Walking down the hill towards the restaurant, I felt the low start to kick in. The symptoms started their awkward osmosis, triggered once I felt the buzzing of the Dexcom but eventually flooding my body with that tingling confusion, knees that buckled just a little with every step, and eyes that wouldn’t focus but darted around in my head like over-caffeinated birds.
“I’m low and I’m an idiot.”
“Why?” said my husband, Birdy in his arms as we walked down the unfamiliar city street in Montreal. “Are you okay?”
“Yeah, but we might need to go to a closer restaurant, instead of the one that’s way down that road. I left all my glucose tabs in the hotel room by accident, and I don’t have anything on me.”
Picking up the pace, despite my increasingly clumsy feet, we reached the a nearby restaurant and were quickly seated.
“Here are your menus, and your waiter will be with you in a moment.”
“Thanks, and could I please have a small orange juice, without ice, as quickly as you can? Thanks so much,” I said to the host in one breath, hypoglycemia filling up all the space around my head like the Radiohead video for No Surprises. A minute or two later, a glass of orange juice was on the table. I drained it in a few gulps.
“Do you want to order, or do you need a few minutes?” Chris asked, reading through the menu while keeping an eye on me.
I picked up my menu and opened it, but the words didn’t make any sense. Staring hard at the entree section, I tried to make heads or tails of how the letters were arranged, but they didn’t look like English. The Dexcom wailed again and I checked my blood sugar on my meter – 48 mg/dL. “Am I so low that I can’t freaking read right now?” I thought. (And then realized I was holding the menu that was written in French. After switching menus with Chris and reading through the English menu, things made much more sense.)
“I can’t think right. I see all the thoughts in my head spinning around and I want to grab one, but they go by like socks in the dryer. Everything is a blur of laundry right now,” I admitted. “I need a minute to figure out what I want to eat because right now, I want to eat everything and then cry.”
Stupid low. Haven’t had many stupid lows lately (thanks largely in part to better planning and keeping a close eye on the Dexcom graph), so the ones that do creep in seem to hit harder than before since symptoms are felt more strongly. I don’t mind carrying a bigger bag than normal, or going running with a Spibelt crammed tight with glucose tabs, and I don’t even mind the exceptionally awkward moments of having my pump tubing stuck accidentally through else’s seatbelt on a plane, but I do loathe the way that lows reduce me to rubble, and how the simple matter of forgetting to plan caught me off guard. Usually quick on my feet and able to think rationally, lows make sentences hard to slap together, and reason nearly impossible to catch. The friction between ‘thought’ and ‘action’ is grinding and hot, leaving my brain a few seconds behind until the glucose stores refill.
As quickly as it came on, it was over. The Dexcom showed a gently upward-sloped arrow, and the hypo-fog lifted. Birdy asked if she could have “just a small sip of your orange juice, Mawm?” and I handed her the glass, happy to not need it.