Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Brain drain

As I was texting with  a friend this morning, a startling thought came to me from a very simple event. My pump is getting low on insulin (less than 20 units).  A sweet little alarm goes off when this happens (I am beginning to hate the song Für Elise) warning me that I need to refill the pump.  This is not a big deal anymore and takes me less than 5 minutes, as long as my blood sugar isn’t low when I do it. (I’ve done this and I don’t recommend it.  My fingers were completely clumsy and I’m lucky I didn’t end up spilling insulin everywhere and stabbing myself repeatedly.) But I still have 20 units of insulin and I hate wasting insulin. (There are children in third world countries who need insulin and can’t get it. I’m not sure how my saving insulin will help, but it haunts me. Kind of like the old ‘clean your plate – there are children starving in China’ ploy.  OK, send my liver and onions to them! I digress….)   So I am presented with a decision: Do I change out the pump now, or wait until, say, after lunch when there are fewer than 10 units and thereby I will throw away less insulin? There’s another thing I have to think about here: When the pump has less than 20 units, I find that the delivery of the insulin is less predictable and I tend to go high, which bugs me.  So by waiting, I risk high blood sugars and the rotten feeling that goes along with them.

All of this brings me finally to the startling thought I mentioned: I face little decisions like this all day long.  Refill my pump now or later?  Bolus for a blood sugar of 150 or just leave it alone and assume it will float down to a more in-range number by lunchtime?  Eat a snack or not? Peanut butter crackers or yogurt or a cookie? Deal with a low after swimming or see if it will correct itself? And then there are the whys.  Why am I slightly high? Did I bolus correctly for that fig jam on my english muffin or it is stress or is the pump not delivering correctly? Why did I go high after swimming one day and low the next?  Why do I even have this ‘blasted diabetes’ (as Father Tim would say)?

Here’s the conclusion I came to about all of this: I have been feeling frustrated lately at my seemingly shortened attention span.  I can’t seem to concentrate on one thing for very long. I now wonder if this isn’t a by-product of living with diabetes. These interruptions of my day by beeps, buzzes and alarms (even as sweet as Für Elise) break my concentration. Is this somehow causing my mind to wander more than it used to even when I am not interrupted by diabetes?

I don’t know the answer to that last question, but it does feel like I am somehow being conditioned to deal with the urgent even when it interrupts the important.  This really bugs me.  I am working hard to condition myself to deal quickly with a buzzing or beeping and get back to what I was doing.  Unfortunately this sometimes means I ignore my CGM too long when it tries to tell me I am low (or high, but more often low), and then I end up losing even more time dealing with the symptoms. There is a happy balance somewhere that I have not yet figured out.

No wonder my brain is feeling pretty well drained at the end of most days.  It’s almost like I am dealing with two lives – my ‘real’ life and my diabetes life. Not almost. I AM dealing with two lives. They run completely integrated, but I am trying to separate them into neat parallel lines, keeping one from interfering with the other.  That’s not working.  I need a better solution, the balance that allows me to deal with both lives in a way that doesn’t drive me nuts.  If anyone has any suggestions, I’m open.  Meanwhile, I should find out why my CGM is buzzing……..

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