Oh, HIGH there.

I’m writing this late.

The events I’m going to write about happened a few nights ago, Friday the 7th, but the feeling of helplessness still lingers.

Early Friday morning I had changed my pod like I was supposed to. Everything went seemingly well. Some of the adhesive tape that holds the pod to your skin had come up. The whole front side where the needle goes into my skin had been lifting slightly. I’d taped it up as best I could and then headed out to our local Walgreen’s to find something, anything, that would make the pod last. I came across NexCare Tegaderm bandages, which work amazing by the way, and placed it around the pod hoping that would save me from having to replace it after only a few hours.

Later that day I had work.

Around noontime, after movie popcorn and lunch, which I had bolused for, I was slowly trending up on the dexcom. I figured my body needed time to catch up with all the excitement. I did a bolus right before work and then headed in around 4 p.m. All of a sudden I start to feel the dreaded symptoms of elevated blood sugar. Dry mouth, a bit dizzy, nauseous, and everything else that tags along. I check my dex and I am still trending up. I take more insulin.

Two hours later when I finally get a chance to check my dexcom/meter all it says is HIGH. I freak out and not internally. My supervisor already knew that something was wrong so when I questioned when I would be able to take a break she just let me go. I phoned my husband to let him know what was going on. I had been trending up and then reading HIGH for a combined six hours. The only thing I could think of was the pod. I wasn’t getting any insulin whatsoever despite my bolusing. My husband rushed up to my work, thankfully we live fairly close, to bring me a new pod and more insulin. I had a syringe and a quarter of a vial on me so I took 15 units while I waited.

The few minutes it took for him to get up to my work felt like hours..

When he arrives I frantically jump in the car. Having only a few minutes left of my break I rip my pod off, fill up a new one, wait for it to prime, and then stick that sucker on me. I start my basal and take a deep breath. Everything was going to be fine. When examining the old pod the needle appeared to be bent. Who knows where that insulin was going…

By the end of the night I was starting to see actual numbers on my meters. I got home around 10ish and was sitting around the 200’s. I don’t even remember getting myself to bed. In the morning I was at a 94. My blood sugar actually stayed in the low hundreds while I slept. Needless to say I felt like such a zombie the next couple of days. The crazy part is that it’s not the pod change that worried me or the not getting insulin part..it was how others were going to see me after such an ordeal that really bothered me. It made my heart ache, actually.

The technical issues were figured out and then resolved but the way I felt when I had to explain my frequent restroom breaks, or finger checks, or dexcom glances..that feeling of helplessness, vulnerability, the feeling of not being normal..it weighed heavy on me. I can only speak for myself but I strive for normalcy in a world of diabetes chaos. I try not to let health issues, if at all possible, interfere with my life. With work. With anything. Not saying that I put things on the back burner, no, I did what I needed to do in that situation and took care of myself. That doesn’t change the fact that I felt like I was being looked at differently. In that moment I was being treated like a child. Not intentionally but it happened. The rest of the evening I was handled with kid gloves and it frustrated me. The next work day was back to normal. Nothing had actually changed but I feel like it will always be in the back of their minds when they look at me.

My ego was a bit bruised. My pride, maybe. I don’t know.

What I do know is that I will be better prepared next time. But hopefully nothing like this happens again..

Have you ever dealt with anything like this? How did you come out of it?

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17 Comments

  1. This kind of thing happens from time to time, but I seem to be less bothered by how people feel about it today than I used to. I’m the one who has to deal with diabetes all my life, after all.

    I completely understand the feeling of wanting to be normal, whatever that is. Great description, by the way: striving for normalcy in a world of diabetes chaos. Glad everything got sorted out in the end. Kudos to you for doing what you had to do, when it needed to be done.

  2. I understand feeling embarrassed, it’s a control thing. I hate what I can’t control, and I can’t control the D. But I work as hard as I can to manage it and avoid the highs and lows and equipment malfunctions as much as possible, and TRY (although often not effectively) to see the humor when it’s something outside my CONTROL. You seem to do this well! I’m sure your pride will be repaired quickly, and you can continue to kick diabetes in the backside!

  3. I always say, “Fake it til you make it.” Don’t kick yourself in the pants about it. We all have problems/bad days managing this crazy disease, even with the best of technology. Technology sometimes fails us, and sometimes we fail us, too. But the only way to come back from it is to get back up on the horse and keep on riding :)

  4. You handled the situation with finesse. You should be proud. Also, diabetes sucks :)

    I totally get you on the feeling the people are treating you like a child thing. I often feel judged when I have to make myself take a break while I’m setting up a program at work, or take time away from a meeting to change a faulty pump set. It is hard to explain how important these things are to someone who doesn’t understand! I keep telling myself that it is none of my business what people think of me, and I do my best to help them to understand what diabetes is like to manager on a day to day business. I’m always scared people think I don’t take care of myself. I hate feeling judged.

    /rant. All I can say is that I understand.

  5. We move a lot because my husband is in the army, and in all of 7 years Ive only met one person I dont feel weird around when diabetes tries to take over. When I told her I was diabetic she informed me that almost every other person in her family is diabetic and that she happened to be one of the ones who dodged the bullet. She was a pharmacist before leaving home so she understands most of the terms I use and my off days when things are just not right. I dont trust people with my truth because Ive learned that yes people do see us differently, and although they dont mean to they judge us or leave us out sometimes. Im rambling…I understand the feeling of striving for normalcy and wanting to be seen as more than diabetes.

  6. I’m sorry that this happened to you. Diabetes has the potential to unexpectedly expose our vulnerability, and, occasionally, it actualizes its potential. All of those who have t1d are, metaphorically speaking, with you. We are 1 in our experiences.

  7. Been there. Usually mine are with bad lows these day, but still the same thing. I dropped to below 50 right before my dance practice group and had a ton of insulin on board from dinner. 8 glucose tabs, a snack bar, and a bag of fruit snacks later, I’m finally on my way up. But I had to miss the warm up. :-/

  8. Being caught off guard and seeing high numbers when you know you’ve put all the right pieces in order is really frustrating. It’s like diabetes just wanted to throw a wrench in to see what the ripples would look like. When I start feeling like I’m weak because I have to do diabetes things in addition to everyday-for-normal-people things, I remember that 90% or more of the time, I’m fully in the driver’s seat and that is something to be damn proud of. Facing challenges shows us we are human and it sounds like you are a pretty extraordinary one. Thank you for sharing your story. I can certainly relate, as I am certain many others will.

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