Monday, November 26, 2012

Bad Insulin. Bad! Bad!

I was dozing on the couch when I heard a buzzing noise. My Dexcom was on the coffee table buzzing away. Buzz! Buzz! May I have your attention please. Your blood glucose is high. Repeat, your blood glucose is high! This is not a drill! Buzz! Buzz!

I saw the number 350 on my Dexcom and assumed it was the time. Except the time doesn't usually have an arrow beside it. And doesn't the time usually have a colon between the numbers? Wait, is my blood glucose really 350 and rising fast?

I rolled over and fumbled for my testing supplies. I used my iPad as a flashlight when I checked my blood glucose. 338. It was 338 at 3:34 in the morning. I sat up. Sleepiness evaporated. Why in the %#$* is my blood sugar so high?

Last time my blood glucose was that high I forgot to reconnect my pump after my shower. I felt my pump tubing and the connection was solid. It took me a moment to figure out what to do next. Troubleshooting at 3 am is hard on the brain.

My head felt like someone hung me upside down by my ankles. That head rush, my blood sugar is soaring, feeling made my stomach hurt. I headed for the laundry room closet where I keep my syringes and then realized I'd forgotten to get more. Crap! Ok, I'll use my pump to correct. I told my pump what my blood sugar was. XPU the Pump said, "You need a crap load of insulin." She suggested a bolus and I clicked OK. I felt the sting as the insulin went in my site.

I went back to the sofa and waited. At some point my blood sugar was going to go down. Half an hour later Dexcom Buzzed. Warning! Warning! Your blood sugar is higher than a kite. I checked. 301. Well that's an improvement. Another hour went by and then another. Sunlight streamed into my living room. Three hours later my BG was 280. That cannot be right.

I yanked off my set, put in a new set and tried again. Three hours later my blood glucose drifted down to 250 and then stayed there. I had more insulin in my body than gas in my car. Why isn't this working? Is my pump broken? I primed my set and watched insulin pool on a paper towel. My pump was working fine. I let out a groan. I was so tired. It was eight in the morning and I hadn't gone to bed yet. My daughter and husband got up and had breakfast. I was telling them what was happening with my blood sugar when Dexcom buzzed again. Danger! Danger! Your blood glucose is high!

I felt like crying. My head hurt. I was hungry. No matter what I did I couldn't make my diabetes behave. Ten hours later I decided to yank the new set, dump the insulin in my cartridge, open a new vial and start all over again. One rage bolus later my BG fell immediately and settled into a happy 118.

I can only come to one conclusion: the insulin in my pump was bad. Bad insulin. Bad! Bad! I was pumping skunky insulin the whole time. This experience taught me a few things.

1. Dexcom rocks. I get upset with it for being inaccurate sometimes, but it woke me up when there was a problem. I love my little guardian angel egg.
2. Not getting sleep sucks.
3. Always have syringes. Always.
4. Insulin is magic sauce. Except for when it is bad and needs to sit in the time out chair.
5. Don't wait 10 hours before changing the cartridge and the set. When in doubt, throw it out.

By some miracle I only tested positive for small ketones. Maybe it's because I started intervening right away? I've decided to stop using vials and fill my pump with insulin pens instead. That way when Dexcom wakes me up in the middle of the night I'll be ready. But right now... I need a nap.

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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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