This is What My Day as a Type 1 Diabetic Looks Like

Photo by Matt Briney on Unsplash

It’s 4:45 AM.

My alarm rings, and I wake to turn it off.

It’s on the windowsill so I have to get out of the bed to silence it, and keep myself from hitting snooze.

I check my blood sugar with my meter and calibrate my Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM).

This morning I’m 157.

It’s not raining, so I want to go on a short walk. At 157, I’ll keep going up if I don’t give a small correction, so I give a small dose of insulin to start bringing it down on my walk.

A quick crash course in blood sugars for most diabetics:

  • Normal is 83 to about 120.
  • Low is anything below 83
  • High is over 180.

If it’s high, I give enough insulin to bring it down.

But for a low, I need to stop insulin immediately and have some sugar to bring me up.

I’m back from my walk.

Depending on how my number did during the walk, I might give insulin to cover my missed basal for showering.

I’m trending down today, so there’s no need for extra coverage.

My pump gets unhooked from its port on my body and plugged in to charge.

I shove it under my pillow so when it makes that high-pitched beep, it won’t wake my husband.

The decision to forego covering missed basal was a guess, so I check my BG again once I’m hooked back up and dressed.

Good. It’s leveled off.

On good days I can safely ignore my pump now for the duration of my morning routine.

Unless it alarms.

It doesn’t alarm this morning.

I check my CGM again before leaving for work, even if it hasn’t alarmed. If I’m trending down I could go low during the drive. Trending up will need a correction.

I’m trending down, so I have a single honey stick to tide me over.

At Work

7:30 AM.

It’s time for my Keto Chow.

While low carb, I have to give insulin anyway because I react to the protein powder it’s made with.

I’m not hungry for hours, though I still heat up some bacon to snack on around 9.

Generally my blood sugars stay flattish throughout the day because of my low carb diet. It makes corrections easy and maintenance pretty boring.

It’s not uncommon for me to pull out my pump during meetings just to make sure I haven’t missed an alarm.

People have gotten used to it.

“Lunch”

I eat “lunch” between 10:30 AM and 1:00 PM.

In fact, I generally don’t have dinner, because of intermittent fasting.

I have to check my CGM before I eat and bolus if needed. Oftentimes I don’t bolus at all because a post-lunch walk will act similarly.

Throughout the day I need to remain vigilant for pump alarms, my active insulin time, and requests for calibration, like this:

Going Home

Before I leave work I check my BG again. Usually I’m running a little lower than I have been the rest of the day. I can fix this by having a honey stick or turning off my basal insulin for a while.

It’s 111 today, and my CGM is showing a straight, flat arrow. I don’t have to do anything for that so I go home without worrying.

The evening hours are nice.

There isn’t much activity now, so my blood sugars won’t be swinging much. Because I don’t have “dinner” I don’t have to worry about an evening meal or what it’ll do to my BG overnight.

Before Bed

The reservoir in my pump is low on insulin, so I change my set. I have to do this every three days or whenever the insulin runs out. It’s more often than changing sensors, which is only once a week.

After my set is changed, I check my blood sugar again and calibrate my CGM (but only if it’s asked for a calibration or the reading on the CGM is more than 20% off the reading on the meter).

Regardless of my number now, I know I’ll probably be waking up in the middle of the night to check alarms, clear alarms, and fix whatever the alarms are about.

And when it’s all over, I do it again.