Down for the count

I’ve reached a conclusion: I’d rather live a day with diabetes than be “real-people-sick“. Being real-people-sick sucks.

The youngest one was sick first. Remember my “It’s not fair” post from Tuesday, where I mentioned how he kept throwing up? Well, he was just first in line.

On Wednesday, it was my turn. Our family shares everything — good and bad.

I was fortunate to be working from home that day, but felt really tired in the morning (rationalized by my tending to the kid who wouldn’t sleep through the night). Also, I kept feeling like I was a bit dazed and not thinking straight, but my meter kept telling me I was in the low 100s, and not anywhere as low as I thought. But I kept checking. You know, because when you have diabetes, it is the root cause of everything.

By lunchtime, I knew the stomach bug had struck and I was in bed for the duration. It was awful. It led me to the realization that I used to lead this post.

Public domain image from Wikipedia, because you really don't want to see mine

Public domain image from Wikipedia, because you really don’t want to see mine

But amidst all of my stomach-wretching agony, I was appreciative of something: the robot-parts that were attached to the left side of my body. Sure, my pump holster kept getting in the way as I tried to roll over in bed (I hadn’t the energy to change back into nighttime clothes), and my CGM sensor was aching to be yanked, but they helped keep my diabetes on the back-burner while my other illness boiled-over in front.

It wasn’t always that way. There’s a piece of paper titled “Sick Day Treatment” that my parents kept taped to the inside of their kitchen cabinet, and is probably still there to this day. It’s the one where it says to take two-thirds of my normal NPH, to do something funky with the regular, and to eat lots of sugary Jell-o and to drink regular Coke. To this day, I try not to tell my mom when I’m feeling sick because I know she’ll still refer to that paper. The thought of it alone gives me chills.

Worrying about meal-schedules and feeding-the-insulin, especially when you’re body is refusing to be fed anything, is cruel and unusual.

I don’t use NPH anymore – it’s been years. I don’t need to “feed the insulin”.

About halfway through the afternoon, my blood sugar found a comfortable resting point, hovering in the 75 to 85 mg/dl range, and the CGM kept bugging me about it. I wasn’t comfortable with that, so I did a quick 30 minute temporary basal of zero, and my blood sugar came up without my eating a thing. Problem solved.

Dinnertime came around, and I skipped it. Didn’t bolus for it either, and all was well. (Well, almost. My BG did creep up to about 200 for awhile, but that was easily fixed). I didn’t need to force my stomach to ingest food that it would no doubt reject.

The one complication: the time-lag on my CGM sensor (between the reported level and the actual BG) did start to lengthen. I guess because I had purged the entire contents of my stomach (several times) and couldn’t drink any fluids, I started to become dehydrated. Hydration is exactly what the CGM needs in order to work. Without water, the interstitial fluid simply becomes interstitial salt.

OK, maybe not, but that’s what it felt like. My mouth was dry, my eyes were dry, my whole body was dry (yet the bed sheets were soaked in sweat. Go figure).

Still, those two bionic parts ensured that, though I was down, I wasn’t out. The ability to adjust basals on the fly was invaluable. And the fear of spiraling out of control when I spontaneously and repeatedly fell asleep (in between episodes of Property Brothers on HGTV — that’s my guilty pleasure confession for the day) was tempered by my CGM and its nagging alerts.

Fortunately, I don’t get sick very often. But I can’t think of a better endorsement for my pump and CGM in the times that I do. They take those awful Sick Day Treatment guidelines, designed to kick you when you’re down, and kicks them to the curb.

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Posted on June 28, 2013, in Diabetes. Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I’m glad you’ve recovered enough to write! And I can’t wait to see what Property Brothers is.

    B still hasn’t been Real People Sick w D. I live in fear. You make me feel like it will be ok.

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  2. Oh man… you poor soul.
    I love how you didn’t go into too much detail here (miss vomit phobia over here). I also love how you explained that the old school “sick day plan” doesn’t apply anymore. Pumps are a god send when you don’t want to or CAN’T eat and ingest anything.
    I’m sorry you suffered like you did. I’m GLAD you made it through the day with no scary glucagon or forced feeding OR hospital visits.
    Be well my friend and thanks for sharing

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  3. Oh, I feel your pain (I was pukey a few months ago like that…) as well as your appreciation for our gadgets. Those sick day guidelines never made sense (Popsicles? At least I’ll puke in technicolor!) but it’s become so much easier with a CGM and a pump.
    Glad you are feeling better!!!

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  4. I was sick in the same way over the holidays last year. Worked it out exactly like you did. Glad you’re feeling better.

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  5. Glad you’ve recovered!

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  6. I hate being sick. Hopefully you’re feeling better by now!

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