Monday, January 26, 2015

Dog Diabetes VS My Diabetes

When April was diagnosed with diabetes last year, I was surprised how similar her diabetes is to mine.

A normal blood glucose range for a dog: 80-120
A normal blood glucose range for a human: 80-120

Low blood sugar in a dog: 70
Low blood sugar in a human: 70

Amount of glucose needed to raise April's low blood sugar: 15-30 grams (or more if epic low)
Amount of glucose needed to raise my blood sugar to normal: 15-30 grams (or more if epic low)

April's blood sugar after stealing a sandwich: 300 or higher
My blood sugar after eating a sandwich and (ahem) forgetting to bolus: 300 or higher. (Not that I ever forget to bolus.)

Symptoms of high blood sugar in a dog: Excessive thirst, peeing by the back door, weight loss.
Symptoms of high blood sugar in human: excessive thirst, peeing all day long, weight loss.

Symptoms of low blood sugar in a dog: stumbling, glassy eyes, confusion, shaking.
Symptoms of low blood sugar in a human: stumbling, glassy eyes, confusion, shaking.

Treatment of low blood sugar in a dog: vanilla frosting and mini donuts.
Treatment of low blood sugar in a human: glucose tablets. (Donuts? Baklava? Cookies? Cake?)

One big difference is April uses only insulin N. I get Reli-on brand from Walmart because it is 25.00 a vial. My insulin is covered by my health insurance. I use NovoLog. April has two shots a day. I use an insulin pump.

April gets 21u of NPH insulin twice a day, for a total daily dose of 42u. Because I am a human, and don't eat kibble out of a dog dish, I get a different dose of insulin every day. Sometimes my total daily insulin dose is less than my dog. Sometimes I get the same amount of insulin as April. (January 5th was the last time we had the same total daily dose.) When there is Chex Mix in the house, I use a lot more insulin. April is just as tempted by Chex Mix as I am, but she lacks opposable thumbs, and if we put it on a high shelf, she can't get at it. Except for when she finds a bowl on the table. Then, all bets are off. There are times when I wish I could correct April's high blood sugars, but since she is on NPH twice a day, I can't correct. All I can do is try to control her food.

April eats one can of dog food, and one scoop of dry food, twice a day. Except for when she doesn't. You see, April is a weimaraner. Weimaraners can do this:

I am so incredibly glad that is NOT MY DOG. However, while I was writing I heard a loud ripping, crunching sound in the living room. I went in. April stole a brand new bag of corn chips and managed to rip open the bag. No! Those are Dad's chips! Crazy dog!

Look, I try really hard to keep April eating only what she is supposed to, but April is still a weimaraner. Sometimes April eats cat food. Sometimes she gets in the garbage. Sometimes she steals a sandwich off the counter. This makes her blood sugar go bonkers, because I can't just count the extra carbs and cover them with extra insulin. Not being able to correct makes me unhappy, but I am learning to shrug it off.

April is 12. If I test her blood sugar six times a day, count all her carbs, and micromanage her diabetes, she will probably live another 18 months to two years. If I roll my eyes and laugh when she gets in the garbage, eats random snacks, and steals sandwiches, April will probably live another year and a half to two years. Realizing this has helped me ease up and worry less.

Why was April low over the weekend? I have no idea. Lows happen to both of us. So do highs. We both do our best to live well with diabetes, and in the end, that is all that matters.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Thank heaven for 7 Eleven

I was on the bed reading. My husband came in with April the diabetic dog. Steve said, "April has been a little wobbly." I looked down on the floor. April had stumbled and fallen. Steve helped her stand. She fell again.

April is 12-years-old, which is 89 in human years. Maybe she had a stroke. Or maybe... Steve grabbed her glucose test kit. I tested her blood sugar. It was 27 mg/dl (1.5 mmol)

 That is sugar reaper territory. April wasn't even shaking anymore. She was just lying limp on the couch. I looked at the number, and at Steve. Both of us said something that rhymes with, "Puck! Goalie mitt!"

The dog needs carbs. Lots of carbs. Now! I searched the kitchen. What do we have? Caramel sauce? No. Orange juice? No. Smarties? No. Glucose tablets? No. Honey? No. What can I give the dog? I found a Poptart. 35 grams of carbs. OK. OK. This will help. I ripped open the wrapper. Chocolate! Crap!

Then I remembered, on the dog medicine shelf was a tube of green cake frosting. It was almost empty. Five grams of carbs per teaspoon. That's not going to be enough.

"Steve, go to 7 Eleven and grab some powdered sugar donuts."

He grabbed his coat and left. I sat on the couch and squeezed cake frosting into the dog's mouth. April perked up a little and licked the frosting. The tube was nearly empty when Steve came home with donuts. April didn't bark when he came home. She just stayed on the couch looking limp and glassy-eyed.

My husband ripped open the package and handed me a donut. April gobbled it. And she gobbled the next one. She ate five out of six donuts. I gave part of the last donut to Honey, our non-diabetic dog, because she was standing beside me drooling.

Within half an hour, April was up and romping around the house. We tested her blood sugar a second time and it was 127. Crisis averted. The Sugar Reaper left.

This experience reminded me once again how important it is to have carbs ready to go, both for me and our dog. Now we have a new tube of vanilla cake frosting, and another package of 7 Eleven Powdered Mini Donuts, on the shelf. We're ready for the next time the dog is low.

Speaking of low, Dexcom is telling me that I'm low. What the puck? Hang on a sec while I confirm. Yep, I'm low. Finger says BG now 68. Weird. I did not expect that. I was 257 about an hour and a half ago.

We're not going to name names here, but someone had eggs and waffles for breakfast and (ahem) forgot to bolus ahead of time. I remembered to bolus about 10 minutes after breakfast, which is why my BG was only 257 and not 357. Did I just write ONLY 257? That, right there, says a lot about my life with diabetes. Facepalm.

After eating waffles, my pump, XPU Mark II, calculated I needed a boatload of insulin. I used my pump, gave myself an amazingly large bolus, and here I am low an hour and a half later.

Move over April. It's my turn to eat some medicinal donuts. Who knew 7 Eleven could save someone's life? Thank heaven for 7 Eleven.


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.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

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