Just when I thought I'd experienced every indignity and inconvenience this disease could dish up, along comes basal testing.
I've had the Big D for almost seven years now, and I've always been told never to skip meals (a good thing too, because I need my meals!). At the same time, I know you're supposed to test your basal rates periodically to make sure your background insulin is doing what it's supposed to. Admittedly, I haven't ever done that pesky basal testing stuff... until now.
A few weeks ago, I was privileged to start working with well-known certified diabetes educator Gary Scheiner, who is one of our Design Challenge judges this year. Gary offered me his CDE services on a trial basis, as his company is developing some new techniques and wanted a Guinea pig to test them out.
Lucky piggie that I am, my first challenge working with Gary was to start basal testing, "since you can't start fiddling with bolus adjustments until you're sure that basals are set right," as Gary says. Gotcha.
First off was the through-the-night testing segment. I was to eat dinner and dose by 7pm, and then test at 11pm, 2am, 5am and 7am — which wouldn't have seemed so daunting if my husband didn't abhor my alarm clock so. It's a Japanese LCD model I bought off Overstock.com, and the alarm tone is, well... obnoxious. But I like it because of the big, clear, backlit screen and easy-off buttons. You should've heard the groans that first night! (not from me)
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And too bad for me again because I blew it in Round 1: I was running high all night, and kept administering correction doses, not realizing that that automatically ends the basal test right there. Engaging in Round 2 the very next night took me back to the Infant Days: bleary eyes from being rudely awakened every few hours all night long — ugh! Luckily it went much better, at least on the diabetes side (I was forced to renounce my Japanese alarm clock).
Next, I was supposed to start skipping meals, one by one, for further evaluation of basal rates. Skipping breakfast. Now does that sound simple to you?
It's sort of equivalent to, I don't know, say... the end of the world, for me. When Gary asked me not to eat until 1pm, I just about had a conniption fit. I emailed to explain: I'm one of those people who MUST eat right away when I get up in the am ... When I have to do fasting lab tests, my hubby practically has to carry me into the building. Not good.
"Be brave," Gary replied.
Wha? Next email:
Gary, I don't think you fully understand. This has nothing to do with being 'brave.' I talked it over with my husband, and he's not keen on me doing it -- but if so, then we need to plan carefully for a day when he can fully take over feeding the family in the morning and I don't need to go anywhere. It may take a little time before the 'stars align' for this.
Guess what? We moved on, to the skipping-dinner-segment.
That went pretty well, since I distracted myself by planning it on a night when hubby and I were invited to a cocktail party. I drank Diet Coke only, and steered far, far away from the food tables. I tested dutifully at 5pm, 7pm, 9pm, and 10pm. After that I was allowed to eat. Tuna salad never tasted so good.
My BG levels dropped off a little too sharply at the end, so we reduced my basal from 9-10pm. That's some serious fine-tuning there, Gary.
Next up, skipping lunch. I am not looking forward to this one, either, in which I'm not to eat or drink anything with calories between 8am and 4pm — with testing at noon, 2pm, and 4pm. I'm hoping for a day with a really good distraction. Any suggestions, my D-Friends?
Whine, whine, whine, I know. I am well aware that most people living with chronic illnesses have bigger problems than being asked to skip a meal now and then. I just find it unusually unpleasant. And it's the additive effect that gets to me: the constant testing and dosing and correcting, carrying all the backups, the midnight lows with the sweating and the unwanted eating, and the bouncing back up way too high — not to mention the fact that other people can eat and do as they like without all this crap (just ask Kris Freeman). Grrrrr.
Do not. Like. Basal testing.
OK, I'm done for today.