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A trip to hospital

Been a while since I’ve put fingers to the keyboard on diabetes. I’ll keep it short.

Following being fitted with an insulin pump I found I was getting a little frustrated with getting the settings right. This coupled with a urge to get out and do exercise – I was, lets say lost at sea. The general advice I was getting from my local clinic was pretty broad brush and sometimes my experience was contrary to what they said it should be.


At the Animas T1¬†Sports weekend I heard how Claire Duncan (who swam the channel with T1) had been coached by Ginger Vieria – author of the diabetes experiment. I contacted her and following a skype meeting she suggested I chat to Integrated Diabetes, run by Gary Scheiner author of “Think like a Pancreas” a few emails back and forth and I found myself on a programme with Jennifer Smith to help me sort out the settings on my pump whilst doing exercise.


To kick this off I spent a good month running tests, usually involved fasting for 8 hours or more – checking my background insulin. And then checking the effects of when I ate known quantities of Carbohydrates with insulin. Then I added in exercise and developed plan on how to manage this. The great thing was I’d do the testing often recording it on MySugr¬†for the Iphone. Send over results to Jennifer – I’d then have a reply within 24 hours, tweak the pump then on to the next test.

I’ll get to the point when I really hope my Diabetic clinic is not reading this! My good friend Charlotte was slightly annoyed that I felt I had to go this route – and rightly, thought the NHS should have been helping me. I kind of agree but I really was not going to waste my life waiting for that to happen. And I couldn’t imagine anyone in the NHS would be willing to communicate on a daily basis by email whilst I set up the pump – they just don’t work like that.

One day maybe they will.

It’s not all sweetness and light – following the majority of the tests in November / December my blood sugars started to rise to the point that my HBAC1 rose to 8.7 which will result in much unhelpful tutting and finger wagging from those in the know. My thinking is that during the testing I’d really narrowed down the effects of carbohydrate to a fine tolerance. The disadvantage was I couldn’t sneak in the extra biscuit or coffee without adding insulin – in the past my ratios would have coped with that. They didn’t now.

Roll on February… and week of poor eating and high blood sugars culminated with a trip to the hospital. I started getting chest pains on the Thursday evening and had a fitful nights sleep. First thing in the morning Charlotte did a few checks and said if still in pain by lunchtime go to see my local GP. A late breakfast of porridge. Headed in to work still in pain and decided best go and visit (AGAIN!) my GP – they were a little twitchy to say the least. The previous day someone had walked in with same symptoms and was rushed away by helicopter.

My ECG didn’t bring up anything unusual, but my Doc was still concerned that may have a blood clot so called an ambulance. On arrival at the hospital and after a 4 hour wait they found nothing. BUT they were very concerned about my high blood sugars (20 mmol when I was at the GP) I knew why – breakfast and lunch in fast succession and underestimating carbs. Still the blood test they took at midday was 20… 4 hours later the doctor was talking about giving me insulin to bring it down. Thing is I’d done my own blood test it was now 12, and just given myself 2 units – so you can keep that IV away from me thank you very much.

My only other concern with my visit to the hospital is that the nurse didn’t seem interested in taking down the details on my notes of the insulin I was putting in and the readings I’d taken for my BG.

It left me unnerved that if I was to visit hospital be really useful to have someone around who understands your condition especially if unconscious. I love the NHS in this country and my local diabetes team are great, but sometimes it does scare me – could this happen in my local hospital yes I’m afraid I very much fear it could.

Another day of high blood sugars on Thursday and I’m back with chest pains again over the weekend. Pretty sure its linked somehow.. guess the answer is not to get high blood sugars. Have ditched the bike ride and resorted to writing this blog and watching athletics on TV.

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