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Ode to Those Little Strips

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“Oh little strips, How quaint you sit

Nestled in my bathroom cupboard

More often than not, Expiring each lot

While sweet health propels me forward

Keytones be gone, While I carry on

Stay far from this house forever

And come what may, Little strips please remain

Replaced and ready for a day that’s hopefully…NEVER”

-Carmygee, Sweetness and Light; A Collection of Diabetes Poems

Just a little light-hearted humor to begin…thanks to Kelly from Below Seven for this post on Keytones for the inspiration this morning.

Actually, I did not intend to write poetry for this post at all.  I too had my first experience recently with keytones.  There was a quick hitting, violent stomach virus that went around the community.  It started in my family in a rather dramatic fashion involving me trying to hold my son’s, well let’s say, projection in my hands while dashing out of a music store (think coat sleeves full of unpleasantness).  When we made it home, we both had to change clothes and shower.  Poor little guy.

I felt fine and bleached everything in sight for 2 ½ days but to no avail.  My oldest daughter started feeling ill that night and every time I looked at her I would feel very ill too.  I thought it was just a mother’s sympathy until it became all to obvious that I was not well.

The worst part was trying to chew and hold down glucose tablets to replace the lost dinner carbohydrates I had already bolused for.  True to good old Murphy, I didn’t have any juice in the house.  So glucose tablets and water it was.  My son was feeling better by this point and came to check on me when I was getting sick.  He got more than a little worried when he saw the result of the raspberry (think bright red) glucose tablets that were not staying down.  I was trying to reassure him but couldn’t talk to well.  Luckily my other daughter had not yet gotten sick and could reassure him for me.  Her turn didn’t hit until 5am next morning.

During the course of all of this I started checking my keytones.  I had developed light keytones before bed.  I woke with high keytones.  Luckily I was able to hold down fluids at that point and, in a couple of hours, keytones returned to normal as I re-hydrated.

My husband had been traveling and was due to come in that day.   I warned my husband to stay in a hotel for a few days but he graciously came home and took great care of us.  I am sorry to report that despite his even greater precautions,  three days later he got ill.

Happily, we are all well at the moment.

During the course of this illness, the “what-if’s” were on hyper drive in my mind.  My neighbors were out-of-town.  None of my children are licensed drivers. The one who has her learner’s permit wasn’t in any condition to attempt driving…

I am grateful that I did not have to figure out a ride to the urgent care or ER for DKA.  Additionally, I formulated a few takeaway’s from my first keytone experience:

  • always have some form of liquid sugar on hand
  • advise your family of sick day protocol to prevent unduly alarming them (still working on this one)
  • write out a plan and a back up plan
  • when all is said and done – you’ve done what you can

With each lesson learned I suppose I’ve become more philosophical.  Life is tenuous enough, why expend your energy on “what-ifs”?  Sure there are times when worries are valid and shouldn’t be ignored.  T1D definitely has its’ way of reminding you of that.  But for all of the moments in-between; Que será, será!  There’s always Those Little Strips.


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