“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.