The Dexcom yelled at me from the kitchen table – “BEEEEP, BEEEEP, BEEEEP!” – and I double-checked the alarm just to make sure I was actually low, since I’d been basal testing all morning long and I’m always wary of my graph when it’s nice-happy-in-range.
(Note: It’s really, really easy to test basal rates when you take a red eye flight from Los Angeles to Boston and don’t sleep for even a minute on the flight, causing you to fall asleep for three hours when you finally get home to RI at 7 am, leaving you in the “No Eat Zone” from like 3 am – 11 am. Exhaustion makes for easy basal testing.)
Sure enough, the alarms were right, confirmed by the 58 mg/dL on my meter.
Four glucose tabs, down the hatch.
Symptoms were alive and kicking on this low. Numb lips, tingly mouth, that restless feeling in my arms where I suppress the urge to flap them, and the settling in of the low fog, where all my thoughts are smoky and loose at the edges, not fitting together entirely and leaving gaps between moments of clear reason, leaving all thoughts that made sense clouded with a big, “NOPE.”
The Dexcom showed me as still dropping ten minutes later – the dreaded double-down arrows – so I went for some juice. Only it wasn’t a “stop and have a measured sip of juice” but more “grab a swig of juice right from the bottle while you walk by the fridge” because I couldn’t sit down for this one.
Some lows are disgusting and debilitating and don’t leave any wiggle room for choice. But other lows (like the cleaning lows or the endless lows) have their own idiosyncrasies and distinct patterns. This low felt like a functional low, where my blood sugar is in a ditch but I’m still able to walk around and talk, despite being in the 40 – 60 mg/dL range. And if I were to sit down and actually acknowledge the low in full, the symptoms would take over and I’d be trapped.
Which left me wandering around the house, picking up toys that had escaped from Birdy’s room and absently looking out the windows or at my phone, focusing intently upon the mundane instead on the lack of sugar in my blood stream, while at the same time snacking on glucose tabs and peering at my Dexcom. Chris saw me shuffling around the house and gave me some raised eyebrows.
“Yep. Low. I already had juice,” which is Sparling-speak for, “I’m definitely low and I know I look scattered right now, but don’t worry; I’ve had juice and am just impatiently waiting for it to work.”
About thirty minutes later (after I had examined individual leaves on the houseplants in order to think about anything other than hypoglycemia), the Dexcom graph showed arrows pointing back towards safety. Only then did my brain take the nope-filters off and let me calculate the total carbs consumed, and the potential blood sugar boost that might be coming.