Today’s Topic for Diabetes Blog Week:
Tell us about just one diabetes thing you (or your loved one) does spectacularly!
A few weeks ago I had what I consider a diabetes test. No, not a test to see if I am diabetic, that test was in the summer of 1979 (man am I old). No, this was what I consider a test of my internal Emergency Broadcast System. The whole story is rather graphic and is better suited for another post (later this week) about insulin pumps, X-rays, TSA, and warranties. Today, I am supposed to pat myself on the back for the diabetes thing I do well. My “thing” is that in a serious panic, freak the front-door out moment; I keep a level head, and use my smarts.
I was on a red eye flight and unbeknownst to me had a bent cannula under my skin from a brand spanking new pump site (oh and by “bent” I mean like if you took a regular straw and tried to turn it into a bendy straw).
cannula bent like a non-bendy straw
I have to preface this story by explaining I take anti nausea pills sometimes when I fly and for the first few hours of the flight I believed I was sick, not diabetes sick, which led to some of the impending confusion taking care of the situation. For the sake of sticking to the topic, I will shorten this to the following facts: hours of puking, taking over one of the bathrooms, and peeing my pants. When my Dexcom showed my BG was in the low 200s, I wasn’t too concerned since I was getting sick (over and over and over) and definitely didn’t want to deal with going low until my stomach issues were under control. I kept giving myself mini boluses (less than a correction) with my pump, my body continued exploding, and I kept noticing my BG wasn’t decreasing at all. By the time the Dex said I’d reached 300, I suspected I was possibly having the Perfect Storm scenario.
I changed my pump site in a huge rush to get to the airport (yep, stupid) but I didn’t remove the old site as my just-in-case back-up (yep, smart). So I switched the pump to the old site, bloused and waited (ok “waiting” is a nice way of saying I drank a diet Coke in the bathroom and started puking it out my nose so violently I got a nose bleed). My BG sort of stabilized in the 300-320 range. It wasn’t going down though and at that point it really should have. I had already peed my pants while puking (and made new very scratchy undies out of toilet paper) so my pride was long gone. Somehow, in my muddled state, I went through my mental checklist of what to do. I made it back to my seat and grabbed my glucometer, glucose tablets, a new vial of insulin and a syringe (something I rarely traveled with many years ago when all I thought I ever needed was my back-up old pump).
Back in the bathroom, Pukefest 2012 continued but I was able to check my blood… 427! Ack! Dex said 337. I opened the new insulin vial and pulled the safety cap off the syringe (as a side note: I used to chew on those caps as a kid as I did my shots. I put the safety cap in my mouth for a second, caught myself in the mirror and couldn’t believe in a time of complete distress I automatically did something I haven’t done since I went on my first pump 12 years ago. What a weird-O). Anyway I looked over my belly and figured since I was clearly having insulin absorption issues, I should inject elsewhere so I gave myself a mini shot in my belly far from both pump sites (smart) and then another one in my hip (which was a mess with the plane bouncing but I got it… also smart).
I had puked myself silly by the time I was finally able to sit back in my seat for the remaining 45 minutes. By the time we landed, my BG was in the 240 range. I managed to keep hydrating myself (small sips and smart) and grabbed liquids on my way out of the airport (also smart since I ended up in NYC traffic for over an hour).
When I got home and cleaned up (good-bye toilet paper undies), my BG was still hovering in the 200s, so I changed out everything with the pump again. I then called Animas and had them go through any and all diagnostic testing they could do over the phone. My next call was to my doctor since I still felt like I’d been hit by a bus and then dragged for awhile and high ketones. When I told her how I’d used the light on my phone to grab a syringe out of my make-up bag, my doctor told me she was proud of me. She said how lots of people on pumps don’t have syringes on them at all times. I had been one of those people. For some unknown reason, in the past year, I started carrying 2 syringes in my travel bag. So yeah, I may not be diabetes perfect, but when push came to shove, I was smart. No wait. I Am Smart.