I’m all about the redundant post titles these days, aren’t I? (See: here.) But this last long weekend, diabetes really didn’t make sense.

On late Wednesday afternoon, I noticed a slight tinge on the lower right side of my jaw. I started calculating the last time I’d been to the dentist and thought it was about time for me to make an appointment for a check-up.

Within an hour, I was reaching for some ibuprofen to help with the now more-than-niggling pain, and was on the phone trying to get an appointment with my dentist as soon as possible.

I could spend a long time explaining the pain I was in by late Wednesday night, but I won’t because it was nowhere near as bad as what I had coming for the next two and a half days. Plus, at this point, the pain was still responding to Nurofen every six hours, and I managed to get a good night’s sleep.

By Thursday morning, the pain had increased, and I found myself counting down after I took a dose of pain killers for the next time I would be able to find some relief.

I saw the dentist around the midday on Thursday, and after a quick couple of x-rays, he gently announced that the troublesome tooth would need to come out. There was a nasty infection, and the root canal that I’d had a number of years earlier just wasn’t cutting it anymore. (There was probably a far more technical term for what was going on, but I’d tuned out by this stage and was just wanting some decent relief from the pain that was becoming more incessant.)

I was sent on my way with a prescription for some strong antibiotics and an appointment for a week later when the infection had cleared. That’s when the tooth would come out.

Two hours later, the ibuprofen dose I’d taken earlier hadn’t even touched the sides of the pain and I was starting to think I was in agony. Rookie mistake – that was still a few hours off. I called the dentist and asked if he could recommend any more effective pain relief. The usual suggestion of alternating between ibuprofen and paracetamol wasn’t an option of course, thanks to my Dexcom, so he prescribed me some ibuprofen with codeine. (New prescribing regulations from earlier this year mean codeine is now a prescription only drug.)

The codeine worked. At least it did for the first dose. By 10pm only five hours after I’d taken the two tablets, my understanding of pain had been taken to a new level. Not the top level, mind – that was still to come. But I knew that there was no way I would get any sleep unless I had someone help me deal with the pain.

As it turns out, we don’t have a 24 hour emergency dental service in Victoria. The so-called 24 hour dental clinics I found online didn’t answer their phones when I called, and the dental hospital closes at 9.30pm. Hospitals won’t touch people with dental problems, although the triage nurse did kindly suggest I could go in and sit in the A & E waiting room until I could be seen, ‘…but the wait will probably be at least four hours.’ She suggested I find a late-night GP clinic and go there.

Which I did. An hour later, I was back home, after having filled a prescription for a pain killer, taken the first one and found that it that pretty much killed the pain. (Love it when things do exactly what they say on the box!)

I wish I could say that was the end of the saga. But alas, by the morning, that new drug stopped working too and I spent the next 24 hours in dark rooms, holding an ice pack to the side of my head. I wondered how long it was going to ne before the antibiotics kicked in (I’d been promised bet ween 24 and 48 hours), and the pain would start to truly ease.

By Saturday morning (about 36 hours on antibiotics), the pain had started to subside and by Sunday morning, in time for the Easter Bunny’s visit, I was only needing straight ibuprofen to manage the pain.

And today, Tuesday, I’m back at work and it’s been over 24 hours since I’ve needed any pain meds at all.

So, where was my diabetes in all this? Well, I had a frightful infection. I was in more pain than I have ever experienced in all my life. My blood pressure was up. And my diabetes looked like this:

This made absolutely no sense to me (hence this post title). Usually, just the hint of an infection sends my glucose levels sky-high. Any sort of pain – whether it be a sore throat, aching back or headache will be reflected in rising glucose levels.

But I was looking at this trace: the lowest point was around the 3.4mmol/l mark and the highest was 9.3mmol/l.

Also, my brain was incapable of dealing with anything other than the extreme pain, so I literally did not touch Loop in that whole time, other than to keep checking what my numbers were doing, fully expecting I’d need some serious rage bolusing highs. But the highs never came.

Loop was certainly working overtime, but not as much as I would have expected. My insulin requirements didn’t increase all that much at all, really. At least not until Sunday morning when I had my first hot cross bun of the season, but I can’t blame the infection on that!

I’m just chalking this up to yet another example of diabetes not making any sense; plus being grateful for the technology to help me keep an eye on things with as little effort as possible.

In one of those moments of coincidence, this article came across my Twitter feed today. Apparently, people with diabetes see the dentist less frequently (as compared with people without diabetes). So, my CSA today is: if you’ve not been to the dentist for a while, think of making an appointment today. 

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