I just had my worst scare

Maybe I should introduce myself. My name is Tom and I am an Israeli tour guide. I’ve been on insulin since I was in my 30s (I’m 56 as of two days ago.) I’ve been using a Cozmo pump for the last 5 years. I travel a lot including frequently by air. I’ve got strong opinions about just about everything but I’m also curious about just about everything. I am very active including hiking, scuba, motorbikes and exploring anything I find interesting. If anyone has questions about Israel, feel free to ask.
I was sitting here enjoying Shabbat when I decided it was time to check the numbers before lunch. I was shocked to see the number 245. I hit the pump a few bumps right away and decided to go for a long walk. About an hour and a half later I got back from my long walk and went to see how the numbers were doing. To my despair it was still 215! What it the world was going on? So I thought, maybe there is something on my hands still. I went and washed carefully and checked again. 235! That can’t be! So I checked again. 274! Nooooo! So I checked again…301 I couldn’t even grasp the concept. So I checked again…345! Sugar can’t go up that high in 5 minutes after a long walk, can it? That’s when I realized that it really can’t happen that way. My meter was malfunctioning. Thankfully, I still have an old meter in a drawer so I got it out and was very relieved to see that the correct number was 105. I think I probably gained 20 points from stress in the process though.

I didnt know you can check your sugar levels and use a pump during shabbos. I’ve learned that you do not do any work (ok I’ll admit I a ma bad Jew) but its always good to have a 2nd meter just in case!!)

Just thought of one more thing. I have heard a pump malfunctioning and it can cause high numbers. Again good thing you checked on another meter as well.

That’s why it’s always great to have a spare meter! Mine didn’t do that to me, but I did once test at 186…then several hours later I was 186 again. Hmmmm, I thought that was odd. Tested again. 186. I then decided to check my non-diabetic boyfriend. 186.

…And that meter went in the garbage!

I would have blamed my infusion first thing. In the future I’ll keep in mind that meters malfunction as well. Welcome!

Speaking as a recovering Catholic (but I did read a great deal of Chaim Potok), you can operate your meter and pump on the principle that you can violate the strictures of the Shabbat if it is in order to save a human life, am I remembering correctly?

What a scare. A very good reason to keep extra meters around. So much for a peaceful and restful Shabbat.

Shabbat Shalom!

I would think the same thing, Pete. Operating a meter and pump are not “work”, they are maintaining health. I wouldn’t think you would be prohibited from taking medicine, and that is the 21st century’s version of medicine!

Yes, that is indeed scary. When it comes to diabetes, we may have travelled the world and done all sorts of amazing things, but when it comes to our blood sugar we can be just a scared person sitting in a room with a shocking number in front of them! I once saw a 426 and after a brief “WTF???” I remembered that I had just handled spreadable fruit (jam without sugar - real or artifical - just fruit - but today pretty high carb for me). I washed my hands and then got a normal number.

Yep Pete, you’re right. There are also different levels of devotion. I was raised Reformed. My family didn’t observe shabbos. Even on the holiest day of Yum Kippur, medical conditions take precedence over fasting or participating in religious activities that endanger someone’s life.

Glad you’re ok! Thankful you didn’t send yourself into a severe hypo from correcting. The stress may have saved you.

Happy Hanukkah.

I had the same bad joke: a meter who didn’t work. Always too high with walk. Yes it’s a good thing to try on somebody who is not like us. It was what I’ve done with my old meter who went into the garbage! But, some meters are always too high and others are too lows. I got 2 meters: my Freestyle is a good guy when I’m at 0,90 (grammes ) I think I’m but at the same time my other (optium xceed) is at 0,75. And at lows it is very low with him. But I learn to live with them. Sorry for my mistakes, I’m French.

Your strips may have gone bad. I typically do a control test to verify. Or do both meters use the same strips?

You probably know, because you are a pro, but drs typically recommend that you don’t exercize if your bg is over 225 to 250, because it can cause your bg to go up, and you risk ketosis. I know if my bg is over 220, my bg goes up with any activity / exercize that would normally make it drop. Just for future information.

Since my BG wasn’t actually very high at all, the exercise didn’t have any bad results. As for testing on Shabbat, that’s what I’ve been told to do from the start. Medical treatment is specifically excluded from any restrictions about working on Shabbat. For instance, anyone living in Jerusalem knows that ambulances roam the streets on Yom Kippur. My new meter works just fine and I now have a spare for exactly the reasons mentioned above. The old one was a contour by Bayer and the strips are up to date and work just fine with the new meter. Needless to say, the old meter is history.

Yikes that would be scary. It’s a good idea to have at least 2 meters if it’s affordable. Glad your ok!

Is it true diabetics that take insulin in Israel can still serve in the Army (IDF)? If so, do you know if they can wear a pump or do they have to take shots only? I’m curious.

I remember being 7 months pregnant on Yom Kippur, and I was forbidden to fast! The ladies at the shul made sure I had something to eat at lunch time – they were not about to see any harm come to the baby!!

I like Jewish philosophy about saving, read caring for, lives. That was one of the reasons Jews never had any objection to pork insulin – it was used to save lives (and it wasn’t eaten, anyway). I came to insulin after the human analogues were available, but would have used pork with no hesitation.