Posted by on Thursday 6 January 2011

Diabetes is enough to drive you nuts

I came across this description from DiabetesDaily (a largely US-based diabetes community/forum/collection of blogs) today:
Diabetes is a complicated and unforgiving disease. To manage successfully, it requires knowledge, problem-solving skills, and a reservoir of patience. Even then, life happens and throws everything into chaos.
It pretty much sums up my day yesterday.

Diabetes hasn't made me smile in a long time, but some results yesterday were so crazy, so illogical, so utterly ridiculous that I found myself grinning all over my face this morning.

I've been having a pretty good run of results in the last few days - now that the craziness and unpredictability of Christmas eating has passed. I began yesterday morning with a bg of 8.0mmol/l (144 for US readers). A bit on the high side, but not too bad. I had a pretty standard low GI breakfast (two slices of Burgen toast) one that I know usually behaves itself and left my usual 45 minutes between bolus and eating. By mid-morning I had spiked way up to 14mmol/l (252). Took a correction and was nicely back in range with a 7.2 (130) before lunch. I put the spike down to a little liver-dump tomfoolery and left it at that.

For lunch I had two slices of Burgen again, low fat mayo and some leftover chicken. Plus a smallish Clementine to finish. Left 15 minutes between bolus and eating (which is usually enough at lunchtime for the Humalog to get going). Carbs-wise that makes around 35g so I bolused at my usual ratio (4u). 30 minutes later I'd only risen by a tiny 0.2mmol/L (meter inaccuracy notwithstanding). BUT two hours after lunch I checked again and had shot up to 15 (270).

So let's get this straight... I ate completely familiar foods, counted the carbs, took usual doses and in both cases ended up spiking to the sort of level I'd usually like to avoid.

At this point, our evening meal looked like a scary prospect. The girls were given horse-riding lessons from grandparents at Christmas so they were going to be back late and hungry. We'd decided to pick up food from the chip shop to make things easy. So this meal is massively high in carbs AND high in fat AND on a day when the usual rules seem not to apply. Hmmmm tricky! But what could I do except use my usual (and often fairly successful) approach of a stab-in-the-dark at the carbs and a 60:40 split dose 60% before eating and the rest an hour or so later.

Pie and chips. Carbs were estimated at 140g (I know... I know...). 10u up front with a pre-meal reading of 4.3 (78). An hour later I was up to 7.5 (135) and took the second half of the split - 3u to allow for being slightly close to the edge before the meal. At three hours after eating I had dropped back to 5.2 (94) still had a fair amount of insulin on board so had a couple of leftover Christmas chocolates to play safe. Went to bed at 11pm at 5.9 (106) with a reported 1.5u of active insulin according to Colin (my Accu-Chek Expert). I figured that at least some of the evening meal was still chugging through my system, delayed by the amount of fat involved so left it at that, trusting the chips to see me through the night.

I woke at 5am. This is very unusual for me, and I immediately assumed that my BG must have dipped into hypo during the night. A blood test revealed 5.7 (103) so I just went back to sleep.

Woke this morning to a reading before breakfast of 5.5mmol/L (99) and it was then I started grinning. Both my low fat, lowish carb, low GI meals in the day had ended badly, but a pie & chips blowout followed by chocolate and a glass or two of wine had resulted in spectacularly good levels. This is the mystery of diabetes. This is why it drives us crazy.

Now I'm not suggesting we all eat pie & chips constantly from now on, but after yesterday it is quite tempting :)


  1. This made me laugh - typical! Pie & chips for me at the weekend :)

  2. Ohhh heck, doesn't it drive you mad? I know that exact scenario!

  3. Been there, done that, driven me nuts!