Thursday, January 06, 2011

A Curious Day

I had a weird day on a couple of fronts.

First, the blood sugar.  I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes a few years ago.  My only medication is Metformin.  Although my quarterly A1C blood tests show that I am in good control, I have periods where the blood sugar levels fluctuate throughout the day without regard to what I have been eating.

Last night, I worked as a volunteer for Action Sudbury at the Boardwalk Gaming bingo from 6:30 until 8:30.  Because I had not had a full supper before, I picked up a Poppa Burger and onion rings at A&W.  I know, way too much salt among other bad things but I really like them.  Lately, I haven't been paying much attention to hydration and went to bed dry.  I woke up in the morning a whole lot drier.  My blood glucose was 9.8 (176 by US measure) compared to a normal limit of 6.0 and a diabetic target of 7.0.  Unacceptable.

Being dry, I downed three of my large 16 oz mugs of water.  Two hours later, a retest showed the glucose level had dropped to 4.7 (85).  I checked it twice to be sure.  The standard lifestyle change for diabetics involves proper diet and exercise.  They say to drink water but I never realized what an impact hydration versus dehydration has on the sugar levels.  You can be sure that I will be more attentive to this in the future.

The second thing happened when I went to give blood.  I had been scheduled back in December but had to defer due to being ill.  I wandered in about 10:00 AM and found a bunch of high school students, mostly first time donors.  This is great to see since I heard only 4% of eligible donors in Canada actually give.  The only problem was that first time donors take a little more time to get through the process.  As a veteran (this was my 90th), they bumped me ahead.

There was new reading material to study.  They streamlined the iron testing, finally, and the screening by the nurse went well, although my blood pressure was high (there's that A&W salt again).  I got to fill out the manual questionnaire because the interactive computer system was down.  Then it was on to the chair where the extremely cute Kelly took the actual blood.  Excellent.  Five out of five for the needlework.  I filled the bag in five minutes, and declined a wrap for my arm.  Then I headed for the recovery area where Bill got me a couple of slices of pizza (Thursday is pizza day courtesy of Mr. Toppers) and a coffee.  I was cool, the old pro among all these kids, including the green looking one laying on the cot with the cold compresses.

It was about now that it diverged from the normal experience.  I noticed the band-aid wasn't sticking well and went to press it down.  That was when I saw the dark spot and then dark red blood started to run out from under the band-aid and down my arm, a substantial flow.  I grabbed napkins for a compress and told Bill I had a re-bleed.  He had special absorbent pads in his pocket for just such an occasion and gave them to me, asking me to try to keep the blood of the floor because the clean-up procedures for blood are pretty intensive.  They walked me back to a chair beside the green kid and gave me more pads to keep pressure on the leak.  We joked around  for a while allowing the blood to clot all over again, and then did a full wrap with that self sticking wrap that eventually rips all the hair off your arm.  Ninety donations and this was the first time I ever had a problem.

Back at the table, I didn't have any more trouble and enjoyed the pizza while I caught up on things with Bill, who I haven't seen for a while. The rest of my universal O-Negative blood stayed right where it was supposed to.

My closing thought is that if you are eligible to give blood, please consider it.  It only takes a short while and it truly is the Gift of Life.

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