Donna H.

What it feel like to… be hyperglycemic

This post comes on the back of a cake filled afternoon for a friend’s birthday which has now, understandably, led my friends to discuss how sick they feel from all the sugar (those were some big cakes!).  Now they have every right to express their sugar induced nausea and this is no insult to them whatsoever.  But their pancreases have got their backs and they’ll be just fine!

As for us type 1s, when we’re hyper it’s a different matter.  People without diabetes get sugar highs and I think sometimes people think the word hyperglycemia shortened to ‘hyper’ means just that.  Unfortunately it’s a much different matter.  Being hyper brings on a thirst that I genuinely believe no healthy person living in the Western world can understand.  A Saharan desert style thirst.  This happens because your body tries to get you to pee out all the sugar.  Your lips stick together and to your gums and nothing seems to quench that thirst.
High blood sugar can lead to serious nausea and even vomiting.  It also gives you a headache and sometimes blurred vision.  It makes you insanely tired and unable to concentrate.  Not very good for uni work.  Especially if it’s a common occurrence like mine. 
Another symptom I get is heightened senses… Not sure if this is just me and something strange that I experience but the sound of someone typing is enough to make me want to scream…. which relates to yet another symptom – bad temper.  Poor Ewan/mam.  Luckily I think I manage to control my BG induced bad moods around others but definitely take it out on those two, for which I am sorry!  Everyone else makes my blood boil on the inside too though, I don’t discriminate there 😉 
High blood sugar can also lead on to diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), something which I was hospitalised with a couple of years ago and will probably write about in the future.

So those are your short term symptoms, but in the long term it’s much worse.  Long term high blood sugars can lead to retinopathy, blindness, kidney failure, neuropathy, foot and leg amputations (don’t Google diabetic foot if you don’t want to be sick!), heart problems, strokes….

High blood sugar can come about from eating sugary things/carbs without enough insulin to cover it, missing an injection, miscalculating insulin doses, problems with injections sights, illness, stress, hormones etc.


So now, hopefully if you’re not diabetic, you know a bit more about hyperglycemia and if you are I’d love to hear if you have any ‘strange’ symptoms too like the heightened senses or is that really just me??  Now on a brighter note, back to today’s cake date.  It was my friend Toria’s 22nd birthday so Rosemary, Cate, Anna and I went to see the Book Thief at the cinema which I enjoyed but is apparently nothing compared to the book.  We then met Toria for delicious tea and cake at the Butterfly and the Pig’s tea rooms and gave her our gifts.


Yummy – luckily I piled in the insulin before hand! 😉  A lovely day, now back to the dreaded D word!! (dissertation, not diabetes)

Diabetes blogging

My idea when starting this blog was to write a lot about diabetes but also have posts about general things like holidays I’ve been on etc, in an aim to get non diabetics reading.  That’s one thing I think is missing from the world of diabetes blogging – blogs which reach people with and without diabetes. I can read diabetes blogs for hours and hours taking in every word, feeling grateful other people feel the same way as me, understanding what people are going through and comparing my experiences to theirs. But would my friends read them with the same interest? I doubt it.

The trouble is, even if I did blog about both – a diabetes post followed by a “I went for lunch with my friends” post – I think people would just pick and choose what they read. (If I got any readers at all that is!)

Trying to get people without diabetes to have any empathy for diabetes is something I see as a huge problem. I don’t understand what it is about things like cancer that is so emotive for most people, that just doesn’t work with diabetes. Let me know if you have any views on this, even if they sound offensive!

Anyway for now the aim is to do more diabetes posts anyway, as they are much harder to write than posts with photos of what I’ve been up to. This has meant that 90% of the posts I do are posts like those, with only about 10% diabetes, which is never what I wanted this to be. So I’m planning to do a few posts called “What it feels like to…” on being hypo, hyper, injecting, going to clinics, carbohydrate counting etc etc.

Here goes!

51 days until Spain!

Only 51 days until Ross and I (and potentially a few more friends) go to España!  We’re going to Barcelona and then to Murcia, or more specifically Alhama de Murcia.

We’re visiting two friends, both on the same course, studying languages and on a year abroad as a teaching assistant.



Not sure what we’ll get up to yet but hopefully it will involve churros! It will be a nice little break between dissertation and exams.  The only problem is that I have zero money after booking this trip and Sardinia in June with Ewan.  Oopsie.  I seem to think I have all the freedom in the world now that I’m graduating but I need to remember all this means is that I have no guaranteed income in four months time!  So I’ll have to make sure I save some of March’s student loan for spending money 🙂

Super excited.

Second picture is stolen from Lynn’s blog which you can read here.

Why can’t I take care of myself?

It’s 02.45am and I’m lying in bed at 33mmol drinking as much water as I can manage without puking…

For those of you who aren’t diabetic 33mmol is DANGEROUSLY high.

So why am I this level?  Pretty much my fault.  This is something I find hard to say and tend to avoid.  I can usually make up excuses like “I don’t know my insulin ratios yet”, “I give myself insulin and still go high” etc etc.  And both these things are true.  But 33?  Neither of these excuses equate to a crazy level like that.  I had a lovely meal last night with my friends which was carb heavy and ended with brownie and ice cream.  
Now I’m all for advocating the fact that type 1s are allowed to eat what they like and this is true.  But for this to work I need to get over my fear of giving myself more than 12 units of insulin at a time.  This fear goes back years and stems from an awful consultant I had back at my children’s clinic at home.  When I was around 16 was when I think my HbA1c first started running high.  This woman didn’t handle it well and I think that’s where all my problems started.  She used to ask me if I was skipping injections on purpose, if I was doing it to lose weight.  I wasn’t at all and I didn’t need this blame for something I was already struggling with.  I was also told that the amounts of insulin I said I was giving myself were huge.  Since then I’ve tried never to go above this as it’s just stuck with me.  Only last year, at 20 years old, did an HCP say to me, “If you’re high, you need to take more insulin.  The amounts you’re taking aren’t that much.”  This shocked me and it definitely shouldn’t have.

Aside from the fear of over medicating, I also lack motivation.  This comes from years and years of trying with no result.  Every 6 months or so, I get a huge surge of motivation from somewhere and think “Right, I’m going to sort this, once and for all.”  Then I begin the rigorous demanding process of keeping a food diary, monitoring BGs every 2 hours, weighing all my food, tweaking insulin, looking for patterns, sending diaries to nurses and dietitians and so on.  This will go on for a few weeks and is completely exhausting.  I’ve figured out, with help, that my insulin:carb ratios are different at different times of day, which makes medication difficult, but not impossible.  Plenty of people do it.  My problem is that after this intense process for weeks, which is very difficult at the same time as working or studying and also just trying to lead a normal life, I still don’t see the perfect 4-10mmol results I’m looking for.  And although, I know that it takes a long time, this is hard to deal with and makes me feel as though all my effort is going to waste.  Then somewhere along the line, I’ll let it slip a bit and stop putting in so much effort.

Now, I don’t skip injections and I do my blood sugar tests.  I try to get the correct amount of insulin.  But I don’t keep my control as tight as I could.  For example, last night after the carby meal I spoke of, I didn’t take a correction dose before bed.  In hindsight this is just ridiculous but I can’t explain how this happens.  It’s not like I consciously think, I’m not going to sort this.  It just happens.

I definitely need more help that I’m getting, in coming to terms with, and controlling my diabetes more rigidly.  I feel like it completely controls me, rather than me controlling it and although it’s been 12 years, I still haven’t fully come to terms with the life changing condition.

For now, after this incredibly honest post, I need to monitor my BG closely and keep drinking water, so that hopefully this won’t turn to DKA.  In the close future, I need to reach out for further help and try again with the food diaries etc, but hopefully with more guidance along the way.

Previous diabetes posts here:
Diabetic Clinic & HbA1c

The Roaring Twenties!

Another day, another post.  Small procrastination from the fact I don’t understand cell proliferation, cell migration, cell differentiation, synaptogenesis, ocular columns OR synaptic rearrangement (oh god, someone please help – should not have picked that class!!)…

Friday night was Ross’ birthday… well not really, but he’s like the Queen, he has two every year.

This time was a 1920s themed subcrawl. Subcrawls are common in Glasgow and are exactly as they sound – like a pub crawl but down on the subway.


The Glasgow subway is the simplest subway in the world (I think) – one route with an inner circle going in one direction and an outer circle going in the opposite. We skipped the South side (the wrong side of the river) where you can find some pretty dodgy pubs and just went from Kelvinhall to Buchanan Street hitting some lovely pubs en route. We then went to Polo, Glasgow’s best gay club.

It was a lovely night and I absolutely loved being dressed up 20s style. Would quite like to just stay there and not come back to 2014!







January was a weird one.  Overused phrase but a definite roller coaster of a month!  Some very low points but also some very high points.  The highest being the birth of Charlie Jack Henderson, my newest nephew. 🙂 




Other highs included finishing exams…


Which also means shopping, obviously!

And Yo Sushi! & cinema dates


Attempting the whole “January health kick” but soon giving in to chocolate, takeaways and cake…
(My friends are currently discussing their hatred for people posting food pictures… if only they knew!)


And finally just being home…



It’s nice to look back at the good things, when you think it’s been a bad month.  It’s never all bad!  Now to make February even better and also more productive…



New Year’s Resolutions

1.  Read more books

I love reading but since being in 4th year at uni I seem to get to bed after reading/writing/working all day and just want to either flake out, straight to sleep or watch trash on TV that doesn’t involve any brain power!  I miss reading though and think it would help me relax and sleep better so I’m going to try to read at least a book a month.  
That said, it’s the 18th January and I’m only one chapter down.  Going to blame that one on exams!

2.  Take my make up off before bed

I’m getting wrinkles!!  I’m 21 and I’m spotting wrinkles.  I have pretty good skin and don’t tend to get spots or dry skin.  But I’ve decided that this year I’m going to start taking proper care of it, because usually I’m terrible.

3.  Do more things that scare me

“Life begins outside of your comfort zone” and all that.  I’m quite an anxious person about pretty much everything.  Even though my mam claims people would never think that about me.  But I’ve realised that all the best things I’ve done have been scary and looking back they’re never as scary as you thought they’d be.  So I’m going to do more things that scare me this year and hope that it will make me more confident!

4.  Get my HbA1c down (as always!)

I’ve had this resolution every year for as long as I can remember but this year I am going to kick diabetes’ ass.  

WordPress Daily Prompt

So the daily prompt today was Love to Love You, link here:

What do you love most about yourself? And what do you love most about your favourite person? And are the two related?

The thing I love most about myself is definitely my cooking ability – it’s the only compliment I can manage to give myself, probably my only skill!  And my favourite person… has to be my mam.  Her cooking skills are definitely one of my favourite things about her, but at the same time, definitely not my favourite.  My favourite is probably just how thoughtful she is.  Or how much she manages to get done in one day – wish she’d passed that skill on to me.  But as my cooking definitely started at home, in the kitchen with mam, I suppose the two are certainly related….




I’m so behind on the posts… This one was about a month ago.  Uni is insanely busy and I’ve been super stressed and anxious but, after Tuesday, I’ve made it through the worst of the deadlines in time to start revision.  I’m even having a celebratory lunch and piercing on Wednesday!  Anyway, back to the sleepover – my two nieces and one of my nephews came down to Glasgow for a sleepover at my flat (mainly to give my sister and her husband a well deserved night off!).
We all went for a trip to Glasgow Science Centre on the day they arrived.  It’s expensive, and when they said the price I was pretty taken aback.  I can now definitely say that it’s worth it though – there’s so much to see and do, you can be there for hours and the children loved it!P1000587P1000589P1000593P1000595 P1000596P1000599P1000601P1000603P1000620P1000625P1000630 P1000631P1000633 P1000634P1000640

After the science centre, it was time to ditch the parents and head back to mine for fun!  First for arts and crafts… We drew pictures, made Halloween decorations, baked cakes and carved pumpkins.P1000645P1000648P1000652 P1000653 P1000654 P1000655P1000658

Then a certain little one had had too much fun and it was nap time.P1000659 P1000660

For tea, it was homemade pizzas – the easiest thing I could think of for all ages to help out with!P1000661P1000663 P1000664 P1000665P1000667 P1000668P1000672

After tea, we watched Chicken Run and ate popcorn.  The eldest two got a little bit of a late night, and much to Lewis’ surprise – they could eat on the couch!  No rules in this house!  It was the first thing he told my sister and her husband when they came to collect them: “You can eat on the couch here!”P1000678P1000681

In the morning, we watched another film – Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs – then Michelle and Scot came round for a quick cuppa before their drive back up to Aberdeen.  It was such a cute day and so good to see them.  I miss them so much, and don’t get to see them and Lukas, my other nephew, nearly enough.P1000690 P1000691 P1000692Anyway, back to the uni grind and presentation practicing.   Only remembered to post this at all because of Lynn’s blog. Thankfully, it won’t be as long until I see the family again because everyone is going home for Christmas! So exciting!

Final Munich Photos

Over a month since we came back and I’m finally getting round to uploading the last of our photos and what we got up to on our final few days in Munich….

Neuschwanstein was the last in our tour of the royal castles and a magical way to end it.  Unfortunately it started to rain as we got there which was pretty gutting as it was the part of our holiday I was most excited for, but luckily the place was so beautiful that I don’t think it dampened anyone’s spirits too much.

ImageThis was Schloss Hohenschwangau, yet another royal castle, just across from Neuschwanstein.  We didn’t visit this one but the views were beautiful.


Before our tour of Neuschwanstein we visited Jägerhaus for some lunch and despite the name, there were no Jaegerbombs in sight!  It was full of old people and had a little bit of a stuffy/stuck up attitude if I’m honest.  The food was good though and typically German (I had wiener-schnitzel).

Unfortunately Schloss Neuschwanstein itself was very difficult to get a good photo of, unless you went to a bridge which we didn’t get time to go to.  I’m pretty sure all the fairytale postcards you get are either taken from surrounding mountains or helicopters.  I saw it with my eyes though and that’s enough for me – absolutely stunning! Image
I was a Disney princess for the day and got a horse and carriage up to the Disney castle!  The only thing that could have made me feel more like Sleeping Beauty was if I had a ball gown and heels!


When we got up to the castle it was absolutely jam packed with crowds and we had to wait ages for our tour to begin.  The tour itself felt very very rushed and in all honestly, was a tiny bit disappointing.  The castle’s interior was beautiful and intricately decorated but again, we weren’t allowed any photos inside.  It was great to see but it very much had the feel of cram as many people in, get them through as quickly as possible and earn all the money possible!

Not a bad view King Ludwig had for his 172 days living in Neuschwanstein eh?!ImageImageImage

The following day we went back to somewhere we’d seen on our Third Reich tour.  These are parts of a synagogue which Hitler ordered to be demolished as it was an “eyesore”.  We then went to the Jewish Museum which was really really interesting.  They had interview transcripts on the walls that were really hard hitting but also some funny cartoons about Jews in Germany which meant it wasn’t all doom & gloom.


We then went for food at the German market – wurst and beer of course!  We hit happy hour again and we hit it hard.  We then went out to Kultfabrik (without my camera thank the lord) and got drunk on “porno vodkas” (vodka shots accompanied by a packet of sherbet to make it taste slightly less awful!).
The next day we were horrendously hungover, deservedly so.  I forced Ewan to crawl out of our hotel room around 3pm to go for Mexican but he managed one nibble and I didn’t do much better.  We went back to the hotel and died some more then finally made it out for a Chinese at 9pm which was delicious… and we both managed to eat it this time!
The next morning we had to check out but had the whole day to hang around killing time before our flight.  This would have been great except that it was raining so wandering the streets wasn’t my first idea of fun.  We sat in Coffee Fellows (a great German coffee shop chain) for hours and I wrote in my little travel diary while Ewan sat and drank hot chocolate.

When the rain cleared up we went for a final wander round the German market near our hotel and got our favourite thing ever – olives.

It was then time for one last Haagen Dazs (a cone with one scoop salted caramel, one scoop cookies n cream with milk chocolate sauce for me) before our taxi to the airport.  I’m already having holiday withdrawal and we’ve started looking at destinations for our next one!  All in all it was an amazing holiday and Munich is definitely somewhere I’d recommend.  It was already getting busy for Oktoberfest when we left so it would be nice to go back one day to see all the fun of the festival but maybe try staying somewhere in the beautiful Bavarian countryside!