LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

This is not a drill

Bong! The intercom on my phone comes to life, “lock your doors and do not leave your work areas. The clinic is on lock-down.” Holy shit.

A drill? Not taking any chances, I slip out of my office and lock the front door to the annex. Then I scoot back into my office and call the front desk. “Que paso?”

“One of the patients has gone nuts,” the front desk girl tells me, “we got him out into the parking lot, so stay put, we’ve called the cops.”

So I hunker down. Double check the second annex door, which was unlocked too. I bolt it and I close the front window blinds, then close my office door for good measure. Next I sit at my desk contemplating how bullet proof or un-bullet proof my walls are. Should I just sit here or should I make the phone call I was going to make? Or should I hide under my desk?

Very weird situation to be in. I’m not really scared at all. I feel more…. Useless. Out of a staff of about 25, six men work at the clinic, including myself. Shouldn’t I be on the frontlines? Well, I should do what I was told to do. If they need me they’ll call me.

I look at my hands, they are trembling. Adrenaline or hypo? Quick look at ParaPump. Current SG 88. The three hour screen shows a slash from the top left of the screen to the bottom right. Three hours ago I was hyper at 276. That’s about a point per minute, a pretty good clip. I do a quick finger stick. 58 on the Accu-Chek. Damn. Wish I had the BD with me so I could confirm or refute the rumors of poor low-BG performance.

Well, doing my part to support BD anyway, I pop one of their Glucose Tablets into my mouth. Pleasant orange flavor, according to the box. What the hell. I sit on the floor. I’d feel stupid if I got shot sitting in my office chair during a lock down.

The BD tablets are large and flat. Three to a blister pack that is an inch wide, four inches long, and a quarter of an inch thick. More portable than cherry slices. I give them out to all of our insulin using patients, so I figured I should pratice what I preach. I’ve found the cherry slices give me too big a rebound, so I’m trying these at 5 carbs per. The flavor is pleasant, but consistancay is chalky. Kind of like those little round candies that came in rolls we had as kids…. sweet tarts. The consistency of sweet tarts.

A few shouts drift through the walls from the parking lot. Can’t make out who or what they are saying.

I’m supposed to ingest fifteen carbs, wait fifteen minutes, and retest. But 15 carbs is almost always too much for me, so I’ve only taken one five carb tab. My hands are shaking worse. Annoying. But glad the body works again. It has only been five minutes, but I check again. Down to 56. A second glucose tab. SG on the ParaPump is still dropping. The trace shows no sign of flattening out.

Now SG at 74. So when the hell is the low alarm going to go off? I thought I’d set it at 75. Trace leveling a little now, but I’ve clocked in at 72 on ParaPump. Still no alarm.

My phone squawks. “All clear.” One emergency over with. Now I’m the only one still in trouble.

I check the sensor settings on the menu. Ah…. For some stupid reason I’ve got my low alert set at 70. That’s an idiot place for it to be. I don’t remember doing that….once my hands stop shaking I’ll reset it. I’d love to set it for 90 for day time and 80 for night, but ParaPump only lets me choose one setting all day and all night. If I had been set at 90 this hypo wouldn’t have ambushed me and whacked me upside the head. That said, at 90 it’ll bug me for no good reason during the night. I’ll switch it to 80.

It is nice to have the screen to watch the SG, but when you get busy, it is easy to forget. I read that the new Guardian has slope alarms. I wish ParaPump did. Nice sounding feature. Mean time, the best work-around is a conservative alarm setting.

OK, SG has leveled out. Finger stick shows 103. Everything is going to be OK. Both for me and for everyone else here. No crazy men. No hypos. We can go back to providing for the health of others, and not fear for our own safety.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scary situations--glad you got through both of them okay!

And I am the only person in the world who prefers the BD glucose tabs? They don't seem chalky at all to me. Nevertheless, they come in stupid little packages of 2 single-serving (3 tab) packs and are not very cost effective that way, so I end up buying the drug store brand ones that come in a big jar.

10:18 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Very scary Wil!! Glad nothing too bad happened!

I too actually like the BD tabs! But like Jana said, they are not as affordable as the big jar and they are just a little harder to carry than the tube.

11:59 PM  
Blogger jill. said...

Wow, glad that you're alright on both fronts. What are cherry slices? Are they actually cherries?

Oh, and BD tabs? Bleck! You should tell your patients about fruit punch and pina colada tabs! They're good enough to eat recreationally! Well maybe that's not a good thing...

3:46 AM  
Blogger mel said...

Ooooh, I can't stand the orange BD ones! I think it's because for so many years as a kid, it's all we had.

7:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Wil,
That is some day you had huh? I think I am going to be going on the sensors soon, I will let you know once i am and we can trade war stories haha...


7:43 AM  

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