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LOW.

BEEP!BEEP!BEEP! from the Dexcom receiver on the bedside table.

I heard it beeping for a long time.

Woke up with sweat pouring off my forehead and running down the side of my face, pooling up in my ears and in my collarbone.  The pillow was soaked.  My hair was soaked.  An outline of me underneath me, the line drawn with the panicked sweat of hypoglycemia.

Panic.  But tempered panic, since I was so deep into the low that I was slow in recognizing anything.  My status updated slowly:  This is a low.  This is a bad, bad low.  Eat something in a hurry or you’ll probably die.

The juice box on the bedside table was hard to assemble.  Plastic sleeve around the straw, poking the straw through the foil hole … all actions I’ve done before but it took 30 seconds apiece for me to figure out how the whole thing worked.  I drank the juice as fast as I could, in just a gulp or two and then I settled back into my self-made sweat lodge.

A few minutes later – maybe two, maybe twenty – Birdy arrived fresh from a nightmare, clutching her blanket and asking to sleep in our bed because she was scared.  I don’t remember gathering her up, but I do remember putting her on the outskirts of my dampness, snuggling her up against her still-sleeping father.  I was scared, too, still arranging blankets, trying to find a cool, dry section.  I looked at the Dexcom, and it only told me I was LOW and had been LOW for a long time.

Normally, I get up and brush my teeth after a low blood sugar.  Sometimes I use the hairdryer to dry my hypo-damped hair.  This time, I couldn’t move my ankles without feeling the dizziness flooding up to my hairline.  I used the edge of my t-shirt to mop the sweat from my ears.  So gross.  But necessary.

This morning I woke up chilled to the bone, the result of falling back asleep soaked to the skin and then drying off in the cool, fall night.  The Dexcom told me I had risen up safely to 109 mg/dL, and my meter confirmed that result.  My family bounced up and was ready to start their day, and I followed behind them, nursing the hypoglycemic hangover, grateful for technology that woke me up and for portion-controlled hypo treatment, but pretty fucking pissed off that diabetes was the nightmare last night.

 

19 Comments Post a comment
  1. k2 #

    HUGS my friend – BIG ONES.
    Xoxo

    10/9/14; 11:39 am
  2. Stefani #

    So scary. Those lows are the most worrisome. When it says “Low” I always wonder how low is low? Well under 40…..I have been following you for years now, as my daughters is a type 1. She is 28 now and n her first pregnancy. She is trying to have even tighter control than ever and I worry about these extreme lows such as what you experienced. In fact she is a diabetes nurse educator, but she often worries that she’s not doing enough even though she prepares others on a daily basis, that she falls short on herself. We both followed you through your pregnancy and you were and still are an inspiration!

    Thank you for sharing the good and bad, the highs and lows…of diabetes.

    10/9/14; 11:55 am
  3. Ugh. Just ugh. And I’m so so sorry.

    Those are the lows that really rattle me and haunt me for longer than I’d like.

    10/9/14; 12:14 pm
  4. Laddie #

    The one (and only) good thing about being mostly hypo-unaware is that the bed and my nightgown don’t get soaked with sweat anymore. I remember episodes like this and always wonder after they are over why I didn’t kick my husband and ask for help. Common sense and low blood sugars don’t seem to go together.

    Glad you’re OK and good work for still having strong low symptoms after so many years.

    10/9/14; 12:37 pm
  5. And yet again……..you go through something and have the courage to share with us all. The chill went directly to my soul…….you did not have to share…..but you did. We have once again been educated, reminded, and woken-up to what comes with the territory, more so for those with, than us as parents. Thank you my friend and I hope you feel better……and quickly.

    10/9/14; 12:49 pm
  6. Martha #

    Feel your pain. It’s so hard to feel yourself again after lows like that. I always think the intense heat and sweats followed by the freezing cold is NOT NICE of the diabetes gods.

    10/9/14; 1:01 pm
  7. Kerri, thank you. I hope you’ve been able to fully recover. I’ve been hypo-unaware for a long time and don’t own a CGM, so when I wake with mental confusion it’s always a real surprise. Most of the time our cat is the one who wakes me up because my spouse sleeps through almost everything. At least we keep waking up.

    10/9/14; 8:51 pm
  8. Kathy #

    So sorry to read this terrifying tale, Kerri. So glad you are alright.

    10/9/14; 10:29 pm
  9. To Kerri (feels her low) and Laddie (doesn’t feel her low):

    First of all Kerri. Yikes. But I can’t help but feel great for you that those symptoms wake you up.

    Need help with 14yo freshman daughter is acutely aware of low and drops while awake, but never (not once) while asleep. 3-year diaversary is 12/16/11, so we’re newbies. Low of 40 – no sweating, shaking, nothing. I even looked for symptoms! Seems no different than an 80 that we’d try to bring up a little overnight. Just kissable, lovable, hugable, Dexcom saving her life.

    Dexcom crazy alarm doesn’t wake her up. Dexcom in a glass jar doesn’t wake her up. Dexcom in a glass jar filled with marbles doesn’t wake her up. Mom who is awake and hears alarm, or is asleep and baby monitor catches alarm wakes her up.

    So, if you can desensitize to low symptoms over time, what do you do when you start off life with T1D low symptoms during waking hours, but never during overnight hours? We’ve never met anyone like her. *_* Must prepare for college *_*

    10/9/14; 11:43 pm
  10. Chris #

    My sympathies Kerri, been there several times as well in the past 20 years. Feeling for/with you.

    Greetings from Germany, love your blog by the way

    10/10/14; 4:28 am
  11. Kim #

    I’m sorry. What a horrible way to start your day. 🙁

    10/10/14; 10:08 am
  12. I recently started taking the straw out of the plastic wrapper for the juicebox before consuming it. It makes less noise when I’m trying not to wake the hubby in the middle of the night and one less thing to fumble around with when you want sugar quickly!

    10/10/14; 11:43 am
  13. And I have to add that I’m sorry for your night!

    10/10/14; 11:44 am
  14. Steve #

    Hi Keri – I hate to say it but I’ve been there done that. Laddie above said “Common sense and low blood sugars don’t seem to go together.” In that confused state its hard to do most anything. All you know is get glucose tabs. My wife is a light sleeper and usually wakes up with me stumbling around and makes me a pb and j. Then I sit on the couch and stare mindlessly at whatever is on TV until my BGs start to come back up. Then its back to the cold sweat soaked bed and cover it up with a towel and back to sleep. And you’re right too about the hypo hangover and being in slow mo for quite some time. Fortunately these don’t happen very often. Hang in there! 🙂

    10/10/14; 3:28 pm
  15. KarenW #

    Yuck. Sorry:/. We’ve been battling overnight lows this week as well. My go-to fix for those (after waiting seemingly infinite minutes for her to chew and swallow many different types of candy and tabs, or drinking a few sips of juice and stopping –I would take 15 minutes to get 15 carbs into her) IS….drumroll(after that long intro)….GoGoSqueez applesauce!! Easy to open (good for ones treating themselves–and sleepy d-parents alike) AND–best of all–she sucks the contents of that pouch down in 15 seconds!! Creates a nice rise without a spike for her. YDMV and all that–but thought I’d share in case it helps someone else. ALSO–this tired Dmom had slept through a few alarms (for a hour or so before i finally woke) here and there despite the Dex being in a glass. New fix that scares me enough to wake me every time —I have the lid of a Mason jar–you know, the metal sealing disc and the metal ring–laying inside-up on the bedside table and the Dexcom laying tilted in it. The vibration of the Dexcom is LOUD. Maybe that will help someone as well:)

    10/11/14; 9:35 am
  16. ria #

    I am so impressed that you actually drank just the juice box and did not over medicate
    I still struggle with that one when I am Low… I guess fear drowns out my reasoning ability

    10/11/14; 9:47 am
  17. K #

    Recent discovery for me: I used to take my Lantus at 10 pm and had CONSTANT nighttime lows. Bad lows. By fluke, I switched to taking my Lantus at 10 am and now I’m not having the overnight lows anymore. (I’m now getting low-ish at about 11:30am, but at least I’m awake and can feel them coming on.) I used to be on a pump (3 years), and had lots of problems with the pump, so that wasn’t/isn’t a solution for me personally. But just thought I would share about the Lantus timing – maybe it might help someone else out there.

    10/11/14; 11:30 pm

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