Got Those High-Blood-Glucose Blues

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It’s going to be a low-fat, low-carb day. I feel like crap. No, I’m not sick: My blood glucose (BGs) have been high since yesterday, and it’s all my doing.

I woke up yesterday (Sunday) morning with a reading of 82 mg/dl. Perfect! I then proceeded to ruin it.

First of all, I teach religious school. In fact, I’m the religious school director. And, since we’d just observed Tu B’Shvat, which is the birthday of the trees, we had a special service at which different foods that grow in Israel are traditionally eaten. And I neglected to check the carbohydrate content of those delicious dates, figs, wheat-and-barley muffins, and so on, so I “guesstimated.” And not very well, I might add.

As I jokingly told the leader after the Tu B’Shvat seder (service): “That was a great seder! My tummy’s full and my sugar is sky-high!”

And, later that day, there was some football game going on that I was obligated to watch. (It happens that I live in Colts Country.) We stayed at home and kept the game repast simple: just chili, and not even with beer. But, when I do make chili, I have a tendency to make it very thick and to use it as a dip with taco chips.

Now, my husband had visited the manufacturing facility of a well-known salty snack food company on Friday and came back with a carton full of goodies, including my favorite type of taco chips. Nice, fresh taco chips. It made me wonder how long those things sit around in bags before they get to the grocery store. Not only did I fail to weigh my chili, I didn’t bother to count my chips, either. Again, I guesstimated.

So I exacerbated the BG problem. I didn’t go below 200 all day yesterday. Or all of last night, according to my continuous glucose monitor.

Additional insulin didn’t seem to be helping at all, so I put in a new infusion set to see if that made a difference. Protocol for people who use an insulin pump is to take an injection of insulin if blood glucose is high after a couple of checks, but I also figured that if I wasn’t getting the bolus insulin I programmed, I wasn’t getting the basal insulin that is infused automatically, either. Besides, I wasn’t dangerously high—just uncomfortably so.

Exercise is another option, and I may climb onto my stationary bicycle as soon as I get up the energy. Exercise helps to sensitize your body to insulin and is a good way to help get your blood glucose down. Frankly, I’d rather ride a real bicycle—riding a stationary bike is boring, it doesn’t go anywhere—but the temperature is below zero here, even without the windchill factor.

While it might have been better to eat more wisely on Sunday, my psyche needs a “human” day once in awhile. I don’t like being stuffed into a box all tied up with a bow and labeled “diabetes.” One of the highlights of my diabetes self-management education was when the dietitian taught me how to control my BGs while eating what I chose to eat instead of giving me a long list of “no-nos.”

As I’ve said before, I usually eat healthy and I’m pretty good about calculating carbohydrates and matching my insulin intake to that. But once in a while I…don’t. And I know that, the following day, I need to get back to the routine.

It’s now later in the day and my BGs are down to 106. Putting in a new infusion set was the trick to finally bringing me down.

But I still don’t think I’ll dip into that leftover chili.

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