Posted by on Wednesday 31 July 2019

Diabetes days off

As we transition into holiday season, with the traditional exponential increase in holiday accommodation costs everywhere, many thoughts turn to sandy beaches and the chance to take a break from the incessant whirlwind of life for some well-earned rest and relaxation.

Except for diabetes, of course... that never gives you a day off.

Well almost never.

I was thinking about this the other day, and even tweeted my exasperation and the more-than-usually-fickleness of my diabetes of late.

I had an annual review recently, and since my pump is soon out of warranty I am casting a casual eye over the current crop. I've been very lucky to be able to run sensors with my MM640G more regularly recently and there is no doubt that the semi-automation of SmartGuard helps improve my 'time in range' stats (more on that in another post). But recently, although occasionally Threepio acts autonomously and silently to dodge some hypos, more often than not I am having to use warbling alarms to check that SmartGuard isn't just mangling a carefully judged prebolus timing, or I'm getting a notification of a 'suspend' when I've already set a 0% TBR an hour before to cope with such extreme exertions as 'walking round the corner to the shops'.

I currently seem to be extra sensitive to carbs, very sensitive to 'stacked' insulin (overlapping doses acting together), highly sensitive to any form of activity AT ALL when I have any insulin on board, and generally insulin seems to be delighting in a nothing... nothing... nothing... EVERYTHING activity curve. Or not. Depending on the day.

Without sensors I would have been completely lost.

It reminded me of previous phases in my diabetes life when my diabetes would occasionally give me a week or two off.

Let me explain...

There were times when *all* I had to do was estimate carbs in whatever I was eating and deliver the doseto my insulin:carb ratio alongside my basal pattern (and correction factor). And the doses would work. Reliably. For. A. Whole. Week!!

And if I made a small error of judgement in terms of carbs in a meal I could administer the suggested correction dose... and that would bring me to mid-range within about 3-4 hours.


Of course, there's still quite a lot of effort going on there. Carefully tweaked and tested insulin doses, and dose timings. Meal and activity strategies that have been tested, and food choices that have been tailored to try to reduce the bewildering number of variables that life with type 1 diabetes involves.

But when that effort actually works. For whole days, or a whole week on the trot, it genuinely felt like a holiday.

The carb counting and dosing... the fingersticks and correction factors? For me those are the easy bit. They are absorbed into the rhythm of my life so that I barely notice them any more.

What I DO notice, what I find really tough, is the constant faff of putting in all that effort. Of playing my part as carefully as I can... only to get chaotic and unpredictable results back in return. Constantly feeling like I've got it 'wrong'. That I could (should?) have done better. The silent condemnation of BG readings from doses that didn't absorb properly, misjudged exercise, or insulin requirements that seem to change at the drop of a hat.

The 'that didn't happen yesterday's

The 'what on earth went on there's

If T1D was only a bit more predictable, if it would only stick to its own rules, it would be an awful lot easier to live with.

Happy holidays everyone.