Learning about Diabetes from other peoples' experiences

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • I have had diabetes for almost twenty-two years. You would think that I wouldn't make obvious mistakes with my diabetes care anymore. Wrong! I do. And today was a prime example. I often gauge my day by how the morning goes, which isn't really fair. Just because I wake up with a less than ideal bloodsugar level doesn't mean I'm going to stay there. It doesn't determine my day. It's just information to help me make good choices.


    Scary thoughts have been going through my mind lately since I live alone and have been experiencing lows at night and can't stop thinking about what may come. Before bed last night I had a handful of almond M&M's. I eyeballed the scoop, and didn't measure it out precisely. I woke up at 170 mg/dl. 

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    I had a walk ahead of me (I walk to work), so I didn't bolus or correct for those extra fifty mg/dls. I got to work a little late, and had to hike my arse up seven flights of stairs. I hate being late. I arrived a little late. A little sweaty. And a little hyperglycemic. And worried as my low reservoir alarm kept going off on my insulin pump. A low reservoir warning usually means I'm not really getting all the amount of insulin I think I am. Oh, and no food or coffee, either (gasp!).


    Hungry without breakfast (having woken up late with elevated blood glucose), my stomach was growling as I taught, and I knew wasn't going to be able to eat anything until I could run home on my break. When I got home and tested my bloodsugar, it was 288 mg/dl. That was without any food.


    I should have had extra supplies with me. I should have had an alternate insulin source. I should have had a low carb snack. But I didn't. I hate lugging around loads of supplies and I just didn't get it together in time to prepare for the day properly. Diabetes requires advanced planning and I'm not so good at that. I resist it. I'm spontaneous and resent how diabetes takes away so much of the spontaneity I so love in life.

    Ultimately, I bolused for the high and ate a light snack because I was hungry, darn it! Eight hours later after my walking home post-work, I was able to eat a real meal, testing in at 82mg/dl. I didn't plan and wasn't properly prepared. The consequence? I couldn't eat anything until 4:30, and had to teach for several hours with lethargy, distraction and hyperglycemia. Now that sucks!


    So much of my energy today was spent dealing with CRAP. Not fun. Not healthy, either. I really try to be "on" while teaching, but as my students were reciting their poems and presentations, I found myself yawning. In part from a crummy night's sleep. In part due to rather uninspiring deliveries. In part because hyperglycemia zaps my energy.


    It was a long day. However, as one of my students recited a poem in front of the class, I was struck by how blessed I am. To be alive. To be teaching. To have an income, no matter how meager. To have no serious diabetic complications. To have students to share my love of writing and literature and poetry with each day. When I took the time to put things in perspective, I was in decent spirits despite a bad diabetes day.


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    My ears perked up as a student recited of one of my favorite poems with emotion and inflection. "George Gray" by Edgar Lee Masters is a poem that always gets me going--encouraging us to pursue our passions, our loves, our ambitions (despite the risks). Encouraging us to move forward swiftly and without lingering in regret.


    So like my "bad diabetes day," I'd like to end this post with hope and food for thought--so here's Masters' poem, "George Gray:"


    I have studied many times / The marble which was chiseled for me --/ A boat with a furled sail at rest in a harbor./ In truth it pictures not my destination / For love was offered me and I shrank from its disillusionment; / Sorrow knocked at my door, but I was afraid; / Ambition called to me, but I dreaded the chances. / Yet all the while I hungered for meaning in my life. / And now I know that we must lift the sail / And catch the winds of destiny / Wherever they drive the boat. / To put meaning in one's life may end in madness, / But life without meaning is the torture / Of restlessness and vague desire -- / It is a boat longing for the sea and yet afraid.


    -Edgar Lee Masters, Spoon River Anthology

    Your turn: What do you do to turn a rough morning around into a good day? Does your glucose level influence your mood and expectations for the day? What do you tell yourself to avoid negativity when faced with crappy bloodsugar levels?

Published On: November 18, 2010