Being a type 1 diabetic is very complicated, discouraging, scary, isolating, frustrating, and EXPENSIVE. I don’t know how many diabetics out there do not have health insurance (or medicaid/medicare) but I am one of them. I know I am certainly not alone but it seems to surprise people every time they find out that I have no health coverage (even doctors and nurses). The truth is that I am lucky enough to have a boyfriend that doesn’t think twice when I say, “Just opened my last vial of test strips”. He just replies, “Well we better order more”, no discussion needed. There have been times that I have run out (though Marshall always fights me on this), because the truth is sometimes there are other things that need to be paid (though Marshall would choose test strips every time).
Well I order my test strips from amazon.com (cheapest place I have ever found) and this means that I have to be prepared to wait for these to arrive in the mail. Occasionally my timing sucks… like this time. I used my last test strip yesterday mid afternoon. So, since then Judah’s alerts have been all I’ve had to go on (not an ideal situation). He was confused and irritated when I would tell him he was a good boy without ever testing. He brought my “kit” to me today multiple times and couldn’t understand why I wasn’t testing (I even tried faking it, but he knows how it’s supposed to beep when I test so he wasn’t buying it). Now for those of you who aren’t sure how this works I will explain (at least how it works for me and Judah):
When Judah smells a change in my blood sugar he (in a perfect world with a perfect alert, which isn’t how it always goes) will bump me with his nose, and then, when prompted with, “What is it?” he will show either high or low. After he alerts, I test my sugar and correct as necessary. He is honestly never wrong (save ONE time). If I test and the meter reads that I am in range then it means I am going up or down- a recheck in fifteen minutes can settle that if I am not sure which way it’s headed. He largely taught himself to do this and when I began doing exercises to nurture his new talent he immediately put together what the end goal was and now can tell me before my meter when something is happening.
Well I was 26 hours with no strips (until 3:45 this afternoon), which actually isn’t very long considering I had run out. However, any diabetic will tell you- anytime without test strips seems like an eternity. Needless to say today felt like a total crap shoot, I couldn’t test when I woke up, when I ate or when Judah alerted… bummer. That being said, Judah still did his job all day and I had to accept that this was the closest I would get to and semblance of control today.
Now not being able to know how far out of range I was I had to develop a strategy. So when Judah would alert high I would give one unit of insulin and wait, if he alerted low I would eat a snack of 10 or 15 carbs and wait. Well I wasn’t sure if it was working but he didn’t alert again after I corrected, at least not soon enough that it was connected to the previous alert, at least that’s what I assume. Not knowing whether this was a good plan or not was pretty hard to feel confident. Being almost totally hypo and hyper unaware added to my anxiety about what my sugar was doing. It was, needless to say, a stressful way to spend my day (especially the day before a job interview!).
I ran down to the mailbox this afternoon and (play heavenly music here, and shine white light on the mailbox) they were here! Well I grabbed them and ran up to the house to test. Funniest part of the day was when I finally got my strips and Judah was completely uninterested in my testing (which really doesn’t happen, he always wants to know), I couldn’t figure out what his deal was! I would call him over, “Come on we are going to check” which would normally make him excited but attentive. Not this time, he would come over look at my kit and then scamper off to play with the other dogs, what gives? Finally he came over and laid on the couch next to me with a big sigh.
I slid the test strip into my meter and pricked my finger, I had to hold my breath while I waited for the reading. I think I even closed my eyes when I heard the meter beep telling me that the results were in. I took a deep breath and looked at the screen, no way! 114, seriously? Well obviously I had nothing to worry about, of course I didn’t! Judah knows what his job is and isn’t going to let me not being able to test ruin anything! So I guess next time this happens (hopefully not too often) I will know that my boy has my back!