Having a Few.
Diabetes makes drinking a bit of a tricky topic. I take very good care of my health and my diabetes - I'm vigilant in monitoring my many numbers, eating well, seeing my doctor, and hitting the gym. I work hard. I am determined to be healthy!
But I also am determined to have a life. And for me, part of "real life" includes having some drinks with my friends.
This summer has had some fun times, and some of those times included alcohol. The enGAGment party, a weekend at the beach with my college roommates, wine tastings, this past weekend out with the girls, etc. No, I don't need to drink to have a good time. But yes, sometimes my good times include having a few drinks.
It's weird, though, because not a lot of diabetics talk about their drinking habits, if they have any. I am not much of a drinker, but I do like to have a drink once in a while. Not too often because I have such a low threshold for alcohol. (Please - ask any of my friends. Two drinks and I'm completely silly. Three drinks and I'll dance. Four and I'm ... well, four is too many.)
I'm very careful when I drink. My meter makes frequent appearances on nights out at the bars. This past weekend, I was out at a beautiful wedding shower for one of my college roommates, M, and there was an open bar. So I had a glass of wine. Blood sugar at 132 mg/dl.
The night progressed to a group of us getting a case of Coronas, having some beers while we hung out, and then heading out to the bar. Along the way, I was steady at anywhere between 130 - 160 mg/dl and that's where I'm most comfortable when drinking. Once I started to edge towards 80 mg/dl, I hit a quick swig of juice from my purse to ward off any lows. Rest of the night? 170, 143, 130, ended up at 180 mg/dl before bed. Works for me.
For me, I can't pretend not to be diabetic. That's less about what other people see but more about how I react to certain situations. I don't care if anyone sees me test or spies my insulin pump, but I need to make sure that I'm always taking diabetes into consideration. Does it seem irresponsible to be having some drinks with my friends? Maybe to some people, yes. Maybe it makes my mother a little uncomfortable to think that I'm deliberately putting myself into a situation that could become uncontrolled. But I can't lie and say that I live my life in a big diabetes-bubble - I go out. I party. I drink. (And I know I'm not the only one.)
I do my very best to remain as safe as possible - this includes educating my friends, carrying things like my meter and a bottle of juice with me at all times, and not being afraid to say "No," when it's not the best time for me to be drinking. Case in point: at the enGAGment party, I was having a great time and yes, enjoying some drinks. I tested all the live-long day and once I started cresting up into the 240 mg/dl range, I stopped. I calculated out an insulin bolus, waited for my blood sugar to come down, and actually decided not to drink anymore once I was back in range. I know when my body's had enough. Reaching the high 200's means it's time for me to sober up and regain control. I'm all about a good time but I hate having my blood sugar that high. Ruins all my fun.
Thankfully, there's always the other drunk people. Sometimes they pass out, wasted, in the middle of the street. And what's better than posing near the wasted guy? Not much.