What’s it like to have a reaction?

The plan here is to relate what it feels like; what is going through a person’s mind when they have an insulin reaction. Mind you this will be only my point of view and experiences. Probably the biggest question people give me is, did you eat. Well yes I did. I have pointed out in a previous blog that this is a three way balancing act. Maybe I worked a little harder than normal. Maybe I was stressed out about something. Yes stress affects a person’s blood sugar. Maybe I am sick that day. Running a fever burns more carbs just like exercise. It is always possible I miscalculated the dosage for my insulin or miscalculated the amount of cabs I am eating. As I said there are probably hundreds of reasons for a low sugar. The most common, for me at least, is increased exercise. If something happens at work and causes me more work it throws any previous planning out the door. Wait isn’t that one of three balance areas for blood sugar? Well what do you know. When the low sugar starts to hit confusion is the first sign for me. In past jobs I have found that having a low stimulus environment is not a good place for me. Without stimulus to concentrate on I don’t always notice when my sugar level drops. Am I just tired at this point? It could be. Something to keep in mind at this point is my mind is not working at full capacity. Some would say that isn’t much to start with. Thinking rationally isn’t always an option. I am currently working third shift so being tired is pretty much an occupational hazard. Heat makes it worse. Oh yeah, it’s summer now. Now that I am feeling tired and confused what do I do? At work, stopping to spend 5 minutes checking my sugar level isn’t always going to work. Things need to get done and if I can’t they will replace me with someone who can. I simply grab my high sugar pop (grape or orange soda are my favorites) or I will grab my bag of Skittles. At this point my doctor is going into cardiac arrest. This is not what they want you to do or tell you to do. I have tried the glucose tabs but after eating the entire container I still had to get more sugar. A small bag of Skittles is 56 grams of cabs most of it sugar. Think of them as sugar pills. The part I like best about them is they are scalable. I don’t have to down the entire bag. I can eat a small hand full and see how that works before eating any more. The soda are not as forgiving Once they are opened you are going to drink the whole thing. Those are about 44-46 grams each can. They are quick but not as quick as Skittles. Here is a lesson on how blood flows in the head. Ever hear of placing a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue? There are quite few very small blood vessels under the tongue and they infuse the nitro into the blood stream very fast. Catch on yet? When eating the Skittles, I do not just chew fast and swallow. I chew and chew and chew until I feel it has been long enough. This works the sugars out of the candy and under the tongue, where it gets into the blood stream faster. The soda just gets swished through the mouth and into the stomach where it takes longer to get into the blood stream. Think about it. If it was faster to get it into the system through the stomach why place the tablet under the tongue? That is how it normally feels to have a reaction. I can feel it coming and have the time to treat it. There are times however that it is too fast to stop or it happens while I am sleeping. When I first started using a pump this was a bad time for me. I was working second shift then so sleep was actually at night. The first week I had EMS waking me up 5 times. I went from 1.8 units per hours down to I think about .25 units per hour. Now I quit using the pump and am back on 24 hour insulin shots. Here recently I had a reaction at work and it was fast. I felt it coming on and got off the fork truck and made the mistake of believing I had time to wash my hands before getting anything out of machines. Remember how I said rational thinking goes out the window when the blood sugar drops? They found me collapsed over the wash sink in the bathroom. How low was it? They gave me a can Mug Root Beer so I don’t know how much was in it but I’d guess its at least 40 grams. Plus they gave me a bag of Skittles on top of that. A normal meal for me is about 60 to 80 grams of carbs. This was close to if not over 100 grams. I can’t say how long before the EMS got there but I’m sure it was not more than maybe 10 minutes. That is not long enough for much sugar to get into my system, sub-lingual or not. This brings to light another issue. Untrained and even some trained people will keep feeding you sugar to get it up when you just need to wait. It takes time to absorb sugar. Feeding a person twice as much as they need will not speed this up. I have topped out at more than 400 after EMS kept feeding me trying to get it up faster. Doesn’t work like that folks. When they checked my blood sugar that morning  it was 84. This brings up another issue I have heard about but can not find anything online about. Does how fast it drops factor in as much as how far it drops when showing signs of low blood sugar? I once heard someone on TV say that the speed of the drop is as important as how far. I have had a blood sugar of 24 and was able to tell the nurse in the hospital not only who I was and what my address was but how to get there from the hospital. She could not believe the test so she ran it again after they started the IV and it was 26 in the other arm. I have held conversations with people when my blood sugar was only in the 40s -50s. Testing at night has found the same to be true. I have felt the symptoms of low blood sugars when testing shows it in the high 80s. So to answer the question asked so many times over the years, yes I can tell but not always do I have the time or do I think rationally to prevent it from getting worse. Anyone else have any insight or experiences with low blood sugars?

 

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Nationalised health care

Since the republicans have now taken over the legislative branch of the government, what will that mean for us persons who rely on good health care to live. The idea has been brought up before but never truly pushed. I looked it up on the Net and found some surprising information out there. For one, do not type in nationalized health care pros and cans. When I did this most of the sites I was led to were not fans of the concept. I feel they were leaning in an “our way is good enough leave it alone” fashion. For a healthy person who only needs emergency treatment 95% of the time that is a good option. What about us who can not afford even basic life supporting meds and treatments without insurance or other coverage? A lot of the sites against nationalized “universal” health care bring up the arguments that once you reduce the amount doctors will make you will run out of doctors. No one will be willing to spend that much money on a job that you can’t make money at. We should talk to the doctors in Norway, Canada, New Zealand, France, or any of the more the 30 countries who have this system in place. Well it’s just a new thing right? We should see if it lasts. Norway started this in 1912, Canada in 1966 and New Zealand since 1918. So the oldest case is only 4 years shy of being 100 years old. How old does it need to be? Out of the group I listed the newest one is France and it is 40 years old this year. Another fact to point out that even the people against it can’t fight is that most of the countries will universal care for its citizens have longer life expectancies. I watched a movie Called Sicko by yes Michael Moore. I will admit I am not a fan of his movies and other pieces of work but I found this movie very revealing. In England he when into a pharmacy to ask how much it costs to fill a prescription. The sign the man pointed to said 6.65 pounds. At the exchange rate at the time that was $10. It did not matter of it was for 30 pills. 60 pills, or 90 pills. It was all the same.Here in the US it is all about getting the most money. How can I make an extra buck off this service or product? When did making money become so much more important than saving lives or just make some of them better? It will be a hard fought victory to get universal healthcare in this country because of the way the governments work. The doctors and medical companies have lawyers after lawyer to keep any policy tied up in congress for many years. Look at the tobacco issue years ago, How much money was spent to get those bills through. Yes bills, you don’t think the first one made it through do you? I have had a rough year with all my medical bills. I started a job that although it is good insurance it had a 1 year waiting period for pre-existing conditions. Ha, ha. That is all I have. I’ve been a diabetic for 37 years. I had a sore foot earlier this years and the $5000 in medical bills were denied because one of my doctors that looked at it put in a report that it had something to do with my diabetes. Up until Sept 12th I have had to pay for 100% of office calls for my specialist and off and on for meds. I had the doctor take me off the pump because it just wasn’t working for me and the cost had gotten too high. My out of pocket each months was Better than $1100 for the meds and extra of there was a doctor visit in there. If the affordable care act is repealed, what happens too  these people that can actually get insurance without a permanent pre-existing condition clause? I’ve heard so many people berating President Obama about his “Obamacare” plan. How can you complain about something we never saw. His original plan was locked up and torn apart by republicans in congress and we got a watered down, toothless, plan that was designed to fail. I like the idea but not the way it was implemented. I’m not going to blame the president because he had a good idea and tried to get it going. His fail was not pressing the issue harder to get a plan in place that was better. A friend of mine told me that the current plan was set up the insurance companies. If true is that not a conflict of interest? So think about this folks. if care is something that is taken care of by the government, is that something you would be willing to pay more taxes for? On the up side, not having to pay a cent for any medical care will pay for itself in a very short time whether you have major condition or not. Think about this, would be more willing to get an exam if was free to make sure you didn’t have cancer? Now do see why those countries have longer life spans. I had a friend who developed cancer. He did  not go to the doctor until it was too late because he did not have insurance. I do not blame him for his next act at all. He was let go by his employer because he could no longer walk well. Here’s my take on this issue. we either find a fix for this Universal care or fix the affordable care act? My friend had to have us the tax payers pay for his very expensive care on Medicaid because he could not afford the insurance. Sorry this is an issue I take to heart each time I hear someone get upset because they get told they need to get insurance even if they are healthy. I have never been “Healthy” but I know that even if I’m not using it is there when I fall down a stair and break my arm or worse yet I cause intracranial bleeding. One of the Canadians on Sicko had a friend who had this happened and he ended up with a $600,000 bill before he was allowed to go home in 6 months. $600,00 in 6 months and no insurance. Think about this as we move on after the political upheaval in congress

Here we go again

I have blogged in the past about people seeming to get the wrong impression when something happens to me, like a wound or other injury. My latest addition this list is no exception to the rule. For better than two months now I have had issues with a sore foot. Can I remember anything that caused it? No. Is there any outside signs of major damage? No. So I go to my family doctor to get it sorted out and make sure it is not anything really bad. Why do I do this even with it being a small annoyance vs. a major medical issue? My knee and shoulder are two reasons although there are others. As for the knee I had it hyperextended by a car, my own no less, and after several hours in the ER I was told there was nothing wrong. Granted this was 30 years ago when medicine was still it the dark ages but still the last I knew a knee should not be able to bend backward on its own. It hurt for many months and it was better than 18 months before it was back to pre-injury status. The shoulder was even worse. I worked on a friends car one day and while lying on the shoulder I felt it roll. Not once, not twice but a total of three times. I expected instant agony as I heard how bad a dislocation is. I waited but nothing came. I finished the muffler and went to sleep I wake up the next morning and I can hardly move the joint. I’m shortening this story quite a bit. I finally go see the doctor after a week or two and he sends me to physical therapy. It helped a little but it always comes back. I go see an orthopedic doctor and he sends me back to therapy. Over 3 and 1/2 years I see the therapists several times but the results is always only temporary. Finally he talks about a steroid shot not in the joint but the tendons. We discuss the high blood sugar issues that will be caused and I say no. I want to have a scope done on this shoulder because it has a 90% success rate in curing the pain issue. He hands me off to the scope specialist in their office and I get another MRI, that’s 2 now, and it shows nothing other than a bone spur that cutting into my rotator cuff. After the scope surgery he walks in and tells me he saw immediately why it hurt so bad. I had ripped 1/3 of the cartilage off the front of the joint and it was getting stuck in the joint. It was not until this point that I put two and two together and get the place where I am sure that that the rolling of my shoulder under the car all those year was it being dislocated. If I had little to no pain from a dislocation then how would a simple fracture slow me down. (One od the other issue was a broken wrist that I never knew about until an x-ray of my hand showed it) So I go get this foot looked at and the doctor thinks it might be a Lisfranc Fracture, rare and very hard to find I have read about. I have now had an x-ray, CAT scan, and as of yesterday an MRI of the foot. I go to see about the MRI tomorrow but so far nothing has shown up yet. The day I told my supervisor at work about this doctor’s appointment I warned him that my biggest fear was for the doctor to tell me it was broken and tell me I can’t go to work. I never made the one year point for FMLA to kick in and I needed another month beyond that to get the short term disability insurance. Any guesses as to what happened? Oh right, I already told you. The look on not just the supervisor’s face but everyone I talked to about this made me feel really untrusted. I had been telling co-workers about my shoulder issue and its wrong diagnosis. I know my own body and what it is capable of, I’ve lived with it for over 45 years now. I know people milk things to get as much either sympathy or money out situations like this but knowing me is the only cure for that problem. Oh and doctors, please listen to your patient. My family doctor does but the others tend not to so much. Maybe he has seen me come in with such little pain and big problems that he is now a believer when I say something isn’t right. Well hand on you newbies, you’ll get the hang of this sooner or later. Sorry this was a little about getting things off my chest but also as a warning to some out there who run into the same situation. Find a doctor who listens to you, not the x-ray or nurse, one who hears you when you say it feels funny or sore even when the tests come back and say there is nothing wrong. Keep at it!

Diabetic Stigmatisms

Ever talk to someone about being a diabetic and get that feeling that you have just changed the way that person sees you? I get that a lot. Mostly from people who do not understand the issues of being a diabetic. I read an article about a Dr. who admitted that while caring for a diabetic patient in the ER for a foot amputation he fell prey to the condemnation that this person had brought this on themselves by not taking care of themselves. She had type 2 and now so does he. Despite daily exercising, eating right, and otherwise taking good care of himself he now is in the beginning stages of insulin resistance, a precursor to type 2 diabetes. I still hear it all the time when something happens to me “Since you are a diabetic we need to take extra care with you to prevent complications.” It gets old fast. I have never been a slow healer like all my doctors have told me over the years. I actually go out of my way to prove them wrong. Many years ago I had a shoulder injury. Wait until you hear what the issue really was. I worked under a friends car replacing her muffler. The next day I could hardly move my arm. I waited a week or two to see if it would heal on its own before going se the doctor, who sent me to physical therapy. At that time they did not want to do a steroid shot since that would drive my blood sugar into stratospheric heights for days. 3 and 1/2 years later I was still in therapy off and on getting it twisted and shocked, not as bad as it sounds. Finally the doctor said he wanted to do the steroid shot but different than normal. He stepped into my trap at that point. I had all ready studied up on shoulder injuries and the shots and scope surgery. The shots do not heal anything but just cover up the inflammation. After 3  and 1/2 years of it getting better only to regress back into pain there was obviously something wrong in there. So I told him I wanted the scope surgery because it had an almost 90% fix rate. They did the surgery and found 1/3 of my cartilage had been ripped off the front joint. When I was under the car I was lying on that shoulder and felt it pop. I had dislocated it. Out and back in more than once even. I froze waiting for the pain that never came, until the next day that is. Well to shorten this story they fixed it after cutting the shoulder open and installing my own personal steel plate to reattach the cartilage. During the recovery and physical therapy I was forced to wait one month to let the slow healing cartilage heal well before it was again to be tortured. Yes it hurt to have it stretched and twisted but not as much as I had been let to believe. The surgery was on Thursday and by Saturday I had quit taking my sleeping pills. I mean the pain pills. I only used them the days I was going to therapy. That was a must. About 2 months in they still had me on a no lifting restriction for that arm. I couldn’t take it no more! I went to the gym and began to slowly and safely start lifting again. Yes I had never quit lifting through all the pain and discomfort. Now by the time they gave me permission to lift 5 pounds I was already up to 20. Almost 9 months later I was back under the knife to release the joint which had started to freeze. I always felt that was because they waited so long after the first surgery to start therapy. Normally I was told they start the surgery within a day or two. I was also told I may never be able to do a flat bench again do to joint damage. Never tell me stuff like that. About 18 months after the surgery I hit a new max of 300 pounds on a flat bench. I was about 38 then and this was almost 25 more than my high school record. Slow healer my gluteus maximus. I have had retinopathy and am now dealing with insulin resistance since I have stopped lifting weights. No it is not because of health just money issues. No foot problems, no high blood pressure, no heart disease, and other normal diabetic issues, yet. I have never let myself be resigned to living a safe and restricted life because of my disease. I have a body piercing, didn’t work out so well the first time so I had to get it done again. Still there. Nothing has fallen off and I did not get a massive systemic infection the second time around. Learn from your mistakes. Don’t not try something just because you are told diabetics don’t dot things like that, it’s not safe, or my favorite “We need to take extra care because you are a diabetic.”. Quit telling my what I can’t do and help me do the things I want to do. I am a diabetic and proud of it, I am not made of glass and fragile. Anyone else been told they are different or been treated different because of being a diabetic? Let’s hear about it.

Insulin resistance

This one is still new to me but I am taking a crash course on it now. I believe it is why I have been using so much insulin in the last year or so. Here’s a catch 22 for me, I used to love lifting weights. Not light weight high rep stuff but true hard core heavy lighting low rep, power building stuff. At the tender age of 42 I set a new personal record of 300 bls on the bench press just because the doctors told me I’d never be able to do a flat bench again after a repairing tore cartilage in the shoulder. Never tell me I can’t do something because I can not resist a challenge. lol Back t the issue at hand, heavy weight lifting is a good reducer of insulin resistance. All this time and I was battling the disease I didn’t I had. From what I have read, all diabetics are capable of developing it.  Being overweight (did I mention I am a hefty 241 bls now hey down from 268 2 1/2 months ago) and lack of exercise (last job had me sitting on my duff a good chunk of the day and no money to go to the gym and lift. Now I have both problems fixed. I am much more active and son to be working out here at home both with and without weights. I used to read a series of books with the character Dc Savage. Well if he could do it so can I. Dropping the body fat is a key component to this scheme of mine. The fat cells can block or resist the action of insulin. I don’t know if its related r not but I have noticed for years that in my stomach where I had been giving my shots (About 6 to 7 per day) I have a large amount of body fat there. Nowhere else on my body has that concentration of fat. I am not cut up like a body builder, God knows I would love to look like that, but I have never been morbidly  fat either. Legs, arms, and even my neck showed the rippling of muscle under the skin. The stomach however was the hold out. I hate sit ups but have resorted to them to try and fix this area. Dropping the 27 lbs in just under 3 months will help undoubtedly. Talk to your doctor. I asked her about the insulin resistance and the weight lifting and found out it was all true. I always tell people the old adage when asking about how I control diabetes or simply live with it. There is no dumb question. There are times when someone has asked me a question and turns my thinking around of a subject once it gets in my head. Never take anyone just at their word, always check up on it yourself. I encourage anyone who reads this to start typing in insulin resistance, fat cells, and anything else you want to know about this issue. Well I have to go but you keep looking for the answers to your questions that is what got me to this point. Later folks.