7 Jul 2015

Writing Resources: Those Pesky Little Things Called Blood Sugars

Welcome back to another part of my writing resources series. I’m sorry this one took a little longer to come out. I’ve had so much to post lately that this was the only time I could sneak it in. Never fear though, there will be two other writing resources posts this month to make up for that!

Today I’m continuing with the Diabetes theme, but my other two posts this month will be about something else. So I’m talking about blood sugars, which I briefly touched on in my last post.

‘Blood sugars’ refers to the level of sugar in your blood. These are incredibly important because knowing these levels allows us to know how much insulin we need and how much we need to eat.

We learn the levels through finger pricking (there are other methods, but this is the easiest). On that little machine I mentioned last time, a number will come up. The range of numbers depends on the machine, mine goes from 1.5 to 25.0 anything below that is labelled as ‘LO’ and anything above as ‘HI’—those are not fun to see.

Different doctors will tell you they want different levels. In my experience, they usually want these levels between about 4 and 8. Anything below a 4 is considered hypoglycaemia, or low blood sugar. This is probably what most non-diabetics are aware of. This is when the jellybeans and the full-sugar drinks come out.

Hypoglycaemia can be extremely dangerous. Everyone gets different symptoms and is affected differently. I know some people get no symptoms at all, I’m the opposite though. Some of the symptoms I get are shaky hands, headaches, muddled thoughts, overly emotional, rise in body temperature, lethargy and loss of focus. Basically, I tend to stare at walls a lot and not really understand what’s going on.

Anything above about 12 is considered hyperglycaemia, which is high blood sugar. This is the worst thing in the world, or at least it is for me. Like with hypos, I get headaches, muddled thoughts, overly emotional, rise in body temperature, lethargy and loss of focus but I also get very, very grumpy and sick.

Yep, the symptoms are pretty much exactly the same. Hypoglycaemia is easily treated, you have some glucose of some kind and a carb and then you should feel back to normal within about half an hour. Here’s the fun thing about hyperglycaemia—there’s nothing you can do. You can drink water and keep up your insulin, but you can still feel like crap for days.

If your sugars are too high, you develop ketones in your blood. Ketones are the diabetics worst enemy. These things are nearly impossible to get rid of. They’re the ones that get you admitted to hospital with a drip in your arm, having saline pumped into your body. (I’m not bitter about this, though).

How I feel walking into the emergency room.

Maintaining blood sugars is hard. In my opinion, it’s the hardest part of having diabetes. If you ever plan on writing a diabetic character, this stuff is incredibly important because this is our pretty much hourly reminder that we’re different, that we have this stupid disease. It’s just another thing to remind us that we aren’t like our friends, and that sucks.