Basal Rate Test (a story about a spider…)

Basal rate testing is a pain in the butt.

The concept is to fast for a chunk of time so that you can see if your blood sugar remains steady.

Ideally you eliminate as many variables as possible so that you are 100% certain pretty sure that any change in your blood sugar is a result of your basal insulin.

Eliminating variables is much easier said than done. There’s just no two ways about it, life is full of variables. Many of those variables affect our blood sugars, and we only know about some of them.

I fasted for the last part of the day, exercising miraculous feats of self-discipline and will-power to avoid the sometimes unconscious “hand-to-mouth” action. I like what G-Money said about “fasting” – that it should instead be called “slowing“!

I ran high most of the day, but by bedtime I was all set. No residual insulin on board, steady blood sugar – good to go. Until Midnight anyway…


So I woke up every couple of hours and tested my blood sugar. At Midnight the alarm goes off and I am so stupidly tired that I can hardly figure out whether to turn off the alarm or answer the phone (which was NOT ringing…).

Blood sugar = 82 mg/dl – awesome!

I stumble to the bathroom to relieve myself, and when I turned to the sink to wash my hands I was scared half to death by a HUGE spider on the edge of the sink!!

Let me explain.

I live in the city. We don’t do big creatures around here. Spiders that are the size of my thumbnail (from leg #1 to leg #8) are considered big in my book. This one was four times that size. Scared me like I was a little girl. I almost screamed out loud.

Whoosh!! I felt the adrenaline surge hit my system. The fight or flight reaction system was in full flight mode. Yes, that’s right, I said flight mode…

But I realized that I would not be able to sleep knowing a big ass spider was in the bathroom! What if it crawled its way into the bedroom and ate me?! Couldn’t have that. I knew I’d have to “dispose” of it somehow.

Thinking I would just wash it down the drain, I cupped some water in my hand and threw it at the spider, knocking it down into the sink. It wouldn’t go down the drain. It was too big. Able to latch its big spidey-legs onto the edges and keep itself from being sucked down.

I tried rapidly switching the water from full-blast to off, thinking I might be able to knock it off-balance. When that wasn’t working I thought I could turn on the hot water and cook it into submission. Nothing.

I finally overcame my wussness and balled up a BUNCH of toilet paper to smash-n-grab it into the toilet and send it on its swirly way.

Breathing hard, beads of adrenaline invoked sweat on my brow – I was nowhere near tired anymore.

I eventually calmed down and fell back asleep. I woke up again at 3:30 AM and tested again.

This time I was up to 131 mg/dl (about a 50 mg/dl increase from my last test).

Now here’s the thing that is bugging me.

Overall I am very satisfied that my overnight basal rates are pretty good. But was it the spider induced adrenaline rush that caused the spike at 3:30 AM, or would that have happened anyway?

The only way to find out is to repeat the test. Hopefully without any damn spiders. Or at least not anymore big giant spiders.

Don’t laugh – it would have scared you too…

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21 Comments on "Basal Rate Test (a story about a spider…)"

8 years 4 months ago

Okay, you are better than me! I have a horrible time with testing my basal rates. I don’t think I have successfully done it all the way through since I started the pump a year ago. However, I think I would have had a stroke if I had seen a spider than big in my home! And since I live alone, there would be no one for me to ask for help from! Yikes! Hope the new basal test went okay.

8 years 4 months ago

Scott! It’s been weeks… I need you, POST something, darnit!

the incapacitated flexed gripper
8 years 4 months ago

I don’t like spiders. Well, the little ones are okay, but once I can start seeing hair on the legs, they’ve gone beyond the boundaries of good taste and sensibility.

I also hate overnight basal testing. There have been nights when my alarm clock goes off, and I briefly think, “Screw it!” roll over and go back to snooze land. It’s the stuff like that which irks me immensely at times — we’re supposed to use these crude tools and implements to make inductive conclusions which have level of uncertainty so as to make them at times stressful and nearly useless. And yet useful enough that if we want to live mostly complication free it is what we must do.

Aye yi yi. Good luck and fewer spiders.

Scott K. Johnson
8 years 4 months ago

I am planning on repeating the basal rate test again. Mondays are good for me, so that’s what I’m shooting for (although it’s Memorial Day weekend coming up…).

I’ve got small(ish) kids at home, so waking in the middle of the night is not too tough. I didn’t say easy – just not prohibitively tough…

8 years 4 months ago

Do you find it hard getting up in the middle of the night to test? I’ve been basal rate testing and adjusting my insulin for a bit now, and I just can’t make myself wake up in the middle of the night anymore.