Diabetes Blog Week prompt for Monday: Diabetes can sometimes seem to play by a rulebook that makes no sense, tossing out unexpected challenges at random. What are your best tips for being prepared when the unexpected happens? Or, take this topic another way and tell us about some good things diabetes has brought into your, or your loved one’s, life that you never could have expected?
Unexpectedly, my iPhone decided to update itself on Saturday night.
I must have “agreed” to terms of service and scheduled the update, but I didn’t think the process through, because if my phone is updating the operating system, that means the processes on my phone are sort of stalled.
Including my Dexcom data transmission. Which means I didn’t have any CGM data streaming overnight. The low blood sugar came out of nowhere, a product of stupid poor planning and over-correcting a high in the wee hours of the morning.
Mother’s Day morning broke open with my body outlined in damp sweat, my color ashy, hands shaking, but my mind still sharp, considering my blood sugar was 35 mg/dL.
Only once or twice before, in thirty years of diabetes, have I ever felt close to passing out, but the precursor feelings seem to be waves of unconsciousness that lap at the edge of my mind coupled with a calm, reasoned mind, as if I knew I was about to go under and I needed to mentally take the biggest breath I could.
I had the sense to call Chris (he was downstairs with the baby) and ask him for juice. I was afraid to sit up, thinking that might be enough to tip me into the abyss.
I asked him to put the baby in the crib in case I needed physical help. I spoke to him through a mouthful of glucose tab dust, asking if he knew how to use the glucagon on the bedside table. He said yes. I asked if he could please hand me a towel so I could mop the sweat off my forehead. The whole discussion was so calm, so structured, so oddly practical in contrast to the panic of being intensely low, the voice in the back of my mind screaming “AAAHHHHHHHHH!”
Makes me think I could solve quadratic equations while putting out a car fire while sitting in said car. And the car is moving. Fast.
Actually, that’s sort of what we do when severely hypo.
Unconsciousness due to a low blood sugar is the unexpected I think about the least, but prepare for the most. I mean, I think about it, but not obsessively. I just prepare all over the place, just-in-casing myself with juice boxes and raisins stashed in my frequently visited spots. I try to always have fast-acting sugars on hand no matter where I am. I share my CGM data while traveling. I keep that glucagon shot on the bedside table.
We’d talked about glucagon a few weeks early, after I’d refilled my prescription. We almost used it when I was throwing up from the flu and my blood sugar was stuck at 45 mg/dL, not able to keep down the juice or tabs I was consuming. It’s part of planning for the scary moments while simultaneously pretending, “Oh, that could never happen.”
Eventually, my blood sugar came up. Exhausted from treading the hypo-waters for so long, I almost immediately fell back asleep on the damp pillowcase. When I woke up again, I looked over at the glucagon kit, thankful for the fact that it was still sealed and hoping it continues to collect dust.