Tag Archives: diabetes and drinking

Diabetes, Alcohol, and Knowing Thy Self

Photo courtesy of Suat Eman

Photo courtesy of Suat Eman


Few things make me as happy, carefree, and relaxed as alcohol.  You weren’t expecting to read that were you?  Such is the plight of the introverted, over-analyzing type I guess. But that is one of several reasons why I don’t drink much. A few sips of my husband’s wine here, a sip of my favorite scotch there, and that’s it. The truth is I’ve been drunk enough times to know that alcohol and type 1 diabetes don’t mix.  It really should have just taken the one time to find out but you know how these things can go…

Considering most type 1 diabetics can drink moderately and safely, then yes, if you don’t have issues when you drink, have a beer.  Or a shot, or a glass of wine.  The thing is to “know thy self” and believe me, as a total Myers Briggs nerd, I do.  And if you have trouble stopping after one drink, maybe that one drink ought to be reconsidered.

I get a little anxious in social settings ever since I can remember.  So when I was in my early twenties and I discovered the magic of alcohol I was in a sense, relieved.  I’d suddenly be able to say what I wanted, dance, not care, whatever.  I could just relax for once.

For those of you out there reading and thinking, “Hey that sounds fun!” eerrr think again!  I’d have a good time until I remembered to test.  I’d see a 400-something about half the time.  Suddenly reality hit and I realized my avoidance of worry and responsibility was never an avoidance but only a delay.  Eventually I was going to have to deal with the consequences of drinking more than one serving of alcohol as a type 1 diabetic.  I tried testing every 30 minutes in order to stay on top of blood sugars.  This worked pretty well until I had one too many and found myself having a low blood sugar.  The symptoms of a low blood sugar can be confused with the symptoms of drunkenness and if you mix both together you get an unsightly disaster.  Why the things that could happen!  You may not realize you’re low or you could pass out, or you could throw up at a gas station parking lot for all the world to see (never happened to me by the way). 

I’m not enjoying this post in the least bit.  It’s embarrassing.  I am writing about it because it’s been years since anything like that happened and looking back I can think, “Whaaat a nutzo!”  People seem to enjoy memories like these.  Problem is…who knows what damage I caused to my feet dancing around in 4 and 5 inch stilettos, blood sugar over 400, while mildly intoxicated.  I remember feeling a bit of tingling and burning at pressure points in my feet while at the clubs or bars.  When I feel tingling in those same places now I can’t help but think, “Would that annoying pain be there had I not done those stupid things years ago?”  The pain is minimal and much of it has disappeared over time but the little that remains is SO annoying.  You know why?  Because it scares me out of my mind.  Fear is not fun nor pretty.  Not to mention I’ve basically given up on my love of high heels.  I don’t think I’ll ever go back.  It’s time to take care of the feet.  I used to wear 4 inches daily, morning to night.  I just boxed away my 15 pairs of high heels with plenty of sighing.  Eventually though, I got over it.  There are bigger things at stake. 

Having children definitely helped me stiffen my decision.  There is a particular clarity that came with having them.  Or maybe it was something more to do with guts.  Whatever the case may be, when my kids were born I didn’t even hesitate to move on from drinking.  I only wish I’d come to that conclusion earlier.  Being alive after 16 years with type 1 diabetes and doing the things I’ve done is nothing short of a miracle.  One I don’t intend to squeeze much more out of.  I’d tell you much more except my parents are reading this, horrified as it is. 

If you have diabetes and like to drink, fine.  Just remember that people with type 1 are living super long and full lives and since you don’t know what’s around the corner, and you may just make it to 100, be sure to treat the present with loads of respect and care or you may ruin your future.  And believe me, the future for type 1 diabetics is looking seriously good.  Who would want to mess with that?

Wednesday Revisit: How to Safely Go Out Clubbing as a Diabetic



I got asked by someone, “How do you go out clubbing as a type 1 diabetic and still be really safe?”

I wrote this post as a reply: 

Originally posted on August 2nd 2009:

How to Safely Go Out Clubbing as a Diabetic

It’s pretty strict advice mainly because I’m really stressing the safe part.  I guess there are exceptions everywhere in life right?  There are the screw ups too, which I should get into tomorrow…

Happy Wednesday everyone!

My Top 5 Diabetes Blunders


Because I’m human, have something so ongoing as diabetes to take care of, and well, because I’m ME, naturally there will be plenty of mistakes.  The key is to learn from them.

Here are my Top 5 Diabetes Blunders-so far!  (In no particular order)

5.  You may have already read this story.  You can read it here.  I once gave 20 units of Humalog in place of Lantus.  I had been up very late the night before and was sleepy the next morning when I gave the injection.  I realized I used the wrong bottle of insulin just after injecting all of the insulin in.  I took matters into my own hands and had my husband, who was my boyfriend at the time, rush me to the ER where I proceeded to inform them I’d need intravenous glucose immediately.  They thought I was suicidal, I thought they were kinda ignorant.  Fun times.

4.  When I was 13 I rebelled against all things diabetes.  I tried to manage my sugars about half of the time while the other half was spent pushing the boundaries.  Somehow I managed to survive a year with an A1c of 11.6.  I spent Christmas that year especially miserable because I had a gum grafting surgery in my mouth which was to stop my sliding gums from sliding all the way off of my teeth.  My blood sugars have never been so high since feeling the fear of losing my teeth.

3.  Not managing my blood sugars well during my wedding.  Honestly, it was a huge disappointment for me to dance my first dance with my husband and focus on foot pain because my blood sugar was really high and I was in uncomfortable and sky high heels.  My honeymoon was spent in pain as a result-not cool.  If one could only go back :(  Check out this guest post I did for LemonadeLife.com about Diabetes Wedding Day tips.

2.  One of the best nights I ever had with my husband was when we were dating.  We were at a party, had tequila, and danced the night away.  You know that saying, “One tequila, two tequila, three tequila, floor!”?  Part of what makes the story so memorable is the way I hit the floor a few times while dancing and how nice Alex was about it.  For this diabetic, being drunk (something I have done a few times in my life) was a way to escape diabetes-if not for a moment.  Truth is, it does not work.  After being super happy that night I finally tested my sugar and found I was over 400.  I vowed to never let it happen again.  Alex vowed to never drink again because he was so upset at how high my blood sugar was.

1.  I drank too much again despite that previous vow.  This time, I didn’t feel my low until I went to test and came up 30 on the meter.  I panicked as stupid drunk people can do when a grim reality sets in.  I don’t remember much except scaring Alex to death, throwing up in the parking lot of a gas station, and screaming about my blood sugar.  I try to promote and advocate for fabulous diabetic women taking care of themselves.  This sort of story is one I remember from time to time and feel ashamed of.  Sure it can be sort of funny, but, what if the worst had happened?  How fabulous would I be then eh?  I shudder to think.  I have now gone years without this sort of thing happening again and intend on keeping the vow this time for good.

Believe it or not, the most alarming thing is I have hundreds of stories similar to the ones above…I just can’t think of them right now.

So If any of this relates to you-know you’re not alone.  Also, know that sometimes you’ll be lucky and other times you may not be.  If you are a diabetic, you can live a pretty “normal” life.  But, managing blood sugars should be the top goal-and not taking wicked chances.

 So, what are your diabetes blunders?