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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Ocala resident with diabetes shares COVID-19 recovery journey

To the Editor:

I too had COVID-19 in February of 2020. I am a type 1 diabetic on an insulin pump, and took care of myself for approximately 10 severe days prior to weeks of a so-called allergy and migraine. The migraine lingered when I recouped from COVID. I documented every day I was sick: symptoms where I wasn’t sure of what I had, my blood sugar levels along with temperature checks, vitamins, and what foods I was eating.

I eventually called my doctor for a cough syrup, but by the time I was able to get in a car, I didn’t take the medication and I told her this is not the common flu. I remember every day and every symptom. It was like giving birth: Something you never forget. But after the full 10-12 days, when I would be producing antibodies, I woke up with the utmost energy in the world, I was speeding around with no arthritic pain, blood sugars were dropping for no reason, and I had to suspend my insulin pump numerous times.

I thought this flu made me totally better all the way around. I even told my son that I think my vitamins are really working, but I didn’t know how not to be a diabetic. To this day, I still have regular weeks and then days of the same problems where I don’t need nearly as much insulin. I know my body. I have been on insulin for over 40 years and the insulin pump for 15 years. I’ve gone to three endocrinologists and get no real answers as to what insulin rates to use, which is hard to explain to a layman regarding my insulin sensitivity and my carb ratio and basal rates.

My one and longtime doctor did get me the Dexcom to wear which alerts me during blood sugar highs and lows. But other visits when I would tell doctors this is not my normal blood pressure and I felt like I was anxious and going to have a heart attack, they chalked it up to me being a type A personality. No way, I doubled up on my blood pressure meds for a few days prior to a virtual visit and I monitored my own blood pressure. And yes, the doctor, thank goodness, agreed and changed my medication.

But I still have ‘off’ days with no energy and ‘on’ days. It’s terrible when you live alone and have to push yourself to get in a car to food shop, or run a simple errand that isn’t simple anymore. I want to feel like I did prior to COVID, but in some respects I know this is the new me. It would be great to have a group of listeners to share the stories so we all don’t think we are crazy. Because if there’s one thing it didn’t change, it’s my mind and knowing my body. That’s exactly how I overcame COVID. I listened when I thrived for liquids, and I slept prone prior to them ever telling you to, which was odd for me because of lower back problems. So why don’t doctors gather all this info and help others? I believe a group therapy type of atmosphere would help many of us.

Francis Benson

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