The low that got me

Both yesterday and today I woke up with a similar blood glucose level, a little under 100, then a little over 100. I had the same breakfast and gave the same bolus. But yesterday I bolused as I sat down to eat and regretted not pre-bolusing because my blood sugar spiked pretty fast before settling back down to an acceptable pre-lunch level. Today I didn’t want to repeat that so I pre-bolused by about 8 minutes. Today there was no spike.

An hour after my bolus I was sitting on the metro, halfway to work and felt some mild telltale songs of a low. I glanced at my dexcom and was a bit surprised to see 51 with a straight down arrow. I grabbed a few glucose tablets and even as I munched them, started feeling worse. A bit panicky. I ate some more. My heart started pounding and I was sweating so I very awkwardly took off my scarf and then my jacket in the overcrowded train. I wasn’t counting the glucose tabs but I was slightly aware that it would be a good idea not to eat too many.

Sheer concentration helped me stand up to get off the metro at my station. But I couldn’t make my feet  take me where I needed them to. I sat on a bench on the platform. I wanted to cry. Not because I was scared. Not because I didn’t know what to do. Not because I didn’t think this low wouldn’t come back up. But because normally I have diabetes and in that moment, diabetes had me. I was no longer the one in control of the situation.

I’m not sure how I looked to the morning commuters but I must have sat there for about 15 minutes watching the trains go by and trying to catch my breath, control my shaking muscles and slow my heart rate. When I finally did get to my office, I checked the glucose tab tube and saw that I had eaten 8 of them. 40g of carb. I knew that would more than shoot me high, but I didn’t want to bolus right away either, given the ongoing shakes and fuzziness in my brain that made me think I was still low. I then realised that I hadn’t actually tested my blood sugar that whole time so I took out my meter. A shaky blood drop later and a 102 stared back at me. This was about an hour after I first noticed the symptoms of the low.

So I knew I was in the clear blood sugar-wise but it took until after lunch, almost 4 hours after starting to treat the low for the symptoms to disappear. All morning I was working in slow motion. My brain wouldn’t process complex information. My colleagues told me I was pale (which is saying something for this Irish-skinned girl!) and that my eyes looked a little vacant. I felt run over, flattened, defeated.

Most of the time I handle living with diabetes just fine. But today, diabetes got me. Really got me.

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