Friday, March 15, 2013

Diabetes Stole My Day

I would like today back.  I had things to do.  But, alas, it was not to be.

It wasn't so unusual.  After the kids were at school and the hubs was at work, I got the house cleaned up.  I had an unusually high morning sugar (229!) but wasn't too concerned about it because it hadn't been high for very long (thank you CGM), and I am not a stranger to the dawn phenom, although, like everything else, it cannot be counted on to show up every morning.  Just when it wants to.  I corrected, bolused, and ate the same breakfast with the same dosage I eat probably 80% of the time.

Hours later, after hilariously trying to fix pool stuff I do not understand in the least, I started to think about lunch. The dogs are asleep on me, which is very sweet, and the next best thing to a newborn on your chest.  I consider driving through somewhere on my way to my errands. I decided not to disturb the dogs just yet, after all, it was only 12:30, and I had eaten breakfast around 9:30.  I have gone much longer between meals, and it's not like it was a morning where I had worked out.

And then the CGM buzzed.  59.  OK.  I guess I better get up and deal with this.

And then it hit me.  One of the lows that has you crawling on the floor begging for any food that anyone will throw at you.  A low that has your CGM abandoning all pretense at numbers and just screaming the word LOW at you.  One of the lows where you know you're going to overtreat, but you don't care, because this is one of the scary ones.

I eat a couple of Starbursts.  I do not feel better. I am sweating like a crazy person (although frankly I don't know if crazy people sweat more).  I call my husband and ask him to stay on the phone with me until my sugars come up. I check the monitor.  41.

I crawl into my room. We have a stash of Halloween candy we bought off our children and I use it for this purpose.  I begin shoving Butterfingers and Twix.  I eat a Reese's.  I take off my nasty sweaty shirt and somewhere something registers that if the paramedics have to show up, I might want my shirt on, but at this point I do not care because the sweat is the worst part.

And slowly, slowly, I begin to feel better.  Things are looking up, literally.  The CGM still says "Low" but with an arrow slanting upward.  I let my husband go back to his lunch.  I get dressed.  I am upright again and walk to the kitchen and assemble my lunch, staring at the leftover Chinese food and wondering just how to bolus for this plus the candy assault I had just launched at my body. And ooh - there are some Saltines! Those look good.  Might as well eat those too. I must have done alright because my sugars never raised above 170.

(Until later when I continued to eat Saltines for no good reason except that the salt tasted good after all that sugar, and I conveniently didn't bolus for them, because really, one cracker at a time isn't that much.....THEN I began to soar).

And then you would think it was over, right?  A scary time, yes, but when all is said and done, it was really only a half an hour out of my day.  Still plenty of time to get everything done.

Except.  Except for the headache.  Except for the fatigue. The Hanglowver I believe it's called. And except for the emotional toll those suckers take on me. What if I had decided to get in the car to get lunch?  What then? Usually I'm in class on Friday mornings.  What if this had hit while I was there?  I know.  I would have been fine.  Embarrassed maybe, as I sweat and ate massive amounts of candy, but fine.  And so I chose to catch up on Tivo'd shows and instead of worry about the pool, just sit by it, and just try to remind myself that it's all good.  These aren't that common.

But what they are is hard to predict.  I had absolutely no reason to believe today would be a day that the low monster would grab me in his paws and not let go.  That today was a day where diabetes likes to channel the girl from the Labyrinth and try to convince me that  "You have no power over me."

Usually I'M Jennifer Connelly and diabetes is the creepy David Bowie dude.  But occasionally...


  1. Ugh, H. What a scare. I'm sorry that you had to go through that, and I'm glad you're alright.

    It's really scary how that primal survival instinct kicks in, isn't it? What else would make you call for help, just in case... I mean, why even have those thoughts? Except they are thoughts that diabetes forces onto us. I hate it.

    Thanks for sharing this. These stories need to be told, as it's the reality that we live with.

  2. That sounds so scary, Heidi! I wish so much that you didn't have to worry about things like this. Wouldn't it be nice if we could have vacation days from these trials? Just to get a little more strength to keep going? If only!

    I thought I knew what a bolus was, but now I'm not sure. Could you explain that for me?

  3. Bolus is the dose of short-acting insulin I use for each meal. This really was a weird one, because usually I can find a reason - I moved more than usual, I ate less than usual, I guessed on the carbs and I guessed wrong, but this one has my stymied.

    What was SUPER awesome is then I was battling highs all night. It was like my body was saying "Oh that's not happening again, so I won't go below 200, no matter how much insulin you give me."

    A vacation from diabetes would indeed be awesome.