Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Glimpses of 5 a.m.

It’s funny, when you’re in it, how abnormal things actually feel normal.  It didn’t seem odd for even a minute that I got up at 5 a.m. and made my way downstairs, barefoot, even though our thermostat is set at 54 degrees overnight.  I stood by the snack cabinet and ate one rice crispy treat left over from the batch Pete made for a football game with the guys, followed by two of the chocolate cookies I baked for us.  As I sat down to pet K.C., who follows me everywhere regardless of time, it seemed completely normal to get up in the wee hours of the morning to eat sugary junk.

Then, out of habit or instinct, I took a look at my CGM graph.  I blinked a few time and squinted, but it definitely said “Below 40”.  Nothing made much sense, but I went back to the snack cabinet and ate four more cookies.  As I stood for a few minutes, my mind started to clear and fragments of memories 5am now came into focus.  I remembered ignoring the big drops of sweat that had poured off of me when I ate my rice crispy treat and wondered how they didn’t strike me as odd.  I realized how hard it had been to get down the stairs, and suddenly recalled gripping the railing as I slowly made my way down and realized how out of the ordinary that is.  Then I remembered being low at dinner time, and being annoyed that my pump kept suspending me while I was eating so I turned off the Threshold Suspend option . . . . and apparently forgot to turn it back on once my blood sugar came up.  I also found my low alarms muted, although I don’t remember doing that at all.  My blood sugars have been completely borked by a bad cold that’s been plaguing me, and apparently has me so exhausted that I turned off my alarms in a sleepy germy (and probably low) haze that I don’t even recall.

I’m very thankful and lucky to have some of the latest tools to help manage diabetes.  But the fact remains, I’m still human with an imperfect brain that can interfere with the safety net of these tools in an imperfect way.  It’s still really a crapshoot of hoping my instinct will kick in when rationale doesn’t, sending me downstairs to eat whatever I can find.  Sometimes it just feels like it’s still all in the hands of fate.  So I made my way back to bed, woke up Pete to tell him I had a bad low but was okay, and tested to see a 42 flashing back at me.  I turned my CGM alarms and suspend function back on as I waited to come back to a safe range for sleep, and tried not to think too hard about what could have been.


  1. Wow... serious stuff. Glad everything ended okay. Sometimes, I also wonder how much is still left to fate. I hate that these things almost seem normal sometimes. They're not.

    And why does the cat always follow me into the kitchen when I'm low?

  2. I love your site! We are a type 1 family as well. (my husband has had type 1 since he was 4). I love that you have chocolate connected to your insulin pump. my husband has diet mountain dew. :) Will definetely stop by again. morning lows suck. hang in there and hope those morning lows get better soon. cinnamon toast crunch is also an awesome low beater. but rice krispy treats aren't so bad either. :)

    1. Thank you, Burnt Apple. And by the way, those chocolate cookies I ate? They were your Mexican Hot Chocolate cookie recipe. :)

  3. It was probably your low that woke you up in the first place. I find that when I am low in the middle of the night (no CGM), I have very weird dreams and that is what wakes me up. Glad everything turned out ok!

  4. This is one of the scariest things about T1D...I wrote about a similar situation here: http://huckleberryandlime.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-thing-that-goes-ugghh-in-night.html Those looming "What if" questions after the fact kind of sum up the constant fear that this "invisible disease" brings along with it. So glad you're ok!

  5. No nicely written even though it's not a nice topic.

    Its weird how we act in moments like these. I've experienced it all too often. Wandering around in the middle of the night while sweating and my body feeling like jello. Except.... not realizing how weird that is. people don't wander around at night sweating and shaky. In a way, as T1D's that becomes some sort of messed up "normal".

  6. I think you picked the perfect title for this post. Those midnight lows are never a logical succession of thoughts and actions, just a collection of glimpses -- static moments in time, in the "now" with no thought given to what just happened or what's going to happen. Only after it's all over do we look back at the evidence and try to piece it all together.

    Glad you pulled through OK, and also glad to see that the low-glucose-suspend would've helped (even if it didn't in this case, it's a tool that's now available for another time)

  7. So, when are you writing that book? These stories you have shared are so helpful to others with the big D. By your style of writing, you could even do a childrens book.
    I'm glad you got through it. (keep the cookies under your pillow)

  8. i appreciate you writing with such honesty about these situations, because it gives me insight into things my kid might go through herself some day. thank you.


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