[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.