Covid-19 for Christmas
For the first time in years, I wasn’t drunk on New Year’s Eve. Instead, I was in bed with a fever, reading Calvin and Hobbes. I’ve got covid-19. Again. Perhaps it’s not that strange. I work in a bar with an international clientele, so you could compare it to spending your days in a busy airport lounge. It’s a viral Mecca. When the pandemic first started two years ago, I got sick too. It was before vaccinations and before anyone knew what we were dealing with. People had just started dying. I wasn’t a little bit sick but spent five weeks in bed with pneumonia. This time my symptoms have been mild which I thank the vaccine for. I lost my sense of smell and taste. As my friend who also has covid put it, she was happy she could eat healthy brussel sprouts for Christmas without tasting them.
The statistics for type 1 diabetes and the outcome of covid-19 are not that great. People with both types of diabetes are far more likely to die from covid, as elevated blood sugars can impair immune function. What I found interesting is that both times that I’ve had covid, my blood sugars have stayed within range most of the time.
With a normal cold, I always know that I’m about to get sick a day or two before symptoms occur because my blood sugar goes haywire. Typically, I’ll wake up in the double digits and then spend the next few days injecting insulin like it’s water trying to take some sort of control back as my nose clogs up. My covid blood sugars have remained normal during the incubation period as well as during the early illness. Only this morning, when I’d already been sick for a week, did I see a random spike, and apart from that, I haven’t injected any extra insulin.
I’m grateful because getting sick with diabetes is a little bit extra bad. You’re left to fight high blood sugars in addition to the illness itself. And it’s a vicious feedback loop – the fact that you’re sick leads to a release of stress hormones that drive up blood sugar, and the high sugar levels make it more difficult for the immune system to fend off the illness. I also feel lucky because so many diabetics have struggled with the complications of covid, and I got away lightly this time. If there’s any time you really benefit from following a low-carb diet that promotes normal blood sugars, it’s when you’re sick. Ironically, this is also the time when you’d love to carb-binge on toast, crumpets, and tea with honey. A plate of bacon and eggs just doesn’t have the same ring to it.