Chapter 2 – After the diagnosis

As I said, I spent most of the weekend sleeping. Naturally I took the Gliclazide tablets. They were going to make me “better” weren’t they? I had another appointment with the Nurse on the Monday. She had asked me to take tests when I woke up, before each meal and before bed. I started my first blood spotted little record book on 28th May 2003 with a pre-bed reading of 29.5. FBG on 29th was 25.5 and I was quite pleased since it had gone down from the bedtime reading. At this time I hadn’t a clue what a “normal” blood sugar reading was! The readings over the rest of the weekend varied between 24 and 29.9 (and that 29.9 was an FBG!). I still have that blood smeared little diary and it’s interesting to look back on it.

On the Monday I visited the nurse again and she looked at my results. She seemed worried and asked had I been eating sweeties or chocolate. I explained that I understood sufficient to avoid that sort of thing, or indeed anything sugary. Indeed after attending WeightWatchers for 12 months that sort of thing didn’t feature in my diet at all. I was eating “healthily” with lots of fresh vegetables and very limited amounts of starchy carbohydrate since anything starchy was high in “points”. Not that I understood the importance of Carbohydrates in BG control at that time and didn’t bother to mention that bit to her. Eventually she told me to keep taking the tablets and come back in a week’s time, since she felt it may be necessary for me to start on insulin. She also gave me a prescription for Ketostix, having shown me one and explained how to use them. She told me that if a certain section turned to a certain colour I was to ring her immediately. She told me that if my BGs did not drop drastically within a week then I would have to see her and she would put me on insulin. At this point I felt I ought to point out that I was booked to go on holiday a week on the Friday and I had been really looking forward to it. She looked very dubious at this news and said she felt I should cancel the holiday. I replied that I really wanted to avoid that course of action, since we were holidaying with friends, we had booked a gite in the Loire Valley and they were flying to Nantes whilst we were taking the car over on the cross channel ferry and picking them up to drive to our destination near Azay-le-Rideau. So she sent me on my way with a caution not to forget to ring her if I saw any Ketones.

All I could think of at this point was that I wanted to avoid having to go onto insulin since the nurse had made it plain that if I did, I would definitely need to cancel the holiday. I desperately didn’t want to do that, because, apart from the fact that we’d been looking forward to it so much, our friends would be without transport and we had all paid for the gite and they had paid for their air fares. Whilst we could claim on our holiday insurance for the ferry crossing and our share of the gite it was likely that they would lose what they had paid, or would have to go and hire a car. In addition we’d been firm Francophiles for years and had conceived the idea of introducing our friends to France, it’s food and wines, a year previously, so it was a long awaited holiday. We were all four keen walkers and had been looking forward to long hikes and even longer lingering lunches in the sun by the Loire. In addition we’d had an idyllic holiday in the Loire 19 years previously and were excited at the thought of showing our friends the beautiful Chateaux and attending the very romantic son-et-lumiere display at Azay-le-Rideau in the grounds of the perfectly beautiful Chateau there. Curiously this was the only reason I didn’t want to go onto insulin – the idea of actually injecting insulin didn’t bother me!

Over the next week I managed to get one reading as low as 15 (I had felt so tired I could barely eat). This was the reading I told the nurse about at my next appointment having conveniently “forgotten” to take my little diary to the appointment! I assiduously used the Ketostix and to be honest I found them extremely hard to read. I’d stare at them so long that they’d turn deep red but the instructions said that they had to be read within x number of seconds. I hadn’t a clue, though it did seem that I was showing some ketones, but not to the level where the nurse had warned me to ring her. Meanwhile the pins and needles were plagueing me constantly in my left arm and leg. Funnily enough not at all in my right side.

During the week I spoke to the friends who we were holidaying with and warned them that we may have to cancel last minute, but assured them that I would do all I could to avoid it. To be fair, they said it really didn’t matter and they just wanted me to be OK. The husband of the couple is a T2 and he assured me that the tablets would work “eventually” and that diabetes wasn’t really a problem. He simply took his tablets and ignored it. I would be OK. I wasn’t to worry. However, he did say privately to my husband that he had never seen BG levels anything like mine. His diabetes had been brought on by steriods which he had taken for another condition and as he was on a private medical plan he had been monitored closely by his consultant so it was picked up very quickly. I also spoke to another couple of friends who were T2 and they were just as reassuring. It made no dent in their lives and they carried on “as normal”. I was duly reassured and continued to look forward to the holiday. By the day before we “set sail” I felt as though I’d been holding my breath for two weeks and though I didn’t feel significantly better – in fact no better at all – I was reassured that things were going to be under control “soon”. I was just jubliant that we were actually going on the holiday as planned.

to be continued…..

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