Just as my blog title states, I honestly believe that life with diabetes isn’t all bad. But the reality is that sometimes it is. Sometimes it’s very bad. And I think sometimes we need to stop and talk about that reality, to acknowledge the crappy parts of living with diabetes and to tell it like it is. Sometimes I need to force myself to take an honest look at the real stuff I just don't want to deal with.
That real stuff hit me hard on Saturday evening with a bad low blood sugar, and it was scary. I don’t want to tell the story, I’d rather just forget it happened. But I need to tell it. I need to because it will hopefully raise a little more awareness of real life with diabetes. I need to because it will hopefully help me deal with it and take some of the fear away. So here goes. Late Saturday afternoon, Pete got me some takeout for dinner and then headed off to Guy’s Night Out. I picked out a stack of chick flicks to watch and settled in for a quiet evening. I made an educated estimate of my dinner carbs, bolused, and ate.
About 2/3s of the way into my first movie, my CGM low alarm sounded and I also felt low. I grabbed the bag of kiwi and coconut Jelly Bellys we had purchased last weekend and began munching them in my OCD way. (This means 3 kiwi and 3 coconut jellybeans in each bite.) I munched away but suddenly I was having a really hard time matching up the jellybeans. I had to really concentrate to count them out and I felt like I was enveloped in a dark fog. The movie was getting really confusing too, even though it wasn’t a confusing movie (Bridget Jones’s Diary) and I’d seen it at least a dozen times before. But I just couldn’t follow it, and I had a strange blurry feeling that maybe I was actually in the movie. It was extremely confusing. Next I could feel big drops of sweat running down my back and sides, but I wasn’t sure what to do about it. And then? Honestly, I don’t know what happened then. It kind of goes blank at that point. Did I let myself go to sleep? Did I pass out briefly? Did I just sit there in a stupid haze? I don’t know . . . . and the fact that I don’t know scares me to my core.
The next thing I remember is that the movie was over and the DVD was playing the annoying menu screen. I felt clear headed and knew I had just had a really scary low. In a panic I grabbed a package of Oreos and ate about eight of them, until the thought of any more food made my stomach roll. I wanted to call Pete but I knew he’d come straight home, and I didn’t want to ruin his night out. I knew I was now completely back to normal and safe to spend the rest of the evening by myself but I felt so darn alone. I wanted to call my parents, but there was no way I would ever worry them with details of my bad low. I wanted to call some friends, but didn’t want to bother anyone on a Saturday night with their friends or families. So I had a good long cry to release some of the emotions I was feeling, showered off the low-sweat, and spent the rest of the evening fighting down a huge post-low rebound blood sugar and feeling completely crappy.
In my 32+ years of diabetes, this was among a very small handful of really scary and serious lows I’ve had. But this is real life with diabetes. I did everything to the best of my ability and still got blindsided. Maybe I overestimated my dinner carbs, but that’s the problem with foods without accurate nutrition information available. I’ve eaten that dinner before and I used a bolus combo that has worked beautifully in the past. There was no real reason for it not to work this time. I know it’s going to take me a while to get over the low-fears I’ve been feeling for the past few days. I’m a bit panicked about my trip to a conference for a few days next week, where I’ll be on my own for two nights. And I hate that after all this time, diabetes can still be so freaking scary. Not often, but still . . . . .