Monday’s Domino Rally

Don’t let them tell you that diabetes is easy to live with. Don’t let them tell you that it’s simply a shot you need to take, a pill you must swallow, an insulin pump you gotta wear, and a few finger sticks a few times daily to check your sugars. As if that’s all.


Some days it seems as if that’s all. Those days are nice. We’re used to those days. And really, aren’t those days enough? Wouldn’t it be easy to do only those few things for the rest of your days? Burdensome, true, but we’re human. We adapt. We can deal.

Those of us living with diabetes know that diabetes is our permanent domino rally, and it’s always one or two dominoes near the center we don’t like the looks of. They’re out of line. They wobble. We’re not sure sometimes exactly which ones they are because while we’re building the rest of the rally we see some slight movement. Or we think we see it. It’s moving. Maybe we ignore it. Maybe we forget about it. Maybe it won’t tip and fall. Is it going to go? It’s going to suck if it does.

Because unlike a real domino rally, we never want our domino rally to start. We are reluctant builders of the rally. We didn’t choose to play; we’ve been forced to set up diabetes dominoes because of a pancreas backlash. These dominoes are forever.

Those wobbly dominoes worry you. If they fall, it’ll send a mass of color and design spilling, spiraling, click-clacking toward you. The question is, can you step in and stop it early enough, or will they all go down? When — if — they do, man it could be nasty, the whole thing gone, the day’s (or days of) self-management out of whack.

Monday I tried, unsuccessfully, to halt my own personal rally. Dominoes fell early on, and they kept going down all damned day.

The falling down went somewhat as follows:

Overnight Sunday we got about ten inches of snow. I spend 90 minutes snowblowing before work. I go to work. I realize once at work that I’ve forgotten my insulin pump. I have insulin at work, but then discover I have no syringe. I track down a colleague with diabetes and he digs out a syringe (unused) from his desk. Thanks, Aaron! I overestimate my bolus; two hours later my blood glucose is low. I can’t check my glucose because my monitor is attached to my pump. My pump’s at home. My spare monitor is in my car. I correct with juice. I go to lunch. I have an “I’ve had a low blood glucose” mindset; this means I’m spaced out, not thinking clearly. I order lunch to go. At the register I find I have no debit card. I call off the order, but I’m a regular and they just give me the sandwich. Thank you. I’m preoccupied: the lost debit card. Where is it? Back in my office I call Kathryn. Is it at home? It’s not. I eat lunch, drink a juice, bolus, then walk half a mile to my car. Is my card there? It isn’t. I call the restaurant we had lunch at on Sunday. The card is there. Yay! I grab my blood glucose kit. I’ve failed to take into consideration for both of my boluses that I spent 90 minutes blowing snow, that I walked a mile and a half through snow to get from car to office then office to car and back. It’s only 2 PM. I drink a juice. I wait for the low to pass. I work some more. Go low again. Eat some carbs. Wait for low to pass. I walk to my car after work. I’m down to my last juice box. I’ve used up my stash of carbs throughout the day. No money for replacement carbs. I check my glucose. I’m OK. I make it home. At home, more carbs, then dinner. More snow to blow: another hour’s worth. Olympics on TV. Another low around 11 PM. At one in the morning I stabilize and go to bed. Two hours later up with an odd sensation. Low again. Alas.

Tuesday I was fine.

I don’t like living the domino rally when it’s set in motion.

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  • Frau D.

    Yes. I hear you, as a diabetic you need a certain buddhistic kind of nonchalance. You have to forget about the possibility that it might not work well today, and maybe even tonight, and just try hard and care for the right reaction to your glucose. You have to be concentrated and relaxed at the same time, trustful in your knowledge and your ressorces, of juices and ideas, and vigilant if they prove wrong (or empty). I know that its a constant fight. Good to read about it sometimes. I send you a hug from europe! You’re not alone.

  • miss kitty

    Like the song goes, “There be days like this,my momma says”
    I understand & commiserate w/you on the dibetes & the debit card. Been there too many times.
    As I said several times, I wanted to be a juggler in a circus. I didn’t realize the circus is diabetes & thyroid and I’m juggling hi’s & lows, eating binges, reaction to low’s, depression from low thyroid (worse than depression from diabetes).

    Hang in there, Eric. You’re doing wayyyyyyy better than I am in managing your diabetes.

  • sue d.

    I usually don’t laugh at your writings, but I can see myself in the same pattern you found yourself in that day, and you tickled me.

    But next time, please go home and get your pump. Like the debit card, don’t leave home without it.

  • Bird

    I have to agree with sue d. that you should have gone home for the pump. you would not need the debit card then for the stash would have lasted. Oh yes, how about a stash of cash in the wallet for days like this. Have only read 2 articles by u. I’m not sure what the purpose of them is. I think the number one rule you need to live by is to always have your pump working on you. you have a back up but not a good one for work. End up in er is not a good alternative for not having a pump on you for running out of stash. I know the feeling though of having a bad day from lows. You only hope it doesnt take 2 days to straighten it out. Good luck next time.

  • maryann salvin

    Eric & Kathryn Glad your voice is improving. Fifty years this month as a diabetic type 1 and still glad to be able to handle the minute by minute decisions of what must be done 24-7. I’m constantly aware how important to keep the blood glucose level above, especially if any strenuous activity, or the oposite of daily hidden stress, infection of any kind, or even a simple cold, that could elevate the blood glucose way out of range, either way we must at all times keep the thinking process going to be pro-active and avoid insulin shock or coma. Yes, I agree with Sue d., Frau D,and Miss Kitty in their postings. Sincerely, Maryann Salvin

  • Lesley Clagett

    Does anyone out there have huge overnight rises in their blood count? And if so, do you have any good suggestions on how to control it? I am a type 2 diabetic and now matter how low my blood sugar is before my evening meal, or how careful I am with what I eat then, O have spikes sometimes over 100 points over night.