Troubleshooting High Blood Sugar Numbers

Mary Kate Cary Health Guide
  • This week we’ve been out in Missouri visiting Grandma. My two daughters and I are learning quilting from her, going to the pool, reading books from the summer reading list, and poking around overstuffed antique shops. August in the Midwest is like nowhere else – searing heat, yes, but also puffy clouds barely moving across the sky, slow-moving barges floating on the Mississippi, and even slower-moving people. As my brother-in-law likes to say, things here start out slow and taper off.

    The most action we’ve seen – aside from a few quick hummingbirds out in the garden – has come from Annie’s blood sugar numbers. She’s been consistently in the 200-300 range since we got here. We stopped by Trader Joe’s on the way home from the airport and got a good supply of low-carb and low-glycemic index foods, so she’s been eating very well. The next suspect was that the insulin had turned bad, due to the extreme heat during our travels. I had kept all the insulin and backup surpluses with me in the air conditioning, but in 95 degree weather, maybe it just wasn’t enough and the heat got to it.
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    So I called home to our doctor and got a prescription for Novolog phoned in to the local pharmacy. (Of course, the insurance company refused to pay the $160 to cover it, because it was too soon for a refill. Six phone calls by me and three more by the pharmacist resulted – finally – in a “vacation override” and a lowered fee of $30. Arrgh!)

    The bad news is, the new insulin didn’t change a thing. Still high. The good news is, she has no symptoms of being high, and no ketones. Exercise does seem to help, but not much.

    The last time this happened, a month ago, I changed the meter too, thinking maybe it was off its calibration. No effect. Just as I was about to take her in to the endocrinologist, her numbers straightened out and were perfect. I never did call the doctor (“Her numbers were crazy, and now they’re fine, what should I do?” They’d think I was a nut.)

    Now it’s happened again. I’m taking her in on Monday when we get home. The only other thing I can surmise is that growth hormone (she’s 11) is negating the effects of the insulin, which is also a hormone. I’ll keep you posted. I’m very frustrated.

    FYI: We’re flying home on Saturday, from St. Louis to Baltimore. We’ll be carrying insulin in our carry-ons, but no other liquids. I’ll let you know on Monday how it went and anything you need to know if you’ll be flying in the next few weeks. I don’t mind the extra security hassle; I’m just glad they stopped another terrorist attack.
Published On: August 30, 2006