Sunday, February 18, 2007

Double up

The majority of this week I have spent at home on the couch or in bed. Tuesday I went to work as usual. During the day I noticed a progressively runny nose, and as I had a feeling that whatever had caught up on me was probably going to hold me away from work the following day, I made an effort to finish as much as I could before leaving. As I walked down to my bike I felt like the Earth was moving underneath my feet – not a good sign! I wasn’t low, I was just weak and by then sure that I was becoming ill. The bike ride home took almost twice as long as usual and I was exhausted, when I finally arrived. I hardly had any appetite, so I just had a tiny portion and then curled up on the couch.

Wednesday morning I felt just as lousy, so I was definitely not going to go to work. I didn’t realize how awful my voice sounded until I called our secretary at work to tell her that I wasn’t coming in. When I introduced myself on the phone, her immediate response was: “Oh my!” She told me that she would pass on the notification of my illness to the institute secretary, and wished me a speedy recovery. Later that day – in between all my naps – I checked my mail. The secretary had sent an e-mail to the institute secretary saying that I was sick, and probably would be for a bunch of days. I just hoped that was an exaggeration, but maybe she was right after all.

I am very seldom sick. I do get an occasional cold, but rarely something that restricts my daily activities too much. This week has been an exception, though. I have been feeling so tired, I have had a fever, something which is also a rarity for me, and most importantly I have had breathing difficulties. I have coughed a lot, and it has been difficult for me to take my asthma medication without coughing it all out again.

Friday I decided that I better get an appointment with my doctor, just to make sure that I hadn’t caught pneumonia or something like that. The doc and her trainee couldn’t hear anything alarming on my lungs, and told me that a lot of people were sick with fever, headache, sore muscles, and sometimes cough too (together also known as flu). I will not refute the possibility that I got the flu – for the first time in decades. I didn’t get a flu shot, never have, but I haven’t had sore muscles and only transient headaches, which are just as likely caused by BG-fluctuations. Anyway, I do agree with the doctor that it probably is some kind of virus, whether it is the flu virus or not. What I don’t get, though, is her reasons for giving me antibiotics. I will have to discuss that with her another time, when I am not ill. She asked me how my insulin levels were, and I told her that they were twice the normal. She seemed a bit surprised about that, though to me it just tells that my body is fighting some kind of infection. Whether feverish or not, I usually need a lot more insulin when I am sick. Also, this doctor has nothing to do with my diabetes management. She is just my general practitioner, who I might see once a year, at most, so I don’t expect her to be in touch with how I control the D or how my sugars are. And my sugars have generally been good during this illness, although it has taken double the amount of insulin that it would on non-sick-days.

The doctor told me that usually they would just sent people back home to their beds, but given that I was diabetic, and that I apparently needed a lot more insulin than usual, she would give me some antibiotics. The way she said it, at least to me, made it sound like “we all know that diabetics are immuno-compromised, so we better not take any chances”. I know that T1 D is an autoimmune disease, but I have never considered myself to be immuno-compromised. In fact, when I compare myself to both my immediate family and to friends, I seem to have a very efficient immune system that rarely leaves me sick, and if it does, it makes sure that I recover faster than most of the people around me.

I started the antibiotics Friday. I don’t know if they have had an effect, or my body is just recovering itself, but at least I am now feeling that I am approaching the surface of normality once again. I will probably stay at home tomorrow too, but then go back to work on Tuesday. By that time I will also have a lot to catch up upon. Isn’t it amazing how everybody else seems to be so hard-working, the one time when you have to call in sick? The first two days I was at home I received e-mails from two of our collaborators telling me that they were sending samples for me to analyse. Great! Fortunately I have had one of the students at work check the mail for me to make sure that any shipped samples would be properly stored until I am back to take care of them.

I may have infected Jimmi, as he has been quite ill the last couple of days too. Today he is a little better, though, and I suspect that he is doing what he can to get well enough to justify the dog-sitting agreement we have with his father, starting tomorrow :-) His dad and family are going on winter holiday, and we promised that we would take care of their adoring little dog.


Chrissie in Belgium said...

Hi Heidi - I hope you get beter VERY soon. Still stleeping tons? Wow, you double your insulin when sick? That is a hefty increase!

I hope Jimmi gets better soon too. Say HI and have fun baby sitting the dog. Does he look like the picture? Very cute! I also liked the picture you had if the "sick girl".

Docs always give antibiotics to diabetics faster than "normal people". Haven't younoticed? I agree - I do not get sick often and I seldom get sicker than others, so why do they give us antibiotics so quickly? I usually do not argue. Per is sicker than me. What about Jimmi and you?

I hope you have a good book to read!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Hi Heidi!

I hope you are feeling better!

Heidi said...

Thanks! I am actually feeling a lot better today, although I still cough a lot.

Chrissie, I usually need to increase insulin when I am sick, but the exact increase differs from time to time. This time it is just about double up, but this probably also covers the fact that I am not exercising like I normally do. The 18-20 km of bike riding that I usually do every day has a huge impact on my BG- and insulin levels, so this is probably part of the explanation to the large increase I have had to make this time.

Jimmi is a little better today too. He has had a fever of almost 40 degrees the whole weekend, and yes, usually he is more ill than I am, and he usually takes longer to recover too.

Fido, the dog that we are watching, just arrived - she does look a bit like the picture I posted. Maybe I will be able to get a real picture of her during the next couple of days, so that you can all see how adorable she is :-)

Chrissie in Belgium said...

Give Fido a hug! Is she a terrier? And you are both sick - how do you take her out? Or should I say, WHO takes her out? Definitely the lack of exercise makes a HUGE difference in insulin levels! Glad you are getting better.

Heidi said...

We are actually both walking with her. Jimmi is not all well yet, but he like to take her out anyway.

Fido is not a terrier, but a dansk-svensk gÄrdhund - I don't know what that is in English, but maybe you understand it Chrissie?

Got to get back to work again. This first day back at work is so busy. I have around 50 samples that I have to handle, so I could definitely use more than two hands! :-)

Chrissie in Belgium said...

YUP Heidi - I know these dogs. Hope you get through the first day back at work reasonably well!