In a recent daydream I attended a conference on canine diabetes at the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University. While there I was able to interview veterinary students and ask questions like: Can I use my glucometer to check my dog’s blood sugar? If so, how? Does the fur get in the way? And what about the pads of her feet? Unlike fingertips, they are too hard to prick.
My daydream didn’t come out of nowhere. It has its roots in my dog Pink and her paws. The other day Pink stepped in chewing gum. I didn’t notice this until she had tracked it all over the apartment. I used boiling water to get the gum off the floor. Then I put on a glove, sat down with Pink, and began to pick the gum from between her toes and off pad of her foot. Miraculously, I didn’t vomit while doing it- instead I distracted myself and wondered about checking a dog’s blood sugar levels. How do you do it? Is it only done at the vet’s office? Is there a special canine glucometer?
I haven’t searched for answers yet, as there are other pressing blood-related questions on my mind. Mike and I just watched the first few episodes of True Blood season 3, and I find I’m asking the same questions I asked while watching the first two seasons: Does a diabetic’s blood taste different to a vampire? Could vampires be used to diagnose diabetes based on the sweetness of the blood? Could they also calculate HbA1c? Would sweet blood be considered a vampire’s dessert? If so, should I worry about vampires coming to kidnap me every time my blood sugar creeps up to 200? (My doctor has never mentioned this as one of the risks associated with diabetes.)
This last question leads to me yet another one. Let’s pretend for a minute that vampires aren’t real and the only things we have to worry about sucking our blood this summer are mosquitoes. Do mosquitoes prefer diabetics’ blood? Anecdotally, I can say they do. Before Mike was diagnosed with diabetes he never got mosquito bites. There were summer mornings when I’d wake up scratching and cursing and he’d be bite-free. In 2002 that changed. The mosquitoes began to prefer him. Was it because they sensed fresh blood when he checked his blood sugar? Or did they sense the sweetness? For a number of years, as long as I slept beside Mike, I never got a nighttime mosquito bite. It’s not like that anymore. Just a few days ago I woke up with three bites on my left hand. If I were a better scientist (or a scientist at all) and a better diabetic, I would have checked my fasting blood sugar to see how high (or sweet) I was. Instead I scratched and cursed a little bit. I was itchy and possibly my blood sugar level was damaging my eyes or my kidneys. Those things didn’t bother me, though. I was too busy feeling relieved I hadn’t been nabbed by a vampire.