Cutting Insulin in Half

It’s the one appointment per year that you just dread. Most of the time I send my husband to the doctor and get the updated report from him when he returns. This time because of changes in insurance I accompanied him. With an insulin pump ready to die on us any day I’m usually the one who battles the insurance company while he works. One of those “because I’m a MOM and work from home I get the grunge job.”  Note to men everywhere: A three hour phone call with the insurance company and screaming kids in the background is NOT the sitting at home eating Bon Bons and watching soap operas scenario you may envision us doing all day. No, it’s the equivalent of HELL. Because during that three hour phone call breakfast and snack time passed, the dog barfed on the carpet when she tried eating an entire tennis ball, I cleaned up all the messes (breakfast, snack and dog), did some laundry, made some notes and helped kids with summer chores and projects. Honestly, work seems so much easier than a day at home.

As we sat in the doctor’s office I looked around. Our doctor’s are big into the Tour de Cure. It’s kind of a  joke between runners and bikers that we just don’t like each other. As we caught up with our nurse practitioner on some of the races he was in and what our kids were all up to (we used to work together waaaaay back when we worked in Orthopedics and Neurology together and used to laugh when we’d run into each other at Walmart and had screaming little ones in the cart. A quick “hey, how are you?” “Good! Bye!!!!” were all we could manage to get in before running back down the aisles to grab whatever foods we could). So the diabetes clinic and my husband and I go way back and way beyond diabetes.

The doctors appointment was typical. My husband’s A1C was a little too high, he needs to check his blood sugar more often, he needs to remember to bolus and his basal settings on his pump were way too high. Typical stuff. Except that his nurse practitioner decided to cut his insulin basal rates in half. We are used to seeing the doctor and know he usually likes to take the taper approach to my husband instead of the drastic overhaul approach.

My husband agreed to try the new basal rates and he and the nurse practitioner reset his pump and off we went. Several hours later my husband sent me a text from where he was working along with several others: type 1 diabetes

When I get those text messages it’s an instant “oh CRAP!” The rest of the night he won’t feel good, will pretty well hide downstairs in our bedroom rotating between the bed and the recliner and will be whiny. It also usually means a few nights of no sleep as we set the alarm for every few hours to rotate between him and I doing his blood sugars so we can each try to get a few hours stretch of sleep.

The rest of the night and all the next day he battled 300-500 blood sugars, bolused like crazy and ate NOTHING since he was so sick. By the middle of the next day he was texting than calling me asking if I could call the diabetes clinic to have them tell me what his old pump settings were. “I can’t do this anymore! I’m pumping (aka bolusing) like crazy and can’t get feeling better!! I can’t live like this anymore!”

I called the diabetes clinic who just wanted to talk to him anyway (of course, I couldn’t just tell my husband to call the diabetes clinic himself to begin with, we have to go through the process. Where I call, the diabetes clinic says they’ll call him back, I look like a whiny wife to the diabetes clinic and my husband grows more impatient as he waits for them to call him back). It’s the process. I am grateful to the diabetes clinic for being so patient with my husband. I’m still learning patience through the process. I just try to be as empathetic as I can. I have no idea what it’s like to instantly feel like you have the flu and a peanut sized bladder then switch gears and feel like you’re lethargic, tired and can’t feel your arms or legs  while everyone feels like they are talking to you through a long tunnel when you go low after a couple of hours. And to put your body through these highs and lows for several days? I can’t even begin to imagine.
But I am grateful that we live in an area that has a diabetes management center that takes management seriously. They do a great job and we are grateful they are only a few minutes away when we need them.
The diabetes clinic called him back, they set his pump to a middle of the road taper between what they set him to at the clinic and what he was before, a couple more sleepless nights checking blood sugars and he’s now doing much better.
If you catch a minute, read this great article on Type 1 Diabetes and Metabolic Memory.
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