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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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate, and Senior Community Manager at Blue Circle Health. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent my employer’s position. Read more…

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