A Flash of Anger

Not long ago I did a post called “What exactly is it“. This post talked a little bit about trying to figure out what exactly it is about living with diabetes that bothers me. There was some really great comments on that post. One of the most valuable group of comments I might have ever gotten.

I had an experience shortly after that post that really helped me to identify one of the things that bothers me.

Many of us find a routine. A set of actions that produce predictable results. We follow that routine, and for the most part are able to expect a certain outcome. Or at least feel pretty confident that the outcome will not be something outrageous.

My typical morning routine is to have an english muffin with butter and peanut butter for breakfast. Along with some Diet Coke. I bolus for 30 grams of carbs, and it usually works out pretty nicely.

I’d like to share my logbook sheet from Friday, January 26th:


I woke up at 163 mg/dl. A little high, but I’m not complaining. Took a correction bolus, changed my site (I was supposed to have changed it the day before) and got ready and went to work.

At work, before breakfast I tested at 107 mg/dl. Perfect!

I enjoyed my breakfast, and started to get busy working. An hour and a half later, I felt like shit. Sleepy, trouble concentrating, restless, just overall crappy. I tested my blood sugar, and it was 275 mg/dl.

There was a very identifiable flash of anger. I just wanted to smash my meter for that split second. I could feel the adrenaline spike, the rapid increase in heartbeat and all that. I was pissed. But just for a few seconds. What the hell happened?

Oh yeah – my site change. I’ve talked about that many times before. Where I spike up real high after the first meal on a new infusion site. I’m still trying to work through it – but sometimes the variables are overwhelming and I just pull back. It’s not consistent, and that makes it a real bear to figure out. But – that’s not the point of this post.

The point is – I felt like shit, and didn’t do anything wrong.

I did the same thing that I do most mornings, and most mornings it work just fine.

This was a very tangible feeling, that feeling like crap. It made me very angry for a few seconds. That too was a very tangible feeling.

Of course, it didn’t last long – the anger. It was a quick flash, then I was able to start figuring out what I needed to do. As you can see, my judgement was affected by my frustration – I piled the insulin on through the morning and for lunch and after lunch, and ended up low late in the day because of it.

I was so frickin’ frustrated!! I just wanted my blood sugar back down. Mostly I just wanted to stop feeling so crappy I guess. At the time I figured that I would happily deal with a low just to stop having to deal with the high.

A very clear, real life experience of what exactly it is…

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19 thoughts on “A Flash of Anger

  1. Lucy’s comments struck me as the kind of support we could all use. My wife recently said she can no longer deal with my condition. Although I maintain tight control I do experience times when the frustration is overwhelming and I am angry. I guess she takes these times personally but should not. I am not defending hurtful behavior at all but patience and compassion are important to those living with diabetes.

  2. I too came to this website to find out why my husband, who has Diabetes, is so angry all the time and to find out if there is a link. You have all been very helpful in helping me to undertsand a lot of things. My husband does not like to talk about his disease. Sometimes I feel like I am in an abusive relationship because his anger comes out of nowhere, his personality has become so inconsistent in the past couple of years. I have saved his life in teh middle of the night many times when he has either forgotten to eat before bed, or didnt’ eat enough, but ate the same thing he has always eaten. I fear that I will lose him some day to this disease, that I might sleep to soundly one night and not be there for him when he needs me. We have been living with this disease for almost 20 years now. Thank you all for writing about your personal feelings about your disease, it will help me to understand where all my husband’s frustration comes from and his mood swings. I will be more understanding in the future, but please remember that this is a very difficult disease for those around you as well. It is frightening to live with someone who has such eratic mood swings and to be always watching for the signs of a low and to catch it in time. I try to not say things that make my husband feel like a freak and he hates when I question his behaviors. I am constantly appologizing for second-guessing him, but I am not willing to risk losing him by not questioning. Be patient with your loved ones, you’re all in this together.

  3. Thank you all so much for giving me a reality check. My husband has been insulin dependent for over ten years. I did a search to try and find a medical reason for his anger.
    His medical situation IS a valid source of frustration.
    Thank you for reminding me.

  4. I’m with you. I can eat the same damned thing every day for a week and get a different after meal reading every time. Not just a little different, but 50 to 100 points different.

    I hate going to the doctor and they want to look at my numbers to see “a pattern.” There isn’t one, which is why I love the Navigator CGM so much. At least there are enough readings (every minute or so) to get something predictable. Geez!

  5. I have read that other people also have higher bg values when they start a new infusion site. They say they prevent this my leaving the old catheter in for several hours after they have started with the new injection site. I have no experience with this, but maybe you could try it.

  6. Oh yes, the “flash” of anger.

    I just had a nasty one myself after Joseph’s recent low during a night out.

    It’s probably not a bad thing to let yourself experience that anger and frustration every once in a while, (as opposed to feeling guilty for not being able to solve an often unsolvable puzzle).

    Hang in there, Scott.

  7. At my last endo appointment, I talked with my endo about how lousy it feels to run high after site changes, and how I start doing CCBs. (crazy correction boluses). She suggested drinking water and exercising. Yeah right. Just what I want to do at 9pm. Have a gallon of water and go running. Sheesh! I hear you.! Dam diabetes.

  8. While I don’t personally have D myself, I do have those flashes of anger.

    Like last night, when Riley ran high, high, high, and finally I changed his needle (at 5 AM)only to find a bent cannula.

    Why did it happen? Why didn’t I change it sooner? Why does my son have to have this disease?

    I don’t have an answer for any of it and what angers me most is I never will.

  9. Look at the bright side, Scott. Your own Spidey-sense kicked in, telling you something was wacky with your BGLs! Without even checking you knew. The test only confirmed that, as well as pinpointed exactly how high you were.

    So, good job!

    (Me, the eternal diabetic optimist, I guess.)

  10. Scott, the thing that jumped out at me here was the “Flash” of anger – you didn’t hang on to it, which was great. Anger strolled by your front door but at least you didn’t say, “ah shucks, come on in and sit a spell…..”. It came, it went, and you dealt with the situation and moved on.
    Just how does one become skilled in “pattern control” when there are no patterns?
    I have been eating the same breakfast for over 10 years, and my postprandials range anywhere from 70 to 270 – I think it’s because of my very unstable dawn phen. – once it gets going it can continue for several hours.
    Hope today is better.

  11. Scott,
    You just gave me insight into why I often just don’t take care of myself: because I often don’t get the results I think I should. It makes me angry. I go into the why does it matter if I try mode. I like a reason behind every reading; I want to know the why of it all. If I just guess and wing it then my why is right there. It was my own fault for not following protocol. A bit twisted, I know, but some good material for my therapist to work with 🙂

    Another great post, thank you Scott.

  12. My favorite lines is when my friends say “You must have excellent control with the pump doing all the work for you”

    …….add that to a “high sugar” anger…..not good 🙂

    We’re here with ya!

  13. I understand those feelings totally, the fact that sometimes even when you adhere to all the irritating (and inhumane “rules) that are thrown at us, the rules don’t always work. It totally pisses me off, and I’d think that the pharmaceutical industry could to a much better job of making dosage easier and more precise. The good news is that some former MIT students are doing just that, the startup has received generous cash infusions from venture capitalists and the NIH, they are known as SmartCells, Inc. (www.smartinsulin.com) and they expect to do human clinical trials perhaps next year. I wish them well, and suspect they will likely be acquired by the likes of Lilly or Novo assuming their product continues along its thus-far successful path (done on animal models so far, including cats with T1DM).

  14. Amen on the frustration, Scott! I have complained to my CDE that I have no patterns – every day is random and the best I can do is react to it after it happens. I’m happy if just one meal a day does what it’s supposed to. I think a big part of the problem is so much of the literature about D is written as though it is simple and predictable, when in reality maybe 51% of the people get a predictable reaction at any given time, and the other 49% of us are dealing with something completely random.

    Anger, frustration, tears, guilt. I hear you. Here’s wishing you an evening of pizza, beer, and cheesecake with an absolutely perfect BG reading after!

  15. Scott – I am SORRY. This is one crappy disiease. There are too god dam many variables!Should we schedule a scream? Sigh – me too, I am so tired of it all. I cannot even post, but I will try to do it today. Either we get socked with hypers or hypos. I want the god dam BALANCE. Where is it????????

  16. I am pissed for you man. I hate that crap and I hate feeling like crap both physically and spiritually. It sort of crushes me when my numbers are bad. Not only on my BG Machine but also my scale.

    Hang in there.