A Diabetic Talks : Being sick

Today I woke up sick. Foggy brain, congested nose, sore throat and I can feel a cough coming. The worst. 

The body’s immune system is a wonderful thing, it recognizes that you have some sort of infection and acts immediately by sending hormones to combat sickness with the obvious goal of making you healthy as soon as possible. While this is a great thing, I am compromised with an autoimmune disease which can bring on a slew of problems. 

Every change in a diabetic’s body means there will most likely be another daily learning curve to adapt to and learn from. Today, I did my morning rituals of putting in my daily insulin. I put in my normal amounts that I do everyday but oddly enough, my blood glucose levels went up instead of staying consistent. As frustrating as this is for me, I have to think about what is causing this. Then I remembered: I’m sick. 

The increase of hormones flowing through my body to fight off this sickness means my insulin will be less effective meaning I simply need more. This means while giving myself more insulin I have to pay closer attention to what my blood sugar is doing throughout the day along with what I am eating. I also should try and keep good hydration. The goal is for it to not go low or high; a pretty hard thing to do. 

This can get really stressful because the consequences of not monitoring my health while I am sick can be pretty severe. The first thing I have to think of is if my BGL levels are not in range, it will be harder to get back to my normal health. I won’t go into the details of why it happens but when your blood sugar levels aren’t the best it is harder to fend off a sickness. This could result in me being sick for a lot longer than the average person. 

Secondly, the biggest concern is diabetic ketoacidosis. DKA is when there isn’t enough insulin to allow the blood sugar to have gained any energy from your normal meals. Ketones will produce and they will go and eat away at your fat storages for energy — a very bad thing. This has happened to me twice, both times I ended up in the hospital. 

Although this sickness may just be a little head cold and not much to worry about, I have to treat this with a more serious thought process. I am assuming it will go away soon and I will be fine but the stress it causes me on busy days is not fun. To have to constantly be checking my BGL while at school or work can get tiring. Some days I burnout and just want a break, something that is not possible. 

I just need to remember that everyday is a new day and everyday is a new learning experience. If I pay attention to how my body reacts to this stupid little cold, maybe it’ll help me combat the next more severe sickness I get. If I’ve learned anything from type 1 diabetes it’s that I just have to learn one day at a time.

Write to Luke Jackson at

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