Friday, March 4, 2011

Sicko . . .

Every Sunday we go to my parent’s house for dinner.  When we arrived last Sunday my dad was recovering from what he thought was food poisoning.  My mom thought it was a virus.  Mom was right, because she got hit with it on Monday.  And lucky me, I got it on Tuesday.

It came on fast.  I was fine all day, until it was time to pick Pete up at the train station.  I dragged myself out to get him, then came home and climbed right into bed while he went out for some supplies that would hopefully settle my stomach.  I was sick one more time before he got back.

Once home, Pete brought me a diet ginger ale and 22 carbs worth of saltines.  I played it smart and ate two crackers without bolusing to see what would happen.  I felt completely fine and hungry, so I bolused for the 22 carbs and finished my crackers.  And that is where things started to go wrong.


Twenty minutes later my stomach made it quite clear that the saltines were not welcome.  My blood sugar was starting to dip, so I tried regular ginger ale.  That was rejected.  I tried a popsicle.  Also rejected.  My blood sugar continued to fall so I forced down ginger ale sips and popsicle nibbles but they just wouldn’t stay.  We pulled out the glucagon in case it was needed, and (oh crap) it was expired.  And my blood sugar?  It was now 36.  And that’s when I started to panic.

I have never ever been in a situation when my blood sugar has been low when I’m sick.  So although I’m embarrassed to admit it, I’m going to be totally honest with you.  I’ve always kind of ignored the advice about having a sick-day plan - knowing all I'd ever needed to do was set a higher temp basal.  I’m here to tell you that not having a sick day plan is a very stupid thing to do - no matter how long you’ve been living with diabetes.  Being sick is stressful enough.  Being sick and scared and in an emergency situation is the worst!!

Luckily for me, things played out okay.  I was hoping to avoid a trip to the ER, and thankfully I did.  Common sense told me to suspend my pump.  Instinct told me to turn to Twitter and get some advice from the D-OC.  I was assured that suspending should work and reminded to keep a close eye on how long I suspended so I didn’t end up with ketones.  (Thanks @cerichards21 and @AbbyBayer)  I was advised that if necessary, I could always try the glucagon anyway - especially since it was only 2 months past the expiration date.  (Thanks @StaceyDivone, @jennaspetmonkey, @scottkjohnson and @sstrumello)  And I got tons of well wishes, support, encouragement to go to the ER if I needed to, and suggestions of foods that might be acceptable to my cranky stomach - which went a long way towards calming me down and soothing my fears.  (Thank you all!!!!!)  I also turned to Lorraine's blog to reread how she handled a similar situation with Caleb.  In the end, the glucagon wasn’t needed.  After two hours I was up to 115 and I took my pump out of suspend.  It took a full 20 hours before I could eat again, but during that time I was solidly in the 140 - 180 range.

It’s not often that after 31 years with diabetes I run into a situation I haven’t dealt with before.  But this story is proof that it can happen.  Ignoring advice about having a sick day plan just because I never needed one before was careless.  You can bet I am refilling my glucagon, making a cheat sheet about mini-dosing, adding concentrated juice and chocolate syrup to my stash of regular ginger ale, and making notes to talk to my endo about a sick day plan.  Next time, you can bet I’ll be prepared!!


  1. Oh, I hope you are feeling better. I have been in that same boat and it is scary! Thanks for sharing your experience, I need to work on my sick day plan too!

  2. We use lollipops dipped in sugar. Works great.

  3. My 9 year old B has strep today.
    :( He wouldn't eat or drink and he is vomiting. Double :(

    But a slurpee did the trick! (Crossing my fingers!)

    I know how scary dealing with a sick day like that is! Hooray for the DOC on Twitter!! SO glad you are feeling better!

  4. Whew, that is scary! Glad you are better!

  5. So, so glad that the DOC was there to help you Karen! Bummer that I am such a BAD Tweeter!!! I would have been sending you good vibes during the GI insult. (((HUGS)))

  6. I'm so sorry you were so sick! Stomach bugs are the worst!! Ugh!

    I love how the DOC is always there when we need them!!

    I hope you are 100%!!

  7. Have you ever really looked at the size of that needle in the glucagon kit? A couple of months ago I had the vomit virus and was thinking of injecting myself, but I simply couldn't do it. I guess my liver released the stored sugar so I didn't pass out.

  8. that's sheer panic for me or for my dad -- not having any snack work when you need it


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