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A Daisy in the Sand

Sometimes life moves just so damn fast.

I miss so much, rushing from one place to another, making sure I attend to every obligation. Too much coffee, not enough sleep, phone is ringing, writing to be done, meetings to attend, consulting, and a workout to squeeze in daily. How many hours are in this day? How many do I spend working? How often do I take a breath?

The sun rises, sets, and I’m still going well into the night.

But some days, some days are filled with sunshine and the promise that if I just stop for one second…
… I’ll see something breathtaking.

Diabetic Dreaming?

My dreams feel so real. The smells, the sounds, the way things taste. How people were dressed. If it was warm or not. Which cat was roaming around. Was I scared? Did I feel safe? What shoes was I wearing? My five senses are completely involved in every dream I have.

While I slept last night, my subconscious diabetic mind played a cruel joke on me:

The eerie lights on the clock radio read “3:42 am.”

Dream Kerri woke up feeling like crap. Her eyes ached. Everything was difficult to concentrate on. Her lower back felt tender and her skin was hypersensitive to every touch.

Dream Kerri tested her bloodsugar. 585 mg/dl.

“Holy crap,” Dream Kerri exclaimed, rubbing the stubborn sleep from her eyes. She washed her hands, just to make sure, and then tested again.

611 mg/dl.

(It’s here that my Real Self should have clued in. My meter does read anything higher than 600 mg/dl. Yet Real Self slept on and Dream Kerri freaked out.)

Dream Kerri pulled out her pump and cued up the Bolus Wizard. Entered “600 mg/dl” and no carbs. The pump cautioned her to check for an occlusion and to consider an insulin injection. The suggested bolus was 11.1 units.

Boop beep beep. Boop beep beep. Her thigh site ached a little bit from the bolus.

No problem. Lay back down. Try and get some sleep. Relax.

Go back to sleep.

— The alarm went off.

The eerie lights on the clock radio read “6:47 am.”

I reached for my meter, performing the ritualistic morning test and ringing in at 114 mg/dl.

“Wow. It only took about three hours for me to come down from that ridiculous high. Good thing.”

I scrolled back in the meter’s memory to see exactly when I had been 600 mg/dl. Nothing there. The last time I had tested was at 2:01 am, before I went to bed. 182 mg/dl. I scrolled through the bolus memory on my pump. My last bolus was at 2:01 am, correcting that 182 mg/dl.

Nothing else was there. No record of that high. No record of a huge bolus.

Nothing.

Aviva Aviva, Un-Delay!

Woke up late.

Not good on Important Meeting Adventure Day, so I rolled immediately out of bed and began the morning ritual: Test bloodsugar, toss the cats off my legs, kiss Chris’s shoulder, stumble into the bathroom, take a hot shower, and read one of his fitness magazines while I blowdry my hair (Today I learned about the omega-3 benefits of walnuts and what the best kind of boxer briefs are).

Iron clothes. Dress in a hurry. Haphazardly toss necessary items into my purse. Recover the tube of lip gloss from Siah’s meddling little paws. Throw in a bottle of juice and some emergency crackers. Grab my kit and …

“Where is my kit?”

I knew I had my kit earlier when I tested first thing this morning. I checked under the bedside table – no kit. I looked on the bathroom cabinet, where a collection of pump caps sit in a soap dish and assorted lotions stand at rapt attention. No kit. I looked in the walk in closet, just to make sure I didn’t have it in my hand when I grabbed my shoes. No kit.

Chris had already left for work so every light in the bedroom was on. Relatively clean, I couldn’t see anything out of place. The closets were neat and the bed was made. Everything appeared to be in it’s place.

Checked my purse, just in case I was ridiculously remiss and didn’t notice my kit in there in the first place. No kit.

“Where the hell did I put that stupid thing??” Getting mad now. The time to leave was rapidly ticking closer and I knew I had to have it before I left the house. Checked the fridge, knowing that I put the remote control and my car keys in there by mistake before. Systematically trashed the entire bedroom, rummaging under the bed, opening dresser drawers and yanking out the contents,

No kit.

Throwing my hands into the air in complete frustration, I grabbed my back up kit from the closet. I received it as a demo from Roche: an Accu-Chek Aviva. Feeling kind of crummy and potentially low, I opened the box for the first time and assembled the new kit. The black zipper case was crunchy and stiff from lack of use. After coding the machine, I reached for the lancet device that came with it.

Diabetic for 19 years, I figured that I would be able to load the thing up and test my bloodsugar without much of an issue. I’ve used countless meters and pricking devices. Surely this one would be a snap, right?

I could not have been more wrong.

Couldn’t assemble that frigging thing to save my life. I couldn’t get the cap off. I couldn’t fit the drum inside neatly. I actually had to bust out the instruction manual an even then, I couldn’t figure it out. Nothing clicked to let me know it was in place. The barrel of the device kept rotating and my only response was to curse at it.

Then, like the cryptex from The DaVinci Code, the cylinder lined up. The barrel clicked into place. The device deployed and pricked the top of my knuckle by accident.

[insert blasphemous curse word]!!” Flinging the blue MultiClix across the room, I grabbed a lancet from my stash and manually pricked my finger tip. The AccuChek Aviva flashed me an hourglass, then a “113 mg/dl”.

“Meow?” Abby was standing on the edge of the bed, pawing at something.

I threw the Aviva into my purse and grabbed my keys.

“Meow?” A little more insistently this time. She was nudging something under the blankets with her enormous paw.

“Abby, what is the problem? What are you sniffing around at? I’m late for my meeting, I can’t find my stupid kit, and now I’m having an animated conversation with my fat cat…”

I reached over and pulled back the covers of the neatly made bed to reveal my kit, lying flush against the sheets.

Mocking me.

“Meow.” Smuggly purring, Abby retired to the couch.

The Other Two Behave Themselves.

But this foolish Siah Sausage…

Can’t

Leave


Anything

Alone.

Scene.

Scene: About 11 o’clock at night. Showcase Cinemas in MA.

There aren’t too many people in the movie theater. It’s not too hot or too cold. Comfortable seats. Handsome boyfriend as my date. Feeling a little tired but content.

The movie courses on. Guy with a mask, Natalie Portman cuts off all her hair, I’m barely interested … little bit of a headache.

Not one crying out for Excedrin, but nagging enough to make me rest my head against Chris’s shoulder as we watch the movie. Sleepy. I close my eyes. About 15 minutes pass.

Still have that headache.

Unzipper the black case and set up my testing kit. Using the backlighting on my pump like a miner, I prick my finger and align the blood with the strip by the faint blue Minimed light.

27 mg/dl.

No symptoms until that moment of realization that my bloodsugar and my age are in perfect synch. Did seeing the number trigger a physiological response? Why didn’t I feel anything sooner? A bead of sweat joins my hummingbird heartbeat as I realize how I don’t have much more than adrenaline keeping me coherent. The crackers in my purse aren’t going to work nearly fast enough.

I wish I had grabbed his arm and asked for help. A bloodsugar of 27 mg/dl, he should know.

Instead, I tossed my kit into my purse and stood up abruptly. Leaning in to Chris, “I’m low. I’m going to get juice. I’m fine.”

Thinking I’m in control, he squeezed my hand and said, “Okay, baby. I’ll be here.”

Scene: I walked as confidently as I could down the dark hallway, spilling out into the fluorescently lit atrium. The snack counter was just a few feet away. “You’re fine. You’re fine. Don’t worry. Just get there.” Motivational Speaker whispered softly into my ear.

The 16 year old girl turned her head to me, the Showcase Cinemas logo on her black visor momentarily distracting.

“I’m a diabetic. I’m having a very low bloodsugar reaction. I need juice immediately.” My fist hit the counter, a five dollar bill clutched in my hand. 

“We’re closed? The machines are locked up?” Young Girl looked nervous.

“I need juice now. Right now. Please hurry.” I looked nervous, too. That numbness was settling into my mouth. Warm waves of exhaustion coupled with panic rolled over me.

Her hands fumbled with the keyring as she leaned over to unlock the juice machine. My mouth formed the words “Thank you.”

“I’m sorry, we’re closed.” Manager Woman came over, snapped her gum at me. Her hand came down on Young Girl’s wrist, stopping her from opening the juice machine.

“I’m diabetic. I am having a low bloodsugar reaction. I need juice right now.”

“We closed at 11. There is a convenience store across the street.”

“I am diabetic. I need juice. Now. Please just open the machine. I need you to help me.”

Precious seconds pass.

Her hand took the keys from Young Girl. “I’m sorry. We’re closed.”

Silently apologizing to my mother in my head, “Diabetic. I need sugar right now. Open the fucking machine and get me some juice. NOW.” My voice crescendos to an angry peak.

A dirty look crossed Manager Woman’s face as she throws the keys to Young Girl. “What size?”

“Small, please.”

She grabbed the largest cup from the stack. My mouth is completely numb, hands trembling. Young Girl fills the cup as fast as she can, opening a straw for me and sliding it into the enormous cup.

“A large. That will be $4.05.” Manager Woman extends her hand for my money.

I’m already halfway through the basin of red juice. I hand her the money. She takes it and hands me my change while she relocks the juice machine.

Scene: Back in the theater. Mumbling about 27 … huge thing of juice … Why didn’t you tell me? … I’m sorry … I’m glad you’re okay … 27 … Did you feel it at all? … I feel it now … Keep drinking …

Scene: In the car. Explained what happened. Chris is furious on my behalf. I am, too. Angry at Manager Woman. Angry at myself for leaving my juice in the car. Angry at my body for betraying me.

What is causing these? I’ve read that blood pressure medication can make people experience hypoglycemic episodes. I’ve also read that it can cause dulled symptoms. What do I choose?

Should I be writing a letter to Showcase Cinemas, advising them that their staff needs considerable training as to dealing with medical emergencies?

Will my appointment as Joslin in two weeks help me figure out what is going on?

Can I get a CGMS? Can I afford it?

Can I afford not to?

 

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