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By the Numbers

Here’s my Thanksgiving in its bare bones, the story of one holiday and the glucose readings that marred it.

I woke up at 8am and tested, 105 mg/dl. Excellent. I ate a light breakfast prior to my workout, with just enough carbohydrate to cover for the exercise. I burned through and waited a half hour post-workout to test again, 170 mg/dl. What? I chalked it up to the atypical hour for my physical endeavor, bolused a unit and then went about getting my children ready to leave for my aunt’s.

I tested, again, for the first pre-meal, 125 mg/dl. Excellent. All seemed back in line and I had no concerns about diving in. Which I did with gusto and yet a nagging reminder that I had to repeat the scenario in a few hours with the in-laws. I enjoyed the meal, nonetheless, was thankful for the company, and then was soon on my way.

We arrived at my wife’s aunt’s house and I did what any mindful person with diabetes would, I tested. 307 mg/dl. Excuse me? I stood in the bathroom and stared at the screen and wondered where I’d miscalculated. After 19 years with this disease I’m adroit at carb counting, even for pumpkin pie, but obviously I’d missed something. I bolused four units and anxiety settled in. How was I going to eat another meal in less than an hour? I pulled myself together and joined the conversation in the family room. Sitting on the couch, however, brought a pain to my side. I lifted my shirt to investigate my infusion site and it appeared purple.

I promptly got up, grabbed an infusion set from the car and went back to the bathroom. I inserted the new site before dislodging the old. Beneath the tape my suspicion was confirmed, a circular, purplish/green bruise that oozed a viscous droplet of blood sat as an ominous warning. I wondered about the insulin I’d just injected. Had it made it past this disgusting barrier? I filled the new cannula and hoped for the best.

I kept the carb count low on the second meal, biding my time and allowing my body to absorb whatever insulin it could before I hit it with dessert. And hit it I did, with another four units to cover the cheesecake and pumpkin tart. I felt bloated and swollen and not even close to hormonally balanced.

An hour later, I tested. 66mg/dl. No! I ate some zucchini bread and figured I would be fine. An hour later, now at home with my children running around I tested again, 44 mg/dl. I didn’t even want to fill my mouth with the air I was breathing, let alone stuff it with another sugar-loaded treat, but I did, and in an hour I was…56 mg/dl.

At this point I went against all regulations. I did nothing. I put my pajamas on, told my wife my glucose level and went to bed. I hoped that my body would mend itself. Yes, it was unwise, but I was out of patience with my body, and it was time it took care of itself.

I woke up on Black Friday and tested, 276 mg/dl. So it goes. I bolused and skipped breakfast and started the day anew. Was it the Thanksgiving I wanted? No. The numbers don’t lie. It was not a day of tight control. But one day in 365, or in my case, 4,380, doesn’t make much of a difference. But I do hope next year is better, that I’m more controlled, either in my eating or my calculations. If so, for that I will be thankful.

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