Monday, August 9, 2010

MacGyver Like Diabetes Management

Each year my Uncle throws what he calls the "Sweeney Bass Tournament," at his lake front cottage just North of Albany, NY.  The origins of the name are a bit confusing, in the 20 or so years that the family BBQ has been going on a total of zero bass have been caught and well I'm not sure anyone has actually seen a bass in the lake, ever.  But I guess Bass Tournament sounds alot better than Sunny Tournament.  The family get together was held this past Saturday and marked the first time I was able to make the party in about 3 years.

Besides some great highlights, like my sister's boyfriend and 2 of our cousins flipping the canoe over in the lake, my first match of can-jam and running the fastest 3.5 miles and longest distance (7.5 miles) I have run since prior to IMCDA, one diabetic incident almost soured my day.  In my temporary stay at my parent's house during my quest to launch my ideal post-MBA career my diabetic supplies aren't in the nightstand I normally keep them in; since the stand is in storage.  So, about a week ago my Medtronic Inserter fell into the vortex of lost things in my parent's house forcing me to put my infusion sites in by hand.

The Medtronic Inserter makes putting a silhouette infusion site in way easier than putting it in by hand.  The "gun" controls the speed and angle the needle punctures your body at creating an optimal insertion.  When inserting a site by hand I never know how hard or deep to push or what angle I should ultimately put the needle in at. Plus, the "gun" is considerably less painful than putting a site in by hand.  With that history, on Saturday I had to change my infusion site by hand and hoped that I had put it in at the right angle.

When I finished my 7.5 mile run on beautiful country roads up at the lake house I hopped in my Aunt and Uncle's shower. When I removed my running shorts I looked down to see a bloody infusion site hanging at my waist - it had completely fallen out of my butt.  I quickly showered, got dressed, and then found my Mom to say "ummm, I have a problem."  Normally I bring an extra site with me when I travel but for whatever reason I didn't have one in my bag of blood sugar doom.  I then tried to call Medtronic to see if there were any reps in the area I could grab a site from but after 20 minutes on hold with no answer I went to plan C.

I had remembered sometime ago reading on another diabetic's blog that they used their pump reservoir as an insulin source and inserted their novolog with a syringe.  With that faint memory my sister and I headed to CVS to pick up a package of syringes.  Once in the car I took the reservoir out of my pump, tried to calculate 2 units of insulin on the 50 unit syringe and for the first time in over 3 years stuck the needle into my gut to manually give myself insulin.  The day was kind of saved and we wouldn't have to leave the party early.

For the next 5 hours I kept a close watch on my blood sugar levels but knew there was no way I could be as precise with a 50 unit syringe as I could be with either a novolog pen or especially my pump.  For dinner I ate as carb light as I could passing over the meatballs, pasta, steak and fried chicken for quinoa, salad and green beans.  Even with a super careful eye for carbohydrates my blood sugar was just not stable, the difference between giving myself 3 and 5 units of novolog is huge from a blood sugar perspective, but on the syringe each looks about the same.  So for the next 2.5 hours I battled a bunch of lows, but had an ample supply of clif mojo bars and Erin Bakers brownie bites to stave off the glucose deficit.

Once home I happily put in my infusion site and once again had my tail attached to me.  Sleep Saturday night/ Sunday morning was a mess however.  The combination of my attempts to work out last week at a lower blood sugar target and my non-precise insulin calculations during the day had me wake up four times with blood sugars in the 40s!  After some extra eating on Sunday including a flat bread pizza, ice cream and a delicious avocado and potato salad my blood sugars have stabilized and I'm back to normal. But my day of MacGyvering out blood sugar management was an interesting one.


Lindsay said...

Wow! I would never imagine someone saying they missed their Medtronic Inserter. When I used Quick-Sets, I used the inserter, but I always ended up pressing one button before the other and having to reset. The one for the silhouette just looks like a medieval torture device and sits on my back shelf.

Alison said...

Nice post, Ed. I like your comparison of the pump to a tail lol. So true. Glad things worked out okay with the syringes and that you were able to roll on with the day.