Thanksgiving as a diabetic: a medical math problem

I was so proud of myself for eating a reasonable meal at my in-laws on Thanksgiving. I had one plate of food and some trifle dessert. Someone mentioned how I shouldn't really have the dessert because it was so full of sugar, but I ignored that. If I take the insulin for it, it's no different than if I had a working pancreas to take the insulin for it. As we headed home from Richmond my blood sugar was 159 mg/dL and I patted myself on the back for a holiday meal well done. I took one unit of insulin in anticipation of that trifle still having an effect and we continued our trek home for Thanksgiving dinner number two. Everything was going as planned with dinner #1 at 3pm (blood sugar was a perfect 79, estimated 84g of carbs, took 7 units) and dinner #2 at 7pm. But dinner #2 got complicated. We all got ready to sit down right at 7 but Ian didn't want to sit at the table. After a bit of prodding I figured out that he wanted to have Mama Milk first in the chair before eating, so while everyone else pulled up a chair for dinner, Ian and I headed to the recliner for an appetizer of milk. I got a late start to dinner because of that but assumed I would eat my same typical plate of starches and a small dessert. But I had a small child in my lap (he wanted to eat dinner but he wanted to eat dinner WITH MOMMY) and was distracted so I didn't actually check my blood first.

I assumed things were still on track so I estimated I would eat the same as dinner #1. Since I had 84g last time and still gave myself an extra unit, I estimated 96g this time and gave myself 8 units total. This was around 8pm.

And then Ian proceeded to eat half of my Thanksgiving dinner off my plate. I poured myself a cup of cider which has a ton of sugar in it, but never actually drank it since I think I messed it up with too much citrus and it tasted off. I did manage to eat a small piece of pumpkin pie and I felt full so I assumed all was well.

About the time everyone left to go home, though, I started feeling a little off. At 11:15pm I checked my blood and it was 56 (whoops). So I grabbed a Coke from the fridge and assumed the 38g of sugar in that would set me back on course. At 12:30 I was back up to 89 and feeling proud to have fixed that bad math from before.

But once Rich had put Ian to bed, I started feeling worse. I have this stupid head cold but my stomach was getting queasy too. I decided to just go to bed. Rich came up with me to make sure I was settled and I decided to check my blood one more time just for good measure. Crap, it was only 12:45 but I was down to 76. That explained the nausea coming on ... I was going low and fast.

Rich brought me juice and I struggled to drink it (chugging juice when you feel like puking is not fun). By 1am I was still dropping to 62. More juice. More deep breaths to not puke up said juice. By 1:15, I was up to 73.

And I was wiped out. I wasn't sure if I would really be better at that point but couldn't bear another drop of juice. I turned my pump off for an hour and rolled over to moan quietly to myself waiting for sleep to take over. Rich stayed on high alert for another hour or so and rested in the guest room to give me and the boy some space. The last thing we needed was the boy waking up and demanding anything.

So then at 7 this morning, I got up to pee and felt that fuzzy feeling of being high (it's a difficult thing to describe so fuzzy will have to do). I cringed as I checked my blood and it returned 384. Sigh. Time to take an assload of insulin (that's a medical term), chug some water and wait a few hours to feel normal again. By the time we got to brunch, I was grateful to be under 200.

As I was lying in bed, stuffed up with a cold and trying not to puke, I had about 30 seconds of self-pity. I started to get all teary-eyed over how frustrating it was to have to eat or drink something I had zero interest in because it was acting as medicine. I was irritated with myself for over-estimating my appetite. They say your eyes can be bigger than your stomach, but mine were apparently bigger than my pancreas. I was jealous of people whose dinner plans don't involve so much math.

But it was fleeting. Rich rubbed my head and I realized that tuning up to cry was only going to make me feel worse. So I counted myself thankful for a helpful husband, the wonders of apple juice, health insurance if I needed it and the confidence that at least I knew why I felt crappy, even if it would take a while to fix it.

Sometimes just knowing what you're up against is the best you can hope for.