August 3, 2005

The first thing

The first interesting thing that happened during my recent travels was that I lost my birth control pills. Well, all right. I did not lose them as such. I left them behind. But “lost” makes me sound like slightly less of a nimrod.

The reason I left the pills behind is that I was very, very nervous, because I was taking Mr. Brooklyn across the country to meet my family for the first time.

No matter. One can replace a lost prescription easily enough, right? Yes, one can. But it is a little more awkward when one’s brother tags along to the drugstore during the key pill-replacement window of opportunity.


I am sure families exist in which the (unmarried) adult children can acknowledge things like needing to refill a birth control prescription. Hell, mine may well be one of them. But I am not confident it is, and I wasn’t about to test the matter hours after introducing my sweetie for the first time. This was a bit absurd, as Mr. Brooklyn and I were sharing a room in my mother's home, but there you have it.

Off the pill I went, in the middle of the pack, which one is not supposed to do. Annoying and perplexing to my poor confused reproductive system, but whatever, I thought.

Ha ha.

The first couple of days went okay. The fam accepted Mr. Brooklyn with reasonable grace, at least in some cases (which is as good as it may ever get where Brother Violet is concerned). Mr. Brooklyn, naturally, was entirely charming. We returned to NY and sighed a collective sigh.

Then the lows started.

The first was post-pizza, always a dicey time. But I’d had this pizza before, and I thought I knew what I was doing with the insulin.

Two hours after eating, I was 69. Had some glucose tablets.

61. More tablets.

“I feel funny,” I said to Mr. Brooklyn. We were in an office-supply store, and I was sitting in a desk chair on display. It was tangerine orange and had a matching desk made of hard plastic. Nearby sat its counterparts in lime green.

Or maybe I was sitting in the green chair, and the ones nearby were orange. I really don’t remember.

“Am I too nice?” I asked Mr. Brooklyn. “Whenever we’re around your mother I think I’m too nice. She’s awfully tough.”

Mr. Brooklyn made reassuring murmurs about my personality and suggested that he steal some juice for me from the cooler at the cash register. No no, I said. I just ate a million glucose tablets. This next test will show that I am fine.


Mr. Brooklyn hurried off to do his thieving. I drank enormous quantities of the lemonade he brought back. We talked about how the glucagon was in my bag at home. (Yeah, left behind. Who carries glucagon when they go out for pizza?) Or maybe I only think we talked about it. I really don’t remember.

Then I was fine. 78, 96. Hooray. I thought I’d wind up in the 300s after all that lemonade, but no. 164 was as high as I got.

After a scattering of other, less dramatic lows over the next few days, I did some research. Did you know that estrogen and progestin, the hormones found in most birth control pills, increase insulin resistance in some people? I did not know this. None of my various “diabetes team” members ever mentioned it, though they all know I’m on the pill. Maybe it’s a rare phenomenon; I’m not sure. What it means is that when you’re taking these hormones, you may need more insulin to cover your food. And if you leave your pills behind like a nimrod, you may soon need to take less insulin. A lot less.

[to be continued]

1 comment:

  1. Really... I would never think that there'd be a connection between taking or in this case not taking BC pills and having the lows that you experienced.

    Good to know, I wonder why no doctor's have ever mentioned that BC pills can effect insulin resistance/absorption... none of my doctor's ever mentioned it.

    Well hope all is well now, I guess I should read your continuation post to find out...