Diabetes For The Day: Third Edition.
I've said it before, but I must say it again: my co-workers are a rare breed. They are funny, brilliant, and they actually care about making a difference in the lives of people with diabetes. Another co-worker took the Diabetes For The Day challenge, and wrote about what it was like to test all day and wear the newest version of the "faux pump." (This one was a definite upgrade from the Kool-aid box of yester-post. We used a Freestyle flash meter as "the pump" and taped an infusion set, sans needle, to the back of it.) Here's her take on a day with diabetes.
Kerri: You wore a “pump” and tested your blood sugar throughout your day with diabetes. How did you feel about these devices?
Co-Worker: At first I thought it was kind of fun to know what my blood sugar was, but after maybe the second prick, the novelty wore off. It hurt and seeing my numbers go up and down freaked me out. The pump was a huge pain. At work it wasn’t embarrassing but outside of the office, I felt like everyone saw it and wondered about me.
Kerri: You wore the pump all day and overnight. Was it comfortable? How was sleeping with something attached? Showering? Was it difficult to dress for? Did you almost drop it into the toilet at any point? ;)
CW: It was relatively comfortable, comfortable enough that I would forget about it until I caught the tube on something and felt the yank on my “infusion point”. I was nervous about sleeping with it since I don’t own pajama bottoms with pockets but I was able to tuck it under my pillow. I slept fine but woke up with the pump halfway across the bed. I wore pants with pockets the day I had my pump so I didn’t have to worry about where I would stick it. However, I wear a lot of dresses and I could see that being a big pain. I didn’t drop it in the toilet but only because I was paranoid that I would.
Kerri: Did physical evidence of diabetes (i.e. wearing the pump) make you feel self-conscious?
CW: At work, I felt normal, even proud of what I was doing. However, the second I left, I felt awkward, especially when a friend nearly pulled it out and I had to explain what it was and what I was doing.
Kerri: How did testing your blood sugar affect the way you thought about food?
CW: It made me aware of how many carbs I eat and that it is probably contributing to the fact that my blood sugar was all over the place. It also made me less likely to snack because I wanted to avoid testing. I remember thinking, "A piece of candy is already in my mouth before I think about testing. Did I just mess up? Man, this is annoying. Diabetes sucks."
Kerri: Did you find the blood sugar testing to be painful? How comfortable were you with the process?
CW: After the first or second time, I started to really wince every time I had to test. The sharp pain only lasts a moment but it made my fingers sensitive and bruised. I felt pretty comfortable with the process because I’ve tested before and I’m not afraid of blood or needles.
Kerri: How did the blood glucose numbers make you feel? Did any of your results make you raise an eyebrow?
CW: My blood glucose numbers made me feel anxious. I was like a roller coaster, relatively high and then a few hours later, relatively low. If I hadn’t had Kerri around to reassure me, I would have freaked out. After a bagel with cream cheese and an iced coffee with Splenda, two hours later I was at 141. I panicked. 141, that’s bad! (Right, except you have a pancreas, give it a second woman). Kerri assured me that I was fine.
(Editor's note: Her blood sugars hit highs of 140 mg/dl after a high carb lunch. So "high" by her standards was a little different than my highs.)
Kerri: Do you feel as though you have a better idea of what life with diabetes is like? What else would you want to know? What are you grateful for not knowing?
CW: I still don’t think I have a clue what it must be like. I did it for one day. I didn’t change my diet, I didn’t have to take action when my numbers went out of their normal range. I can’t imagine having to test every day. Given that experience, I would rather not know any more.
Kerri: Did this experiment make you appreciate your health any more? Less?
CW: It made me appreciate my health tremendously. That my body functions and regulates things on its own is a blessing most people don’t take notice of.
Kerri: Do you think other people who are close to diabetes, but aren’t diabetic themselves, should spend a day as a diabetic?
CW: I think everyone should.
Kerri: Anything else you want to add?
CW: Kerri is pretty awesome. (Editor's note: YAY!) And diabetes sucks. (Editor again: Word.)