A Tumultuous Night

I’ve never had ketones in the six years I’ve lived with diabetes. Until yesterday, that is.

I performed a routine site change when I arrived home from work – probably around 2.30pm. There was no bruising or bleeding around the old site, which was another confident step away from the occlusion nightmare of three weeks ago. My blood sugar levels were in range, and I was good to go in no time.

By 5pm, I noticed my levels beginning to rise closer to the 10 mark. Dismissing it as a delayed effect of the buttered ham and cheese toastie I’d had for lunch, I gave a correction bolus.

When I sat down to dinner at around 6.30pm, I was 13. I bolussed for what I thought was a pretty accurate carb count of my dinner, with a generous correction. I did my best to eat slowly and pick at the lower carb things on my plate first, so that the bolus would have time to kick in.

After a little OzDOC banter, my levels were edging close to 20 by 8pm. I was obsessively looking at the site I’d changed a few hours ago, but I couldn’t find any reason to rip it out. It looked clean, and the boluses weren’t stinging as they went in.

I added some more carbs to my dinner bolus – this carb count was now extremely generous – and set a temp basal of 100%. I let it run for an hour, while watching my levels continue to soar into the low 20s. With no end in sight to the upward trend arrows on my Libre and feeling the high in my chest, I began to worry.

At 9pm I grabbed the insulin pen from my contingency pack, and injected six units into my stomach. It was my first insulin injection in 7 weeks. I went to check the site once again, and saw small amounts of insulin leaking out of the edges – finally noticeable thanks to the crazy correction boluses and basals of the past hour.

I ripped out the site to discover this.


The small piece of teflon that sits under my skin was kinked, which meant I’d had little to no insulin in my system since the site change six hours ago.

My BGL was 25, which was honestly the highest I’ve ever seen it.

I checked for ketones, which were present in the mid range of 1.3. At this point, I was very aware of the possibility of having to go to hospital if I became nauseous.

Once I had changed my site, I hastily grabbed my diabetes file from the bookshelf, sending two others flying to the floor in the process. I furiously turned page after page, looking for the cheat sheet my diabetes educator had given to me a few weeks ago. The cheat sheet that I knew had quick instructions for treating ketones in the bottom left corner.

I set a temp basal of 200% to get that basal insulin kicking in my system ASAP (not educator recommended, FYI). As per the handy cheat sheet, I bolussed for correction plus 10% of my total daily insulin dose. I then headed straight for the kitchen, completely filled up my 600ml water bottle, and skulled it down to flush out the ketones. I filled it up again, ready to skull down in another half hour or so.

Slowly, but surely, my BGLs began to decline. When my meter finally rang in with a reading below 20, I breathed a massive sigh of relief.

By 11pm, I was 14, Ketones were down to a negligible 0.3, and I finally felt confident in turning off my temp basal rate.

It was a tumultuous night. By far, the worst scenario that diabetes has ever thrown at me. I crawled into bed at 11.30pm, exhausted.

Only to be woken again by a 4.30am low.

Here’s hoping that tonight diabetes lets me watch Wimbledon in peace.

10 thoughts on “A Tumultuous Night

  1. In reading your post I noticed the BG range is different than in the states. So while I didn’t understand exactly what your sugars were running, I got the idea. Thanks for posting! There’s real comfort in knowing others out there understand what I, as a Type 1, go thru.

  2. Frank, I have been pumping for almost ten years. I have never found a 90 degree set that works for me. As much as I hate the manual insertion of the angled set Comfort Shorts (Silhouettes with Medtronic), I almost never get bad sites. Maybe once a year at the most. With Insets and QuickSets I would get painful and/or kinked sets about once a month. So be open to trying another type of infusion set.

  3. I am so sorry you had this experience. But I am glad you are doing better. That is some scary stuff.

    I referred your blog to the TUDiabetes.org blog page for the week of July 4, 2016.

  4. I’m sorry you had to go through it. It is part and parcel of pumping and bound to happen from time to time. Of course it tends to happen at the most inopportune times. Looks like you acted quickly and handled it very well. It is remarkable how fast a site failure can lead to sky-high BG and ketones.

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