Today’s adventure is brought to you by the Letter Y and the Number 34.

That’s 34 mg/dl.

Normally Alarm Clock One goes off at 6:45 am. After which I promptly hit the “snooze” button no less that three times. Fret not, for Alarm Clock Two (also known as Bad Alarm due to it’s shrill cry) is set for 7 am, so that one blasts out in between all the snoozes. Once 7:30-ish rolls around, I give in. And then I turn on the lamp, grab my kit from the bedside table, and test my bloodsugar. It’s routine, right down to the sticking my finger in my mouth to get rid of the blood from my fingertip … yes, that’s kind of gross but I can’t be the only one who does this … and then rolling over to Chris and grumbling, “I don’t wantto go to work.”

A comforting arms pats me on the back and I reluctantly get out of bed and stumble grouchily towards the bathroom.

But this morning was a small bit different.

The alarms went off. A number of times. I’m sure of it because part of me remembers systematically shutting them all off and collapsing back onto my pillow. My pillow is marked with sweat at this point, but I didn’t realize that. I wake up at 8:08 am with Abby’s face smushed against the side of mine, meowing insistently and licking my face.

Not a good sign. This cat knows when something is up, or more importantly, when my bloodsugar is down. 

So I reach over for the kit, but instead of switching on the lamp and testing from my side of the bed, I wander over to the dresser and stand there to test. In the dark. With clumsy fingers. And I’m crying but I’m not exactly sure why.

Fumble with the meter, get that strip in there. I prick about four fingers before getting one to bleed. The countdown reveals a bloodsugar of 34 mg/dl.

I’m very surprised. So I tell Chris.

“I’m 34.” Calm voice. Sort of ethereal. I run my finger along the top of the dresser and notice I haven’t dusted in a few days.

Chris wakes instantly from a sound sleep and looks at me disbelievingly. “You’re 34? Sit down.” He walks quickly to the kitchen and I can hear the fridge opening and the click of the juice bottle cap as he spins it off. I know he told me to sit down but the cat is on the bed and I don’t want to disturb her.

He comes back with a glass of juice and hold it in my hands with me as he guides my wrists toward my mouth. “Drink it, baby.” So I take my eight. And sit back down on the bed.

Abby is all over me, walking around my head, purring in my face, licking my forearm. Chris lies beside me and tries to keep talking to me as I wait for the juice to work. Time now is 8:38 am. I am already late for work.

The tears come fast and I’m starting to feel better but not quickly enough. “I need to call into work,” I sniffle and wipe the tears from my face. “I need to talk to my boss and tell him I’m late. I’m late today…” Start crying again.

“Why don’t you wait a few minutes, Kerri. Just wait until you come up a little before you call.”

Time now: 8:47 am.

I can feel the low backing into a corner as the juice hits. Test again, 108 mg/dl. On the way up. Relief courses through me and I start to cry again. But I feel like I’ve been beat up. Arms weak, legs shaking, shoulders aching from holding in my tears. Because he knows my bloodsugar is back up to a safe range, Chris lets me lay against the pillow and he wraps the blanket around me.

The quandary is this: Do I call in and say that I’m late? That I hit traffic? I have to be honest here – I’m late all the time. Work starts at 8:30 and I consider myself early if I’m there by 8:40. Sometimes it’s a flat tire. Sometimes it’s the weather and the blasted traffic on 95. Sometimes I just hit “Snooze” too many times. But this time I wasn’t going to be there until after 9:30. And I felt strange calling in saying I’d had a low bloodsugar. My boss, though very professional, is not very approachable and I don’t feel comfortable filling him in on any diabetes issues. I don’t want him thinking I am using it as an excuse for my always tardy self. And I never want anyone to think, “Well maybe we shouldn’t involve Kerri on this project because what if she gets low while presenting or something?”

So I lied. And I called in sick.

And now I feel a little crummy about it.