Sunday, December 12, 2010

Friday Night: Me, The Stomach Flu, & My Dexcom

This past Friday night, after eating a typical dinner at home, I began the dreaded “stomach flu” experience. I got sick pretty quickly after I ate, which of course left me concerned about the insulin I had taken for a meal that no longer was in my stomach. Many times when I am sick, I have the opposite concern. My sugars are usually higher when I have a cold or a mild stomach ache due to the extra stress on my body, but with the stomach flu my concern is always that my blood sugar will go too low.
To help get my sugar up, I ate some toast and sipped on some Gatorade, all the while knowing it would likely not stay in my body for long. As I watched my CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor) hover around 70, I took my CGM, Gatorade, diabetes stuff, cell phone, and trash can up to my bed for what I knew would be a long night.  The few times I have had the stomach flu since diagnosed with diabetes (it will be 4 years this January!), I have been lucky enough to have my mom with me, helping me check my sugars and ensuring I don’t go low in my sleep. To be honest being sick with the stomach flu with diabetes can be scary. You are in and out of sleep, getting sick and knowing you are emptying your body of its sugars. It’s a huge opportunity to have a really bad low blood sugar. Unfortunately my mom, sister, and boyfriend were all unavailable to stay with me and I didn’t want to bug my girlfriends, so I relied on my CGM to help ease my fears and get me through the night. I slept with it right next to me knowing it would alert if my sugar went too low.  I looked over at it every time I rolled over or got out of bed to be sick to see if I needed to drink some Gatorade or take some insulin. Luckily the “extra stress” factor must have kicked in and my sugars rose a bit despite being sick through the night.   
Being sick with a cold, stomach flu, or anything else is tough enough, but being sick when you have diabetes adds another layer of complexity to managing your illness.   In addition to worrying about trying to get healthy, you have to worry about trying to get your erratic sugars under control.  There is no replacement for having someone there to help you out when you are sick (type 1 diabetic or not) but I was really glad to have my CGM with me on Friday to help me monitor my sugars.
Here is a picture and link to website of the CGM device I use.
Feel free to visit it for more information on Continuous Glucose Monitoring.

(Picture is from Dexcom website

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