Monday, September 13, 2010

One forgotten dose of insulin later...

Y'know, I've committed some bonehead moves in my life, but this one always seems to win me a prize. The prize is feeling like crap, and having to wait it out until the late-taken dose kicks in.

Many people ask me, "How on Earth can you forget something like taking your insulin?" Well, it's actually quite easy, as the taking of such meds is a daily routine. Haven't you ever forgotten to do something in your daily routine before you rush out of the house? Like brushing your teeth...? It actually happens all the time. You become distracted by something, leave your house, and before you know it, you're running your tongue over your "furry teeth" and feeling very conscious of the fact that you might end up breathing in someone's face, even by accident.

That's what it's like to forget to take one's insulin. Thankfully, I've gotten into some habits that help me avoid becoming so sick that I'd require hospitalization. Like making sure I have what I need to take a dose or two of insulin should I be out of the house for a few hours.

Today is extra special, because I woke and made myself some iced coffee. I used flavored creamer in it, and aside from the fact that the creamer, all on its own, would be converted to sugar inside my body, there is added sugar to it for the flavoring. So without that dose of morning insulin, I've been downing liquid sugar for the last hour and a half, which has made me feel like utter garbage.

"What's it feel like?" It's not easy to explain. Do you know what an "Indian burn" is? It's when someone grips your forearm and twists your skin in opposite directions. Now imagine that pain across your entire torso and in your arms, from fingers to mid-bicep. There are also sharp, electric pains shooting through my legs and feet. That's just my neuropathy out of control to match my high sugar.

Now comes the state of ketosis that I'm in. There's a "fruity" scent coming from my lungs. In the short time during my screw-up, acetone has been building up in my blood stream. It's the same stuff used in nail polish remover and industrial solvents. If it was REALLY high, I'd be vomiting almost nonstop. Thankfully, my body is just sticking to getting rid of the acid through my lungs. UNthankfully, my breathing is a little labored. This entire process is called "Kussmaul breathing." Usually it's associated with much deeper breaths than what I'm taking now, but it's the same basic process.

Oh...One other "exciting" sensation is a burning in my muscles. Many people don't realize this, but one of the places the body stores sugar is in the muscles. The best way I can think of describing it is to imagine microscopic sugar crystals gathering up in your muscles. Every time you move, they cause a burning sensation that is close to the burn you get after a hard workout, but not quite.

I can almost imagine Becky sitting there, reading this post and saying, "Oh my G-d! I have to talk to him to make sure he's okay!" Well, you can relax, my love, and all others becoming concerned. Before making this post, I not only took the insulin that was due, but extra to handle the state of ketosis. I've also abandoned the iced coffee for calorie free drinks to help wash the extra sugar and acetone out of me. The pain is already starting to decrease, and my breathing is starting to ease. In a few hours, my sugar level will be back to normal, and I'll feel completely better. In fact, I should be in perfect shape by the time Becky reads this.

I just wanted to share this event because...well, I haven't yet. And it's a part of my life that becomes part of the answer as to WHY I'm disabled. Yes, this is quite common in diabetics. But because I'm a brittle diabetic for 36 years as of this very month, it seems to hit harder and faster. Mind you, that's my perspective. Ask a doctor and he might tell you there's no such thing as "hitting harder and faster."

I'm off to follow my own regular advice, and that's "be well!" =)

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