Most people have never realized just how fragile life is for those of us with Type One Diabetes. Because Type One is such a small percentage of all Diabetes cases, most people’s understanding of diabetes is limited to Type Two: watch your diet, exercise and, if you have to, take a pill every morning. Most know that with Type One, the pill is replaced with shots, but that’s about the extent of folk’s understanding, unless they have a loved one affected by the disease. Even those of us ho have been diagnosed as long as they can remember, we still learn new things. In the 60s, they taught me that it was a simple equation of balancing food, exercise and insulin doses. So not knowing that there are a myriad of factors that impact that equation without being able to accurately predict was a breath of fresh air because we no longer feel ashamed to be on that crazy roller coaster of highs and lows take us for a ride we’d rather not be on. Like today.
I spent the day at a professional conference, about 75 miles north of my office, which is already 40 miles from home. This means my routine was already changed, just by getting up at 4:30 and on the road by 6 (ugh, I know). Factor in no exercise (those trips up and down the halls to the coffee pot and the copier do add up, after all), and different food. I added up the carbs that I ate: 2 rolls, 1/2 cup rice pilaf, 2 baby-size pieces of melt-in-your-mouth cake for dessert. I programmed my pump for 75 grams of carb, which I still feel is a very reasonable guestimate.
90 minutes later, Tzaylie came out from under the table and told me to check my sugar. 136, which did not match with her behavior. So I checked the “insulin on board,” or what I had delivered for lunch but which had not yet been absorbed. 8.4 units. For most of the day, one unit will drop me 40 points. So doing the math, it didn’t look too good. 136 – 340 = a ride in either an ambulance or a hearse. But Tzaylie lived up to the scenting abilities of labs, and alerted EARLY, while I still had the mental faculties and the energy to do something about it. 45 minutes later and, to spite eating 9 glucose tabs, drinking about 24 ounces of orange juice and turning my pump completely off, it had dropped to 108 and I still had 5.4 units that hadn’t been absorbed yet. 8 more ounces of orange juice. An hour later and I had to drink another 4 ounces of juice but I knew that the carbs in the juice was finally equal to the insulin left on board. I tested again 1/2 way back to the office, and it had spiked up to 308. I knew it would spike with all that I drank, but I honesty expected it to spike far worse than that.
I shudder to think what would have happened if for some bizarre reason I had gone to the conference without my girl by my side. It definitely would have added some drama to the conference! I can think of no better praise report that I can share this evening, the beginning of Abba’s Sabbath, the day each week that we contemplate His creation and the wonders of His Hands. Tzaylie certainly is a miraculous example of His handiwork, and He has used her to intervene in my life to save it several times, but today very clearly so. This is the Day that He has made; I will rejoice and be glad in it!
Thank you also, always, to Warren Retrievers, for your vision, your passion, your dedication, your staff who train me, and, most of all, for Tzaylie! I owe you one, again!
Tzaylie is a Diabetic Alert Dog from Service Dogs by Warren Retrievers.
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