Daily coping when your body doesn’t make it’s own insulin is a combination of food, testing, delivery and testing again and trying to understand what is happening on the inside. I also try to be aware of how I am feeling, like if my blood sugar is low or high. I am lucky in a way, I can “feel” both, sometimes I can’t distinguish if the sugar is low or high, I just know something is wrong. Thus the need for testing and test again.
Daily when I wake up I test my blood, the involves a finger stick, a drop of blood applied to a test strip, a meter reading. This is when I decide what to eat for breakfast. I have wake up patterns, but depending on something unseen, a normal reading will last a couple of days or weeks, then low readings for a while, then high readings for a while. I don’t really decide what to eat, but rather how much. I like when the test shows low,because I am usually hungry, I can eat a little more. I don’t like highs in the morning, I eat less, and feel hungry most of the morning. A couple of hours after breakfast, I test again. If the sugar is low or normal, and I still feel hungry, I will eat some nuts or a granola bar. If really low, I have an excuse for M&M with peanuts :D.
During the work week, I usually have something that I made and froze just for the occasion. Where I work they have a couple of microwaves in the break room, so heating up the food is not a problem. I have tried several times to pick up some “fast foods” but they have never worked for me. A test before and a couple of hours after eating is a must. About a year ago I tried a hamburger and fries, and had high sugar levels for 2 days.
I live about 10 miles from work, so about an hour before I leave for work I test to make sure I can be safe driving. I always have a banana or apple to eat for this part of my day. Sometimes I need to use more insulin, sometimes not, but I always eat the snack.
Supper is almost almost always made for this occasion. The only caveat here is I will usually make extra to freeze for lunch later on in the week. Another finger stick and more insulin before eating is in order.
Before going to sleep, another finger stick, insulin (if needed) and depending on my “cycle” for morning sugars levels, I might eat a little bit to try not to go too low during sleep. It is not fun to wake up at 2 am to take care of lows.
That takes care of just eating. There is more. I have an emergency bag that I take with me any time that I am going to be away from home for more than an hour. The emergency bag has an extra battery, a couple insulin reservoirs, a couple of infusion sets, the device to insert the infusion set for my pump. I also have some alcohol prep pads, a couple of syringes, glucose tablets, a glucagon kit, extra test strips and lancets. Depending on when I last changed my reservoir, I may also carry around insulin too. Almost everything in there gets rotated too, and replenished as needed.
In my desk at work, I keep a battery for my pump, at least a dollar in change for the snack machine, an old test strip container to keep used test strips and usually some glucose tablets.
In my car again I keep some change and glucose tablets. I also have one of those portable coolers that plugs in to the lighter outlet and keep about 10 packets of sucralose.
After I was diagnosed I never had a real emergency, but I hope I am prepared for one.
I try not to miss work too often. If I don’t feel well because of diabetes, I go to work, and try to deal with it as best I can while trying to do the normal work. I let everyone know that I have diabetes, and feel like too many missed days give not only me, but everyone else with diabetes a bad reputation. I don’t make a big deal of it either, however if someone asks, I try to give them an answer and give a positive impression.
I started this blog as a means for me to cope. Many times it helps to get out there and just say something. On my links page is another coping method. I visit some of the sites there daily just to see if there is something new and interesting. It is also reassuring for me to know, that others have the same issues and questions and learned how to deal with it all.
I don’t have too many bad days anymore. And bad days are not as severe as they once were. I think because of what has been become the above “routine” and with research and understanding about diabetes.
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