Tucker’s treatment for diabetes continues, though it has come up against a problem.
Last week, his veterinarian had me raise the roly poly’s insulin dosage to four units in the morning and three at night, and then take an individual reading at mid-day, half-way between the two injections. I did this on two days, Saturday and Sunday. Saturday’s reading was higher than expected; that on Sunday was 6.26. The difference, I believe, was caused by stress. The first day, I had great difficulty drawing blood, and had to poke my unfortunate cat numerous times before I found some. He was unhappy and worried. On Sunday, I positioned him with a flashlight in front of him, and, sitting behind him, stabbed his ear where I could clearly see the blood vessel shown by the flashlight’s beam. I managed to draw blood the first time.
The veterinarian thinks that 6.26 is too low for Tucker. I think it is, however, a number for which many people aim. Even so, the doctor ordered that the dosage be returned to three units twice a day. I am to continue this for another week and then take an individual reading.
I would not give Tucker insulin if his number - at the time of the injection - was below ten. So a curve will be done on the weekend following the next reading, in order to determine where the numbers start the day and where they end it. My veterinarian wants me to bring Tucker in to the animal hospital for this curve. He will stay over-night so that a reading may be done very early in the day, and then twelve hours later. This is being proposed because my glucometer and the doctor’s give different readings; that is to say, one is not right and the other wrong, they are simply set differently, and I must convert my results to the doctor’s, rather like converting two kinds of currency, or imperial measurements to metric. I worked out the formula for conversion, and there is no difficulty in doing this.
The doctor, however, thinks that the difference may be compounded as the number grows, perhaps believing that whereas I must multiply my results by 1.5 (for example) when the number is low, I must multiply it by a greater number if the results are a greater amount. I can understand her concern but this raises difficulties for me and Tucker.
It means that for what the veterinarian may consider an accurate reading, I would have to bring Tucker to the hospital every time a curve is taken. He would have to stay over-night, so that readings could be taken throughout a twelve-hour period. This has two effects: one, the cost would be prohibitive at the best of times - and right now, for me, this is not the best of times. Secondly, and more importantly, Tucker would be under a great deal of stress. He would be in unfamiliar and, to him, hostile surroundings, being kept in a cage and poked by strangers every couple of hours. I believe the difference between Saturday and Sunday’s readings were due to the stress of being poked too often the first day, and this was when I was doing that to him. I can’t see that the readings obtained under worse conditions in the hospital would be useful.
I will speak further with the doctor about this, but I don’t think I will allow this to proceed. I think I can perform a curve on Tucker more usefully at home. He won’t like it, but he won’t be afraid all day. I believe that even if my conversion of glucometer readings is inexact, those for a curve would still be significant because the resulting numbers would give an indication of his condition throughout the day, and how the numbers rise and fall, if only in relation to each other. Besides, I don’t think my conversion is wrong.
There are other indications by which to judge Tucker’s reaction to the insulin. When Tucker’s number at noon on Sunday was 6.26, he was still alert, cheerful, and mobile. He lumbered a bit, due to the diabetes weakening his rear, but it was no more than he had been. He did not act as if his numbers were too low, though I was ready with the corn syrup in case he required it. A diabetic cat is new to me, but I believe he was fine with the higher dosage.
So, Tucker’s treatment has not yet stabilised. There is more experimentation in store for the roly poly. I know that his veterinarian has his best health in mind, but she and I may differ over his treatment in this instance. I hope that Tucker doesn’t suffer while caught in the middle.