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Robot Arms.

[You can read my Dexcom disclosures here.]

The low alarm slammed into my ears from across the bed, coming from my Dexcom receiver on the bedside table.  A half second later, it echoed from my cell phone, where the SHARE app threw out a loud warning of its own.


I reached over and clicked on my phone, which was closer than my receiver, going to the app to look at my blood sugars.  I “follow” two PWD friends in addition to following my own data, so the screen showed three different profiles.  The two that weren’t me were fine – nothing to worry about.  They were perfectly safe.  Everyone was safe!

Everyone but me, because my data stream claimed “LOW.”  Somehow that number wasn’t registering in my head.  It wasn’t mine.  Clearly.  Wait, what’s happening?

I rolled over and went back to sleep, entering the fifteen minute cycle of hear beeps, respond to beeps by clicking a button, head back on pillow (drenched with sweat, but somehow the low still was recognized by my consciousness), repeat.  My daughter was asleep next to me (she had appeared in our room around 4 am) and for a split second, my brain wondered who belonged to the brown, curly ponytail spilling across the pillow.

And then all at once, the alarms made sense; their intention clicked firmly into place.  Their sounds reached across and tapped me on the shoulder, pushing me with frustration towards the juice.  I uncapped the little bottle and drained half of it, relief hitting the hypo-panicked parts of my mind.  It only took a few minutes to paddle back from confusion, and within minutes, I was fine.

Once I was downstairs in the kitchen, I checked my email on my phone while the coffee brewed.  I spun through the data on my SHARE app, seeing the long, red tail of the low that had wrapped around me for over an hour.  I felt frustrated by the fact that despite well-timed alarms, sometimes the lows themselves remove my ability to respond.

Some hypoglycemic moments are quieter and laced with a gentle fog of frustration, one that makes me reach for glucose tabs and forget how many I have already eaten but ha ha ha that’s okay, everything will be fine in a few minutes.  But the lows that come while I’m asleep and my body wakes up in the trenches of leave me entirely confused and oddly content to sit in a puddle of my own cold sweat, a bottle of juice within reach on the bedside table but my brain is too damn stupid to encourage my hand to reach over.

Eventually, science and technology will find a way to add two arms to my CGM receiver that, in the event of a low, will reach over and slap me, then hand me the bottle of juice.  Then those robo-arms will hand me a towel to wipe my forehead.  And once it’s over and done with, they’ll hug me quickly but firmly and tell me to suck it up because there’s shit to do.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. liv #

    Yes! Yes! So much yes.
    Thank you for writing this. I’m new to the whole Type 1 thing…and it’s really nice sometimes to be reminded that I’m not alone.
    I woke up to a low in the middle of the night last night and it’s the pits. I’m (not so patiently) waiting for a Dexcom right now – the insurance approval game is killing me. I’m afraid by the time it’s actually approved and I finally have a Dexcom of my own, the whole world will be run by robots (because it will be the year, like, 2075).

    06/24/15; 11:45 am
  2. ria #

    I would probably zone out even if I had a CGM.
    I have a dog that somehow knows that I am low, no lie.
    She jumps on my husband to wake him up.
    Like this morning.
    Otherwise, I have been known to just lay there and try to figure out if I am dreaming about the bedroom wall.
    Somehow, before we had her (our dog) I would brainlessly grasp whatever glucose/juice I had set out on the nightstand the night before.
    Angels are real.

    06/24/15; 7:09 pm
  3. Sandy T #

    Yep this holds true for me as well.
    I choose to eat life savers to bring my blood sugar out of the trenches…so that way I can count the pieces of plastic that the candy was in once I’m high. So Then I can bolus for the extra carbs I just inhaled without realizing it.

    06/24/15; 8:01 pm
  4. Dan #

    Hi Kerri,
    I understand and have been thru such events. Sometimes it is the time of the night that can increase the fog of the moment. For a ten year period, the family dog would lick my face. She accomplished this at a much higher level than the LOW signal. Maggie made sure that I responded. Over time the modifications in my insulin flow during certain sleep hours began to make a difference. I found that raising my level, which is now at 90 mg/dL allows a greater period for ongoing alarms. Consider checking your graphs regarding the specifics of the time that you are entering this territory. My thoughts a prayers a with you. I realize that you seem to be going thru rough seas. Stay the course. AS always have a great day.

    06/25/15; 9:37 am

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