I’ve learnt many things at the diabetes conferences around the world I’ve been lucky enough to attend. One of those things is that Conference Hypo Syndrome (CHS) will get me every single time! (There may be no documented evidence that this is a real thing. But believe me. IT’S.REAL.)
The Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre is a huge venue – just like most similar conference facilities around the globe. As I rush between presentations, meetings, finding the speakers’ room and catching up with people for coffee, I inevitably run (okay, walk) what feels like the equivalent of a half-marathon. In heels.
Over the weekend, I went through some old photos from other conferences I’d attended. At just about each and every one of them, there is at least one photo of me downing juice, eating glucose tabs or throwing down jelly beans.
Last week at the ADS-ADEA conference I smugly thought I had it all worked out. On day one, I got up and straight away lowered my basal rate a little, as I anticipated a crazy day activity ahead. I had it spot on! Not a hypo to be seen for the whole day.
I even knowingly explained CHS to a colleague attending her first conference who was shocked at just how many times she’d gone low that day. ‘Of course!’ I told her. ‘You’ve been running around all day in between sessions.’ The next day, she lowered her basal rates which resulted in a much nicer day of BGLs.
On day two, I was presenting as part of a symposium at the rude time of 8.30am. I had it all planned. I would get up nice and early, alter my basal rates (this time with some consideration to the fact that I’d be running on adrenalin in the morning as I prepped for my talk) and then would re-adjust it after my talk. ‘I’ve got this CHS thing sorted’. I thought to myself.
Stupid, stupid, STUPID girl.
Actually, it probably would have all been clever and worked out perfectly had I not had a crashing hypo at 3am. Or the nosebleedingly-high rebound that woke me at 6am. By the time I got to the conference centre, my basal rate had indeed been adjusted – but to help with the post-hypo high to avoid me doing my presentation with what would feel like a pair of grubby sports socks in my mouth, and the need to run to the loo every two minutes.
With my presentation done, I was back in range. I thought about the day ahead – more running around the cavernous centre – and adjusted my basal rate accordingly.
I spent the next hour or so catching up with people; popping in to hear grabs of different sessions; traipsing around the Expo hall to check out the exhibitors and being interviewed by a news crew from Diabetes Educators Update.
After my interview, I realised I had hardly any recollection of what I said. I was assured by the interviewer that I had answered everything appropriately and confidently, but when someone asked me what I’d spoken about, I couldn’t really remember details. I checked my BGL and realised that CHS had struck again.
I spent the day catching hypo- and rebound-tails until I got home and managed to get things smoothed out. I slept through the night, woke in range and set my basal rate for the day ahead. And was pretty much fine for the final day of the conference.
I’m presenting at another conference next week back at the Melbourne Convention Centre. Fingers crossed that I wake on the day of my presentation after a restful night’s sleep, with an in-target BGL and can put my CHS cure into plan. Because I know that if diabetes behaves itself (ha!) then it works. It’s just when diabetes is being a little shit that it all goes rather pear-shaped!