I’m incredibly independent and I like to do everything on my own. I take pride in it, to be honest, like I’m the strongest woman on the planet because I can take care of the diabetes, the CVID and the baby entirely by myself, all while writing a paper, folding laundry and cooking a meal. It brings a sense of strength to me, like I can handle whatever life throws my way. I am the strongest woman on planet earth, and I can take on whatever you give me.
Except when IVIG day rolls around. On IVIG day, I turn into a spider. I can build up these impressive webs, the engineering marvel of the natural world, but with one fell swoop of a shoe I am crushed and my web destroyed
I’ll get you next time.
I admit that to some extent, I like IVIG Day. For starters, I know that it’s the day when I get my monthly dose of immunity,
sold donated by loving people wanting to help others. I know that after I get it, I will get a surge of energy along with the confidence to handle being out in public without freaking out over what I just might contract from a Meijer shopping cart. And to some extent, it is a validation for all the doctors appointments in the past when I felt like a super hypochondriac going in for every little thing. It adds a sense of realness to the situation, the sense that there is truly something wrong with me and it’s not all in my head, which is something that I will be honest in saying that towards the end of the road before diagnosis, the thought that all the illnesses were in my head or were even my fault was something that was perpetually in the back of my mind.
Not only that, but IVIG Day is Diet Cheat Day. As in, I get to eat whatever I want. Which usually only lasts for breakfast, I don’t want to see another potato for the rest of my life by the time I’m halfway done with my American fries.
On the other hand, I don”t like IVIG Day. I don’t like being sick, I don’t like feeling sick, and I don’t like knowing that there’s something seriously wrong with me that requires a 4 to 5-hour long trip to the hospital to fix it once a month. I don’t like the feeling of weakness that it brings, that my iron mind is attached to a delicate body. The physical reminder that one wrong move could end up with me in the hospital, clinging on to life.
It doesn’t help that the IVIG process directly affects the diabetes as well, in the form of an extreme roller coaster of blood sugars that are a pain in the ass to control. Now, I know that those American Fries I eat in the morning doesn’t help the situation any, but once a month I say “well shit, I’m going to be in the stratosphere anyway, a few potatoes aren’t going to change anything.” My Gammagard gets infused with a bag of 5% dextrose to dilute it a little as it goes into my veins. And I try really hard to set the pump up to anticipate it, I really do. I was running a 125% basal all morning, and I still steadily climbed up to the low 300s the entire morning I was infusing.
After being taken off the infusion and sent on my merry little way, my blood sugar dropped 214 mg/dL in a mere 50 minutes. Admittedly, I realised afterwards that I had stacked correction doses (again), but going from 312 mg/dL to 98 mg/dL in that short timespan was scary. Very scary. An hour prior to the 312 I was at 300 mg/dL so my sugars were showing no signs of going down, just holding steady despite the coverage bolus I had delivered via syringe (which was abnormal, given that I normally will see a 50-pt drop in an hour after bolusing that way). When I got home at 1:48 in the afternoon, after eating a 12-pc chicken nugget and medium fry, I was at 57 mg/dL.
I’ve been noming on chocolate bars and Nerds ever since. The highest I have seen so far has been 72, and I still have quite a bit of active insulin left to contend with.
I am really upset with the lack of control I have while going through the IVIG. I know that my dietary choices are really not a good thing, especially given how much dex I’m getting throughout the morning (close to 15g of the stuff!). I know that I’m going to crash big time the minute the IV is stopped. I know that I should probably cancel the temp basal about half an hour after I’m done. I also know better than to stack my correction doses.
Needless to say, this is a situation where having a Dexcom would really have come in handy. I could have seen the trends, where I was headed, and do something about it before I reached the low 300’s. But nope, I had to watch my BGs rise slowly, then skyrocket after the nurse fiddled with my D5W line (after telling me she was keeping me on a low drip, no less…wtf), then crash like a champ once I was taken off.
And I’m continuing to stay low for a while. Sigh.
My mother comes to the hospital with me on IVIG day, mostly because I have a tough time driving myself home. What I don’t tell her is that I just need her presence to continue to be strong. On the way in this morning, we were talking about how after all the taking care of everyone I do, today it’s my turn to be babied. She responded with a phrase that I will never forget every time I go through an infusion:
“Today you’re my baby.”
I had to fight back tears by smiling. I am to the point now where I’ve exhausted all the emotional strength I have left. I just wanted to cry, to say that I can’t do it anymore, I can’t be strong anymore, mama I need your strength now.
There’s just something about a mother’s presence that makes you strong again. 18 years of hospitals, doctors and procedures and it never gets old. Even when pushing 30, I still need my mama.
And in my mind, there’s no shame in being my mama’s baby today.
I think now is a good time to mention, spiders scare the holy bejeezus out of me…