Tennis, With a Serve of Diabetes

By far, my favourite thing about January is the tennis.

Two weeks ago I went to the Hopman Cup in Perth, one of the tennis tournaments traditionally held in the lead up to the Australian Open this week.

Having seen Andy Murray last year, there wasn’t a doubt in my mind as to who I wanted to see this year – Serena Williams. I was so damn excited to see her play. She is just such an entertaining player to watch. I love her expression and her attitude, which she doesn’t try to hide. I love seeing her come onto the court with a bandage on her leg, seemingly injured, and yet still thrash her opponent. And I love watching her talk down her performance after a killer win.

Needless to say, I was so damn excited to see her play that night.


When I arrived home after work that day, my blood sugar was 10.4. Which was okay, considering I’d only had my lunch 2 hours ago.

I wasn’t particularly hungry, but I knew I’d be hungry later. Wanting to avoid junk food after all of my festive eating, I packed myself a Burgen Bread sandwich of leftover cutlets from the night before. Even though the Arena had a strict no food policy, I was pretty confident I’d be able to sneak it in. But hey, I could always milk my diabetes for all it was worth, if I had to.

I was still 10.4 as we were getting ready to leave, and I gave myself a generous correction of 2 units.

When we parked the car at the Arena, I dialled up my Lantus dose. It was a little earlier than normal, and I knew that I’d have an hour or so of overlapping insulin. But it would save me the hassle of doing it while I was in there. I knew that the game would be a long one, and I’d likely be eating less than I would at home. I dialled up 10 units, rather than the 11 or 12 that I gave the night prior, and left my pen in the glovebox.

Going past security was a piece of cake. I managed to sneak my sandwich and water bottle through, hidden safely underneath the pile of jackets. Apparently water must be uncapped, in case we decide to launch the cap (rather than the empty bottle) at the court.

Serena came onto court, and it was so damn exciting to see her. She had pulled out of her match the previous day as a precaution, and I was so worried that I wouldn’t get to see her play.


Unfortunately after the first set, she had to forfeit the match as a precaution for her inflamed knee. It was disappointing, but an hour was still better than no Serena at all.

I was ready to eat that sandwich, and tested my blood sugar. 5.7. I finished it, and quickly went off to the bathroom to bolus 5 units before Lleyton Hewitt came out to play in the Men’s match.


That night, I was trying so hard to be good. I turned down lollies. I turned down hot chips. I turned down more lollies. Until 8.32pm, when I went hypo.

Not exactly my ideal, carb counted hypo treatment, I really had to give it my best guess. I measured out a handful of lollies into my palm, and began to chew them down. Still feeling shaky and in doubt a few minutes later, I grabbed another handful.

When I headed back to the car at the end of a great night, I was a lovely 19.0. Insert your swear word of choice here.

I had tried so hard to be good that night, and yet one small error with the bolus for my sandwich mucked it up. Yeah, I was bloody annoyed with myself. But it happens. It’s always going to happen, because I’m only human.

But at the end of the day, it’s not the hypo that I’m going to remember about that night.

I’m going to remember one awesome night of tennis that I got to watch.

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