A pint of coke later
What can you expect if you don’t produce insulin and have a lot of sugar without injecting? I found out last time I went to the cinema. There was a long line, and the girl at the popcorn counter looked damp and stressed. I asked for a large diet coke while the bear had regular coke and popcorn. Halfway through the movie, after slurping down my drink, I felt a bit strange. As a diabetic, your blood glucose is the usual suspect.
I got my meter out to test, and lo and behold. My blood sugar was at 18 mmol/l (324 mg/dl). I’d just drunk a pint of regular coke. While many diabetics notice high blood sugar, I feel the same at 5 mmol/l (90 mg/dl) as I do at 10 mmol/l (180 mg/dl). This was an epic spike, and it continued. Half an hour later, my meter was stuck on high for the first time in my two years as a type 1 diabetic. It stayed there for quite some time.
I calculated that I’d downed more than 50g of sugar without any insulin. Compare that to one jelly baby, which has 5g of sugar and is enough to push my blood sugar up by 2 mmol/l (36 mg/dl). Now imagine what a pint of coke can do.
With the help of injected insulin and time, my levels came back down again. Disaster averted, but it left me feeling pretty rough. Even with the best control, you need to expect these occasional spikes with type 1 diabetes. You might catch a cold, or your hormones might run wild. You might feel sad and eat a mountain of chocolate while watching romantic comedies. Or, as in my case, you end up with somebody else’s drink.
I learned my lesson though. No more dispenser drinks. It’s so easy in a busy bar or restaurant to make a mistake. These days all my diet sodas come out of a can or a bottle. No need to battle with hyperglycemia and all those free radicals over a pint of coke.