Forgot the Henchman

License to lower your blood sugar, in combination with daily exercise and a carbohydrate-reduced diet.
Licensed to lower your blood sugar, in combination with daily exercise and a carbohydrate-reduced diet.

I just had a Bond moment. It’s like a blonde moment, but more lethal.

I returned from our California adventure after 16 days of coastal rambling. I was scurrying about, drawing horizontal lines through my  “To-Do” list before entering hospital for chemotherapy.

Chemo requires a pre-admission blood test. As I sat there, draining a small bit of me into a syringe, I told the nurse the lab results would show my blood sugars were high. I could tell from the taste in my mouth. Not to worry, I had just taken a whopping dose of insulin in response.

I have been a diabetic for 21 years. My blood sugar control is mediocre. A normal blood sugar is between four and six incomprehensible-scientific-units-of-measurement (ISUMs). I tend to average about eight ISUMs. I used to lie in bed, afraid that diabetes-related complications would kill me before 60. Would I live to see my son’s tenth birthday?.

Funny how cancer changes perspective.

After my diagnosis three years ago, I put all diabetes-related worries away. I didn’t fret about dying from heart attack, stroke or organ failure. I worried about seeing another Christmas.

So there I was last week, two hours after my blood test. My phone rang. It was the nurse.

Could I come to the emergency department? Did I need an ambulance to get there?

My ISUMs were at 43.

I have never, in 21 years, known my blood sugar to climb above 30. “Above 40” is the kind of number that makes a nurse worry about you.

Just like James Bond, I forgot about the henchman.

A repeated feature in Bond films occurs in the closing minutes, after the main villain has been vanquished. The evil sidekick suddenly appears to shatter the kimono-and-body-oil reverie of the denouement.  In Diamonds Are Forever, Sean Connery has killed Blofeld and is relaxing with Jill St. John when they are attacked by the almost-forgotten assassins Wint and Kidd. After Roger Moore shoots Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun, mini-killer Herve Villechaize turns up with a knife. In The Spy Who Loved Me, Moore is close to (for once) having sex with one of the Bond girls, when the metal-toothed “Jaws” appears, ready to bite him in half.

Bond thought dispatching the main villain left him free to relax. The return of the loyal-to-the-end assistant is a reminder to take care of one’s secondary villains. I bet lots of cancer patients have similar problems with their Parkinson’s, MS, Lupus, etc.

In the 43 ISUMs incident, I mistakenly thought my insulin would remain effective while out of the fridge for two weeks of vacation. It did not.  A quick trip to the pharmacist, some fresh insulin and a ban on snacks had my ISUM back to 6.9 by the following morning. I was shaken, not stirred.

“Mike O’Brien will be BACK… in Die Another Day!”


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