March 05, 2003
permalink A tedious example of how things go wrong

It can be so frustrating when you're aiming for such tight control of your diabetes, to find that your circumstances or your personality (just being human?) can upset your best efforts. And then the resulting guilt when you realise that you haven't given your best, or at least as good as you expected you could give. You're pregnant, but you're not suddenly infallible.

Enough of a rant...

I took on a tutoring job at uni one day a week. Monday was my first day. I feared that standing up in front of a group of university students teaching for 2 hours at a stretch would be exactly the sort of thing that would make me want to dose up on sugar beforehand, and not be able to sustain the just-above-a-hypo levels required for pregnancy.

So it wasn't much fun while sitting in the lecture, just before I was to start my 2 hour tute, doing a blood test (in front of people, something I wouldn't have done if I wasn't pregnant) to find that yes I was having a mild hypo.

I drank lucozade. Estimated how much I needed to lift my sugar level. Probably erred on the side of too much (fear of going low in front of the students). So far during this pregnancy I've been pouring it into a measuring cup to make sure I don't overdose on it and bump up my sugars too high. But this was not something I was prepared to do in front of the students. I was way too self-conscious.

So my sugar went high.

There was a quick break between the lecture and the tute and another one after the first hour of the tute. I tested my bsl each time. It was high. I had more insulin.

Lunch time - It would be too late to wait until I got home to have lunch. I had expected I was meeting someone for lunch but they had to cancel, otherwise I would have brought my own lunch. So I ate at the staff canteen. The food was quite boring, I chose to eat some fries with my toasted bland sandwich. I had to guess the number of carbs because I don't normally eat fries. I didn't want to go high again, so this time I probably erred on the side of too much insulin.

An hour later, while photocopying notes for next week's tute, I had a hypo. It was then that I realised I had accidentally left my lucozade somewhere so had no sugar. This very rarely happens to me. But given the hectic nature of uni tutes, and the fact that the tutor is in demand most of the time by the students, leaving a bottle of lucozade behind in a classroom is completely understandable!

So I had to buy lemonade. Not used to lemonade, I drank a certain amount, tested, found my sugar low, drank more and tested more a bit later. Still low. Had to start driving home along a major motorway (40 minute drive, no stopping possible. It was about to start getting dark and I have night blindness due to retinopathy treatment) so I didn't want to go lower. Had more lemonade. High by the time I got home.

I know this is boring. This is tedious. But so are the days of our lives.

I guess later that night as I lay in bed thinking, could I have done serious damage to my unborn child today? Was I selfish taking on this job? Was I selfish eating the chips? Losing my lucozade? Deciding to have a baby at all?

Perhaps this makes me sound like a perfectionistic, worry wart, control freak. And maybe I am. But we have the dreaded consequences of high sugars in pregnancy drummed ino us so hard, whilst at the same time being told, No problem. You should definitely have children if you want to. All you have to do is keep your BSL between 4 and 7...

I feel pretty excited about my pregnancy right now and life seems ripe with opportunity. However I just wanted to share this to point out just how finicky blood sugar control can be in many circumstances. Now if a person with diabetes can have a very controlled, calm lifestyle while she is pregnant, god bless her, and if such a lifestyle will not drive her nuts, she should go for it. But for the rest of us. Hmmm. No answers from me yet I'm afraid. I'll be interested to see what my next HBA1C is.

My fingers and arms are sore from so many blood tests.

Posted by M.A. at March 05, 2003 06:33 PM


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