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Hypo Perspectives.

Last night my low alarm went off like a siren in my bedroom, partly because I had hooked my phone up to a bluetooth speaker to (successfully) help amplify the Dexcom alarms, but mostly because my blood sugar was 50 mg/dL.

How the alarm didn’t wake up my daughter (clad in Captain American pajamas and asleep in my bed because Chris was out of town last night) is beyond me.  How it didn’t wake me up the first few times it went off is beyond me as well, since I was low for about 35 minutes before actually acknowledging it.  A text message from my husband, asking “Are you awake and drinking juice?” grabbed me from the fog.  (Thank you, Dexcom Share, for making the “Big Brother” moments worth the moments when I need a hand.)

Some lows are textbook ones in that they employ symptoms like a sweaty forehead and clumsy hands, but a juice box or some glucose tabs or a banana can take the edge off those symptoms at first bite, the adrenaline surge of the low quieted by a chewing jaw.  These lows don’t leave a hangover or a residue of panic.  They just happen, and then they’re over.

Other lows are so odd, so disconcerting, so thick with confusion and hypo fog that I find myself unable to put the straw into the juice box, or to even reason with my brain that a juice box is necessary.  Last night, my hypo-addled hands weren’t able to push me up onto my elbows so that I could eat or drink anything without spilling it all over the bed. 

My kid slept beside me, unaware and occasionally stretching so her hands tangled in her hair.

I frigging hate these kinds of lows.  Somehow, I ended up treating with juice and felt the need to wander downstairs into the kitchen and have a box of raisins.  And then a second box of raisins.  And then another glass of juice.  I remember standing at the kitchen island and taking two units of insulin after grossly over-treating this low, still wobbly from still being in the low.  I know I didn’t need to eat anything else after that first juice box but for some reason, my body needed comfort.

In that moment, I’d trade a 250 mg/dL for the waves of nausea and unconsciousness that lapped at me.

I went back to sleep damp with sweat, covered in juice.

This morning, the plastic sleeves of two juice boxes were on the bedside table.  I corrected the high blood sugar I had eaten myself into.  The bedsheets are in the wash in efforts to remove the carb count from their thread count.

The trench of a very unsettling overnight low blood sugar and the mountain that followed. #diabetes

A photo posted by Kerri Sparling (@sixuntilme) on

20 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lows like that really suck. And they suck even more without a husband beside you to lend a hand. Get some extra rest today!!

    01/13/16; 11:21 am
  2. Lauren #

    I am fascinated by different lows and why they come about. I try to look back or take note in the moment about differences that could cause it (stress of some sort, eating patterns maybe) but yeah right, it’s hard enough to treat it let alone analyze it 🙂

    01/13/16; 11:37 am
    • Sandra Williams #

      I hate hypos – especially during the night when you are not “with it” already due to sleepiness! I have always been told – Deal with the numbers and get on with life!

      01/15/16; 4:58 am
  3. Abbott Smith #

    Hate that felling that you couldn’t fight your way out of a wet paperbag with a chainsaw. I switched from baby Cokes to sports gels because they work faster and are easy to rip open when I’m low. I don’t even want to conceive of trying to operate a juice box at that point. I struggle with juice box straws when I’m coherent.

    01/13/16; 7:15 pm
  4. Rachael #

    Yup, I had one of those lows last month where my husband had to wake me out of it. After having my daughter who’s now almost three, those lows are coming back. Prior to being pregnant, i hadn’t had “those” lows since I was a kid. Anyway, I woke up from the low and noticed the dark red pomegranate juice my husband was trying to get me to drink all over myself, the bed, and also the nightstand table as well. Yay for 2am sheet changes – ugh. Your post made me feel good though, knowing I’m not the only one who heads down to the kitchen for some juice, then has a snack, then more juice, etc. Sometimes coming up quickly from a low that bad feels so good, just because I can breathe a sigh of relief, knowing the sweating and shaking will stop just as quickly as it came on. Of course, the next day I’m usually exhausted. Bottom line, lows suck.

    01/13/16; 7:35 pm
  5. Jane Sha #

    May I ask what you had for dinner with the 50 low, and did you exercise at night after dinner? I’m always trying to figure these things out, there is no rhyme or reason.

    01/13/16; 7:54 pm
  6. Jennifer Kenny #

    I recently discovered 5 oz cans of Apple juice. The tab opening is easier than juice box straws. I keep loads by my bed and generally spill on my pajamas and pillow because I’m trying not to disrupt the cat sleeping on me whilst I slurp the reviving juice.

    01/13/16; 10:41 pm
  7. We’re marching toward college in two short years and having the comfort of Dexcom Share alarms in our present help paint a picture of what our future life could be, with us having her back in the same manner that Chris does for you when he’s out of town. It’s lessening her anxiety, but at the same time she really doesn’t like wearing her CGM even though we rely on it due to hypo unawareness. I’m glad you eventually heard that alarm and made it out of the fog.

    It’s important for you to continue to tell these stories. Thank you for sharing the difficult, yet honest bits of your life. And for reminding me I need to buy raisins!

    01/13/16; 10:49 pm
  8. Barbara Fisher #

    As I put my 8 year old’s t1 sheets in the wash this morning, finding a few test strips and seeing the spots of blood from night checks, this line brought a smile to my face. “The bedsheets are in the wash in efforts to remove the carb count from their thread count.” Thanks so much for your blog, you have truly helped me understand how my son feels in these situations. May today be free of those lows for you!

    01/14/16; 7:53 am
  9. ria #

    yep
    always scary when the body disconnects from the brain……I hear ya

    Sometimes when my blood sugar is 50 I am fine, other times I wake up and stare at the glass of juice on the bed table and wonder why it is there for about 10 mins. before I try to drink it

    01/14/16; 12:27 pm
  10. Wendy #

    Kerri,

    Thank you for articulating these things the way my 13 year old cannot. I see the blank stare on her face, or hear the edge of panic in her voice when she’s low. It helps me so much to know how it feels, which is much harder for her to express. My goal is to appreciate where she is at that point so that I can be the most help to her that I can, other than handing her juice and holding her hand until she feels better.

    01/14/16; 2:45 pm
  11. Sandra Williams #

    I live alone and have always worried about “episodes” that can so easily happen during the night. 15 months ago, at the age of 63, I moved into a retirement village – one with someone onsite every night and who reacts immediately when you press the personal safety device. I have never had to call them during the night but sleep better just knowing that I have someone I can call on to help me should I need it. I also love the lifestyle and th community life it provides.

    01/15/16; 5:03 am
  12. Kerry #

    Hi, my name is Kerry. I was recently diagnosed with type 1 at 26. I have been having a lot of lows mid morning and can’t figure out why. Brand new to all of this so it’s nice to know there are blogs like this for people dealing with the same things. Thanks
    -Kerry

    01/18/16; 1:29 pm
  13. Kerri, Very well articulated. Thank you! Yes, Lows are the worst! It is very interesting how variabilistic Diabetes is — ie- the ‘Symptoms’ of both: LOW
    and HIGH Blood-Sugars… being Different, from time-to-time, hour-to hour … this is another cognitive clinical mystery of diabetes… it sucks!!!

    01/20/16; 11:18 pm
  14. Pat pate #

    dear Kerry,

    Thank you for putting into words what I live. I am thankful to hear that someone else has different kinds of lows. I thought I was failing in my control.
    I also have confused, foggy hypos, some of the time! my overeating occurs in the late afternoon or bedtime lows.

    Thank you for your advice .
    Pat

    01/21/16; 6:34 pm
  15. These kinds of lows absolutely suck. That grimy, sneaky, guilty nausea that sneaks up when you over correct is the worst part. Or maybe it’s waking up high in the morning. Both are miserable. But I’m glad to know I’m not alone in that impulse to just “feel comforted” when you’re in a weak moment. Thanks for sharing as always.

    01/25/16; 6:02 pm
  16. Matt Damman #

    Hello Kerri, excellent post. I’ve had type 1 for 26 years and tried the Dexcom last year and I never got used to it being on my body. I was wondering if you have any suggestions as to how to get it to stick? Also, I’m going to start a blog about dealing with diabetes and was hoping you had some helpful tips for getting people to read my blog. Any tips would be appreciated. Thanks.

    01/27/16; 5:02 am
  17. Heather #

    My goodness, your writing is so good! Carb count, thread count….that’s just awesome. (Your low is not…! Bummer…)

    01/27/16; 8:37 am
  18. Sarah #

    Hi Kerri,
    My husband is a Type 1 since childhood and just recently trying out the Medtronic mini link to hopefully get that warning alarm for his lows. I have been reading your blog since I have been married and it has helped me to get a better understanding of what he goes through. Thanks so much! Always a pleasure to read your blog!

    01/28/16; 9:36 pm

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