The Perfect Storm of Stupid.
I didn't check my pump before I left for work yesterday morning. Not a big deal - I live close to work and I have back-up supplies at my office anyway, so there wasn't much I couldn't pinch hit for. When the day started, I had about 20 units left in my pump to get me through to 5:30 pm.
No problem. I'm using about 16 throughout the course of a day at the moment, so I wasn't worried about running out. I went to work and did my thing.
But I forgot about our editorial dinner plans after work, taking place at my coworker's house, located about 40 minutes away.
And I also completely blanked when I went home for lunch because I was so hungry and so distracted by what I was working to finish before deadline at work that I neglected to refill my pump reservoir.
And I also was so elated by a freelance opportunity that came in late afternoon that I ended up racing out of the office, en route to dinner, without grabbing the insulin pen from my desk drawer.
So I'm in the car. Driving up to dinner. With six units of insulin in my pump.
"We're having apple crumb cake for dessert!" said my coworker's excited email.
I am Kerri's perfect storm of stupid.
A few things were working in my favor: the Dexcom had me flatlining, for over three hours, at 98 mg/dl. I also had enough insulin in my pump reservoir to draw out a unit or two with the syringe I keep in my insulin case. So there were options.
I didn't panic. I just thought I'd lay low, eat conservatively, and ride it out until I got home and could change my pump.
Throughout dinner, I kept a close eye on the Dexcom and tested every 30 minutes or so to confirm. But after a dinner of vegetables, chicken, and delicious rice, I saw the graph starting to spike a little bit. Not crazy, but edging towards 150 mg/dl for the first time that day. I avoided the crumb cake. And knowing I had very little insulin left after dinner (only 0.3 retrievable units), I started to get a little anxious.
So I reached into my kit for that syringe.
Which wasn't there.
I am a maelstrom in Kerri's perfect storm of stupid.
In an idiotic move, I waited. And then, about an hour later, went into the bathroom, removed the insulin cartridge from my pump, and stuck my pinky finger into the end of it to press more insulin into the tubing. I've done this a few times when desperate, and knowing I had about an hour before I'd get home, even if I left right then, made me willing to take the foolish risk.
Another 30 minutes went by. My numbers hit 177 mg/dl and stalled there, which made me think it was going to be okay. I left my coworker's house and drove back home. Once I got home, I switched out my pump immediately and then relaxed for a little bit. Numbers were steady-ish, but nothing that made me jumpy.
"Oh, starting to dip a bit." The Dexcom said I was 101 and falling, and my meter confirmed with an 81 mgm/dl. "I'm going to down a swig of juice and a kiwi before bed."
Chris: "Why are you talking to yourself?"
Me: "Because ... I don't know. It's expository for the blog post, I suppose."
Right before bed, I was 111 mg/dl, steady Dexcom, and feeling okay. So I went to sleep.
What makes this perfect storm of stupid particularly ... stupid is that my move in the bathroom with the unmeasured bolus was a disaster. I had no idea how much insulin I'd taken, and I only knew some made it into my skin because of the little pinch I felt. I could have taken one unit, four units ... or who knows how many. But I'm obsessively stalking these highs and I was willing to take the risk. Which wasn't smart at all.
Because at 2:51 am, I woke up completely drenched in sweat, my tongue a deflated balloon in my mouth, and panic buried underneath my exhaustion. A full glass of juice, a concerned husband, a messy Kerri, and a prowling, yowling Abby. A blood sugar of 38 mg/dl a few minutes after downing the grape juice.
A perfect storm of stupid.
Preparation can't be overemphasized. When your pancreas doesn't make it's own insulin and you're relying upon external sources, and when every food excursion depends on your careful calculation, winging it can cause problems on either side of the scale. And all the lectures and blog posts and well-intentioned moments can't replace good, old fashioned stupid human behavior.
I am Kerri's hairdryer, running at 3 am because the sweat from the low was so copious and nasty. I am Kerri's low blood sugar walk of shame. I am speaking in third person because I'm so beat down tired today.
Diabetes, dude, you are The Suck.