I need to take between 5 and 6 units of insulin just for one cup of chili. And the chili also includes ground beef, tomatoes, onions and bell peppers. It is a far cry from just beans. My blood sugar reacts to carbohydrate far more than average for a person of my weight, though. It is unlikely that your mother would need nearly that much insulin. My suggestion is to try a specific weight or measurement of a specific recipe one time. Record BG readings before and about 4 hours after, along with the dose of insulin. Adjust insulin dose the next time according to your findings. Then when you try different recipes that include beans, you can compare the likely number of carbs to the original recipe and go up or down on the insulin dose accordingly.
I know it all seems almost overwhelming at first. But I encourage you to take some time to read up on diabetes generally. As you get a better handle on it, you’ll see that it really is manageable, but don’t expect to be perfect at it. None of us are.
I’d encourage you to read either Using Insulin by John Walsh or Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner. Both are available through Amazon or almost any bookstore. Or perhaps your local library has a copy.
After I was diagnosed as a type 1, after setting my starting doses my endo was going to turn me back over to my PCP. I felt certain that she knew little about diabetes; after all, she had treated me for a year and a half as a type 2 and said she didn’t want to put me on insulin because she was afraid I’d try to adjust my insulin doses myself. My endo later told me “But that’s what you are supposed to do!”
Anyway, I got the first of those books I mentioned and did just that - used the information to get my doses adjusted before I even went back to my PCP. I don’t think she even knows how to use I:C ratios. She acted like she didn’t know what I was talking about. I think she’s still back in set doses or sliding scale days.
I think the information in those books will help you to get a better handle on the insulin situation. You can ignore the charts with starting ratios, as once you were given a place to start, you need to move on to adjusting based upon experience. But you’ll learn to see how various things affect dosage. And you’ll be in a better position to work with your mother’s endo or CDE.
Be aware that those of us on insulin are likely to have some hypos. Some doctors and CDEs who don’t have diabetes themselves seem to almost panic at the thought of a hypo and keep their patients at too high a BG level as a result. They are especially afraid of hypos among the elderly. And there is reason for that. Hypos are particularly dangerous for anyone with heart disease. I’m age 75, and have had hypos as low as 30 and was able to treat it myself without any assistance. But not all elderly can get away with that. I don’t have heart disease or other major comorbidities, though. By contrast, my friend’s aunt was found unresponsive with a BG of 31 one morning. She was in a coma from which she never recovered. So doctors have reason to be concerned about risking severe hypos. But mild hypos won’t really hurt most of us, at least not in the short term.
Oh, don’t be so afraid to experiment due to fear of highs, either. Just last night I went out to eat at a fancy place for my birthday and ended up spiking to 263 three hours later. Last year it ended up with a spike to 307 after my birthday dinner. But both times I corrected and within six hours from original bolus, I was back under 140 again. It is not something one wants to do often, but I consider it worth it to try something different. As long as I have good control most of the time, things are good. I’ve consistently had an A1c under 6.0 since on insulin, and many aren’t able to do that.