Notes From The Lockdown

I’ve lost track of how long we’ve been restricted to working from home, and basically keeping our distance from other people. But I have noticed something interesting, and just a tiny bit concerning, that has shown itself.

Living with T1D is a balancing act. I often describe it as like going through every minute of your life juggling 3 balls. You must never drop the balls or stop juggling them, or you could wake up in hospital ….. or worse.

One of those balls is exercise / rest. Now non T1D people never have to consider what constitutes exercise / rest. Most people consider that a run around the block, or a swim in the local pool, or even a walk to the shops, is what exercise is. And of course rest is sleeping, or relaxing on the couch in front of the TV.

But from your body chemistry perspective, exercise / rest is much more complicated than that.

Every breath you take is using energy. Every time you move your eyes you burn up a tiny, tiny amount of energy. Every time you talk to somebody, or answer the phone, or even press a button on your phone, you are burning up energy. Yes the amounts are drastically small, but the energy is burned and needs to be replaced. That is what is behind the well understood idea of running or going to the gym to lose weight. So long as you use up more energy than you eat, it is guaranteed that you will lose weight.

So when I talk about “exercise / rest”, I am referring to all of these micro moments of energy use.

Now, back to the present.

Here I am, sitting in my house and doing my work. I haven’t had to walk to catch the train. I haven’t socialised with my work mates throughout the day. I haven’t had to walk to the other side of the floor to go to the toilet – “bathroom” for our American friends. My trip to work this morning took me 3 steps. Yes, I went for my morning walk around the streets, but it is simply not the same level of “activity” that constitutes my normal day.

The effect of this is that my BGL readings have been much more variable than they have been for 12 months. And no matter how hard I try, I simply have not been able to flatten them out. We’ve all heard of “flattening the curve” of coronavirus, but that term means something else as well for somebody living with T1D. And since my normal routine was tossed out the window, my BGL “curve” has been anything but flat. It’s been all over the place.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m not concerned by it. My focus is 97% on my low levels, not my highs. But for the long term I do need to be aware of my highs, and they have certainly been erratic since my routines were disrupted.

It’s just another one of those minute considerations that most people never even think of. Why should they? Their body does the magic required to keep them healthy.

Marathon des Sables – A Type 1 Diabetes Adventure

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