I’m not pleased with the way the first work day of the new year started out.
5:00 am. Abby is pawing furiously at the top of my head, milling around and licking my shoulder. Siah is asleep on my ankles. Chris is fast asleep just a few inches away from me.
The pillow is damp. The bedsheets are cold. My shirt is stuck to me and wrapped around me like a maypole ribbon. I feel a bead of sweat run down my forehead and trickle down my neck.
There is a bottle of juice on the bedside table. All I have to do is reach my hand out.
My brain is fully functioning. Internal Motivational Speaker was on the case. “Kerri, sit up. Remove the cat from your head and drink the juice. You’re low and you know it. This always happens when you do a set change before bed. I know the site pulled and you had to, but you should have expected this. Why didn’t you set an alarm at 3 am? Tell Chris you need help. Wake up, Kerri.”
I would have nodded in agreement. I needed to ask Chris to help me. I wanted to reach my hand out and shake his shoulder. But I couldn’t move. I was trapped at the bottom of this well, so low I couldn’t make my body respond to my mind’s requests to move.
Drifted back to sleep. Stirred again to see that it was 5:23 am.
“Get up!” Motivational Speaker screamed in my ear. My hand twitched. Someone dropped the bucket down into my well and I clutched on to it.
Unzipped the case. Why do I feel the need to test, even when I am completely certain I’m low?
Uncapped. Desperately drained the bottle – no counting sips. The bright white sheets I had put on only hours before going to bed were now splattered with juice. Hair, damp and tangled against my head. I sat propped up on my elbows until the juice started to infiltrate my system and I started to come around.
“I’m low.” I said it to no one in particular. Just to use my voice. Abby meowed in agreement.
Then I felt that fear, prickly and subtle, sneaking up on me. Why was I awake but couldn’t move? Why was I able to think those thoughts but my body wouldn’t respond? Is this what it feels like to slip into a coma? Is this what it’s like to be paralyzed? Where is that line between “just low” and “too low?” And what keeps us from slipping over that line?
It sounds so dramatic. I re-read this and I think, “Okay, Kerri. You were low. We get it.” But it wasn’t the low that made me nervous. It was my lack of response. I’ve been 34 mg/dl before. I’ve been 52 and 78 and 27 and 101 and 309 mg/dl. I’ve seen every number from my age to 535 mg/dl. I’m not proud of that ridiculous range, but it’s the truth. Drink the juice, move on. But I’ve never felt trapped in my own body before. I’ve never been “of sound mind” but unable to make my own hands move. It completely freaked me out.
When Chris and I talked about this later that night, I was a little bit upset.
“It wasn’t that I was low. I know that it’s temporary and they pass and it’s okay. It was that I knew I needed to get up. I knew I needed to grab that juice. But my body wouldn’t respond. It was like I was stuck at the bottom of a well and my voice didn’t carry to the top.”
He put his hand on my shoulder.
“But you’re okay. You’re okay.”Yes, I’m okay. But it was a disturbing way to start the week, hoping someone would drop down a bucket.
I’m giving Internal Motivational Speaker a raise.