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Does Not Compute.

“Do you guys have any fun plans for the summer?”

The question was simple enough, but not even close to a level my hypoglycemia-addled brain could handle.  I had trouble formulating a response, and the lag time was embarrassing.  We’ve only moved to the neighborhood a few months ago and haven’t solidified relationships with our neighbors yet, so being wickedly low in front of someone new wasn’t my favorite way to disclose my diabetes.

Thankfully, a disclosure had already happened, to a certain extent.  When she had asked me about my work travel this past week and what I did for work, I said that I worked in patient advocacy and that I’d had diabetes since I was a kid.  She nodded in recognition and shared that her college roommate was also T1D, so my disclosure was pleasantly subtle and streamlined.  No big deal.  What I hadn’t anticipated was going low during the course of our conversation.

And I was low.  Wickedly low.  The kind of low that made my face feel like it was full of Novocaine and that my hands were like birds at my sides, twitching and flapping absently.

I scanned the trees in the front yard for some kind of hint.

“Pssssst.  You guys!  You, trees!  Do I have fun plans for the summer?  HELP!”

They only waved their leaves at me.  “We have no idea!  Go get something to eat, dummy!”

“We go to Maine.  MAINE.”  I said it twice with way too much emphasis on the second one, an angry seal barking out their summer plans.  My neighbor didn’t seem to notice that my eyes weren’t able to focus on her, and I’m fairly certain she didn’t hear my Dexcom receiver hollering at me from the front steps of the house.  But I knew that another minute or two was the chasm between attempted conversation and calling for medical help, so I had to embrace the awkward.

“I’m so sorry; I know I mentioned that I have diabetes and you said your college roommate also had diabetes.  So I’m really, really low at the moment and I need to go inside to grab some juice.  Would you excuse me for a minute?”  I was trying to be polite and not let on that my thoughts were knocking around in my head like socks in a dryer.  She nodded and I took off for the kitchen, where I downed a glass of grape juice as quickly as I could.  My CGM only told me I was “LOW” and I cursed myself for not responding faster to the beeping.

Coming back outside, we stepped back into conversation without much pause, watching our kids play in the front yard.

“Sorry about that,” I said.  “No problem at all,” she warmly responded, not missing a beat.

And I kept an eye on my CGM graph, watching my blood sugars rise and kindly deposit thoughts back into my head.

12 Comments Post a comment
  1. Okay, I’m a little weirded out by that fact that I JUST posted about a bad low too. Sharing a brain again? (Meow meow meow.) Damn those lows.

    06/10/15; 11:04 am
  2. Claire #

    …and I just read both of your posts about lows in my feed reader, and you both have helped me feel less alone. I consider myself a “stealth” diabetic – I let people know I’m diabetic but never let them see any effects, and I do wind up in situations like this one. Thank you for sharing your experiences, it’s so helpful to see that others wind up in the same spots I do.

    06/10/15; 12:04 pm
  3. vanessa #

    I love that last sentence: “… watching my blood sugars rise and kindly deposit thoughts back into my head”

    06/10/15; 2:08 pm
  4. Carol #

    This just happened to me a few weeks ago when my neighbor called me over to say hi and ask a question. Half hour later, I didn’t feel right but was embarrassed to say anything. (Have no CGM.) This neighbor knows I’ve always been a T1 so no reason why I didn’t excuse myself. I was really low when I finally left and tested. Thank you for sharing this experience because now I don’t feel so alone.

    06/10/15; 2:16 pm
  5. Martha #

    One thing I find hard is sometimes I do the little explanation like you did and I still feel like the other person feels like I’m a complete weirdo or insane or rude and so then it’s just a matter of hoping that subsequent interactions erase the memory of the awkward one. As a person who sometimes feels a bit socially awkward for all the normal reasons, do I really need this whole other variable in play?

    06/10/15; 2:29 pm
  6. Amy #

    As a person with a typically operating pancreas, I can’t imagine feeling judgy toward someone who had to go get some juice because their blood sugar was low, anymore than I would judge someone for getting a migraine (my own personal cross to bear) and having to cancel plans, or more than I would judge someone for any other medical condition over which they have minimal control.

    I can’t tell you not to feel awkward about it, because you’ve been dealing with this for a very long time and one random comment on a post isn’t going to erase your awkward feelings, but I can pretty confidently say that *anyone worth being friends with* is going to understand and not judge. In fact, someone worth being friends with will probably offer to watch the kids so you can go take a minute, and might even offer to pour your juice if she has refridgerator rights at your house.

    Aren’t you lucky to have a litmus test of whether or not someone is friend material, right there in your uncooperative pancreas?

    06/10/15; 4:53 pm
    • Martha #

      As I get older, I agree with what you’re saying more and more. Who needs to spend much time worrying about someone who can’t rustle up some empathy, even if they know absolutely nothing about diabetes? Unfortunately, it can still put a little teeny tiny tick mark in the “interactions that didn’t go optimally today” column and that can be hard. But I do like the idea of a pancreatically-delivered social litmus test. I need to feel better about my pancreas, so thanks for that.

      06/15/15; 2:59 pm
  7. ria #

    MDI and no glucose monitor (yes, my finer tips are sore from frequent testing) but that is another story.
    Lately I have been going low early morning while I am still trying to sleep.
    Very low.So low I thought my apple juice that my husband brought me this morning was not apple juice (not bourbon, either) After questioning him about why I had to drink it, I was very (“out of it” and “combative)he said a few, colorful words, rather loudly, and I finally complied. Anyway, I started analyzing why this was happening the past few mornings.
    When the weather here is nice outside, I am out and about more, staying up later, generally feeling great about summer. (not eating as heavy) This is after a long NE Wi. winter where I rarely leave our house after 6 p.m.
    So (duh) it has got to be the added activity and my thinking I can get away with being spontaneous and free, … when summer’s here and the time is right, for dancin’ in the streets……
    time to change my insulin dosing

    06/10/15; 7:04 pm
  8. Abbott Smith #

    My brain went walk about on Sunday at the grocery store. Got a gel pack in me and then spent the next 5-10 minutes leaning across the handlebars of the shopping cart. Every time that I tried to stand up I got dizzy. So I got to spend quality time staring at my feet in the frozen food aisle. I like my Vans, but really. Not being able to fight your way out of a wet paper bag with a chainsaw blows.

    06/10/15; 8:13 pm
  9. Hypos can happen at the worst of times, let alone in front of someone completely new when you want to put your best foot forward. They should only happen during private moments to that we don’t have deal with them in public situations!

    06/13/15; 2:47 am
  10. Grainneflynn #

    Sometimes, you just don’t want to give in to the low and you fight with diabetes interrupting your day. Why do I feel like taking care of a low is like defeat?

    06/14/15; 5:20 am

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