Friday, 5 November 2010

Pool Rage, a hypo and an unfill

As a bandit I haven’t had a very good week – I’ve lost a few pounds but for all the wrong reasons (no I don’t want them back, it’s not that bad).

On Sunday morning I had my usual weekly treat of 3 rashers of smoked streaky bacon (grilled till crisp) and fried egg plus one small buttered toasted pancake/drop scone (no toast permitted by the band) and coffee, and in the afternoon we went swimming.  The pool was busy, with one lane cordoned off and various people steaming up and down as though their lives depended on it.

I did my 20 lengths swimming sedately (read ‘with the least effort’) in the lane next to it, but finding it difficult to enjoy because all the activity going on in the pool made it feel like a Channel crossing.  At one point I got kicked by mistake by one of the serious crawl swimmers from the fast lane, who apologised in a gasp as he lunged past.  It didn’t hurt, it was just one more annoying invasion of space, and – as frequently happens when I go to a public swimming bath – I finished the swim feeling cross and out of sorts.  However, I did, as they say “get over it”.

I noticed that evening as I had a small bowl of polenta, comfort food that normally sails past the band without difficulties, that the restriction was too great and I could barely eat it a small spoonful at a time.  I was hungry, so persevered and finished it after about an hour, but I wasn’t very comfortable – and in fact I wasn’t to eat again till three days later.  It was only after a couple of hours that I was able to drink – and I knew that something had changed pretty dramatically in the past few hours. 

Goodness knows where my brain was, but before I went to bed I gave myself an overdose of insulin because I had switched the colour coded caps on my insulin pens by mistake.  I realised immediately after giving myself a hefty dose of the strong instant-acting insulin, and to compensate I therefore didn’t inject with the slow acting one at all.  My body knew the difference though.

I had a terrible night because I woke up four times drowning, and a fifth time at 4:30 a.m. feeling like a newborn kitten, which meant I was having a hypo (low glucose levels in the blood).  On these occasions getting myself out of bed and walking to the loo is a tremendous effort of will – difficult to explain to non-diabetics, and it scares the hell out of me.  I chewed a couple of sugar pills and prepared to wait ten minutes for my glucose levels to rise and therefore to regain my strength, but alas my restriction had well and truly kicked in and there was no way I was going to get those lozenges down, however well chewed.  I started to panic as I felt a stalemate situation coming on. 

After a few minutes of scrambled thoughts I remembered that I had runny honey in a squeezy bottle on the windowsill put by for when I occasionally need to crush large bitter tasting pills that won’t get past the band, and thank goodness enough glucose got through to bring my levels up a bit.

I stayed home the following day, Monday, too exhausted to do much except sleep in a semi-reclined position and worry about the fact that it was getting harder and harder to keep water down except in tiny sips.  On the Tuesday I went in to work and only managed a coffee in the morning and a hot chocolate in the afternoon.  The evening’s cold milky coffee got undrunk.  On Wednesday John drove me to work – the lack of food had really weakened me, but we were due in Taunton that evening so I reckoned as long as I could drink a bit I’d be OK.  He collected me at the end of the day and drove me to Taunton, and I had lost 1.2kg – actually it was a great deal more than that, but I’m afraid I’d gained a bit since the last visit 3 weeks before and the 1.2 was a net loss...I know the true loss must have been nearer to 4kg. 

I was lucky that my surgeon was doing the clinic that evening, a rare treat, so he did my unfill of a quarter of a cc.  I took advantage of the opportunity to ask him about the strange development, and also the one I described some months ago when I coughed up a bean I had eaten 8 days previously, but – you know what? He just said “this is an art, not a science”.  He had nothing to contribute as to these two events, other than to reassure me that my port and band were all in place as they should be. 

Tina’s post today is bang on, this is what she writes, referring to the bariatric nurse she consulted –
I really don't think she (or any of the surgeons for that matter) are doing studies about living with a band. They just do their quantitative blinded crap and are muddling around in the dark as far as the actual details of the experience.

I couldn’t agree more.  Sandy has debated on her blog as to the reasons for sudden increases and decreases of restriction, and more study is evidently needed to understand how certain everyday activities – exercise, bowel movements, kicks in the ribs... – can rearrange our internal organs in such a way as to have an effect on the position and pressure of the gastric band.

The quarter cc adjustment has made a slight difference, but I can’t eat much.  I know it’s unwise to lose weight this way, as it encourages one to go for high calorie sliders, but I’ll give it a go till my next appointment in two weeks time.  At the very least I’ll have better figures to note on the weight loss chart on the right side of the blog come November 17th.

A rather obvious conclusion I had never really thought about before:  simultaneous over-restriction and hypos should be avoided at all costs.  It would be good if there were any other diabetic bandits out there who could comment on their own experiences – anyone?


Photo Finish:
from Lonicera's non-digital archive

Bonfire Night



Zanna said...

Far out - sounds like quite a scary and horrible few days for you. Hope things are settling down for you now. Love the Guy Fawkes theme. Zxx

THE DASH! said...

Hi Caroline,
What a time you've had of it, especially with the low. Having a son myself who is type one, I understand how frightening that would have been for you - and heading for the honey is the best thing ever. Did you rub it on your gums? It gets into the system even quicker.
I was reading about your tight band. It sounds to me like you might have had a stuck episode as it really is weird for the band to 'suddenly' tighten the way you describe it. The kinds of food you're eating for your Sunday brekkie? Any one of them could have been the culprit. Whatever the case, I'm glad you feel better now with the unfill. Have a top weekend sunshine.
PS Love the pics xx

tessierose said...

That sounds so scary. I hope you continue to feel better, take care of yourself!

Reddirt Woman said...

In-frekin-credible bonfire night photos!!! But as to the post... I don't know what it would be like being a diabetic, much less one with a band, except that you would really have to be on top of all your foods that you can eat with not only the band but diabetes also. I've got friends that have lived with diabetes for years and it is amazing to me the knowledge they have about what foods they can and cannot eat and then the foods they sometimes fudge with eating a dab of occasionally knowing there will be a trade off but knowing all that and what you can do with the band, too, is amazing to me. You bandits are fortunate to be able to share info so you don't feel quite so much like you are your own guinea pig.
The medical people need to get on with the studies about living with a band. Glad you made it through this crisis and sorry about the pool rage. Knowing how you 'love' the exercising, the kicking idiots in the fast lane could easily make you crazy.

Tina said...

wow what a crazy few days. I do know that just because I can eat bacon one day or polenta..does not mean that I can on another day (with a fill or an unfill or even water retention). I wonder as well if the unstable blood sugar would have an effect?

I have decided to do the study..but need to get cracking on human subjects permission forms and asking you all if you will let me read your blogs and interview you for data. Are you game?

Finally-those bonfire pictures are the best!! We had a little party here but only a little backyard fire pit for flames.

Good luck with the fill and try and stick to the good stuff for these couple of weeks! :)


Lonicera said...

Zanna - it's better now thanks, though only just. I'm still not really comfortable, but at the very least I hope to lose a few more pounds because of it...

Cara - being a type 2 diabetic is a walk in the park compared to being a type 1, your son has all my sympathy - he's had to live with this all his life. I'm still a bit too restricted, MORE than I was before the fill of a month ago (which was reversed last week), that's the weird part about it.

Thanks Tessierose - now the panic has evaporated a bit, the band seems to sense it and has also relaxed. Strange thing, the human body...

Helen - I'm often not as conscious as I should be about sugar values, but have learned through monitoring my body's reaction to foods - chocolate not half as bad as sweets, for example, and sweets not half as bad as the icing on doughnuts, and too much carbohydrate and oily food always bad. Stick to fresh vegetables and okra, I hear you say? Nnnnoo - I'd have to liquidise it all to get it down. (Tragic, because I used to love vegetables). Bread and water? OK with water, so that's one out of two. (Sigh).

Tina - would be delighted to participate in whatever survey you want, it goes without saying.

So glad you all liked the bonfire pics - I must try this again with my digital camera and see what I come up with.


Pamela said...


Lonicera said...

Pamela - Strangely enough, I really don't know the answer to your diabetes question. I already use only one third of the insulin I used to before I had the lapband, and I imagine (but I don't know) that I'll always have to use some insulin. It's certainly the easiest way to control it... Thanks very much for your kind comments!

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