Tuesday, March 17, 2009

How low can you go?

I've often said I'd rather have a low blood-sugar than a high one. To me, highs feel like failures. Lows make me feel like I've done something right - even though that isn't true.

For the most part, I can tolerate lows pretty well. When I hit numbers in the 40s I'm a bit fuzzy and have to concentrate extra hard, but with a little more effort I can still function. I've even seen scary numbers in the 30s and high 20s and been okay.

Over the weekend, though, I had a "bad low". I was feeling lousy that day, like I had caught the cold Pete was getting over. So I spent the day on the couch. As Pete warmed some chicken soup for dinner, I tested my blood sugar and rang in at 73. I let my pump deduct some insulin for the lower reading and bolused. I guess I was dropping fast, because by the time the soup was ready I was feeling really ill. I forced some down, and then an overwhelming urge to sleep came over me. I told Pete I was really tired, put down my half-eaten soup, and shut my eyes. Pete got my meter and asked me to check my blood sugar. I was surprised at the low number I saw.

Pete got me a juice-box, which I quickly downed. But this low was fierce. That 36 reading brought along an overwhelming feeling of fear. I was sure my blood sugar wasn't going to come back up, and that I would pass out and there would be nothing I could do to help myself. My panicked brain told me that if Pete called 911, they wouldn't get to me in time. I can't ever remember feeling so scared from a low, and I let Pete know how I was feeling. He got me two big spoonfuls of frosting.  Then I had two peanut butter eggs. About five or ten minutes later, the fear was gone and I felt more like myself. A few hours later I was trying to bring a 223 blood sugar back into range - but for once I didn't care that I was high.  I was glad I ate everything I did, because I just wanted that scared feeling to go away and never come back.

I always stress to Pete that it's very important not to get lulled into a false sense of security about my lows.  I was actually fine this time, but I didn't feel fine.  It's important to treat each and every low as an emergency. Just because I handled a 47 yesterday, doesn't mean it won't knock me out today. And Saturday night was just a little reminder of that fact.


  1. That is scary! I'm so glad that you had Pete there to help you.

    I can also relate to preferring lows over highs, even though they mess me up for a long time. I think it has a lot to do with the fact that I can (usually) fix a low quickly, but highs take so long to come down.

  2. A low of 40 can be fine one day...I'm walking, talking, etc. And the next day it can totally floor me. It's werid. I'm so sorry we have to deal with that scared feeling. It's no fun. And panic eating almost always follows. :(
    I hope you are feeling better today.

  3. I feel the same way...well, I used to anyway. I thought lows were better than highs (cause I usually run high), but after that low incident, I'd just rather stay at 80 ALL the time. I wish there was a magic button that I could press that would bring right up to 80 or right down to 80.

    But YAY for frosting! I'd be so afraid to eat frosting, lol. I'd probably shoot to 500 within seconds, lol.

  4. Hi,
    I just found your blog, and think it's great!

    I can relate to this posting well, and felt that same terror just a few weeks ago (but in the middle of the night). To compound the situation, I had developed the flu at the same time!! Yikes. All's well now!

    Keep up the great work!


  5. i have felt that same fear, it ain't pleasant at all!!! on occasion i've eaten for what seemed like hours afterward, just to "be safe", afraid that if I took the 5 seconds to do a BS that i'd be dead. Irrational, ya! Shows what power our blood glucose level has over rational thinking sometimes.
    Gesh, every one of your posts reads just like something I could have written, it's a bit freaky... in a good way. I'm actually beginning to feel like i'm not the only one living like this

  6. That feeling of dread is actually the effect of another hormone release by the overdose of insulin: adrenaline. I've had all kinds of crazy symptoms because of that adrenaline: paranoia, hysteria, and that engulfing fear. I imagine a lot of people overtreat because they don't realize the fear is also a hormonal response--not just a mental one. It's hard to think about being patient about getting a low back up when it doesn't feel like anything right away!

    (Hi! Here via a link from Kerri's blog. :)

  7. That's one of those "eat 15g and wait 15 minutes" just ain't gonna cut it. When I'm that low I get panicky and want to put my face in the box of cereal and just up-end it into my mouth!


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