It wasn’t a weekend of firsts. It wasn’t a weekend of lasts. But it was a weekend that changed my outlook on this whole “diabetes” situation.
I did more than survive a weekend without Gizmo, my insulin pump. I re-learned the challenges associated with counting carbs and calculating insulin dosages and how to listen to my body.
Sunday and Monday were good examples.
On Sunday night, my blood sugar felt high (159), but not high enough to warrant a correction dosage of one unit (the lowest increment my flex pen will allow). I had a vague recollection my syringes were divided into 0.5 increments. I only needed a 0.4 unit correction dosage.
I looked at the needle on the syringe – not much longer than my flex pen; I could do this. Now how do I get insulin from the vial to the syringe without breaking the needle? The last time I used a syringe was four and a half years ago, right after I was diagnosed.
Apparently, I needed to unscrew the bottom of the syringe to access the plastic extension that would allow me to fill the syringe. I couldn’t fill it to the 0.5 mark. How would I get out the air bubbles? I used the same method I use for the plastic vial I attach to my pump. I overfilled it and then used the extra space to rid of the bubbles.
Now I will just inject myself with the 0.5 increment and dump the rest back into the insulin vial, I thought. However, as soon as I inserted the needle into my skin, I realized how stupid this was, how easily I could accidentally inject myself with all 15 units of insulin. That means I would need to eat 300 grams of carbs to make up for it, which would totally defeat the purpose of this.
Luckily, I only injected to the 5 mark, and then I started laughing. Wow, I am a doofus, I thought. I was so focused on the 5, I never realized the syringe was only divided into one-unit increments just like my flex pen. I just injected myself with 5 units of insulin (equal to 75 grams of carbs).
I looked to the black and white stove to my left. That’s what pumpkin pie was for.
Monday had the opposite effect.
I just put in my two weeks notice at work (finally moving on to a worthwhile job). My closest colleagues and I decided on a local Indian restaurant for my going-away lunch. I knew Indian would be trouble for my blood sugars (all the sugar and spices), but I was allowed to indulge every now and then.
I decided not to switch back to my pump just yet since I took Lantus (long-lasting insulin) the night before and didn’t want to mix the constant stream of insulin from my pump until the Lantus had left my system.
I felt my blood sugar dropping on our way to lunch. Again, I had taken an extra unit of insulin at breakfast because I misread my flex pen (I don’t know why this was so difficult for me).
But Indian food was full of carbs and sugar so when I went to the bathroom, I decided to be safe and take 7 units (enough for more than 100 grams of carbs).
An hour later, I felt better. But two hours later when there was no longer any active insulin in my system, my glucometer read 262. Okay, not surprised because of the Indian food, but still. If I had been on the pump, I would have administered those 7 units over a one-hour period in the hopes of letting the insulin work with my slowly digested food.
Usually, if my blood sugar is 200, I take a 1.1 unit correction dosage, but since I only had my flex pen, and it was 4 p.m. (I would be home soon), I took 2 units. I wanted to get my blood sugar down as quickly as possible.
By the time I got home, it had dropped, but I had juice on hand. Gizmo vibrated on my desk. I must have forgotten to take the battery out for the weekend. Whoops.
Once I got my blood sugar stable, I reconnected my pump.
I will not forget this weekend of lessons, but if anything, it reminded me of how one simple mistake can change an entire day.
It was nice not having something attached to me 24/7, but I have to admit that I feel better with Gizmo by my side.
For more on my weekend without Gizmo, check out Parts 1 and 2 of this series: