BEEP BEEP BEEP!!
Insistent noise, drowned out only slightly by the sound of two toddlers dunking basketballs on each other in the living room.
“Do you have any juice?”
My friend reaches into her fridge and pulls out a 1/4 full carton of lemonade. “Would this work?”
She and I know one another, but we’re fledgling friends. Still in that learning phase. And my mouth is tugging down at a funny angle, like after you have Novocain but before you’re able to fully move your mouth again. My lips are completely numb, the numbness spreading down into the back of my throat. Peripheral vision starts caving in. My eyes are having trouble focusing.
But I look normal. Almost. It’s hard to see the gears in my mind grinding to a halt for half a second before I’m able to answer a question. I know I’m repeating myself, though, and I can tell by the way my neighbor’s eyebrows go up when I ask the same question twice in a row. “Hang on, I’ll be right back in.” I run/trip out to the driveway where my son’s stroller is parked, grabbing the container of glucose tabs.
I open the tabs in the kitchen, announcing their presence in a cloud of sugary dust, stacking six or seven on the countertop so I can make sure I eat enough — double arrows down with a 56 mg/dL in the pigeon head is not a good look.
“I’m having a pretty nasty low blood sugar right now, okay?” Okay. Like I’m asking for clearance to land. “I’m sorry if I seem out of it. I feel pretty out of it. I’ll be normal in a couple of minutes.”
Our conversation is blurry but I know she’s watching me out of one corner of her eye while keeping tabs on the toddlers. I think we talk about how many glucose tabs it takes to bring a blood sugar back up, and I make up some number that sounds official, even though the answer in that moment is “ALL OF THEM and also do you have a pile of Swedish fish I can dive into with my face.”
Minutes stretch into fake hours, but they remain minutes for everyone but me. The kitchen floor looks wavy, I can’t feel my mouth, and I’m staring at my sneakers wondering when they also ended up covered in glucose tab dust. I feel stupid. So low and so confused but I don’t look all that different when I’m low so maybe I just appear stupid? What the eff. I know the sugar will hit my system in a few minutes but it’s never fast enough never fast enough never fast enough.
Eventually, it’s over. I’m better. Fine. Blood sugar more in the 130’s instead of the 50’s. I look exactly the same on the outside. Except now my brain is tuned in. The terror is tabled. I’m fully with it. Like nothing happened, except what happened.