormity of the situation didn't really hit me. 45 at the top of St. Pauls with 434 winding, steep and narrow steps separating me from the ground floor, and a travel companion who only understood the glucagon I showed her in theory. In retrospect, I wish I had a lot more glucose tabs on me, but a low earlier that morning had half wiped me out. I'm thankful that I was near the cafe when I treated the original low only 45 mins earlier and did not use the last of my glucose tabs.

That was by far my worst low of the whole trip. Overall I was very happy with my blood sugars--walking all day, every day does wonderful things! :) The view is of the Thames to the West of the Cathedral (I believe) with the London Eye on the left.