I’VE BEEN DOING THE BEST THAT I CAN
For many reasons lately, I have been having trouble blogging, must less writing fiction.
It all came to a head about a week ago, when I realized I was having what I thought might be ‘attacks’ of very low blood sugar – and they scared me.
I’d wake up in the middle of the night, or realize after working for a while, and I hadn’t eaten in a while.
My body would be screaming at me, and I felt as if I would pass out if I didn’t eat something THAT INSTANT.
The process of getting food in me – any food in me – was fraught and frightening: I would start eating something easy like cottage cheese, and not stop until I had consumed a couple hundred calories, and then would sit there in the kitchen, shaking, until it took hold, or diverted the blood from my panicky brain to digesting what I had just eaten, or whatever – but it would leave me trembly for what seemed hours after.
So after several days of this, and on the weekend,
I promised my husband I would contact the doctor, and, as the online appointment page offered me a video visit at 9:45 Monday morning, I took it, and was waiting when the doctor tuned in.
Best visit to a doctor of my life: I hate doctor appointments after over 31 years of a chronic disease that I’ve never had help with, and this time it was in the comfort of my own office and computer, and, through some twist I never figured out, the video took up a very small fraction of my screen, and his head was smaller than a passport photo.
Long story short, as every doctor under the sun (it seems), he wants me to entirely change the way I eat.
I said no. It works for me.
But afterward, I got to thinking, and sent him an email suggesting that since we had a blood glucose meter, I could take measurements for a while at different times of day, and maybe figure out what was going on. Other alternatives would involve a hospital stay – something I’m hoping to avoid right now – and the effort required to change my entire system of eating is not something I would undertake unless all else has failed AND he guaranteed it would work. Not likely.
Let the games begin
I spent the next morning after husband picked up some new supplies (his were from 2013) getting the system to work.
I called our nurse. Took the meter down to her office.
She took it down to Skilled Nursing, where no one is allowed right now who doesn’t work or live there, not even friends and family.
She said the meter didn’t work – gave errors – BUT she brought me back in a tiny plastic meds cup a single drop of the control solution (glucose in solution at a particular concentration), and Maggie and I brought it back to the apartment.
Courtesy of good planning (and luck), I had one of the lithium batteries the device needed, and it worked, and I was able to test the monitor with the control solution drop!
Now for individual measurements
I learned the whole make a hole in yourself and gently squeeze a drop of blood out of your finger thing, which I hope not to have to do ever again after this, and started recording both the measurements, and the things which might affect my blood sugar levels: when I ate, whether I felt particularly shaky, how long it had been since I slept (I take at least three naps a day lately), what I ate (though I’m not planning on altering that, and it was mostly low carb stuff).
It’s a real racket: the test strips are $1 apiece, and you need a new one for each drop you test (unless you mess the drop up, and then the spare works sometimes). The little lancets (poky things) aren’t supposed to be reused. And the control solution (I have some coming in the mail from Walmart) was $15 for two 4oz. bottles. And here’s the kicker: you’re supposed to test your meter once a month (or when you think the results are messed up), AND discard the opened bottle after three months, and I defy anyone to use up that much liquid in three months!
I don’t see how diabetics manage their testing.
In any case, I now have a solid week of about 5-10 measurements a day, and I will sort them out in Excel, graph them, analyze the graph and notes, and send a copy off to the doctor.
But the answer is
that although my blood sugar IS lower when I’m feeling very shaky and unhappy, it is NOT low enough to be classified as clinically low. Even when I felt I had to respond this very instant, it was probably me overreacting.
Now I measure, and then I eat if necessary, but I’ve also relaxed enough to realize it is very uncomfortable, but I’m NOT going to pass out, and even at the worst, I can actually breathe through it and handle it rationally.
Which is where the accumulation of tiny things comes in:
This has not been a normal year.
I needn’t list the things that have happened, or the continual stress of being locked down or the reason for the lockdown.
The worry about whether loved ones were okay has been huge; some were not, which was even worse.
And I’m sure this was my version of covid fatigue: the stress level got so high that a slightly (okay, it was scary and not little) exaggerated feeling of doom accompanied the more frequent occurrence of something uncomfortable and frightening of episodes that have been happening all along.
And I’d been making them worse without realizing it.
Because my brain stops working when I eat, and then I have to take a nap to restore it to even remotely usable conditions, I was postponing eating as long as I could, hoping to get some writing done.
Which led to
So when I finally had to admit I had to eat, we were at full-blown hunger – and the lowest of my normal range blood sugar range – and it took time to recover. A lot of time. Even after eating.
I might have been able to shorten that time had I been willing to eat something with sugar in it, but that also messes with my brain, with consequences sometimes lasting more than 24 hours, and I didn’t want to start down that path. So I accidentally made things much worse – and then freaked out over it.
I told the husband. I told no one else until I talked to the doctor.
We all try not to worry the offspring, right?
But I have been in a high dudgeon state, and of course incapable of writing fiction. OR blogging. Or, indeed, anything except wondering if this was going to be it.
I’m not even sure they would check for low blood sugar if I ended up in an ambulance, and husband wouldn’t be allowed to go in with me. Which added to the worries, as, if it’s really low, and not corrected, you can literally die.
When I had to deal with it because it happened at 3-4am, I was not in the best state to be rational – sleep deprivation does that.
And, as usual, the solution, eating, was putting on weight – and I already have to deal with that, and no, I do NOT seek help from doctors for that: their success rate, long-term, is 2%, though somehow EVERY SINGLE TIME you see one they mention you should lose weight, as if it were something you could decide one night, and have done with by the morning.
So I also have not much to write about or post about.
Us being in the middle of an unchanging physical, global, and electoral nightmare.
And California, which had seemed to be doing okay, is now having most regions almost to the highest pandemic status, including the Greater Sacramento area, and is no more free of covid problems than the rest of the nation.
If you’ve ever done a stress inventory (you should – find one online), I know my stress levels (with an easy life in a nice place and people bringing me dinner every night) are in the DANGER ZONE. I can only imagine what it’s like for others who don’t have our resources, who have to go to work, whose children are in school, who have a relative or friend in the hospital or who work in one.
I apologize for the self-centered nature of the above half-assed post.
It’s all I got right now.
That, and watching the sales graph at Amazon: sold two ebooks this month! After nothing for several months before that. And it isn’t going to get any better until I finish book 2 and revisit the complete marketing problem – from website (prideschildren.com – don’t go; it’s very rough right now), to ads, to finding more reviews (pretty please – if you’ve ever planned to write one, now would be very nice).
I’m really trying to get to the VERY good end of this volume. Can’t wait.
I am glad to put this scare behind me, and hope to be able to create more than a few words of fiction every day, because I can’t wait to get to the end of this one.
Let me know how you’re all coping with stress, and if you have stories of how it’s pushed you far out of your comfort zone.
Recommend PC to a friend if you were always planning to do that.
Bye for now. I have no idea when you’ll hear from me again, but I really miss you.