April 5, 2011
This past week, on April 1st, I attended Medtronic’s Patient Advocate Forum in Los Angeles, California. It was a day full of diabetes friends and lively discussions about the current state of diabetes treatment, the history of diabetes treatment, and FDA challenges. Dr. Richard Rubin spoke to us about avoiding “Diabetes Distress.” He also shared vivid descriptions about the history of diabetes treatment. Specifically, I recall him discussing the boiling and sharpening of needles and urinating on a test strip being the only way to determine your blood sugar level (4 hours after the fact!).
Little did I know how insightful this discussion was until I was on my way to airport Sunday morning and realized that I left my meter in the hotel room. UTTER PANIC ensued internally….What was I going to do? I mean, when I fly, my blood sugars tend to not be the most stable, which requires more frequent testing. I made it through the flight home with no idea what my blood sugar was and immediately went to find my stash of old meters to test my blood sugar. After my third meter not working, I was getting frustrated…either I didn’t have the right strips or I didn’t have the right size “irregular” battery and it was way too late to go out searching for one. So, I settled in for the night and fell asleep with a plan of action to go to my endocrinologist’s office in the morning to get a replacement meter. Unfortunately, my body didn’t cooperate with my plan. Around 2:30am, I awoke soaked in sweat and confused. I remember thinking, “I’m pretty sure I need to check my blood sugar, which I think is supposed to be done with a meter, but was that what I left in California? It must be because I don’t see it on the nightstand.” Instead of waking my husband (as I usually do after checking my blood sugar) to tell him my blood sugar, I got up from the bed and wandered downstairs to the kitchen. Unfortunately, after I got there, I didn’t know what to do. “What am I supposed to do?” I grabbed a class and drank some apple juice. Part of the way through my second glass, I felt that panicky feeling—the one I feel right before I pass out. I quickly made my way back upstairs to wake my husband, but the panic was gone when I got there, so I didn’t. I think I made a few more trips up and down the stairs trying to figure out exactly what to do. I was so confused. Finally, I started to come out of it and thinking about what had just happened. Eventually, I went back to sleep. When I awoke on Monday morning, I got up and got dressed to go to my endocrinologist’s office. While I was getting ready, I began to think back about the discussion we had at the Medtronic Patient Advocate Forum. I thought about how difficult it would have been (and how blessed I am now!) to really never know what your blood sugar was and to have to make insulin adjustments on what the pee strip told you your blood sugar was FOUR HOURS AGO!!
Finally, after a full 24 hours of not being able to test my blood sugar, I sat in my car with my new replacement meter. AHHHHH! Such relief to be able to test my blood sugar ANY TIME I WANT TO! As the saying goes, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder…” Boy, did I miss my meter! And I might even have a renewed sense of appreciation for it! We have gotten so used to having our high-tech gadgets at our finger tips that we take them for granted!