Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Saying Goodbye To 2013.

I love New Year's! To take a quote from the film New Year's Eve:

"[it's] a time for us to reflect upon our triumphs and our missteps - our promises made and broken. The time we opened ourselves up to great adventure - or closed ourselves down for fear of getting hurt. Because that's what New Year's is all about: getting another chance. A chance to forgive, to do better, to do more, to give more, to love more. To stop worrying about 'what if' and start embracing what would be."

This year has been a busy one. 

I bid Toulouse "au revoir" back in January and moved to Alcalá. Things got difficult, but it led to me starting this blog, and for some reason or another you're reading it! I also got more involved in the diabetes community, which has done wonders for my emotional wellbeing. I "celebrated" my three year diabetes anniversary. I travelled. I made mistakes and celebrated successes, both diabetically-speaking and in my personal life. Circle D celebrated its 5th birthday. I took part in Diabetes Blog Week, Diabetes Week, No D Day and Diabetes Awareness Month, which comprised of World Diabetes Day and the WDD Postcard Exchange. I went to events (HPD's Greater Minds Inspire and the DUK Big Event), taking my online friends offline.

My godson turned 2 back in February. I finally got my butt Stateside and met up with one of my favourites, Lopez. I celebrated turning 21. I survived my first semester back at uni after year abroad and learnt that sleep's over-rated. One of my friends got engaged. 

I'm so excited to see what 2014 brings!

Friday, 27 December 2013

"How Is Diabetes...?"

Hey! (I don't think I've ever started a blog post with "Hey!" but after three days offline, it feels like the right thing to do!) I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and weren't too affected by the storms! Mine was great: my family, good food, gifts, games and a bit too much to drink! 

Christmas is generally a time to see family and friends, which is lovely. Apart from my immediate family, I don't see the rest of my family unless it's an occasion, like Christmas or a birthday. Because of this, as you would expect, there are a lot of questions: "How are you?...How's uni going?...Got a boyfriend yet?...What are your plans for after uni?...How's diabetes?..."

How's diabetes?

I get that what they're trying to ask is "how are you getting on with diabetes?" but, still, I'm never really sure how to answer, which I know is a result of different perspectives. Let me explain.

I've been living with diabetes for almost four years now. I'm no longer new to this game of balancing blood sugars. But my family only witness these snapshots of diabetes when I'm home. I forget that living with diabetes is my normal, but it's not theirs. When I do a blood sugar test it's "Oh yeah...how is all that going?" It's a forgotten entity to them until they witness those "diabetes moments" - the blood sugar testing, the shooting up insulin - the rest of the time, it's forgotten. When it is remembered, it's still new to them. And it can get frustrating at times, especially when they try to tell me what's what, but it's still new to them. 

I need to remember that, even after the tenth time of being asked!    

Monday, 23 December 2013

I Hate Coming Up With Titles!

I really, really do!

Anyway, here's a Christmas quiz I borrowed from Elizabeth, who stole it from Allison (who blogs at With Faith and Grace and then talks diabetes at The Blood Sugar Whisperer)

Without further ado...

1. What is your must-watch holiday movie?

I can't choose: Home Alone (the first one is the best), The Holiday, Love Actually, Serendipity, The Family Stone, Miracle on 34th Street, Jack Frost, New Years Eve, A Christmas Carol (all and any versions), The Polar Express...I could go on and on!
 2. What is your must-do holiday activity?

Wrapping Christmas presents whilst watching a Christmas movie (see question one) and drinking Baileys. 

3. What's your favourite holiday dish?

Mince pies! We can only ever buy them around the holidays and they're so good and worth every bit of insulin I have to shoot for them!

4. What's your favourite holiday drink?

Starbucks toffee nut latte is my absolute favourite! Very bolus-worthy!

5. Christmas cookies: store bought, from scratch, neither?

From scratch!

6. Which Christmas song do you have on repeat?

O Holy Night, the Il Divo version. Gives me goosebumps. And I love Ave Maria. Again, goosebumps.

7. When do you put your Christmas tree up?

Mum and Dad put it up when my sister and I returned home after our semester at uni. However, when I get my own place (i.e. not a student house), that tree will be up December 1st, no questions asked!

8. Do you have a favourite ornament?

No. But, when I actually become a grown-up (because, let's be honest, being a student doesn't make you a grown up!) I don't doubt that I will be that person that has a favourite ornament! It'll probably be something Disney related!

9. Where is Santa Claus coming to visit this year?

My parent's house.

10. What is on your holiday wish list?

11. Open presents: Christmas eve or Christmas morning?

Christmas morning, definitely! I have so many memories of that as a kid!

12. Can you sing the entire "Twelve Days of Christmas" without missing a single item?

I'm gonna say yes, but I can't guarantee said items will be in the right order!   

Friday, 20 December 2013

Five For Friday: All I Want For Christmas...

...is yooooooouuuuuuuuu!

Just kidding. Unless you're Michael Bublé. Or DiNozzo from NCIS. Or Booth from Bones.

I digress.

Five things on my Christmas list this year:

1. Ideally, this Christmas, I would love The Cure. Think I've left it a bit too late to ask for that though.  10 years, right?!

2. Failing the cure, if Saint Nick could put a good word in at the diabetes clinic and secure me some insulin pump funding when I go for pump assessment clinic in January. Consider it a belated Christmas gift for this year and a crazy early one for Christmas 2014, plus graduation and my birthday all rolled into one!

3. Friends tv box set: it is still my absolute favourite tv show. I can find a quote from that show for every situation. It's brilliant.
4. Socks! You can never have too many pairs of socks, and I swear a pair goes missing every time they go through the wash!
5. I mentioned the cure, right?!   

Tuesday, 17 December 2013


Other than seeing my family, my absolute favourite part of coming back to Mum and Dad's for the holidays is seeing E.Hales and Doodle. We text pretty much everyday, and we skype when we can, but nothing compares to a catch-up over coffee (or tea in my case) with her and the sound of Doodle's voice saying "Auntie Vicki", often followed by a run-and-hug. 

Today, we did spinning.

First note to self: don't engage in any activity with the kid that I don't want to be doing for the rest of the afternoon!

I picked Doodle up once and spun him round.

"Again, Auntie Vicki! Please!"

So I did. You try and say "no" to his smile. And "Auntie Vicki" - I can't say "no" when he "Auntie-s" me!


And hello blood sugar of 2.8mmol when I got back to Mum and Dad's!

Second note to self: reduce insulin when spinning is the kid's game of choice!

Monday, 16 December 2013

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas...

I'm officially done with the first semester of my final year! Can't believe I only have one semester left and then I graduate...let's not think about that! I'm also back at Mum and Dad's for the Christmas period, which is awesome! We have a Christmas tree, Christmas lights...not that it didn't look like Christmas in my uni-house, but here is where it's at! 

With the stresses of end of semester deadlines, and the Christmas season just being a generally crap time for my blood sugars, my diabetes management has been a little relaxed, to say the least! I'm hoping that now I've submitted my final essay, I'll be able to get back on track with my diabetes, despite the temptations that surround the holiday season. Although, I type this having spent the afternoon with E.Hales, Doodle and my brother icing gingerbread men. 'Tis the season for high blood sugars and all that...

But in all seriousness, I need to make more of an effort to log sugar levels and the foods I'm eating to see how foods are affecting my blood glucose levels. I have a check-up in January at the diabetes clinic, as well as an appointment with a dietitian, meaning it'll be 'a1c time, and I want to be able to say I really tried to stay on top of things, which right now I can't do. 

So, tomorrow, it's back to basics: bloog glucose logging, insulin doses, food consumed, exercise done all logged in an app on my phone. By writing it here, I'm making myself accountable, and I will follow through. 

I hope everyone's enjoying the Christmas season!  


Friday, 13 December 2013

100 Campaign.


"No one should die from lack of insulin.
Global campaign aiming to achieve 100% access to insulin by the 100th anniversary of its first use."

What are you waiting for?!
Go and 'like' the Facebook page!
Follow on Twitter!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Carrot Cake.

Last Friday at Brownies, we put on a Christmas Carol Concert to all the parents. One of my friends who I volunteer with had her fiancé make a carrot cake for us to sell, and it's amazing! 

So, having finished serving teas and coffees, I went to get some cake for us leaders to share before the second half of our Carol Concert started. 

There was one bit of carrot cake left. Never have I moved so fast for cake.

One square, four leaders, we didn't care! We were just happy we'd managed to get a mouthful each. 

Today, I met said friend for "Tuesday Tea" and she bought me a slice of carrot cake! A whole slice of carrot cake!

I ate it at lunch, along with a spinach and ricotta slice as it's been a while since I had breakfast.

Pre-meal: 11.7 (not a great start!)
10 units of novorapid for pastry and cake, plus correction.
3 hours post-meal: 10.5 (looking good!)
On leaving campus to go home: 6.5.


Now I've celebrated and documented this victory, I'm now actually going to leave campus and go home!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Roulette, Anyone?!

Far left - Naomi: 4.5, 3.0, 4.5
Top left - Sam:13.4, 12.6
Top right - Me: 15.3, 17.0
Bottom - Katie: 20.8, 24.9, 23.3 

I'd never really given much though to blood glucose meter accuracy. At the age of 17, in the middle of my final year at sixth form, about to sit A-Levels with the hope of going to university that September, I was told that I had type one diabetes. On hearing that my pancreas had failed me, I never even thought about my meter potentially failing me too! I was discharged from hospital with insulin and my trusty One Touch Glucose meter. The thought of the meter giving me incorrect results wasn't a thought at the time. The doctors gave it to me, explained how important blood glucose monitoring was and that was that.

It wasn't until December 2012 that I started questioning meter accuracy. For the first time since diagnosis, I was offered a new meter, and it wasn't a One Touch. I never thought I'd be that person that gets attached to a blood glucose meter, but as it turns out, I was...I still am! I was given an Accu-Chek Aviva Expert as it has a bolus advice function. I love the bolus advice function on it, but when I first started using it, I was also checking my glucose levels on my old One Touch to see how the results compared. Now, I just use the Accu-Chek, but there was a trust issue at the start. I'd only ever had One Touch meters, so changing meter and manufacturer was a pretty big deal for me!
The readings that my meter flashes back at me after the five second countdown are what I base numerous decisions on, day-in, day-out. It dictates whether I treat for a hypo or a hyper; whether I bolus before eating or wait until I've eaten a little as I'm on the verge of a low blood sugar; whether I'm safe to work out; whether I'm safe to work with children. I have to be able to trust the results my meter is giving me.

If these numbers are wrong, it means I'm making decisions regarding my diabetes management on false truths. This is not okay. It could mean that I am taking a correction dose of insulin that isn't actually enough to bring my blood sugar back into range. Or it could be the opposite, and that I'm taking too much as my blood sugar is actually lower than the reading being presented to me on my meter. Either way, the point remains the same: we need to be able to trust the readings our meters are giving us to make good, healthy decisions, and not just for ourselves, but for our mothers, fathers, siblings, friends, partners, children, those that depend on us. 

Accuracy is important, and it's time to make sure the right people know that. How?! It's easy: you can sign the petition started by Spirit by clicking here. It only takes two minutes. If you blog, maybe write about why meter accuracy is important to you. Diabetes is difficult enough to live with, without use having to second-guess the technology we use.

Disclosure: I was asked by Spirit Healthcare to write a blog post regarding blood glucose meter accuracy in order to spread the word about their campaign, so I have - it's something I definitely feel needs to be addressed! Also, thank you to the lovely members of the SDUK Facebook group for the images of their blood glucose checks. I have more images that I will put in another post. If you would like to send me an image similar to those above, please use the email me button top right of this page.     

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Friends With D Are Friends Indeed!

After the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange, I received a couple of extra bits of post from two lovely people, also lacking fully-functioning pancreases.

Lizzie and Daisy, you girls are brilliant! Thank you so much for my mail and for making me smile in spite of all the deadlines I have right now! 
I look forward to seeing you both soon!

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

It's Christmassssssss!

If I thought it were socially acceptable to title a post "It's Christmassssssss!" back in November, I would have! Christmas is by far my favourite time of year: the lights, the carols, Christmas songs on the ipod, the Christmas coffees at my favourite coffee shop (which I've been drinking since November...), Father Christmas, wrapping presents (usually whilst watching various Christmas movies and drinking Bailey's hot chocolate with my housemate!) I just love everything about it!

Yeah, I still have a presentation next week and I still have four essays to write equalling approximately 10,000 words between now and December 16th, but the Christmas spirit is definitely getting rid of some of that stress!

My diabetes management has a tendency to go to pot around December: advent calendar chocolate, the Christmas meals (I had one on Sunday with fellow Brownie leaders, I have one this Sunday with my housemates, one with my friends back in my hometown and then there's the one on actual Christmas Day!), the family get-togethers, alcohol, not to mention the sweets that come with the holidays! It makes diabetes management a little bit more complicated, and, for me, increased willpower is essential! 

My advice for over the festive period?
  1. Test, test, test. Knowing where you're at will help you calculate insulin doses. If you're anything like me, it will also give you peace of mind!
  2. Keep a log of what you're eating, glucose levels and insulin doses - I know it can be a tedious task, but I find it really helps with portion control and spotting which foods affect my glucose levels the most.
  3. Keep moving! Despite the uni work and other commitments, and the cold weather making me not want to get out of bed, I'm really, really trying to keep up with going to the gym. And when I don't go to the gym, walking. Walking into town, walking home from campus, walking, walking, walking!
  4. Ask yourself "do I actually want this?" - everyone indulges at Christmas; you could almost say it's become a "norm". But do you actually want that extra mince pie, or are you eating because everyone else is?
What are your tips and tricks for over the Christmas season?

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Giving Thanks.

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them." - JFK.

Retiro Park, Madrid.
I know that Thanksgiving isn't an English holiday, but since I started university in 2010 and lived with an American exchange student, it's something I have acknowledged every year since then.

I love the concept of Thanksgiving; the whole taking time out to actually reflect on what we're thankful for. Let's be honest, how often do we actually take the time out to do that?! I know I don't, and I really, really should, as I have a lot to be thankful for: my family, my friends, my health (yes, I know I have diabetes, but I still have my health!), access to healthcare and prescriptions, I could continue, but I won't bore you with my list.

Instead, I ask you to do something. This evening (or morning, or afternoon, depending on where you are in the world) take some time out to think about what you're thankful for. Maybe even tell someone you're thankful for them. How you go about it is up to you. But just because Thanksgiving is an American Holiday, there's no reason why we can't, or shouldn't, "take part" too.

Whoever you are, where ever you are, I wish you a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, 27 November 2013


This year, I took part in the World Diabetes Day Postcard Exchange. It's been so much fun! With the help of a friend, I made five postcards and sent them all Stateside, and I received them in return. I've never been so excited to receive mail, and I don't care if it's sad to admit that! I didn't know anyone on my list of recipients, so I was excited to see what was written on their postcards.

The first I received was from Colleen (bottom left) who actually write the diabetes blog D-Meanderings - go check it out!

The second came with lots of WDD related info on the front (bottom right), which is a great way of raising awareness! I'm under the impression she also sent postcards to family and friends, which is awesome!

The third and fourth postcards showed up on the same day - one from Lee Ann (top right), founder of the WDD postcard exchange and she also writes a blog called The Butter Compartment. The brightly coloured one (top left, if you haven't guessed!) came from a lady and her family, and she also included a picture of them all, which I loved!

The fifth arrived just last weekend and was covered in blue circles with different motivations written in each of them (bottom middle), which I thought was a great idea!

Taking part in the exchange has helped make new connections within the DOC, and I really hope I can maintain a few, if not all, of them. Thank you so much to all in my group that sent me a postcard! I've loved receiving them and all will be displayed proudly in my room. Once again, I feel very proud to be a part of the diabetes community.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Day Of Diabetes: WDD 2013 Edition.

On WDD, to do my bit to raise awareness, I decided to tweet my #dayofdiabetes. Now, I've not done something like this before, and it really was an eye-opening experience for me. Here's what my day looked like, Twitter-style:

So, these first four "tweets" go from waking to just before lunch time. 6.3mmol on waking is really good. I go to the gym on Thursdays to do a pilates class. I tend to exercise in the mornings, less than 2 hours after breakfast, so I always get a fairly high reading beforehand. The 9.9 after is great - I've not dropped too much and don't have to worry as much about my blood sugar dropping. Because of this reading, I decided not to check my blood again until around midday, which is halfway through my English Language seminar. Good thing I did as I was at 4.1! I decided on a banana, no bolus to see me through the last hour of the class. 

7.2 before lunch: banana was a good call! I reduced bolus at lunch knowing I'd been to the gym, and was at 13.7 after. I'm still learning when it comes to post-gym hypos. It's a slow process, but I'm making progress. 7mmol when I'm in the city, which I quickly ruined with a Toffee-Nut Latte from my favourite coffee shop. 12.4 pre-dinner was to be expected due to the aforementioned coffee. Went out for dinner with my housemate. The restaurant had a leaflet outlining all nutritional information. Awesome!

With dinner, my housemate and I also had a few drinks. Beer always makes my blood sugar go up. But I love the stuff, and am not willing to cut it out. I'm just careful, and I correct blood sugars accordingly, seen with the 9.7 post dinner and beer, and the 7.8 before bed, a great number to end my day on as it tends not to require a 3am wake up!

I know I do this day-in, day-out, but to consciously log every diabetes moment of that day really highlighted just how often I have to stop and think about it. But because it's my "normal" I hadn't really stopped to think about it. It's just there, as something I have to keep an eye on, to make sure I stay healthy and happy. Life's more than diabetes, after all. 

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

In It Together.

Last night, I'd set an alarm to check my blood sugar at around 3am. I was at 18.9mmol before bed and had trace ketones, so I wanted to check my blood sugar again to make sure I was coming down, as well as check again for ketones.

The alarm went off. I reached my arm out from the warmth of my duvet cover and grabbed my diabetes bag. Eyes still shut, I unzipped it and found my meter, test strips and finger pricker (what's the technical term for that?!) Test strip inserted, I pricked my finger and waited the 5 seconds for a result to be displayed.


I was no longer sky-high.

I had a couple of jelly babies to top-up and then psyched myself up to actually get up from my bed to test for ketones. For me, ketone tests come in the form of the little strips you have to pee on. 

Classy, huh?! 

Ketones: negative. Seeing as I was in the bathroom, I also gave my teeth a quick clean after the jelly babies. 

I rushed back to bed, desperate to be warm again, and looked at my phone. I had two messages. 

One was from Lopez, who lives in the US. It's pretty normal for me to wake up in the morning to messages from her. 

The other was from Lizzie.

Now, Lizzie and I text pretty much everyday. And although diabetes makes up part of the conversation, our friendship has extended beyond that - it's more than diabetes.

23.54 (19/11/13) - "18.9 and trace ketones :( corrected and alarm set for 3am to sugar and ketone test again! Too tired for this shit! Stupid garlic bread with dinner. I just need to avoid bread. I know it's my food nemesis!"

03.16 (20/11/13) - "How you doing ha? Just woke to a 17.1. Correction and pants much!"

03.38 (20/11/13) - "4.7 and ketone free. Just had a couple of jelly babies. I'm cold now I've got out of bed though! We're such a pair!"

As sucky as living with diabetes is, moments like this make me smile. Don't get me wrong, I'm not smiling at the fact Lizzie had a 17.1 or the fact that I had to wake up to check my blood sugars were stable and that I was ketone free. But it's the comfort, so to speak, of knowing that, even when things are really shit, there's always someone there, someone that "gets it". That's pretty darn awesome, and something I will never take for granted.    

Monday, 18 November 2013

Raising Awareness: The Diabetes Awareness Badge.

On Friday, in light of World Diabetes Day, fellow Brownie leader and pancreatically-challenged friend, Alice, and I arranged a Diabetes Awareness Night for the Brownies. I'm very happy to report it was a success, and we will be carrying out part two this coming Friday.

To begin, we asked the Brownies if they knew anyone with diabetes, and then what they already knew about diabetes. For those of you that don't know, here is where I should probably tell you Brownies are aged 7 - 10. I was surprised by what they did know. One girl told the group that there were two types of diabetes (I know there's also type 1.5, but for a 9 year old, that's good going) and another knew about sugar testing. Following this, we explained that "Little Owl" (myself) and "Snowy Owl" (Alice) has diabetes.

To explain what diabetes actually is, we had the girls demonstrate what happened in the body: one group acting as the mouth, one a muscle, one the pancreas and the last group was split into two, sugar (glucose) and insulin. The "sugar" walked through the mouth down to the pancreas, where they were paired with "insulin". Because they were paired with insulin, the muscle let them through. We then repeated this, but the "sugar" wasn't paired with the "insulin", so couldn't get through to the muscle. I don't know if this is well-explained in writing, but it seemed to work. The girls understood the difference anyway, and that's what counts!

Finally, we made a game which made the girls think about all the decisions Alice and I have to make as a result of living with type one diabetes. They were given scenarios all of which required a blood sugar check. They had to take a number from the top of the pile and then had a prompt sheet telling them what the numbers meant and how to react to them. They really enjoyed it, and in doing this, they got to see insulin pens, glucose meter, pumps, hypo treatments. With this game, I think it was the other adults that we work with that were more shocked; they see us checking blood sugars and injecting/pumping insulin, but to see how it's a factor in everything was quite eye-opening for them. 

Next week, we're going to follow this up with healthy eating, mainly looking at the sugar content of different foods and are also going to do a sugar vs. sweetener taste test.
At the end, all the girls will receive the Diabetes Awareness Badge. It's definitely one of my favourites on my blanket! 

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Six For Saturday?! - WDD 2013.

Yesterday was crazy busy, so I figured I'd blog today whilst on the train to visit my sister. November 14th marked World Diabetes Day, and there was so much going on I don't even know where to start! Here's a brief rundown of what was going on!

Image from @txtingmypancreas.
1. #WDDChat13 - There was a 24 hour (yes, 24 hour) tweet chat that took place, with each hour being hosted by a different member of the online community. It was pretty amazing, and I wish I had the time to take part in an hour or two, but with uni and errands to run, I couldn't. What I saw of the chat though was awesome!

2. #DayofDiabetes - Lots and lots of people, myself included, tweeted a "day of diabetes". In short, every time I did something where diabetes needed to be taken into account, I tweeted it. It was weird to have to consciously log every moment, but it was interesting to do, and I will write my thoughts on the day next week. 

3. "Diabetes won't stop me!" - A "You Can Do This Project" and "Jerry the Bear" collaboration. Loads of videos popped up, all of which can be found on the YCDT Project website by clicking here.

4. "Type Onesie" - Organised by JDRF UK, all you had to do was get sponsored to wear a oneside. Simple, and lots of fun. If you click here, you can see a whole host of pictures!

5. Blue buildings - various landmarks across the world were lit up blue in honour of WDD. I'm very proud to say that both City Hall and Norwich Castle were lit up blue.

6. And this where I'm gonna cram everything else into point number 6...#WDD trended on Twitter (image above), it was the first birthday of Team Novo Nordisk, an all-diabetes sports team (click here to see a video of their journey so far), #whoisbanting, a Diabetes UK awareness-raising idea and lots and lots of blogs - Daisy, Kev, Laura, Louise, Anna, Sam and we've not even touched upon diabetes bloggers outside of the UK!    

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Happy Birthday, Banting! (World Diabetes Day 2013).

Frederick Banting
Doctor. Nobel Prize winner. Painter. Knighthood recipient. Military Cross recipient of World War I. The man that discovered insulin.

Not too long ago, being diagnosed with diabetes was a death sentence, and people were told that they could buy some more time by starving themselves. Oh, how things have changed! And it's all thanks to the big man above: Banting! He, and Charles Best, started using insulin to treat people with diabetes in 1922, and it's thanks to them that diabetes is no longer a death sentence. It's important people remember than insulin isn't a cure, but it is definitely far better than the death sentence given to people diagnosed before!

So, this World Diabetes Day, I raise my glass (well right now, my coffee, but tonight my glass) to you, Mr Banting. Happy birthday, and thank you.

Happy World Diabetes Day, everyone!   

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Guest Post: That One Time She Was In DKA.

Shep & I - November 2013.
Today, I'm going to try something different. This post is written by my housemate, Shep. She's a Law and American Law student at the same university as me and we've lived together since our first year (despite year abroad, of course). Her connection to diabetes is me. This is her take on the night I ended up in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). It was almost two years ago now (December 2011), and I honestly don't remember all that much about what happened. But the little I do remember is enough for me to know that DKA is something I never want to experience again! Ever! I'd never really asked for the blanks to be filled in; what I remembered was bad enough! So, I give you "That One Time She Was In DKA: Shep's Perspective."

*      *      *      *      *      *

Dear Donkey Kong [Editor's Note: Donkey Kong needs explaining! In short, when "briefing" my housemates about all things diabetes, I obviously covered DKA. Shep hears DK and associated that with Donkey Kong. For me, I don't care how they remember DKA is bad, as long as they do!]

I have lived with a diabetic for basically 3 years now. I try my best to understand as much as I can and if there is something I can do to share the burden I will do it, or at least try. I try to live it, but I can’t and never will be able to (even though I sometimes feel that I do… We were 4000 miles away for a year and I still bought diet lemonade, sugar free jelly, and had skittles in my bag for emergencies.) [Editor's Note: Real friend right there!]

But you, Donkey Kong, are the closest thing I have ever been to living it. To feeling it. I hate sympathy pains…

You effed up a lot of things and still to this day confuse and bewilder me. I don’t know why but you just one day decided you would rear your ugly head and it’s a night I will never forget. The same cannot be said for my friend. You took all the memories she had of that night, stole an evening’s worth of hours. 

This isn’t something I quite realised the gravity of until now. You paid a visit on the 13th of December 2011 and it wasn’t until this September (2013) that I even realised how little Vicki knew of that night. 

It was our housemate’s birthday and naturally we wanted to celebrate. J.Ban wanted to go to Vodka Revs, and we happily accompanied him. There was a large group of us all drinking and having fun. All was going well, J.Ban was having a good time, we were enjoying the drinks but then you showed up and messed everything up. 

I gotta hand it to you, though, you are one sneaky lil' bugger DK. You crept up with out anyone noticing. Vicki felt hyper. Then there were ketones. NovoRapid wasn’t so rapid and levels just kept effing going up. 

The night went on and levels just wouldn’t fall. By this point I wasn’t sure what was going on. Still didn’t expect you DK but I knew something was up. I had faith in Vicki but there are only so many fingers to prick and sites to shoot up in and I was certain we had hit the point of no return before we left Vodka Revs. But the real certainty happened on the way home and it hit me like a ton of bricks. 

I said that you stole memories of that night from Vicki and I think this is where it began. Stupid effing Monkey! I found out only recently that this is where the gaps started for her and this is where I fill in.

We got to the bridge, just me and Vicki as we were further ahead and others were somewhat drunk. We had all been drinking but in the cold I was sobering up a little bit. Vicki wasn’t. Obviously she wasn’t drunk and yet I have no other way to explain this. She swayed, she slurred, her eyes were slow and she didn’t seem cold. All of these things are out of character… Vicki doesn’t let herself get that drunk and I knew that it wasn’t that. I have seen her put away her fair share (more than that night) and be fine and dandy. This was something else. We waited for the others to catch up at the bottom of the bridge and Vicki was talking away to herself. It was odd man! DK you turned the world the wrong way round. When the others caught up I spoke to Fernandez and told her something was fucked up. She took one look at Vicki and was thinking what I was thinking.  

That is when it dawned on us that you had arrived. Donkey Kong had taken over……

Fernandez was on drunk watch and I was on DK watch and we walked home. We had decided that we would see what levels were when we got in. It was around a 15min walk from the bridge and that should make a dent…
It didn’t. 

We got in and Vicki went to the bathroom. The boys were drunk and FIFA was the most important thing. Which is probably a good thing as they would have freaked out at this point if they knew. Mind you I wasn’t as calm as I may have seemed. I had no idea how to handle Donkey Kong. I always joked about you but you were more terrifying than I thought.  

Now where was I, oh yes just got in… levels checked. Stupid pancreas – they had risen even more. So it was time for NHS direct. I called and Fernandez ran interference. I told them we’d been drinking but this wasn’t right. They told me to check some things.
1.       Cheeks are they hot? Yes 
2.       Is she conscious? Yes
3.       Is she coherent? Ermm…

They were keeping me on the line and I heard a whisper-shout of Shep. I went in and the bathroom door was locked. And we could hear retching. I tried to get in and couldn’t. Fernandez eventually got in but Vicki was barely conscious and had been sick. 

Time to call 999. This is why I hate you Donkey Kong. You made me have to call 999. Which was effing scary. I didn’t know what to say. Well I didn’t think I knew. But turns out I did.  

I told them she was type one. I thought it was DKA (managed not to say Donkey Kong [Editor's Note: Well done! 'Donkey Kong' is definitely not a recognised term amongt medical professionals!]). I retold what she had drunk. Eaten. When she had shot up [Editor's Note: Taken insulin]. I knew all the levels and ketone readings. I told them about NovoRapid, Levemir, everything she was on. I don’t know how but I just did it because I had to.  

Thankfully they told me I/we had done the right thing and they would be out with us asap. And they were prompt. At this point I was on the bathroom floor (still on the phone) and feeling like Vicki looked. See, sympathy pains are no fun thank you very much. They kept me on the phone in case anything changed. At some point between them sending the ambulance out and it arriving I gave Fernandez the phone and went to tell my boyfriend at the time that I was going to take a ride in an ambulance. He and my other housemates went outside to find the ambulance and flag it down.  

The paramedics came in and helped Vicki up. We helped her out and got into the back of the van with blue lights going (thankfully no siren). And we drove off… being waved off by the boys in the road giving us all the love we needed.  

We got to the end of the  road and the paramedic asked where her insulin pens were. 


My response was – well it wasn’t working anyway. Jokes are the only way to get through shit like this [Editor's note: Agreed!] So we did a loop. I called Fernandez and she brought the pens from the fridge out to us. Which was good cause Vicki couldn’t even remember the stuff she was prescribed. I told the paramedics everything I could. Which turned out to be more than they needed. They didn’t seem to care when her D-Day was or that her hypo treatment is usually skittles. But I thought they might have needed to know.. and better too much. 

Vicki was laid down on the bed while me and the woman were in the back. Did you know that in the back of an ambulance you ride sideways if you’re a passenger? I didn’t. And I didn’t like it. The paramedic lady offered Vicki a cardboard sick bucket thing. She declined. But I wanted it.. I felt bloomin’ travel sick.  

So we arrived at the hospital and it was confirmed that you were there Donkey Kong. I had known for a while but now medical professionals had told me. Then there is a little bit of a blur in my knowledge. They took Vicki to a bay and I was sat on the chairs outside... I blanked. Because I actually had 5mins to sit and take it in rather than acting. But at least it wasn’t for long cause the doctor came out quickly and said I could go in. Vicki was in a similar situation .. she seemed to realise the ramifications of where she was.  

Though I’m not sure she was entirely back to earth… I say not sure… I was sure. Because this was when there was some more vomiting. But I think it was also stress related. 

The doctor only gave her one cardboard pan. Not enough. I got another of the table but it was still going… so I had to get another one. 

This was no easy feat. They were on the top of the effing cupboard. It was taller than me by about a foot. So I had to jump. I got about 6 of the buggers fall on me. Took them over to her but the tears were still coming… so what did I do? Wore a sick pan as a hat. Did a lil' dance. Cracked a few jokes.
[Of all the things to remember of this night, I wish I could remember this!] I got a faint smile from Vicki. And a laugh chuckle from behind me as the freaking doctor had come back in (apparently they wanted to do half hour checks to see if she was going down).

Whatever they had given here she was doing better and level were down. It was nearly 5am at this point and Vicki was falling asleep. By this point I was on my second wind but the doctor took me outside after talking to the both of us and checking everything. He told me to go home and sleep. I tried to argue but I was mentally exhausted from your stupid antics, Donkey Kong …  

I called a taxi from the reception. Went outside and lit 4 cigarettes in a row and called Mama Shep. Yes at 5 am. I broke. My best friend was lying in a hospital bed with tubes in her and I had seen her at her worst (she had higher levels than her diagnosis so I think that label may be accurate.) I hadn’t had a chance to think and while I was waiting for the taxi the whole night replayed at super-speed through my head over and over. It seems stupid that I wasn’t blaming Donkey Kong but kinda myself. I was thinking did I order a drink that set it off? Did I not check if it was diet coke? Could I have done something? [Editor's note: No, no, and no! You and Fernandez were a superheroes that night!]
It doesn’t make sense maybe but it was 5am and I was a broken toy. So I called my Mummy. At 5am. Not the best daughter huh? [Editor's Note: Sorry Mama Shep!] She comforted me until I got in the taxi and promised to call me the next day (which she did and by that point I was fine..) I got home. Went for a short walk before getting into bed with the boyf and slept.

Image taken from Google Images.
Donkey Kong this is your fault and I will never forget all the stupid details of that night. Never. You make me so mad and I hate everything about you cause you hurt someone I love! 

So, please, stay away and don’t ever come back. [Editor's Note: I second this request!] You are mean to plumbers and diabetics and I think this should stop.

Yours Sincerely,