Managing Diabetes while sick with the Flu

Amylia Grace Yeaman Health Guide
  • I've been sick with the flu which today officially morphed into a wicked cold replete with cough, congestion and power zappage. And lately, for an no discernable reason, I have been waking to vastly different glucose levels daily. I test at least once at night to keep track of overnight levels but it isn't helping. Throw a bad flu on top of all that and a trip to the doctor was long overdue.


    I guess I wanted reassurance that I wasn't spilling sugars and wasn't dehydrated so I went to my primary care physician (with whom I have a rather distant relationship since my routine appointments are with specialists).  

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    Bottom line:  I came away feeling like the best advice and tips I receive are found online. The appointment was, in essence, a total bust, and certainly not much help on the diabetes front.


    Here's the thing. I have sprints of really good numbers, but they seem to be turning on me lately, and I feel like I'm out here navigating it all alone. I don't know why my bloodsugars are wonkier than normal. I honestly think it is, in part, hormonal.


    As a woman, these hormones are no joke, especially around this time of month. My last A1C was quite a bit better than the last time, but the thing is, it doesn't capture all the highs and lows. It's just an average. It can't show the doctors what I see each day--peaks and valleys and the ebb and flow of the glucose tides that are making me feel tired and lousy.


    When I'm sick I want diet sprite and saltines and my mom. I want someone to tell me it's going to be okay. I want reassurance. I want blankets and kisses and empathy. Yes, I want to be babied. It didn't happen.


    And while I realize my impulse to get help was a good one, with diabetes, often times the burden cannot be shared so easily. The responsibility is mine and mine alone. There are good, caring doctors out there, but they're overworked and overbooked and under pressure.


    I've felt like lately like I have been floundering a bit, and wanted some help reigning in my diabetes, but I'm up against some tough battles here. Hormones. A compromised immune system. "Being "real people sick." Not easy stuff.


    I've had this beast for over twenty years, and yet it never ceases to amaze me how it changes and throw me off, just when I'm getting cocky and feeling good about things.


    Logging and maintaining reasonably consistent food, exercise and insulin amounts lets me know that there's more at work here affecting my blood sugar values. That low this morning really scared me. I find that people just don't get it--they think you're either in control or uncontrolled, but diabetes doesn't really work that way.


    There are many shades of in-betweens, and a good A1C, though a tempting reassurance, can't possibly tell the whole story, of the scary lows, the draining highs and the balancing act that goes along with it all.


    Diabetes is a manageable disease, but one that is a continual work in progress. It's whims don't arrive on our timetable, and the choices that worked so well yesterday may not wield the same results today or tomorrow.


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    Today I realized, yet again, that sometimes even the best hospitals are limited by an inadequate number of staff and an unwieldy volume of patients. Smaller clinics (with those "C" doctors) have appointments, but you seem to really get what you pay for when it comes to medical care, and most docs are pressured to see as many patients as possible for as little time as needed. The feeling of being shuffled along like parts on a conveyor belt is palpable at times.


    I believe with every ounce of my being that quality, affordable healthcare (including preventivie medicine) should be a basic human right, not a privilege. America offers many blessings, but adequate, affordable health care for someone with a "preexisting condition" and expensive chronic and incurable illness is not one of them.


    Today reminded me, yet again, that I need to take care of myself very well because no one else can or will do it for me.

Published On: December 07, 2010