The Tale of the Drunk Diabetic

By | 9 December, 2009
Beer. Sweet, Sweet Beer

Beer. Sweet, Sweet Beer

By Samantha

Beer. It’s brilliant stuff. It tastes nice and it gets you tipsy. However, for a diabetic, it can be pretty nasty. The thing with beer is that it shoots the blood sugar levels through the roof and then later on the diabetic in question goes hypo. And if after drinking enough beer to make yourself sufficiently drunk, stumbling home chatting about rubbish is more fun than worrying about what levels the bloods are at. Until it gets to the stage half way home where you start panicing that you’ve left the monitor in the pub, and proceed to sit down on the cold pavement and start rooting through your bag, only to look up and see a policeman gazing down at you.

“Are you ok there?” – nice policeman
“Yeah…I’m a bit drunk and diabetic and I can’t find my blood machine anywhere!”
“Oh. That’s no good. Are you feeling funny then? Let me help you find it” – nice policeman

And then, nice policeman sends you on your way, telling you to look after yourself and make sure you eat some carbs before bed. Being in this inebriated state means it can take much longer to stumble home, especially if you haven’t had any dinner. So, when at nearly midnight you stumble in and your other half decides it’s high time to cook spaghetti bolognaise, it seems like a good idea at the time. Check the blood glucose levels and they’re at 2.3mmol/l, so the policeman was right to tell you to eat something.

But of course, you start to panic, and the other half has to sit you down with a strong coffee and some rather nice orange glucotabs, and then presents you with dinner. You guess how much insulin to have, and then proceed to spill it all over yourself. Not a proud moment there eh? And then of course you realise that you really do need to go to bed, because the world is spinning. But your sugars are still low, and you can’t find your lantus pen ANYWHERE, and the search starts again. And the only one you can find in the spinny world is the old one, which doesn’t do the amount of lantus you need. So you make do, and crawl into bed where sleep, or rather passing out, comes quickly. Morning comes, and you wake up to levels that are way too high, and they run throughout the day. Ah, diabetes.

This is a story that I’ve found myself repeating on many an occasion. And each and every time I tell myself that because drink screws so horrifically with this diabetes, next time I’ll limit myself. And I never ever do. I still go out after work and knock back the beers like a trooper, panic because my sugars are up in the twenties and then panic even more when they fall through the floor.And it always amazes me how booze does that. Beer contains carbs, so it’s suggested that you need to bolus appropriately. But the alcohol in it conversely lowers blood glucose levels. So it’s a catch 22 situation. I’m not too sure of the ins and outs of the sciency stuff to do with it, but it’s interesting to say the least.

It’s a shame sometimes that diabetes seems to get in the way of going out for a night with friends in the pub. But I guess, sometimes it’s needed. And the stories that can come from it can make for some brilliant entertainment. I mean, how many people have had a policeman help them find their blood glucose machine? Not many non pancreatically challenged people let me tell you!


Samantha is Type One and regularly blogs at

2 thoughts on “The Tale of the Drunk Diabetic

  1. Tim

    The problem I always have when I’m out in the pub is that I regularly check my BG. But then I forget that I’ve done it and check again. Rinse and repeat all evening.

    The next morning I look through my meter readings and I’ve been checking every 20 minutes from 11pm to 3am. Gets through the test strips – but at least I know if my BG is all out of goose!

  2. Samantha

    ooooh i did the very same on friday night, got through a whole pot of strips! And then I usually have beer all over my hands cuz I am useless with carrying beer from bar to table! And thus, BGs higher…and drunk Sam starts the cycle all over again. Brilliant stuff. Must do it again one day 😀


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