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Sledgehammer.

If I squint my eyes, it looks a wee bit like R2D2.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.

Comments

Wow - I learn so much about diabetes from you. I can't imagine how you manage all this. I got frustrated just reading this! Hang in there! -- @stales

tugs at my heart strings.

I absolutely love your blog and how you always tell it like it is. Too many adults tend to sugarcoat or tell me they’re totally controlled now – making it sound as if our periodic episodes of highs/lows should magically disappear – and worse, telling this to people who don’t know any better and then look at me like I’m doing something wrong when my child has a low blood sugar.

Nice post Kerry, Katia my daughter reminds me of you...T1 and nearly 21 now. Her T1 story started 5 yrs ago.

I had a 29 mg/dl recently, and it was so weird because I felt low, but not THAT low. When you see 29, I think the surprise of being 29 and still awake makes you feel worse. Then I drank juice and ate food and got the numb tongue and tingly lips and exhaustion. Fun stuff... :/

You always get to me with your perfect descriptions of how it is to live with type 1. Your post made me cry.. and I am an older type 1 who was diagnosed at 28 then lived with it for 26 years without admitting till recently how hard it can be. Thank you.

wow, been there, done that,
so, the name of the movie can be..........
"Escape the Low"
and we thought "Jaws" was a thriller ????
glad you got back okay,in one piece

I appreciate the candidness that you share your experiences with T1. It gives me some insight as to how my 11 year old daughter (dx @ age 9)feels but can't articulate. My heart breaks for her and for you. Thank you for sharing and educating me. It helps me be a better parent to a T1.

Just reading about your scare elevates my stress. So, so true (from the unexplained elevated highs to the panicky Clockwork Orange-world visit to the lost hours of slow recovery). No fun, yes, but I'm not dead yet, still laughing, and will fight until I "have slipped the bonds of surly earth" and escape the clutches of this damned disease.

This is how my 26 hit me last week -- at work! Off-site!

All of a sudden I was like "My legs aren't working," and then it was on. And everyone was staring at me while I inhaled every food item I could get my hands on.

Good times!

Been there! T1 for 32 yrs and I've been there! Very scary when you get down that low and you don't know if you'll come out of it.

I learn so much from you! I am sorry this happened. You the whole thing it so real for me. Thank you.

My mantra is usually, "You're fine, you're not going to die. You're fine, you're not going to die." I also HAVE to do something to distract myself while the BS climbs. I've read every inch of many cereal boxes over the years.

Glad Im not the only one that has these experiences. Had very similar thing happenend to be me on Monday. High all day and then out of no where - bam! Im at work so want to try and escape to my car to treat the hypo (so I dont look strange - how ridiculous) but trying to convince my body to do the thing I needed the most was the biggest challenge. Thankfully I got there and all better now but I hope these kind of days are fewer and far in between

I've been on your site before, and I looked at it again tonight as I needed to! And I totally relate to this one!

A week ago at work (I'm a high school teacher), at 10:15 in the morning, I vaguely felt the symptoms of a low coming on. Break would come in a half hour, but did I bother to grab some glucose tabs or drink a bottle of juice or even grab some lifesavers kept for my kids? Nope! At 10:30, a few of my kids kept asking me if I was ok; one girl, who I've had a couple of years now, even rummaged through the filing cabinet where I keep my meter and said, "I think you are low! Test!" I kept repeating to my very patient class, "I'm fine. I'm fine. I'm fine." I think I was trying to convince myself I was fine!! The girl who knew what was going on somehow left the room without me realizing it, got the assistant principal, and it dawned on me by the time they walked up to my desk that I was REALLY needing to test and treat! And then the same number--29--popped out at me. And what did I say as I attempted to stuff glucose tabs in my mouth? "I'm fine! Leave me alone!" I'm not sure if I was talking to the diabetes, myself, or the assistant principal at this point :) Anyway, thanks for sharing your story...and hopefully, we are all "fine" tonight :)

The beat goes on, the beat goes on
Insulin pumping keeps me alive today
La de da de de, la de da de da

It's a strange thing, not realizing the symptoms until you see the number, isn't it? I came home from grocery shopping yesterday with an BS of 31, only wondering why I was so grumpy until I checked - suddenly it made sense and I got wobbly legs, sugar craving, and bad eye-hand coordination. I guess it's mostly a matter of focussing...

Glad you're back below 180 and I wish you not to (have) rebound(ed) to badly!

Great post once again. As Tricia, why is it that the first part of my reasoning to disappear in a sudden low is the processing of how to treat that low despite it being 2nd nature. No, not carry on with the presentation and hope for the best; no, not wait 20m until the end of a conference call/ interview and think nobody will notice; no, not finish your set/ circuit in the gym. Glucose. Now. And THEN wait...

So very familiar - not least the "I'm just going to finish this before I test" or "I was fine/slightly high not that long ago, so I cannot be low now"-reasoning!

Being 6 month pregnant now, I've had a number of readings below 2.0 mmol/l (36 mg/dl) the past 5 months. Some of them actually ended up requiring assistance from colleagues, paramedics, BF or who else were around at the time. It truly is such a horrible feeling to regain your senses while your colleagues are pouring juice or glucose tabs into your mouth and you initially have no idea whether this is truly happening or if it's just a bad dream.

Glad you managed to pull yourself up before needing help :-)

Yes, brought tears to my eyes because sometimes no matter how hard we try, diabetes just makes no sense.

You give me so much perspective on what my kiddo must go through sometimes. I just stress about the numbers, but he feels them! Thanks for sharing.

Great post. So well written and took me back to some of my scariest lows. I know exactly how that feels and it's awful. Those middle of the night lows when I come out of my fog and I'm sitting in front of my fridge eating anything and everything just trying to feel normal and wondering how I got downstairs. Scary.

Great post, as always, Kerri. Totally relate to this one. Unfortunately. Those situations are never fun, and I can't imagine what our D-spouses feel later on when we're recounting our hypo woes.

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