This is a true story and although I’ve dramatised the language—the message behind it is real and important for people with diabetes. Many of you read about this on my Instagram and Twitter feed. Several of you sent me messages to say this has happened to you too:
You read that right. Someone tried to eliminate me last week. Unintentionally. Unexpectedly. And thanks to our lightening reactions—unsuccessfully.
There were no meticulous plans to take me down; no sniper perched hundreds of feet up in the perfectly positioned local oak trees. Nor did my assassin have an elaborate escape mapped out. All things considered, my assailant was lacking the key skills I’d expect from a seasoned executioner.
This was a typical Friday night out at our local Gastro Pub. But what happened next could happen to anyone. Next time, this really could be you.
I ordered a drink. And a meal. Say WHAT?!
I know, I know . . . we went the whole nine yards. And thank God, this could have been my last supper.
Halfway through our meal I started to feel fuzzy. Backs of the eyes aching kind of fuzzy.
I looked down at my Continuous Glucose Meter and two arrows pointing up looked back at me. This is bad news.
The realisation set in. Something I’d ingested was not right. I assessed my plate through the haze and saw . . .
A pile of low GI carbs?
Hmmmmmmm. Not that then. Everything was either fried meat or a green leaf.
I turned my attention to my drink. Was that murderous intent I saw bubbling beneath the surface of the pint of fizz in front of me. Or was my now high-as-a-kite brain developing nervous paranoia?
I turned to my trusty Lara Croft utility belt and whipped out . . .
My test strips and blood glucose machine. This girl knows how to fight. Machine loaded. Lancet primed and ready to fire. . .
But I put the lancets away because it wasn't my over-punctured fingers lined up in my sights this time. Tonight it was the turn of the Diet Coke I’d ordered.
5 . . . 4 . . . 3 . . . 2 . . . 1 . . . BEEP!
That, my friends, is the sound of a test strip screaming for its life. A test strip reading a deathly 26.6mmol/L - which in layman’s terms is - seriously ‘effin bad!
This effervescent pint of sweetness was in fact sweeter than I’d given it credit for. Or taken insulin for, for that matter. It was full sugar, full fat, Coke! And I’d guzzled most of it.
In hindsight, I had decided on first taste they’d served me Diet Pepsi. It tasted different.
Not to make a meal out of it—but they could have put me in Hospital with this pint sized mistake.
Barry informed them of what they’d done and that we needed to leave immediately. The Waiter serving our food shouted across the Pub,
“Who gave her Full Fat Coke - she’s a Diabetic”
Tasteful! But at least he cared and knew what diabetes was. It wasn't him who’d poured the drinks though and I needed to move and fast.
We left, like a bullet out of a gun.
Next up was a late night 3 mile walk to stop the sugar spiking my blood sugar levels. I also injected extra insulin. And stayed up late watching my blood sugars like a hawk.
It was all okay in the end. After a few spikes and a few crashes.
The moral of the story
From now on I will be glucose testing* EVERY (bold + underline = serious) Diet Coke I order, unless it arrives in it’s original bottle.
Coke Zero is another option for my soda addiction, as it usually comes in a labelled glass bottle. And you can really over pronounce the “Zero” part with vigour.
*If you have diabetes, chances are you already know you can use your glucose meter to test thin drinks. Just dip the end of the test stick in and if it’s diet it usually reads LOW or a very low reading like 1 point something. If it’s not diet, you get a very high reading or a HIGH result.
Now for the serious part:
If it’s the ‘Real Thing’ - we need to know!
If you serve drinks as part of your work—please, please, please LISTEN ATTENTIVELY when people place a drinks order.
Double check whether the Coke they ordered was diet or not.
If the person receiving that drink has Type 1 Diabetes, it could be the difference between life and death.