Sunday, April 10, 2011

Stress and Camping

I had two interesting experiences with diabetes this week.

First, I got to see what real stress does to blood sugar.  I know I have a hard time keeping things in range when I'm living more stressful days, but I had a car accident on Thursday evening.  It was minor, absolutely no injuries and we all drove away.  A fender bender essentially, except the vehicle in front of me was an SUV with a much higher bumper than that of my sedan.  That meant her bumper hit and bend my hood, which was quite a dramatic effect in the moment.  I handled things pretty well, all things considered.  I had a few seconds of shock, but then I was the one out of the car checking to make sure everyone was right, calling 911, and guiding everyone off the road per the dispatcher's instructions.  It wasn't until the situation was under control that I started getting emotional about it.

But that doesn't mean my body wasn't responding to the perceived danger.  First, a sudden and frightening impact.  Then, taking charge of an emotionally charged situation (effectively crisis management).  And finally, dealing with the immediate aftermath.

I wound up staring down a 230 on my glucose meter, after all was said and done.  (This is an ESPECIALLY unhappy number then you're pregnant!!!!)  There could have been no standard carb or insulin explanation.  This was purely my body gearing up for what it perceived as a fight or flight situation.  That glucose was produced so I could run from a predator, or face some form of physical struggle.

It's actually pretty impressive.  It's not at all good for someone whose body can't automatically deal with excess glucose that doesn't get used, but it's a response that could really and truly assist in saving your life or livelihood if you faced a real, physical threat.

We also went camping this weekend, and I have to say that my diabetes was slightly more baffling than usual.  I should have taken pictures of my Dexcom readings, with the crazy ups and downs.  I even changed my infusion site mid trip, even though I changed it immediately before leaving home so I wouldn't have to do that, because I started thinking that maybe the site I'd chosen on my leg had weird absorption issues.  That change may have actually helped, as I had fewer spikes after that, though I also suspect that I was still fighting some continued stress over my car situation.  (Long story short, the car could absolutely be repaired to top form, but the repairs might exceed the value of this rather old car, which would mean my insurance company would declare it a "total loss." I'd rather just get it fixed if I can, since it's actually an incredibly reliable car, and I'm not sure what that will mean financially.)  I think, as the weekend went on, I relaxed and my glucose levels started getting back to normal.

It was interesting to change my site right in front of people.  Other than medical staff, it's just been my mom and my husband who've seen it.  But in this case, it's like I had a little audience.  I did avoid doing it in front of a larger crowd that included people I didn't know very well, but I didn't mind a couple friends watching.  I enjoy educating people, and these were both smart and kind people that I love.  Liz, who has seen my pump plenty of times and watched me go through this treatment journey from the very beginning, seemed a little surprised at how small the actual site ultimately is.  Between having always seen it hooked up to the pump and watching it come out of a relatively large plastic applicator, I imagine it ends up looking like not much at all when it's just been popped in!  Shannan, who had already asked lots of questions and asked to see my pump and infusion site, asked about using up one of those big plastic applicators every three days.  "Yeah," I said, "this is not an environmentally friendly disease!"  (Which is totally true. I recycle all the plastic bits I can, but those applicators count as a self-contained "sharp" and so can't go into recycling.  The same is true of syringes, pen needles, CGM applicators, and lancets. These are all medical waste to be disposed of as sharps.)  I think Chad kind of enjoyed having them see that, too.  He seemed a little bit proud as he commented that I do it all the time, and my fear of needles is just gone now.

I felt like a did a good job with food.  I made easy-to-count choices.  Like for breakfast hashbrowns, we went with the variety that comes in a "patty."  No measuring necessary.  Anything that offers portion control makes life easier!


  1. I was really surprised that you did it right in front of us--not because you're particularly shy about it but because you don't tend to draw attention to yourself and we were both gawking at you while you did it. LOL But I was glad you did. It was neat to see and yes, Chad was totally proud! :)

  2. I thought about doing it in our tent, but it's not the kind of thing you want to do all hunched over and uncomfortable. I also thought about going to the bathroom to do it for about half a second, but GROSS!!! So I just grabbed my stuff and headed for the picnic table. Easy.

    I'll also admit that it was a little bit fun to show off that that I could totally just pop a big needle under my skin without hesitation. :)