After two days of elevated blood sugars, I figured the low would hit me like a sledgehammer.
Instead, it snuck up on me quietly and with stealth, like a bee who doesn't buzz to warn you of the sting.
What happened is this: I spent a good hour on the ellipmachine that night, frustrated by the blood sugar that refused to budge beneath 180 mg/dL for two days. I couldn't figure out the cause, and I was frustrated.
While I was working out (and catching up on episodes of Colbert [NATION!!!], including the one with the great performance by Jack White, who looks more like Edward Scissorhands with every public appearance), my feet felt heavy around the 30 minute mark, but a check of the Dexcom showed me at a steady 160 mg/dL and I didn't have any insulin on board.
Around the 50 minute mark, the sounds of the television show, playing through the speakers of my laptop, started to sound like they were funneled through a tin can. Even though only twenty minutes had passed since peeking at the Dexcom receiver, I knew I was tanking.
"Not again," I said out loud, and stepped off the ellipmachine mid-cycle, ready to see the double-down arrows on the Dex. (I'll admit to having an initial, "About time, jerkface," relieved to be dropping out of the stratosphere for the first time in two days.) But I was a little surprised to see "LOW - UNDER 55 mg/dL" beaming back at me, and when I clicked through to see the actual blood sugar value, I saw 49 mg/dL and the double-downs. I grabbed my meter off the bookshelf and did a quick check: 29 mg/dL.
Maybe masked by the adrenaline of exercise, or maybe by the rage of being high for so long, until I saw the number on the machine, the symptoms of the low were held back. But once that number flashed up, my whole body flooded with panic. I had a bottle of juice within reach, and I drained it in a matter of seconds.
"Be normal. You're normal. Be normal." I have no idea why this was the mantra going through my head, but it was this stabilizing force, keeping my knees from buckling. I eased myself down to the floor and sat there, my back to the bookcase, listening to Colbert's voice from the speakers above me.
What happened next plays back in my head like the scene in Clockwork Orange, where everything is in fast-forward and so tangled. I know I made attempts to drink an already-empty bottle of juice. I know I shut my laptop to silence the voices coming from it that were too loud, too fast, and jarring my bones. I remember half walking, half crawling up the stairs from the office into the kitchen, getting another bottle of juice from the fridge. I sat at the kitchen table for a few minutes, organizing a handful of Birdy's hair clips by color. I know I texted with Briley, but didn't remember doing it until I saw the messages a few hours later. Eventually, I was upstairs with Chris, explaining through confused tears and in one breath that I was low and I had juice but I felt confused and didn't know what to do next but I was 29, okay?
And within an hour, it was done. It's that strange voice of diabetes, where it's screaming in your ear one minute, nearly deafening, but then slides back into a whisper. I was back up to 130 mg/dL. Within a few more hours, the low hangover had passed, and I felt like a human being again.
And the beat goes on.