For the last couple weeks I’ve felt as if my glucose levels have been off. While I attribute some of the difficulties I’ve been experiencing to carb loading before the marathon and then to not running after the marathon, I still think something else is up.
I’ve repeatedly switched infusion sets and sites and I even threw out an insulin vial thinking it may be bad. But none of this seemed to make much difference, especially in the last few days.
A few times things seemed to work fine right after replacing a set but soon after, my blood glucose went back up to the upper 200’s and didn’t come down no matter how much I bolused. A few of my infusion sets came out looking broken, which I guessed may be contributing to this. Maybe the insulin just isn’t getting through.
Last night I ate a normal dinner with around 60g of carb. I bolused accordingly, letting the pump do the thinking. Two hours later I checked my blood sugar and was amazed when the glucose meter flashed 306. I plugged the number into the pump and bolused again. An hour and a half later, before going to sleep I checked again, this time I was 241. Tired and frustrated, I decided to switch my infusion set again.
I got all my supplies and went to the study. The kids were all asleep and Jessica was almost asleep, too. Since I had just switched my infusion set in the morning I decided to just leave the insulin and tubing and only put a new infusion set in to a new site. I took a Quickset, placed it in the inserter and inserted it into my belly.
Well, at least I tried to. The adhesive got stuck to the side of the inserter and although I tried to save it, I couldn’t pull it off. (This has happened to me several times already.) I had to remove the new infusion set and try again. When I took it out, I didn’t take into account that the needle was still in the set and pulled it at an angle. It killed! I let out a loud “ouch”.
I got the second set and put it in, with no trouble this time. I detached from the old site and reattached to the new. I removed the old set carefully but for some reason it started to bleed. A lot! Maybe there was a problem with the site, I thought to myself and headed back to bed.
I bolused once more and set an alarm to check my blood sugar again an hour-and-a-half later.
I slept through the alarm and woke up at 7:00 a.m. I checked my blood sugar and like many of the last few mornings I was high, 257. I wasn’t high from a rebound, just high (the two kinds of high feel different to me).
I dropped the boys off at school and went out running. I had a good 9 mile run. When I got home I checked my blood sugar again. It was 119. I hadn’t reduced my basal rate and hadn’t had a gel during the run or any food before, but I was happy my blood sugar had finally come down.
I decided to not have any carbohydrates at all and see what would happen. Maybe all of this trouble was a result of a small change in diet. I ate some leftover chicken for breakfast and went to work. Ninety minutes later I checked my blood sugar and was very surprised to see that although I had bolused after my run and eaten no carbs all day my blood sugar was 202.
Extremely frustrated, desperate and feeling like shit I called my Medtronic rep for help. I told him most of the above and he advised me to try and see if changing my basal rate (130%) makes a difference.
I did that and bolused again. After an hour I was still 180.
Unsatisfied I contacted the people at Spring, since I have also been using their infusion sets. I spoke to Shmulik, Springs’ International Sales & Support Manager. I told my story again and was asked some of the same questions. The advice I got this time was different though: “Try switching your insulin again, a new vial from a new batch. If that doesn’t work use a syringe and see if that works. That way you’ll know what isn’t working.” While on the phone I checked my stash of insulin – 5 vials from three different batches. I was set.
“You know you may just be coming down with something” he continued “you may just be getting sick”
I sure hope not.