Thursday, March 20, 2014

Bloody Blood Sugar

Is there some kind of chemical reaction in the brain that occurs from just hearing the word sugar?  Really, when someone says sugar or Kit Kat, there's a small dose of excitement that warms my heart.  Like one of Pavlov's dogs, I'm all set to salivate just from the word sugar.

When all of my health issues started last summer, I began having frequent issues with hypoglycemia.  For those of you non-medical folks (like myself), this is when your blood sugar drops too low.  Anything lower than 70 mg/dL is what is considered low.  (Don't ask me what that whole mg/dL stuff is.  From my chemistry/biology days, I have a rough idea, but trying to explain it could be disastrous for all involved!)  There are some fantastic (sarcasm right there) symptoms that go along with this.  For me, I've had the blurry vision, uncontrollable shaking and weakness, headache, sweating, and heart racing.

This isn't something to mess around with, or so some have told me.  I did have one physician tell me that someone of my height and weight shouldn't be too concerned about low readings.  Nevertheless, I invested $250 into my pre-diabetes starter kit last fall and started checking my blood sugar fairly regularly.  Keep in mind, without a diabetes diagnosis, this is all out of pocket.  Insurance hasn't covered any of it.  Each test strip I use costs $1.75.  (Each time I check my blood sugar is one Kit Kat and a can of Diet Coke at Kwik Trip!)

Checking your blood sugar can get old.  This is especially true for someone who is not labeled with any type of diabetes.  I quit checking after the physician told me the low readings were normal and he did not feel there was any reason to be concerned.  It didn't take me long to learn what my low version of normal is and what my abnormal version of low is. I don't start experiencing the symptoms until my blood sugar is in the low 60s.  Back in the fall, I was having readings in the 40s and that was where we ran into some trouble.  Over time, these things cleared up, or so I thought.

A few weeks ago, I was at work and had taken my morning break and ate breakfast.  Within an hour, I was experiencing the oh-my-god-I-need-lots-of-carbs attack that should follow a meal that closely.  After having three of these episodes in one day, I decided it was time to start checking the blood sugar again.

I've been doing this checking thing off and on for seven months.  Do people ever get used to this?  I can't even remember how many tubes of test strips I have gone through, but EVERY TIME... this is what I look like:

The entire process is quite an experience for me.  First, you prep the needle in the little poker machine thing (lancing device).  You put the test strip in the meter.  And then, you press the lancing device against your finger.  This is the part where I look at something to distract me.  Sometimes it's the wall.  Sometimes I cross my eyes when I squint them shut.  And then, I tell myself, "C'mon you pansy!  Press the dang button!!"  And the CLICK sound is the worst part of the entire experience.

I can't figure out why this is such a big production.  I've handled three arterial blood gas tests like a champ, a few failed IV attempts, countless blood draws, and the stupid finger poke kills me every time.

Moral of the story:  I don't really have one.

I need a Kit Kat.  

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