24 Hours with Diabetes.
7:09 am: Alarm goes off again. Snooze one more time, grab my meter from the bedside table, and hope to test when it goes off again.
7:16 am: Okay, this is it. No more snooze, test blood sugar. Whatever the result, it kind of sets the tone for my day. I’ll correct it, treat it, or celebrate it, depending on the number. Calibrate the CGM, disconnect the pump, and head off to the shower.
7:20 am: Connect CGM to my bathrobe on the bathroom door so it’s close enough to pick up a signal while I shower. Shower quickly so I’m not disconnected from the pump too long. Carefully dry off to keep CGM sensor and pump site from becoming loose.
7:30 – 8:15 am: While getting ready for work, put at least underpants on to have something to hook the pump to. Dress in clothes that make me feel comfortable, fashionable, and able to wrangle in any diabetes technology I’m trying to wear.
8:20 am: Grab enough snacks to get me through the day, but make sure the food is d-friendly enough to keep my numbers in line.
8:30 am: Drive to work. Check the CGM to ensure I’m not sailing out of range. For the record, my car has glucose tabs in the glove compartment, in case I go low.
8:45 am: Time to buckle down. I’ve got my coffee, my computer, and my meter at the ready. During the course of my morning at work, I’m testing my blood sugar every hour or so to make sure I’m in range. Sometimes the blasted dawn phenomenon grabs me and I end up fighting a high for hours. Other times, a tricky little low sneaks up on me and I have to down some juice and then muddle through the aftermath. And lots of times, my body behaves and numbers hold steady. But I still have to check and confirm this, so I’m still actively maintaining diabetes stuff. And I usually have a snack in the morning at some point.
Noon-Thirty: Lunch time. I test beforehand, I react to this number, and I try to anticipate what I’ll be eating for lunch. Most often, I eat carbs at lunch, either in the form of a sandwich or soup or something like that, but food is always consumed at this time. (I get hungry!)
1:30 – 5:30 pm: Work afternoon. Looks a lot like the morning, only for me it tends to be a little more even with blood sugars and a little less even with stress levels. (Something about the afternoons at work tend to bring on the meetings, wacky emails, etc. Either that, or maybe in the morning I’m too sleep to mind the difference.) Lots of testing blood sugar and/or scoping out the CGM line during this period.
6:00 pm: Homeward bound. But it’s not over, yet. From here, I have about 30 minutes to change up to head out to the gym, and make sure my blood sugars are high enough to take on an hour of exercise. (This is one of the only moments in my day when I’m intentionally a bit higher.) Aiming to be at around 180 mg/dl, I head off to the gym toting my bag crammed with my meter, music, water bottle, CGM receiver, and a fast-acting glucose stash.
7:00 pm: (We’re here already? Man, this day goes by fast.) Gym is ovah. Time to test before heading home to see if I need to act on a number, make sure I’m good to disconnect and take a shower. (Yes, two showers. I hate to stink.) A shower is followed by dinner. Dinner is followed by testing. Testing is hopefully followed by sugar-free pudding with cool whip or something. ;)
From Dinner to Bedtime: Evenings are sort of status quo, with lots of options. Heading out for a movie? Going into NYC for the night? Grabbing a drink downtown? Staying home and working on computer crap? Perhaps some [hey, something shiny!] Or grocery shopping, changing out the CGM sensor, cooking (ha!) ... Whatever the hours of my evening are filled with, I’m still keeping close to my meter and maintaining an eye on my body.
Before Bed: Go through the whole before bed routine (washing face, flossing, brushing teeth, fighting to keep the cat out from underneath the bathroom sink), and then head into bed. One of the last things I do every night is test my blood sugar and check my pump reservoir and battery life to ensure I'm good for the night. After that, I try to fall asleep, with all hell usually breaking loose when the cats run races at the foot of the bed around two in the morning.
Sleep: Awesome. Hopefully, there aren't any hypoglycemic episodes throughout the night. If there are, the Dexcom usually BEEEEEEEEP!s until I wake up. (No snooze button on that thing, that's for sure.)
7:00 am: Lather, rinse, and repeat.
A team of students contacted me and asked me to tick through a day in my life with diabetes. I tried to do a standard day - one without a wicked low or high - but it's hard. Variables come raining in from everywhere, and it's nearly impossible to account for all of them.
I've written those kinds of "day in the life" posts about diabetes before, but they never really capture what can and does happen. I even attempted to do a video, but it didn't cut it, either. It's hard to show how much instinctive management comes into play, like those moments when we don't realize we're managing diabetes (but we are).
How would you describe a day in your diabetes life? Or, when you try, do you get tangled in the same set of variables? How do we describe something so random and far-reaching?