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Low Hangover.

This morning, in the shower, I heard the Dexcom start to wail.  Actually, I heard Birdy mimicking the Dexcom low alarm from the bathroom floor, where she was hanging out and coloring with crayons while I took a shower (Chris was away and in a meeting all day, so I was solo-parenting).

“Beeeep, beeeeeep,” she sang in a tuneless sort of way, sticking out her tongue while she worked her blue crayon in Mickey Mouse’s shoes.  “Hey mawm, your Dexcom is saying you need glupose tabs.”

I knew she, and the Dexcom, were right because, at that moment, I was wondering if I had already put conditioner in my hair.  I couldn’t remember.  I also wasn’t sure how long I had been in the shower, but judging by the fact that Birdy hadn’t colored much of her picture yet, I guess I hadn’t been in there too long.

I rinsed off quickly and turned off the shower, grabbing my towel and wrapping it around myself in a hurry.  Just a few feet away, in my medicine cabinet, were two jars of Glucolift, and I grabbed one and popped it open in a hurry.

“You okay, mawm?”

I ate three glucose tabs as quickly as I could – barely chewed them – as I felt the shakes and the confusion of hypoglycemia setting in.  “I’m good, kiddo.  Nothing to worry about.”

“Whoa bwoodsugar?”

“Yes.  But I’ll eat lots of glucose tabs and then I’ll feel better.”

It wasn’t working fast enough, though.  Even though the house was nice and cool – a brisk 64 degrees and raining outside, making for comfortable indoor temperatures – sweat was beading up on my forehead and my face was the color of a cotton ball.   Even though I knew I had glucose tabs in my mouth, I had to remind my jaw to chew them, as the lower half of my face had gone numb, as though I had just experienced the teeth-pulling of a lifetime.

Somehow, I managed to get dressed and corral my daughter and I into my bedroom, where I shut the door and sat on the floor her, trying to mitigate damage.  I didn’t want her walking anywhere near our staircase (for fear of tumbling down the stairs), and I couldn’t risk not being able to chase her if she ended up getting into something.  This was my low blood sugar, but I needed to make sure it wasn’t a problem for her, too.

“Let’s sit here and write notes to one another, with these crayons, while mommy’s blood sugar comes up, okay?”  I sat with my phone next to one hand, the jar of glucose tabs next to the other, and the room tilting gently on its axis.

“That sounds like a good idea.  Do you feel better soon, mawm?”

“I will.  Just a few minutes and I’ll be all set.”

It took a really long time for this blood sugar to net out to the point where I felt comfortable checking (30 minutes into the experience, I was only up to 109 mg/dL) and now, five hours later, the low hangover is intense.  I’ve never had one like this before, where I’m happier asking Birdy to watch a movie with me and lay down on the couch instead of the dance party I had promised her.  (What – you don’t have toddler dance parties to George Michaels’s songs from the early 90s?)  I don’t know how low my blood sugar actually was (made more sense to cut to the chase and treat the obvious low), but I do know that it has left a day of lethargy and hollow eyes in its wake.

Diabetes, after I take a nap, I am totally going to resume (yawn) kicking your ass.

31 Comments Post a comment
  1. Yes, you just scared your mother.

    07/26/13; 3:41 pm
  2. Donald #

    Exact opposite for me.
    Why does changing an infusion site (that was working perfectly fine thank you) sometimes cause blood sugars rising through the roof?
    Thank you diabetes.
    I hope you feel better.
    :)

    07/26/13; 3:46 pm
  3. ria #

    I had a doozie a few mornings ago.
    I am ashamed to even mention how low was low, and that after juice.
    I can’t wear a CGM because my skin is too sensitive.

    I woke up like I had spent at least two hours in the amazon rainforest.
    I think the longer days in the summer months are fantastic, but then I try to do too much because I love having daylight till 8 or 9 p.m. to get er done.

    Glad Birdy is so cooperative, ……………………
    enjoy your naps
    =)

    07/26/13; 4:22 pm
  4. Donna Anderson #

    Never heard it called a low hangover, but that describes it perfectly. Frustrating disease, but you’ve just got to keep fighing back, even when it makes no sense (which is most of the time).

    07/26/13; 4:43 pm
  5. This post Kerri. So many levels of open your eyes Alexis.
    I never realized how a low could affect J hours later. I needed to know this. So thank you.

    I’m sorry you’re feeling crappy and I hope it wears off soon.

    Positive note? I love Birdy…. Glupose <3

    07/26/13; 5:50 pm
  6. Kerri, hope you’ve recovered by now. Yes, it’s very scary to try dealing with a severe low while also needing to maintain the responsible adult role. I’ve been there too many times as a single parent. Birdy is an amazing, very well informed, three year old. My daughter survived my “shakey times” with lots of spilled orange juice on the kitchen floor. She’s now a mother with three kids of her own and I’m a grandma, still trying to find a balance between highs and lows. Take care of yourself.

    07/26/13; 6:22 pm
  7. Lows with hangovers like that SUCK! I hate them. When they linger for hours and you feel like you’ve been beat with something repeatedly and you just want to lay around and do nothing.
    And why, oh WHY do they sometimes hit harder than others.
    I’m glad you (and Birdy!) are okay. I’m glad she knows that sometimes momma has to chill.
    Hugs to you and to your wonderful child who entertains me more than she’ll ever know. :)

    07/26/13; 6:31 pm
  8. Tia #

    That’s a perfect term for how you feel after recovering from really low blood sugar! I hate waking up when I’m down around 40. Those lows take it out of me for what seems like most of the day.

    07/26/13; 7:06 pm
  9. I’m awed that you have a plan for your lows while being the mom of a young child. I was just telling my husband last night (while drinking a huge glass of orange juice) about an earlier post of yours when you wrote about being low in the kitchen and making sure Birdy was safe.
    You continue to amaze me!

    07/26/13; 8:14 pm
    • No need for awe. It’s about making sure everyone has a good day, you know? I keep a stash of glucose tabs in the bathroom for those moments when my daughter is in the tub – I can’t leave her unattended to run to the kitchen for snacks. She is my top priority.

      07/26/13; 8:20 pm
  10. Looking at that last comment — it reminds me that my blood sugar ALWAYS, without fail, goes low when I’m giving my kids a bath.

    But back to the original topic. It’s great how the two of you look after each other. And I don’t mean that in a cutesy little-girl-acting-big kind of way, but she really understands it. Not only is she the audible beep of your Dexcom, but she knows that you need glupose tabs even before you do.

    07/26/13; 8:47 pm
  11. Wow, you have an amazing little girl. I’m glad you are okay. I had a low hang over myself yesterday that left me feeling groggy all day even when I got out of the low and into a good range.

    07/26/13; 9:42 pm
  12. Elizabeth #

    Kerri, you inspire me so much! From watching your videos to reading your blogs you prove that anyone can live a normal life with diabetes. I at 19 yrs old dream about someday marrying the love of my life and having kids.You have proven to me that it is possible even with diabetes! THANK YOU!! :)

    07/26/13; 10:52 pm
    • Michelle S. #

      Elizabeth, it is totally possible! It has happened to me too, and having kids is a wonderful motivator for self care for us T1′s. Kerri really describes that well. A CGM also helps busy moms to catch the lows!

      07/30/13; 11:46 am
  13. I don’t get the low hangovers yet, but the inside shaky feeling seems to hang around a bit longer these days, even after my BG has come up.

    07/27/13; 3:02 am
  14. Wow! Kind of scary to read but I love hearing thing from the T1D’s perspective because it helps me understand son and how he may be feeling.

    Your daughter sounds incredibly sweet and aware of your needs!

    07/27/13; 9:00 am
  15. Shelley #

    Kerri, in 2011 when my 6 year old daughter was diagnosed with T1, we were thrust into an unknown and terrifying world! Starving for knowledge and understanding, I began to search every website and blog out there and thankfully I found yours. Your words are always comforting and insightful, but I am especially appreciative of the times you write about how you feel during lows and highs. I know that I will never fully understand the feelings that you or my daughter experience during a low, but your incredibly descriptive way with words allows me to better help, comfort and understand my daughter. When she says “Mommy, my mouth doesn’t work the same when I’m low” I now understand that she might feel numb as you described. This is just one of the many connections I’ve been able to make from reading your posts. Thank you, thank you, thank you for allowing me a peek inside your world. I am a much better mom and caregiver because of you!

    07/27/13; 9:14 am
  16. Jane #

    Keri, your ability to deal with a low and focus on Birdy do make you amazing in my book.

    07/27/13; 11:25 pm
  17. Emily #

    20 years in and most lows, even the barely-not-really lows, are followed by different degrees if hangover. I do have to admit that hearing others call it a hangover thrills me to no end (I’ve used the term for a bunch of years before I heard anyone else use it).

    07/28/13; 2:31 am
  18. Susan #

    Thank you for hitting the nail on the head (again) for what it feels like to be low and watch a young child. Although your daughter’s grasp on low blood sugar is amazing. I am still trying to explain to my 3 year-old why the granola bars in my purse are off-limits.

    07/28/13; 7:49 pm
  19. June S. #

    Low hangover is a perfect term. I’ve lived with Type I for more than 40 years now, and haven’t had one of these lows you describe in a LONG time (thanks to my pump and CGM and, likely, the fact that I am not a Mom like you with so many other responsibilities,) I was thinking back just the other day over the many lows I had during the 10-year period when I had no blood glucose meter, since that technology hadn’t been invented yet. I wondered just how much of my life had actually MISSED back then, due to precisely the sort of hangover from hypoglycemia I used to encounter daily. Your Birdy is amazing!

    07/29/13; 7:35 am
  20. laura #

    That phrase has now been added to my diabetes dictionary! Brilliant. I had a really bad one last Tuesday, I couldn’t rouse myself at all when my alarm clock went off. It felt like I had experienced a drug induced sleep, I thought my blood may have been running high as I was super thirsty as well. Erm, nope, having pressed snooze (regrettably) I resentfully prised myself out of bed and immediately realised my blood was low. Really low. Anyway, once my sugar had stabilised and I managed to travel into London to my office I just felt so dreadful. It is hard to put into words (of which you always do so very well and aptly Kerri) but although my bloods were now fine if a bit on the low side I just wasn’t myself. I couldn’t focus at all, I felt foggy and also rather down in myself emotionally. I could only assume that my blood had been low for a long while before my alarm clock woke me which of course is worrying. Anyway, thank you. This low hangover describes it oh so well and shall be added to my diabetes vocab pronto! x

    07/29/13; 8:32 am
  21. Shower lows are some of the worst (right up there with middle-of-the-night lows or after-brushing-your-teeth lows).
    I had a similar experience (minus the toddler), where I had to quickly rinse my hair, hop out of the shower, sat on the toilet wrapped in a towel. I knew I only had enough in me to yell for my now-husband once, so I opened the door and just yelled “NEED JUICE” and he luckily heard me and brought me a huge glass. I could barely drink it (lifting the glass seemed to be the hardest task in the world).
    Thank you for sharing this story! It definitely makes me realize I should be more prepared in the case that I can’t yell to someone or in the future when I do have a toddler.

    07/29/13; 9:13 am
  22. Sorry about the low. I was explaining to someone at work the other day what the hangover was like. I said it was like wanting to curl up in a sunny corner of the room for the afternoon, but instead you have to go back to work. But your explanation is maybe better… except that I don’t have any kids.

    07/29/13; 9:42 am
  23. David Wheeler #

    This I refer to as a hypo eclipse only it doesn’t always take its time coming on. How can …or why do some lows announce coming arrival to your body/brain while others kick in the door? And the recoveries are frequently as troubling – sometime 20 minutes , sometimes most of the day. With the latest news of meter and test strip inaccuracies the dilemma may be partially explained but not completely.

    07/29/13; 3:55 pm
  24. I can relate to that, Kerri… Hypo hangovers are so much worse when you have kiddie-winks needs to cater for. I often do the same; watch a DVD with them & curl up on the floor cushions. We do what we can, and when we can. We are awesome, us Mawms with diabetes :) xxoo

    07/30/13; 6:54 pm
  25. I call them hanglowvers. And yuck. :(

    I can so relate to that feeling of creating a quick safe room for the little one in your charge. Oh my goodness. So frightening. Phone in hand. Doors closing. “Nothing to see here, nothing to see here. Let’s do something on the floor. Right here. Because the ground underneath me is shifting and we don’t enjoy our carpet nearly enough.”

    07/30/13; 7:09 pm

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