Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Scary Low . . .

Usually lows don't bother me. Usually my body handles them really well. Usually I eat a little something or drink a little juice and everything is okay.  Usually.

Sunday night was not usual.  Sunday night was damn scary.

Much of it is very foggy.  I remember sitting in bed with my pump and meter.  I couldn't quite figure out what my pump was.  I kept turning it over and around, trying to figure out which end was the top and which was the bottom.  I kept pressing buttons but none of the screens made sense.  I also didn't know how to turn on my meter or what it was supposed to do.  Pete was wide awake beside me, telling me it was okay and I should drink my juice.  I told him I couldn't, but thank goodness I drank it anyway.  He said I kept saying I didn't know what happens next.  I think I resisted drinking the juice because even though I was confused I knew that I generally stay away from juice because it raises my blood sugar.  I also think when I kept saying I didn't know what happens next I was trying to say that I knew I had to punch the carbs from the juice into my pump and bolus but I couldn't figure out how to do it.  Out of frustration, I kept begging Pete to show me how to work the buttons.  He calmly told me he didn't know how and that I should just relax and drink the juice.

I remember I kept disconnecting my pump because I didn't know how to work it.  Then I would reconnect it because I knew I'm always supposed to wear it.  Pete ran downstairs and got a spoonful of frosting for me to eat.  I suddenly decided I had to check my blood.  Pete said it was a bit soon to test again but to go ahead and do it anyway.  Some how I managed to remember how to work the meter.  The screen flashed 33.  Somewhere in my mind, that number seemed familiar.  I guess I was starting to come out of the fog, because I asked for another juice box.

After I downed that, things really started to clear up.  I could remember how to work my pump as well as my meter.  According to Pete, I had woken him up and told him I needed help.  (Thank goodness for that!!)  According to my CGM log, my low alarm went off at 10:51 telling me I was 55.  It rang again at 11:12 to say I was 41.  At 11:31 it reported that I was below 40.  I don't remember hearing or clearing any of those alarms - I just remember dreaming about being on Cape Cod.  According to my meter, I tested my blood sugar at 11:35 and it was 33.  That's why the number 33 seemed familiar when I did the second test at 11:46 and was still at 33.

Once the fog cleared, I realized I was soaked with sweat.  The chills hit hard and my teeth started chattering.  I was pretty freaked out by what had just happened.  I felt terrible for disrupting Pete's sleep on a work night and for frightening him so badly with my incoherent ramblings.  At midnight we tested again and I was up to 49, and three hours later I was 172.

I can't tell you how lucky and blessed I feel that Pete was there.  I am so proud of how calm he stayed through the whole thing.  He held it together and did everything right.  He was *thisclose* to calling for an ambulance when the fog cleared and I started making sense again.  I can't imagine how scary the whole thing was for him.

Yesterday I was wiped out and freaked out all day long.  Pete called me several times more than he usually does to check on me.  Every time I heard his voice, I started to cry.  From gratitude for what a wonderful care-giver he is.  From guilt for putting him through such a terrifying situation in the middle of the night.  From pure exhaustion that made me more emotional than usual.

I've always handled low numbers well.  A few weeks ago I woke up with a blood sugar below 20.  I know, because I tested three times to confirm.  13, 19, 16 were the numbers my meter reported back.  I was sweaty, but clear-headed and otherwise fine.  I drank juice and petted the cat until my blood sugar went back up to 83.  Then I went back to sleep.  Easy as pie - which would have come in handy with a blood sugar below 20!!

Why was that 33 so terrible and that 19 no problem?  Who knows?  Maybe The Big D was cranky Sunday night.  It's been around 20 years since I've had a low that left me so out of it.  I honestly hope it's 20 more before the next Scary Low.


  1. Wow Karen. I never would have thought that my daughter might experience what you just described. My eyes are opened a little more as to what she might be feeling during lows, thank you for being very descriptive and sharing.
    Pete must've been scared, but it sounds like he held it together pretty well for you! Good man there!

  2. I hate those. They are so scary. I've only had a few lows like that but they are the worst. I especially hate feeling so helpless. After I have an episode like that and I look back and remember how I was feeling and what I was thinking it freaks me out even more to know how incoherent I was. It's such an awful feeling.

    I'm so glad you had Pete with you and you came through it okay. ::hugs::

  3. Give Pete and extra hug from me.

    Ugh Karen I am in tears reading this. I am so sorry you had such a scary low but thank God for Pete and his staying calm the entire time. Wow.

    You two bless each other and I think that is what makes your relationship so beautiful.

    Take care my friend! LYLB!

  4. Those are the worst! I had a low one time where I couldn't say the write words. I even tried writing, but I just wrote nonsensical words. It was undoubtedly the WEIRDEST low I have ever had.

    I always wonder what makes some lows worse than others. I have also had ones where I'm in the 20s and I'm walking around and talking fine. And then there are some when I'm 65 and can barely stand. I wonder if it has to do with how quickly you drop and how long you've been low before you notice?

  5. Whoa. Karen.
    Sorry you both had to go through that. Glad Pete was there for you. (hugs) to both of you.

    I think Colleen is right. Depending on how quickly you drop, once you notice, even where you were (bg wise) before. I've been near 20 and Totally coherent. I don't get it.

    Here's hoping none of us have to experience this, Ever again.

  6. First - I'm glad you're okay.
    Second - As I haven't done a low, low yet, I'm going to print this out for my husband so he'll have some clue.
    Third - I read this at lunch but didn't have time to comment so was very surprised to see that I had, but it's not me. Hi Colleen in C'ville!

  7. I had one of those a while ago -- the TV was on but I couldn't understand any of it. So strange.

    Husbands of diabetics deserve special medals, for sure.

  8. Karen-

    I read this post yesterday and I wanted to reach through my iPhone to give you and P a hug. I am so sorry you had to experience such a terrible low but I'm happy that P was there to help you and to make sure you were ok.

    Diabetes Research Institute please help us find a cure.


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