How Does Stress Raise Your BGs? Let Me Count the Ways

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Stress. I’m blaming my two or three days of blood glucose in the 300 mg/dl range last week on stress. Well, there was that sinful chocolate dessert I ate on my birthday, but it’s something I can generally handle (I practiced ’til I got it right), so I don’t think that’s it.

Yep. Stress.

It all began with buying tickets to New York City for my granddaughter and me. I had paid $451.30 in August to go to Charleston, SC, to visit with Dad, but was unable to take the trip, so I had a credit with that airline.

My ticket to NYC was $263.30, or $188 less than the amount of my credit. The airline charges $150 to change a ticket, so that would have left $38 to be forfeited. (This airline also has you forfeit any money left over after you change a ticket.)

The airline had other plans — or regulations, if you prefer: It does not allow you to take the ticket change fee out of money left over after buying a new ticket. Nope. You have to pay the $150 out of your pocket. Which means that I forfeited $188, in addition to paying the $150. In other words, instead of costing me $150 to change tickets, it cost a whopping $338.

As I told the CEO of the airline in the letter I wrote — with copies to Indiana’s two senators, my congressman, and the state attorney general — “That effectively brought the price of my $263.30 ticket to $601.30, more than double the cost of a US Airways round-trip ticket from Indianapolis, IN, to New York City. For another $13.70, I could have bought three tickets from another airline…”

So that was stress number one.

A couple of days later, my grandson was supposed to drive me to Indianapolis so I could have lunch with a friend, and then he and I were going to go shopping to get him some boots. He’d had several days’ notice and had agreed to come along. Well, he moped and his kvetched and he whined and my teeth were getting more and more clenched.

Finally, he said, “you could drive over and Sandy can get the scooter in and out of the car for you.”

You see, I can drive: I just can’t get out of the car unless somebody brings my scooter to me.

At that point, I said: “Fine! Go back to the house and I’ll drive myself.” Despite the fact, as you’ll recall, that it had been arranged he would come along.

Still, I didn’t want to make him have to get the scooter out just for me to drive around to the other side of the car, so I told him I’d transfer over to the driver’s seat. I do it all the time. In the van. Which does not have a console complete with a gear shift between the seats, and has more space anyway.

Let’s back up here: I had put my insulin pump in my bra. When I first got into the car that morning, it somehow fell out and got tangled up in the skirt of my dress. I knew that because I was sitting on the pump and could not get it out.

So I’m in the process of transferring over to the driver’s seat. And I got stuck. I finally extricated myself from the gear shift and steering wheel and made it into the driver’s seat. Well, I made it anyway: My dress stayed behind in the passenger seat. I turned around, planted my foot on the ground, grabbed the side of the car with one hand, the door with the other, stood up to let my dress shake out, and sat back down.

Did I mention that, as I was maneuvering around gear shifts, consoles, and steering wheels, that the steering wheel knocked my continuous glucose monitor transmitter out of its mounting? Are you aware that, to get the CGM transmitter out of the mounting usually takes holding your tongue a special way, uttering an incantation, and using a chisel and hammer?

So I’m driving to Indianapolis and realize that I can’t feel my insulin pump. I run my hand over my abdomen: I can’t feel the infusion set. The steering wheel must have claimed two victims: my transmitter AND my infusion set.

But where was my pump? “Oh, God,” I muttered to myself. “It fell out of my dress when I stood up.”

My grandson had his phone turned off. He didn’t answer the house phone. I called my husband at his office and asked him to go home and check the road in front of the house for my pump.

After doing so, he reported there was no sign of my pump. He’d looked. He’d taken a stick and run it through the leaves. He’d taken a broom and moved the leaves around. No pump.

I called Sandy and told her what had happened. “Can you nab me an insulin syringe and run by a pharmacy and buy a bottle of Regular on the way to meet me?” I asked.

(Don’t tell me I’m supposed to have that stuff with me. I know that. I was unprepared. Luckily, I had an extra infusion set with me — which would do no good without a pump.)

Finally, I arrived at the restaurant. Sandy wasn’t there yet, so I opened my door to let some fresh air into the car. Guess what was laying on the floor. My pump!” So I called Sandy, who’d just left to come to the restaurant, and told her I didn’t need the insulin.

And then I mentioned one of the main reasons I dislike driving by myself: “And hurry up!” I said. “I have to pee really bad!”

Next week: The stress abates…and then shoots up higher than ever.

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