Monday, May 20, 2013

The System

If you have been wondering where I have been, I have been vacationing and of course after a long vacation and trust me it was long (cancelation of the plane...) I come back with lots of life lessons to share that made me once again revaluate my diabetes.

It wasn't even half way into the trip when someone was found bobbing in the resort pool. Yes, trust me it is as terrifying as it sounds written out.  When the girl stood on the in water bar stool screaming, "LIFEGUARD" she got everyones attention but the lifeguards it seemed.  Tons of vacationers rushed to help pulling an elderly, larger man out of the water in order to revive him.

My sister and I sat pool side on lounge chairs. The rest of the trip I kept thinking I SHOULD HAVE DONE SOMETHING! But, I don't know what I would have done.  I don't know CPR, I once did but not anymore and with the crowd of people that already swarmed around him I just wasn't sure what to do.

Someone then screamed out, 'his blood sugar is 17, does he need juice?' and then it was time to help.   A nursing student stood around him and kept saying that we needed to give him juice, but this man was Canadian and a 17 blood sugar is a high blood sugar. Another person offered them their diabetes medication (Metformin) and I thought that also wasn't the best idea at the time. It's not his medication and I was doubting his situation was due to a 17 blood sugar.

He was brought back, taken by ambulance and we weren't ever informed about his situation again.  But, it stuck in our minds the entire trip. For the first couple days I felt weird jumping in the pool. I felt nervous every time a kid jumped in unattended. My stomach sunk when I would see something floating by.

Beyond that, I kept thinking about how confusing it is that there are two systems for blood sugars. That an American nurse thinks he needs sugar at a 17 when in reality that is a 306.  The same thing could happen the other way too, a Canadian nurse thinking a 36 is a high blood sugar when it is really a 2.   I don't know the reasoning behind the two different systems, I get that in Canada we use Litres, rather than Gallons etc. etc.  but when dealing with things in the medical world shouldn't we 100% be on the same page? Could it mean life or death?



  1. That is the same with us over here in the UK too. We test our blood sugar in mmol and not in mg like the Americans do. For an american 45 is a a low blood sugar, for us 45 is extremely high. It is always pretty confusing but if you want to find out what the american equivalent for a blood sugar of I don't know, 20 is, you multiply it by 18. And if you want to find out the Canadian/English equivalent of 20 is, then multiply the american number by 18! c:

  2. Speaking as an American, we just need to get on board and use the systems (metric AND mmol) that the rest of the world does so these kinds of things don't happen.

    Aside from that, your blog is awesome. I'm a type 1 in Oregon and have been reading your blog for the past couple weeks. Great, inspirational stuff. Keep it up!

  3. You are so right about the ridiculousness of having two sets of units. What's even more crazy is that BOTH are metric!

    In the US, we use mg/dl, or milligrams per deciliter. A metric unit of weight per metric unit of volume.

    The rest of the world uses mmol/L, or millimoles (a count of molecules) per liter (or litre, if you prefer). A simple number per metric unit of volume.

    I don't understand the discrepancy, it really makes no sense. And it could be dangerous.