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Wednesday, May 13, 2015

#dblogweek ; The crazy stories (wild-card)

So I knew I was going to write this post waaay before it was selected as a Dblogweek topic (Thanks to Karen being awesome).

I need to preface this by saying that these crazy experiences all occurred at the start (first couple of years) into my adventures with type 1 diabetes. Back then - I just didn't know any better - today I do! All in all, they are all a result of lack of education (surprisingly in three days at the hospital noone told me about diabetes + alcohol and diabetes + exercise, nor did they tell me lows could be as serious as I now realize they can be..) Of course, it's probably my fault for not researching a ton into my new diagnosis, but let these be a reminder to health care professionals not to assume they newly-diagnosed (especially teenage and young adult) patients are know-it-alls.

3) I am in the country on the outskirts of Amsterdam.

Things are great. Except for the part where I am walking 10-15 km per day (that's right!) to go from either our countryside hotel to the bus stop of from there to Edam (where the good cheese is). It is literally the middle of nowhere (beautiful) and I am doing all this exercising, bolusing Humulin R and still on NPH back then with nothing to account for the increased exercise sugar-wise (meaning I did not carry any kind of fast-acting sugar or any food period! on these excursions). In the middle of nowhere. With Diabetes. Not realizing how awful things could've turned out. Gladly, I was rescued by the loaf of freshly-baked white bread we bought in Edam (with Salami and wine to complement all the pot, of course). I must have consumed half a loaf on one of those 7-km walks back from Edam to the hotel that one day. I never tested (because I severely lacked in test strips when I lived in Europe and also because I just trusted myself back then to do what needed to be done without checking often). I just knew that I had to eat! So I did. And I survived. Cause, really - it would've sucked to have just passed out there. In the middle of nowhere. Even the thought that that could have happened and the distress that would've caused to my poor husband still scares me.

2) This one is crazier, perhaps. I am in Costa Rica for a week. I *think I have enough test strips. But, alas, I don't (after an all-time low of 37 mg/dl I have used up a lot more than intended - again extra exercise was unaccounted for). With three or four days left in the trip, I am 100% out of test strips. I try to get some for my meter at the pharmacy, but they don't have that brand - they will "order it" for "later in the week". Won't work. They offer a whole new system that is ridiculously over-priced (like I can't afford it). So what does this girl do you ask? Well - this girl - forgoes testing for four days, continuing to enjoy her vacation, whilst swag-bolusing away. Unimaginable to me today. But I came home with a BG of 176 and no emergencies. Boo yah. (I don't recommend doing such things :)
Here's a pic of Costa:

1) This one takes the cake and it involves first heavy alcohol use since diagnosis. It was in fact my mother's wedding (I couldn't be happier because my parents' divorce was overdue and I was thrilled she found someone she was happy with again). But. It was a Russian wedding, which pretty much always means lots of Vodka. I remind you that I at that time was not aware of the BG-lowering effects of alcohol and the sky-rocketing of insulin sensitivity that occurs. So, after consuming what was probably some stupidamount of very expensive Vodka, I went to check my BG and was in the 200s. I promptly bolused Humulin R to cover it, not accounting for the drinking. And then the shit hit the fan. Within an hour or two I remember crying and that I had real trouble walking (like I would stand up and my legs would just not really hold me up at all). Here's the kicker: Everyone (myself included) thought I just got ridiculously drunk (which I'm sure was true). But we all know that wasn't the whole story. My boyfriend (husband today) and his cousin (we all lived together back then) took me home to "sleep it off". I remember getting into the vehicle. The next thing I remember is sitting up in my bed, leaning over into the provided bucket, and (well you get the point). And then I received a recollection of the events. Apparently, when I got home, I became incredibly belligerent with my boy and his cousin in law. I was told that I was hitting them! And screaming about how I hated them and to leave me alone. And then I was passed out (but breathing) on the bed for "some time". I came to and my boyfriend was so upset - he thought I meant all the nasty things I said to him about how "I didn't love him anymore" which again, I don't remember any of. When I woke up and threw up, I felt shitty and low, and I remember that I walked to the kitchen fridge and chugged some juice and went back to sleep pretty soon after that. As B helped me take off my clothes and put me to bed, he made eye contact with me and said "So - you still love me?" "Of course I do!" I said feeling guilty for getting so shitfaced and stupid, especially on this day. "Good, I'm glad you're feeling better. Man you should've seen yourself - the spitting image of Courtney Lovefor a bit there" he laughed. For some reason I remember that remark vividly. He was right. Looking in the mirror with my hair messed up and makeup smeared with puffy eyes and white button-down shirt wrinkled - I kind of did look like her. The thing is it took me several years to realize that all this craziness was probably a result of very severe low blood sugar, induced by over-doing it on the Vodka, and not "just being too drunk". Scary shit kind of. I talked to B about it too, after I figured it out. Definitely the craziest and scariest diabetes moment ever. I hope health care professionals and D-parents will take time to talk to their kids about alcohol use and Diabetes. I definitely learned the hard way...

Today, I know a lot more and make more responsible decisions. I know that people around me know I have diabetes, and they know what a low blood sugar can look like. I carry Glucagon, and snacks everywhere with me. I am careful about drinking. I know Glucagon won't work if drunk. I am so much more careful. I haven't lost little rebel - she will always be there - but I gained so much wisdom it would be stupid not to use it <3

How about you?!


  1. Wow, those ARE so me crazy stories!! Bravo for still being a rebel, bit one who is a little more safe. :)

  2. Wow, so scary! It's good that your hubby was so understanding. Thanks for sharing

  3. FYI- the reason glucagon doesn't work when drunk is because alcohol causes lows by impairing glycogen release while the liver is processing the alcohol. And glucagon works by getting the liver to dump glycogen. Alcohol does not improve insulin sensitivity.

    1. Yep! I guess I frequently use loosely/misuse the term "insulin sensitivity" :) I use that term to refer to (in general) how much insulin it'll take to lower bg by x points.

  4. Thanks for sharing

  5. Thanks for sharing

  6. I love Edam, where the good cheese is! That's awesome.
    You have some wonderful (if somewhat scary!) stories, the momma in me wants to worry for the you of old. ; )
    Sooo glad you're more experienced! Scariest? Hmm..swagging a two-year-old when 3 units can bottom them out. And you haven't a clue. : O