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Sparkly, Like Her Shoes.

As a family, we went to dinner and Birdy’s sequin-covered shoes sparkled furiously in the afternoon sunlight.  Her shoes were downright distracting and I found myself low-staring at them, focusing on the individual sparkles being projected onto the tablecloth at the restaurant.  My brain had hit an uncomfortably steady pace with the anxiety of being under 60 mg/dL for more than two hours, adjusting to the panic but still needing an outlet.  Staring at the glitter on my daughter’s shoes calmed my brain down just enough.

We ordered and ate, and a meal plated with carbs and less-than-normal bolusing still didn’t battle back against the low alarm from my Dexcom.  I felt like a failure, asking Chris to grab a glass of juice from the waitress as my empty dinner plate sat in front of me.

“I’m still low.”  I tested my blood sugar again, hoping to see a number that didn’t require more glucose tabs, hoping the Dexcom was wrong, but a bright 43 mg/dL grinned back at me.  I knew the food would hit but not fast enough.  “Yeah, I need juice now.”

In a quiet hurry, I heard the background noise of hypo management done from a distance.  “I need a glass of juice.”  “Would you like lemonade?”  “No, juice.  Do you have orange juice?”  “We have apple juice.”  “That, then.  Please.”  Chris sat back down at the table while Birdy bounced and played beside me, her shoes throwing sparkles onto the table that were spreading out everywhere, my eyes starting to cave to the low blood sugar.  Peripheral vision was being replaced by these starbursts that were sparkly, like her shoes.  I felt my body pulling in tight and rallying glucose, sending it to the places that were necessary and not caring that I couldn’t hold a fork or keep my mouth from twisting into a resting bitch face/uncomfortable grimace.

Dinner tumbled into a pile of apologies and distractions because I couldn’t get my wits about me, and even once my blood sugar was stable (back up to 72 mg/dL), it still wasn’t staying up, and tumbled again a few more times before bed.

It doesn’t look like much, from the outside.  It’s hard to explain how silent the panic is, how evacuated my brain feels when the hypos hit and stay for too long.  I don’t know how to show someone a Dexcom graph that looks like this and explain how it’s not just the blood sugar number, but the cumulative effect on my body – the exhaustion in my muscles from being clenched in fight-or-flight mode, the sleep my brain needs after a five hour low blood sugar experience, my inability to find the words for what I want to say because my mind is just like, “We’re DONE.”

I woke up with a blood sugar of 230 mg/dL this morning, the product of answering low alarms with frustration and marshmallows, and I corrected the number with the predetermined, carefully calculated amount of insulin.  And I hoped that, for today, diabetes would leave the sparkles on my daughter’s shoes.

7 Comments Post a comment
  1. I totally get it. Not last night but the night before that I spent about 6 hours below 70. I drank a lot of juice through the night, but couldn’t get my BG up. Then while I was at work yesterday I drank another 3 juice boxes in the course of an hour, and spent an hour and a half below 70 (and spent 3 hours with a temp basal of 0%). It was difficult to explain to everyone why I was so exhausted and why my head was throbbing the way it was. Unless a person’s experienced it….it’s hard to know just how bad hours upon hours of lows feels.

    06/24/14; 11:50 am
  2. Carol #

    Reading your posts really help to give me a clearer picture of what it is like for my daughter. She was dx’d 9 years ago at the age of 3. Thx for the glimpse into your world…and hers.

    06/24/14; 11:52 am
  3. Gary #

    I’ve done that. time and again. I equate it to being beaten up, which has never happened, or the effects of green kryptonite. The exhaustion is just endless. I always figure mine is due to scheduling changes. When I eat out, even when it’s the same time I eat at home, it’s never really the same time, if you know what I mean.

    But you do a superb job of describing it

    06/24/14; 3:57 pm
  4. Jen #

    Thank you for sharing your experience. My son is 16, diagnosed three years ago. Diabetes is such a fickle beast! Last night was what I call a “2 juice box night” which meant he was low when I checked him at 2am which required a juice box and glucose tabs, and then a repeat check at 4:30am with another juice box and tabs. He was low when he woke up as well. Tonight will probably be the opposite. He doesn’t always articulate how he is actually feeling when he has lows. His siblings and father don’t really “get” it. I think they just expect a juice box or glucose tab to have magical powers to make him just quickly snap back to “normal”.

    06/24/14; 3:58 pm
  5. Joan Shannon Jung #

    Kerri, thanks for articulating so well the experience. Your words make me feel normal. Like a normal type one, because your words express exactly what is going on for me. Thank you. And may today your levels respond better!

    06/24/14; 5:22 pm
  6. ria #

    always such a let down when you are looking forward to enjoying a meal out to have to start it out with a crummy glass of juice , then the fear of having numb mouth and drueling all over your shirt when the food actually arrives, ending the exciting evening having to eat a clump of marshmallows so the lows don’t come to haunt you in your sleep (At least Birdy’s shoes sparkle =)
    hope you are up and at em’ soon

    06/24/14; 7:59 pm
  7. Sarah #

    Kerri,
    You nailed that description of persistent lows. I have been there, too many times to count. Thanks for your support and making me feel not alone :)

    07/20/14; 12:26 am

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