The husband and I went out for lunch over the weekend. We were chatting away, making plans to go and see some friends when I did something which to the eyes of a casual observer, may be classed as unacceptable dinner table behaviour. I stuck my hand down the back of my trousers, rummaged around a bit, pulled it back out, sniffed my fingers and then held my fingers to my husband’s nose for him to do the same.
All of this happened in the middle of our conversation, with barely an acknowledgement from either of us that it had happened.
It was only in the car on the way home that the lightning bolt of horror struck me. What must that have looked like to all the other poor people trying to enjoy their lunch? I fear I may owe them an explanation. This wasn’t uncouth and frankly quite disgusting behaviour in a public place, it was an exercise in medical necessity. Let me explain.
Mid conversation, my CGM alarmed to tell me I was rising quickly and was a 10. I was surprised by this as I was expecting to be around a 5. I remembered that just a couple of hours earlier I’d inserted a new infusion set into my upper right buttock. So I did what any normal diabetic would do, I checked the site. I put my hand down the back of my trousers to check that I had attached the loose end properly to the cannula. I also poked it to see if it hurt, often a sign for me that something isn’t right. Then I did my final test for any site I’m suspicious of. I ran my finger round it and then sniffed my finger to see if I could smell insulin. If I can, it’s generally an indication that something mightn’t be quite right. Unfortunately, after too many years exposed to insulin, I don’t tend to be that sensitive to the smell of it anymore, so I asked the husband if he could smell insulin on my fingers, just to double check.
As it was, the set was attached, there was no smell of insulin and I put the high down to having done nothing much all morning and probably used less energy than usual.
I appear to be able to live quite well with diabetes, but I am concerned that it makes me unwittingly behave in public in ways that, I have to admit, must look a bit strange to an innocent observer trying to enjoy their lunch. I suppose I should look on the bright side and be grateful I didn’t top it off by going hypo and embarrassing myself in the restaurant! Is it just me that’s losing my dignity to diabetes?
Long time readers of your soaraway Shoot Up might recall that I started driving lessons in 2009. They might also have noted that announcements of me passing my test were conspicuous by their absence. No, I didn’t fail; I merely took a year long break from lessons for various reasons that are too tedious to go into here.
Yes, yes, I know that still not driving at the age of 33 makes me a social pariah, a tragic loser in life. I recall that someone mildly noteworthy once said that anyone who still uses a bus after the age of 30 is a failure. They might be right but, hey, I can live with some elements of failure in my life. I can take it. Anyway, the LRT 44 is a great service into the centre of the city which I can get from right outside our house! So there, mildly noteworthy person!
Anyway, I’ve just had my second two hour lesson in a fancy new Mini (yes, I know the new Minis are made by BMW, aren’t proper Minis and aren’t as wonderful as the original cars. But I don’t care, it’s a nice car to drive and I like it. If you disagree, take it to the Top Gear forums).
I’m finding driving itself quite fun – I can now reverse around a corner with some degree of confidence – despite the dark nights and pissing rain that I’ve been forced to learn in so far. My new instructor is far more competent than my last one and, hopefully, I might get the practical test passed within a few months (I passed the theory test last year (with only one question wrong!)). Anyway, fingers crossed.
Diabetes-wise, it’s all going reasonably well too. We’ve all heard stories of diabetics having hypos at the wheel and killing themselves or other people. Utilising a degree of understatement, this is Not a Good Thing. I’ve therefore been careful to manage my levels before going out on a lesson.
It is, however, moderately complicated. I’ve been having two hours lessons in the evening, which is when I usually go a little low. I’ve therefore considered putting on a bit of a temporary basal on the pump to keep my levels from drifting down too low. Ah, but then learning to drive can be stressful, which tends to raise my levels. So maybe I need to, actually, put in more insulin? It’s all quite interesting.
It turns out that I don’t really get that stressed and a minor temporary basal works a treat for me. I’ve been checking my BG before and half way through a lesson to see what’s going on and this is helping me spot patterns. I am quite nervous though of being in charge of one tonne of rapidly moving metal while under the influence of diabetes, so it’s something I plan to keep a close eye on in the future.
So the streets of Edinburgh are safe from my diabetes. Whether they are safe from my driving is, however, another question.
Comatose and rotting toes – the lighter side of insulin dependency