Monday, April 16, 2012

WEGO Health Activist Writer's Challenge Month - Day 16


I'm participating in the WEGO Health Activist Writer's Month Challenge. Today’s topic: create a pinboard. "Share your top 3 images in your blog post and explain why you chose them."

Diabetes punched me today. Not a little slap. This was a full on sucker punch that kicked me when I was down. I don't know how to use Pinterest. But, I can try to tell a story in three pictures. We begin with lunch. I went to a famous chain restaurant that serves unlimited soup, salad and breadsticks. It was a cold windy drizzly day and soup sounded perfect. Before I went, I checked their website. I counted the carbs and figured out how much to bolus according to my insulin to carb ratio. I ate lunch and went to my weekly therapy appointment. That's when everything fell apart.

My blood sugar held steady until it was almost time to leave. Then I saw 114 with a diagonal arrow. My Dexcom Fall alert buzzed. I ate 15 grams of candy in my purse and waited for things to turn around quickly. They didn't. My blood sugar kept falling. I think this was the fastest my blood sugar has ever dropped. I ate all the candy and glucose tablets I had with me. But my blood sugar kept falling. My Dexcom looked like this again:




Only the arrow was straight down. I felt dizzy and shaky. I was crying. I almost fainted. That was one of the scariest lows I have ever had. My poor therapist just sat there with me in her office. She even ran to my car to get a box of crackers when it was obvious the candy I ate didn't help.

I started treating the low at 114 but it didn't matter. My blood sugar kept falling for almost an hour. Of course when I finally rebounded everything shot upward like this:



I didn't mind the rocket ride up. For once I was grateful for it. I had another drop an hour ago. Fortunately that low turned around quickly. I'm finally holding steady at 133. Today was another tough one. Diabetes punched me down hard.

None of this would have happened if the restaurant posted an accurate carb count. I dose my insulin based on how many carbs I eat. If I eat more carbs than I expected, my blood sugar goes too high. If I eat less, my blood sugar drops too low. A severe low blood sugar can lead to a coma or death. Watching my blood sugar plummet was no laughing matter. Today was terrifying and it made me really angry.

Carb counts must be accurate. I'm not the first blogger to mention this problem and I won't be the last. What I want the FDA and restaurants to understand is this: 
  • An inaccurate carb count is as potentially lethal as putting peanuts in a dessert labeled "peanut free." 
  •  28 grams of carbs must mean 28 grams of carbs or someone with diabetes could die from hypoglycemia. This afternoon it could have been me.
 I was prepared for a low, but not an epic low. This afternoon scared me. It also scarred me. Good. A scar is a valuable thing. Every scar is a mark that healing has taken place, and I am healing from this ordeal. This new scar is marking just how important it is to be prepared. Because of today I know I need to always be prepared for an epic low.

If I didn't carry glucose tablets everywhere, if I didn't carry candy, if I didn't have an ID saying I was diabetic, if I didn't plan ahead, I'd have been in even deeper trouble. Be prepared. Be prepared. I got that motto drilled into me when I was a Girl Scout. It's still just as wise.

That's why for the third and final picture on my pin board I picked this old photo of my daughter Evelyn.

 May the cutest Girl Scout EVER remind you and me to BE PREPARED!


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I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

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