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!).

Friday, November 21, 2008

Off the end of the runway

“How’s it coming, Daddy?” asks Rio, surveying the bits and pieces scattered across the kitchen table.

Uhhhhhh, could be better…..I’m trying to fix a sub-standard educational toy I bought Rio a month ago at Hobby Lobby. It is a Smithsonian jet engine lab. It looks like a giant cutaway view of a commercial jet engine pod. In theory, an eager child can advance the throttle and the guts of the thing spin faster and faster and faster with flashing lights and the like. At the moment it looks more like a jet airplane crash than a jet engine lab.

I can’t believe the Smithsonian put their name on this piece of crap, I mutter to my wife.

It is badly designed, badly constructed, and suffers from the fact that we’ve had to take it apart numerous times to try to get it to work. A month ago Rio and I built it together in one of those charming 1950’s father-son afternoons. After an entire afternoon of joint toil only one light worked, and in the hours that followed Rio learned some new words.

After careful failure analysis we determined that both the motor and one of the light assemblies simply did not work. To their credit, the manufacturer quickly sent out replacement parts.

Thus the crash on the kitchen table today. The parts all work individually, but the damn thing still doesn’t function. And I know I’m getting…..irritable.

Suddenly, nausea hits. Crap. I must be high. I slip the Guardian off my belt. 124 and one arrow down. Huh. That’s funny. She thinks I’m dropping.

Rio, baby, fetch me a glucometer.

“OK, Daddy,” to the scampering of little feet.

I set the mini screw driver on the table, take the turbine off my lap, and push the paper Dixie bowl of parts, screws, and wires aside. I rub the back of my neck absent mindedly.

Rio comes back with a midnight blue FreeStyle Lite meter, “here you go.”

I sigh. Hey, I need strips and a finger poker to use this thing, you know.

“Oh, right. I forgot,” and off he goes again.

I feel like I need to throw up. I look at the clock on the wall. Then I check the Memoir. OK. So I was at 225 five hours after eating lunch. I took three units to correct two hours ago. So what the fuck?

Rio returns with the rest of stuff. I open the vial, my hands a wee bit shaky. I pull out a strip. Into the port it goes.

I prime the lancing device, hold it to the tip of my little finger, and press the top again. Nothing happens. Oh, right. Gotta press the little yellow button on the barrel on this one…

Snap! Squeeze. 15 million red blood cells ooze out. Deep crimson. The color of fires and sunsets and little red corvettes. Slurp! The hungry strip drinks in the blood. And the meter beeps, way too fast.

87 mg/dl.

OK. A hair low. But no disaster. Back to the fricken engine.

Fast forward five minutes: now I really think I’m going to throw up into the turbine. Vial-strip-meter-snap-slurp.

75 mg/dl.

Action time.

“What are you going to take?” asks Deb.

Fox Fluid, I reply. This is an inside joke of sorts. One of my “little sisters,”—female fellow T-1s who are younger than me— is named Fox. And she is. Down boys, she’s taken. Anyway, Fox turned me on to the Dex4 liquids for hypos. They are little white bottles with four ounces of pretty yummy glucose. 15 carbs in 4 ounces.

I stand up from the kitchen table, and stumble for a second. My legs are tight and sore. The Guardian vibrates. Low predicted.

I open the cabinet above the microwave where emergency sugar is stored and select a bottle of mixed-berry. I peel back the plastic wrapper, unscrew the cap, and pull off the tamper-proof seal. Bottoms up. I dink it in one gulp. Then I head for the living room couch to rest and wait.

“I’ll set a 15 minute timer,” says Deb.

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. What? Fifteen minutes already? Vial-strip-meter-snap-slurp.

64 mg/dl.

What? Lower? After 15 carbs?

Deb brings me another Dex4, which I have quite a time opening. I remember Fox warning me that she always pre-opens hers, as hypo is not the time to mess with two layers of seals that require dexterity.

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. What? Fifteen minutes already? Vial-strip-meter-snap-slurp.

58 mg/dl.

This cannot be happening. We’re dealing with 3 units half way through their action curve and I’ve pumped 30 carbs of fast-acting glucose into the battle.

Mayday, mayday, mayday. We’re going down.

From the kitchen Rio asks his mother, “Is Daddy going to die?”

Hopefully not.

This time my mate brings me a jar of honey. Two table spoons and back to the kitchen timer.

Beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep beep. What? Fifteen minutes already? Vial-strip-meter-snap-slurp.

69 mg/dl. I’ve now been in the hypo range for going on an hour, but at least I’m moving up.

Maybe more of a crash landing than a crash. The difference between running off the end of the runway and slamming into a mountain top.

Tonight, I’ll bet I dream of airplanes.


Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Wow man - that is scary stuff when those lows won't cooperate with standard treatment.

Did you end up skyrocketing (pardon the pun) later?

BTW - I ordered my book today (requested an autographed copy)! Can't wait for it's release, and am happy to support a talented author!

12:26 PM  
Blogger jlash said...

solidarity, brother.

12:42 AM  

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