Faith in the DOC
Sometimes, the timing just works out right. I’m not talking about basal patterns, glycemic index, or the UPS guy delivering fresh supplies to your door just as you use your last test strip. No, I’m talking about the Diabetes Online Community: real people with real experiences, real emotions, and real compassions. People who have an intuition – a sixth sense if you will – and show up with just the right words at just the right time.
Yesterday (Thursday, as I write this) I had one of those awkward days at work where my diabetes played a bigger role than I generally like it to. But let me back up a bit, and you’ll probably figure out where I’m going before I get there.
My job entails a combination of desk work and field work. Yesterday was one of those more unusual labor-intensive field work days, where I was installing communications equipment in various different locations – the work involves some heavy lifting, carrying stuff, and being on my feet all day. As is typical on these types of assignments, I started my work day by cranking down my basal rate to 70% of its normal value – and still struggled to keep my blood sugar under control. Armed with glucose tabs, granola bars, and fruit snacks, I fought off the lows. In typical fashion, I overtreated a low (leading to a high), then (over?)corrected a high. Meanwhile, my work took longer than expected and my temp basal expired without warning (thanks, Minimed), boosting me back up to my 100% rate.
At one point in the early afternoon (I’d not had lunch yet), I was having a hard time completing my task. I was getting really frustrated and impatient, not to mention forgetful. Everything seemed to be going wrong – nothing fit where it was supposed to go, and I kept misplacing all of my tools and equipment. I figured my this was just because of the nature of the task, but one of my companions on the job, who happens to be Type-2, picked up on the signs of hypoglycemia and politely told me I’d better check my blood glucose and get something to eat. I found I wasn’t really low, a benign 72 mg/dL, but I must’ve been dropping fast from the exercise and the earlier correction bolus (I was on the sixth day of a 3-day CGM sensor, so it wasn’t quite working “like new” anymore).
Which brings me to the DOC. The previous day, I had posted an article on RITD about hypoglycemic unawareness. Thanks to your responses (thanks Kelly and Mike!), I learned that the symptoms of a hypo might not always be physiological: I might not be dizzy, weak, or lightheaded, but still might not be “normal”. What I would typically write off as being klutzy or discouraged may actually be a sign of a low BG. Suddenly, it all makes sense to me, and it’s time to augment my mental list of hypo-symptoms with a few more. Also, time for a confession:
My name is Scott, and I’ve got hypo-unawareness.
Also on Thursday, I virtually met another blogger as we discovered each other’s sites for the first time. On her blog, Diabetically Yours, that day turned out to be one of those rare two-posts-in-one day events, as she had revealed a potential crisis late in the evening: a pump reservoir nearly empty, and backup insulin in a puddle on the kitchen floor amid shards of vial glass.
I knew little of who this person was, but immediately became worried she’d run out of insulin overnight and possibly be in DKA by morning (also, she has a sweet little boy at home, far too young to take care of himself, and I’m a sucker for kids). So I fired off an email through her blog, a bit concerned about getting a bit too personal too fast, but even more concerned about a fellow PWD’s well-being. I gave some advice on how to use what she had until she could get to a pharmacy the next morning. Her reply to me was quite touching. You can read the before and after stories on her blog.
Why did I send this message to a relative stranger? It wasn’t to earn bragging rights or lure more hits to this site. I wasn’t even trying to pay-it-forward from my earlier-day experience. It was PWD-intuition, I saw someone who had this disease that she didn’t deserve, and felt obligated to do my part.
We are the DOC. It’s what we do. Have faith in the DOC.