My Week on Diabetes Autopilot

I went to give my insulin dose after lunch. I dialled it up and stuck it where it needed to go. As I put my insulin pen away, I stopped and tried to think about what I’d done. How many units had I given myself? What did I have for lunch? Less than a minute had passed, and I couldn’t even remember.

I’ve been stuck on diabetes autopilot, and that routine has been on repeat every day in the past week. A fairly busy week, mind you. I’ve had to shake off a cold without any sick leave because of my responsibilities at work. I’ve had to wake up an hour earlier. Despite my best efforts, my body refused to fall asleep an hour earlier at night. And after imagining all the possibilities of an earlier finish, the reality has been falling asleep on the couch in the afternoons.

It was morning tea time on Friday morning. I was having my usual apple and Muesli bar. My blood sugar was 13.1, thanks to the cappuccino with 1 sugar I’d had earlier. Driven by my urge to bring it back down, I grabbed my insulin pen and quickly jabbed in 5 units. Normally, being on my feet at work would cover the apple. Meanwhile the muesli bar was a nut and seed variety, and had a lot less carbs than the ones I normally eat. I wasn’t thinking straight that morning. I’d already set myself up for a hypo, I just couldn’t see it yet.

Half an hour later, I was beginning to feel exhausted as I carried out my work. I wanted nothing more than to sit down somewhere. I was constantly sighing and loudly exhaling air from my mouth. I was nodding along when others were speaking, lacking the energy to talk back to them. I felt warmer and sweatier than normal. I didn’t have to go and check my blood sugar, I already knew that I was hypo.

I grabbed a muesli bar from the stash in my locker (this one had 24g of carbs) and walked back out into my work area. There was only one person around at the time, who knows that I have diabetes, but I still felt rude for eating in front of her. “Have you not gone for morning tea yet, Frank?” she asked me. “No, I’m just low and need some sugar,” I replied. “Oh, of course you do!”

I knew that the hypo was fixed, but those feelings of exhaustion just wouldn’t go away. And there was just something about coming off of a bad hypo that made me crave those carbs and sugar even more. So I decided to head off for an early lunch and grabbed a Supershake, a Cheese and Bacon Roll, a block of Lindt chocolate and a Jam Donut doused in sugar (I know, not your model diabetic!).

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In that moment as I sat there in the staff room, those carbs had never tasted better. That rich cheese and salty bacon hit the savoury spot on my tongue perfectly. The sugar on top of that donut stuck to my fingers and my face, and I felt high. Drowning it down in that thick, chocolatey supershake was heaven on earth. And after a few squares of chocolate, I’d finally had enough.

I went easy on the insulin dose, because I knew I’d be on my feet for another 2 hours. By the time I got home, I was a lovely 21.3. I gave another 10 units, and then decided to play the waiting game. I was 17.4 an hour later, 14.9 after that, and 11.9 by dinnertime.

I have no explanation to offer. It was just one of those days. Thank God it was Friday, because I really needed some rest.

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