Three days ago she was in the 60’s, just before school let out for the day. It happened again yesterday, and once last week.
Tuesday, to be exact.
As I’m sitting here, I’m acutely aware that twenty-six minutes ago, she was due to the office for her lunch check and bolus. I haven’t gotten a call from the nurse, so I’m assuming everything is okay. Three hours from now, I’ll know if the basal change I made to avert those afternoon lows is showing signs of helping.
Basal Thinking: It’s how my brain works.
Whether life is swirling around me at 100 mph, or plodding from one day to the next, this baseline thought process is constantly running through my mind. Much like basal insulin...it’s there, in the background, regardless of anything else.
Sometimes I have to stop myself from speaking my basal thoughts out loud. When ordering lunch, “I’d like some chicken salad on a bed of greens and a correction, please” might cause a little confusion. Likewise, “I’m going to the grocery store to pick up some milk, bread, and 40 carbs” could make a friend pause during a telephone conversation. “Yesterday we had the best time at the park and 123mg/dl is a number that makes me happy” (which is completely true, by the way.)...I can already envision the blank stares. “You’ll need to increase the oven temperature and the basal” when sharing a favorite recipe? Nope.
When my husband had a shoulder surgery scheduled for 1 pm, I sat in the waiting room wondering how we’d manage diabetes if she couldn’t eat or drink anything for thirteen hours. While in labor a few months after her diagnosis, I watched my baby’s heart beating around 140 bpm on the fetal monitor, and hoped the friends who had graciously agreed to help us with were seeing the same numbers on her glucometer. Recently, I had an outpatient surgical procedure, and the first thing I remember after waking up in the recovery room is that I was asking someone to tell me how my daughter’s blood sugar was doing.
It’s just there – in my subconscious all the time.
To be honest, I never meant for my brain to think like this. It just happened. Day after day, number after number...slowly something was changing on the inside. The things that used to monopolize my mind were quickly replaced with acronyms like “ISF” and “IOB” and “TDD”. Before long, I found myself anticipating how I would manage her next glucose reading while pondering what to make for dinner. I can tell if two hours have passed since her last bolus without even looking at a clock, and I may not be able to tell you the date our milk expires, but I can tell you how many juice boxes are sitting in the kitchen cabinet.
In this day and age of endless distractions, I find myself having to make a conscious effort not to let my mind wander into the abyss of blood sugar patterns, pump settings, and a million variables that affect glucose levels. When my phone alerts that an email has arrived, it takes effort not to interrupt what I’m doing to see if it’s the school nurse. There’s an inner turmoil that remains unsettled when I find myself troubleshooting an unexpected high or low...a turmoil that will nag at me, wherever I am, whatever I’m doing until I figure out the cause – or at least until I manage to chill out, and accept the fact that, sometimes, there just aren’t any cut and dry explanations.
Basal Thinking has become part of who I am. There was a stretch of time when it dominated my every thought, and I felt suffocated by the constant chatter in my mind. Over the years, I’ve learned how to channel the white noise into a productive thought process instead of the confusing babble it used to be.