Friend Of A Diabetic Seeks Advice

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mystified08
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/18/2005 7:49 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi all. New here. I just found your forum, and probably will just read for awhile. I'm not a diabetic, but share a house with a lady who is ("Marge"). She's had dibetes since 1985 (she's 61). Besides diabetes, she's also on high blood pressure and cholesterol meds.
 
I watched my mother die for 10 years before she finally went. Her diabetes was so severe that we were doing good to keep her BG level below 300. There were times it was so high (over 500) that it wouldn't register on her BG meter. She also had a triple bypass, congestive heart failure, and dementia, so it was a rough 10 years to go through. Hospital stays were the 'norm' for her (13 times one year).
 
Now, with Marge, I see some of the same things, and I really don't look forward to this, but she's been there for me for the last 9 years, and I'll do all I can to help her. That's why I'm here. By the way, her company did some "readjustments" about 6 months ago (she's been there 25 years), and she no longer has her health insurance. I don't know how long this will last, but for now she has to pay for Dr. visits, lab, and meds herself. I help out as much as I can, but I can't do much (I'm 58, and not in the greatest of health, and don't have a lot of money myself).
 
Her doctor just started her on insulin 2 weeks ago, as well as changing all her meds. She doesn't want to give herself the shots, so I'm doing it. I used to do it occasionally for my mother, but still had to read up on it a bit to remember the basics. I've read that insulin should be clear (the type she's taking), and should be taken out of the refrigerator 30 minutes before the shot so it's closer to room temp. Hopefully, that's right, since that's what I'm doing. I also try to give it to her in different locations, since I seem to remember not to give it in the same place all the time.
 
She asked me last night why it sometimes stings about 2-3 minutes after I give her the shot. I don't know why, or if I'm doing something wrong. Would appreciate some guidance there if anyone has some comments about it.
 
I also don't know why she says her heart seems to race a little after getting her shot. Don't know if it's the insulin doing it or just stress from getting it.
 
Next, she doesn't understand, if her BG is down to 90, why she has to take the insulin anyway, then eat something sweet so her BG doesn't drop too low (she takes her shot in the PM). I can't answer that....I don't know why. I'm hoping someone here will have some thoughts on that.
 
Finally, I'm still not totally sure about what BG levels are dangerous (what's too low and what's too high). I do know if it gets down to 50, it's a problem and she needs to get it back up (so I've read, anyway). I don't know what the "cutoff point" is between safe and unsafe levels (high or low, either one). If it's 60, is she still OK? If it's 125, is she OK? And I could use some thoughts on what to look for by way of symptoms that her BG is too low or high. She has complained of some dizzy spells the last month or so, although not really bad ones. Still, she cancelled a one-day trip a week ago because she felt light-headed.
 
Anyway, sorry for the long post, but I needed for you to understand the basic situation. Hoping someone will have some advice on how I can best help her.
 
Thanks for any thoughts.
 
Best....Larry (mystified08)

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 4/18/2005 4:37 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Larry,

I'm sure glad you found us and don't worry about the length of your post. My first suggestion would be to go to some classes for diabetes education. They are often available free or real cheap at hospitals. Call around your area because this will give you a good basis of knowledge. Also, hit the local library and read, read, read. There are lots of great books. Ask a librarian to help you out.

Now, the next thing is all of us here can help you with our experience. As far as giving shots...I've been on insulin for nearly 10 years and have never used a needle. There's a device call a jet injector that the doc's never seem to tell anyone about. Been around for years. It's a large pen affair that forces a tiny stream of insulin through the skin. Sure it stings, just like a shot but no needles or mess. It also 'sprays' the insulin under the skin instead of making a puddle which utilizes the insulin better. There are several brands out there. The one I use is Medi-Ject. I bought mine online.

Once I take a new bottle of insulin out of the fridge I leave it on the bathroom counter until it's gone. Not necessarily recommended but our bathroom is fairly cool and it's worked just fine for me. It's pretty tough stuff.

It takes a while to find out how much insulin your body needs for the different foods you eat. That's probably why her sugars are going low after she takes her insulin. Talk to her doctor about teaching her to use a sliding scale. You adjust the amount of insulin according to what you eat. Her sugars are getting too low, in my opinion, if they're nearing 70. I take extra insulin if my sugars start to climb over about 150. If her sugars(BG) get low that could cause dizzy spells. I check at bed time and if I'm below 100 I have a small snack. Keep it small.

I take 5 doses of insulin each day and sometimes an extra if I need to adjust my sugars. Please remember! Everything I've told you works for me and I'm not trying to treat your sweetie. That's up to her doc. Guess the bottom line is to educate yourself and you're doing a fantastic job. Larry, you're an honorable man!! She's a luck lady to have you.

Hugs to you,
Chutz
The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

Post Edited (Chutz) : 4/18/2005 8:11:16 PM (GMT-6)


jtu91952
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 4/18/2005 5:22 PM (GMT -7)   
I agree with Chutz. I had to go to a dietitian b4 i was able to adjust my insulin to carb ratio. I also take about five shots daily.

I roll my insulin (if it comes out the fridge) to warm it a bit, then take my shot. You are correct it should be room temperature. I've never heard that insulin hurt the heart, maybe its the anxiety of taking a shot.
I agree that education is the best option, and ask a lot of questions. Good luck and keep us posted.

jtu91952
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 4/18/2005 5:24 PM (GMT -7)   
I forgot to add, why not call the Red Cross or United Way in your area to see where there are free clinics. I once relocated to Norfolk(son was in the Navy( and i had no health insurance. The United Way was able to direct me to a free clinic that was operated by a local church.

All the doctors were volunteers and they even provided free meds. Just a thought.

mystified08
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/18/2005 8:53 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks so much for the replies  :-) Much appreciated.
 
Just for what it's worth, she's my best friend, but not sweetheart or anything like that. I think the world of her and will do anything I can to help her. Like I said, that's why I'm here.
 
I (just got interrupted, so I'm trying to remember my thought  redface ). Anyway, one of the things I'm really concerned about is how to recognize possible problems and to know how to handle them if they do come up. I appreciate the suggestions about education, and will find out if there are classes or workshops available here. I'll learn all I can.
 
Until then, thanks again for being here. I'm glad I found this place and will keep reading, even if I don't post for a bit. I'll still be here.
 
Best to all.....Larry

Chutz
Veteran Member


Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9090
   Posted 4/19/2005 11:10 AM (GMT -7)   
Larry,

I'm sooooo embarrased. confused Didn't mean to start anything. I just jumped to a conclusion that I shouldn't have. You're still a sweetheart of a guy to be such a good friend!

Hugs,
Chutz
The only difference between genius and stupidity is that genius has its limits.
-Albert Einstein (1879-1955)


mystified08
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/19/2005 3:46 PM (GMT -7)   
Chutz, absolutely NO offense taken, and certainly none intended by my repy :-)   I really do appreciate all of you being willing to help, but thought I should set the record straight, that's all. Besides, had someone else posted what I did and I read it, I'd probably have thought the same thing. "no biggie" :-)
 
By the way, my computer monitor's on its way out, and I can't afford another one just yet (sometimes I can hardly see it, though it is better at night). So, if I disappear for a bit, that's what it is. Once this goes completely, it'll probably take me a couple of weeks to get a new one. Until then, I'm still here and still reading.
 
Thanks to all for being here!
 
Best....Larry

jtu91952
Regular Member


Date Joined Mar 2005
Total Posts : 137
   Posted 4/19/2005 4:38 PM (GMT -7)   
Hi Larry, one sign i would definitely watch for is shaking, irrability and confusion. Usually i check my glucose if i notice this along with sweatig profusely. I was told by my endo and dietitian that glucose should not go below 70 or over 170.

Of course, once in a while my glucose does go over 170. I espeacially check my glucose b4 bedtime. I take lantus at nite, and i don't want my glucose to go to low while im sleeping. Usually i will eat a pack of peanut butter crackers.

Some signes of high glucose for me are blurred vision, headache, thirsty and lethargic. Hope i helped and good luck.

mystified08
New Member


Date Joined Apr 2005
Total Posts : 5
   Posted 4/19/2005 8:20 PM (GMT -7)   
Thanks, jtu. Much appreciated. Yes, it does help to know some of the things to watch for. She does try to monitor her BG levels and BP, but sometimes I think her BG is too low. Last night when it was time for her shot, it was 74. Times like that I wonder if she should skip the shot altogether, but I've heard that, no, she shouldn't skip one even if BG is low. So I lowered her from 15 to 10. Also, she ate a piece of toast with peanut butter and sugar-free jelly. This morning it was 101, so seems OK. Anyway, thanks for the tips.
 
Best....Larry
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