Over the past year I’ve learned a lot about how diabetes can influence your emotional state and your personality. Different people have different symptoms or ways that these particular things manifest themselves. I go one of two ways (or a combination of the two) one we have affectionately (or not) named “The Dragon Lady” the other is just “The Meltdown”. The Dragon Lady tends to arrive when I have missed a meal, and therefore a dose of insulin and a necessary intake of carbs. The Meltdown tends to manifest when I have had a bit of a roller coaster day as far as glucose goes. Well the day before thanksgiving was certainly a meltdown day.
I woke up once again to a paw in the back of the head, ugh. Well I have managed to sleep in later than usual. “What is it?” I roll over and Judah climbs on top of me and begins to bump my face. When Judah is laying on top of my he doesn’t generally distinguish between high or low, he just wants me to test. This morning however he was continually pawing my chest with one foot, must be high this morning. Test strip, prick finger, squeeze, apply blood to strip, beep, wait, beep beep and… 209mg/dl (8:44 AM)… shit. Guess it’s time to get up and eat. Shit, not the way I wanted to start my day. Get up, make eggs with a single piece of toast, give correction and bolas (aggressive correction, I always need more insulin for the first half of the day). I admit I got pretty lost in the day for the rest of the morning and didn’t test again until 11:30 AM (prompted by Judah) 200mg/dl- well I still have Insulin on board (IOB) so I’ll wait until lunch and see what it does. This makes Judah upset, he wants me to do something, sometimes I wish I could explain my logic.
Well Judah decides that because I am making the wrong decision he will shadow me for the next hour until he alerts again and this time is insistent. He brings my kit to me, not taking “no” for an answer. I test again, 200mg/dl (12:21 PM), damn it, this is kind of bullshit. So I make lunch (black beans, red pepper, onion, mushroom, broccoli- sauteed in a pan with olive oil, add a little apple cider vinegar and some of the bean juice from the can right before you shut it off, delicious!) and give my self another correction and bolas. Eat lunch, let the dogs out, play chase the stick for a while and Judah wants to stay outside when the rest of us decide we are done. He does this, when you call everyone to come in he will lay down in the middle of the yard and look at you. If you tell him, “No, it’s time to go in” he will but it’s a nice cool day and his husky body loves it. So I clip him onto the run (he is still a dog and has a great weakness for squirrels) just to be safe and head inside. I bake some rolls for Thanksgiving dinner and settle down to some computer time.
Before too long I hear Judah outside starting to fuss, a little whining and I can hear him jumping up and down on the deck. “Must be ready to come in now” to the the other three dogs in the house (one is my mother’s) and I head to the front door. As I step out onto the deck Judah seems to be losing his mind. He is acting like he hasn’t seen me in a week. He jumps up onto me, seriously, my dog doesn’t jump on people, especially not me! “Off” I make him sit and un-clip the run from his collar. He breaks the sit, bump, bump bump, bump, he’s frantic. “What is it?” Two paws to the chest, hard. He sits down and then again, too paws to the chest. “Alright, alright let’s go check.” I opened the front door and Judah immediately went to the den and sat next to my kit on the table.
Strip, prick the finger, squeeze, apply the blood to the strip, beep, wait, beep beep and… 55mg/dl (3:25PM), holy shit. “Good low, Judah, good boy.” I head into the kitchen and grab a Capri Sun (17 carbs) and suck it down. It freaks me out that I can be that low and not feel anything strange, I really don’t know what would happen without my Judah! Now me being a bit ADHD I wonder off on a new project and don’t test again until Judah tracks me down (upstairs now) about an hour later. Bump, “Seriously?! What is it?” One paw to the knee, “Show me again, what is it?” Again, one paw to the knee, this time he flexes his foot so it feels like he’s grabbing me. “Alright, we’ll check, get your kit.”
I follow him down the stairs and he meets me in the kitchen with the kit. Strip, prick the finger, squeeze, apply the blood to the strip, beep, wait, beep beep and… 170 mg/dl (4:33PM) “What the fuck is this bullshit?!” What a day! Well I made the decision not to correct this high and see where it went. Marshall got home a little late so we were looking at a late dinner. What a frustrating day I’ve had, up and down, with no pattern I could really follow and it was making me feel tired and sick. Well poor Marshall makes it home and I begin to feel less tough and less in control (it’s easy to feel like I can handle anything when I don’t have a choice). Marshall knows that when I have a day like this I tend to be a bit of a sissy girl when he gets home, like a little kid, I just need someone else to deal with this garbage sometimes. It is totally unfair of me to think that Marshall should take this burden from me and usually I recognize that, but not today. He walks in the door right after another alert from Judah, a low (65mg/dl 7:10PM).
I rip my meter out of the case and show him all my readings for the day, explaining that this second low is after an uncorrected high. He can tell I’m not feeling good about things. He recommends I eat chocolate to correct the low (and probably hoping it will correct my attitude as well) and I do, dark chocolate with hazelnuts 🙂 my fav. Not long after that as I am sitting there watching Marshall make dinner (bless him for being SO good to me, he just worked all day and he’s the one making dinner) I get to feeling exceptionally mopey. I headed upstairs and curled up on my bed, alone, in the dark. Now I don’t even remember if I said something rude to Marshall or not, but I do know that my mom felt the need to come upstairs and roust me. I heard her coming up the stairs and I started to cry… shit. She sat down on the bed and began what felt like an interrogation (it wasn’t, she was simply investigating the situation). I kept telling her to “Go away” and “Leave me alone”, it must have felt like a flash back to 10 year old me after being grounded. After she failed after many attempts to get me up she declared she was going to mess with my ferrets and I’d better get up and chaperone her. Proof of 10 year old me being present, it worked, I got up, stopped crying and went into the “weasel room” (as we call it) and told her all their names and personalities. She convinced me to come downstairs and told me to check my sugar again.
I get to my meter in the kitchen and test. The number comes up and I am back into meltdown, and now it’s reached epic proportions. 250mg/dl (7:57PM) “What the hell is going on?! I can’t keep doing this shit. This doesn’t make any sense, up and down, up and down enough! I don’t wanna do this anymore, I don’t want this anymore. I give up!” I am sure these and a slue of other ridiculous statements were flowing out of my mouth at a shocking pace and volume. Everything my mom says to try and calm me down just seems to send me farther over the edge. I am fairly certain that this is when she retreated to the other room (we were all supposed to watch a movie together) with my father and brother visiting from college. Marshall managed to at least bring my volume down and told me that if the number made no sense to me then I should wash my hands and check again. Perhaps there was chocolate on my finger? (I was in such a tizzy I hadn’t used an alcohol wipe) I was crying my eyes out as I washed my hands and checked again, 189 mg/dl (8:03PM). Instantly I calm down, it is high but makes way more sense (I may have gone a little overboard on the chocolate). I give a correction and bolas for dinner.
We make our way into the den to join my family and watch “Bad Ass”. Before the movie is over I check again (Judah demanded) and it’s 183mg/dl (9:54PM) I still have IOB so I wait it out. Marshall and I head outside with the dogs right before we go to bed. We play with Judah and the puppy for a while and though Judah is bumping and poking me I assume this is all part of the excitement of playing. We head inside and upstairs (we have recently moved into my parents house to save up some money so hopefully we can buy next year!). Marshall and I settle into bed and watch some TV. Judah begins banging on the bedroom door wanting to get out, I assume to go and hang out with the rest of my family who is still up and about. We let him out and less than a minute later my mom is at the bottom of the stairs, “What does one paw mean?”
“What does one paw mean? Judah just came down to the den and stared at me, when I asked him what was up he gave me one paw and then stared at me until I stood up.”
“One paw is high.”
“Well check your sugar please.”
So I checked, “151, it’s high, not wicked high, but too high.”
“Wow, I mean I know that he alerts, but he just came to tell me! Your dog has just impressed me so much, he is really amazing.”
I couldn’t help but giggle (at least I wasn’t crying again), I looked at Marshall and then said to my mom, “I think he was trying to alert outside but we were all playing so I wasn’t really getting it I guess.”
“So he came to tell me?!”
“Yeah, if I don’t ‘get it’ he will find someone that does. He’s a pretty smart guy.”
It’s true, he is incredible. So is Marshall for not only taking on the burden of financially supporting us right now, but for taking on the burden of a girlfriend with type 1 diabetes and never even considering running for the hills. Of course my family is also incredible for understanding the meltdown is absolutely nothing personal and for taking in me and Marshall and our brood of animals (3 dogs, 4 ferrets, a bird and a turtle- our cat is being elsewhere because my mother’s cat doesn’t do cats). I find that in the moment these meltdowns feel so real, so awful and totally necessary at the time. Looking back now I can see how irrational the whole evening was, but while I was standing in it it was the most genuine feeling ever.
I checked one last time at 11:45PM to finally get a good reading of 128 mg/dl and got to go to sleep, which I clearly needed. Ugh, what a day!
Oh and I loved the movie by the way 🙂