Last week, my mom and I both rediscovered the reason why we usually order side salads with burgers or sandwiches served in restaurants: french fries. They’re tasty, carb-y, salt bombs that wreak havoc on our blood sugar. We’re both convinced that our indulgence in fries at dinner was responsible for the dramatic spikes, followed by sharp plummets, that interrupted our sleep overnight and made us understandably grumpy the following morning.
Here’s the timeline of what happened:
6:30 P.M. – Dinnertime. Ordered a chicken pesto sandwich with a side of sweet potato fries. I thought I’d be safe as long as I didn’t eat all of my fries, and if I left behind half of the bun. This certainly helped, but my carb counting was either severely off or the high amount of fat that I consumed threw my blood sugar for a loop.
7:30 P.M. – Blood sugar holding fairly steady around 160 mg/dL. Maybe restraining my carb consumption worked, after all!
9:00 P.M. – Eh, not so much. I’m seeing a diagonal arrow pointing up, indicating that I’m slowly creeping into the 200s. I’m not pleased.
10:13 P.M. – Yep, topping out at about 255 mg/dL. Gross! I take some insulin and wait for it to kick in.
11:30 P.M. – I feel relieved, I’ve come down to below 180 mg/dL and I can now go to sleep. I’m not dropping fast and I suspect that, due to the insulin I have left on board, I’ll level out around 130 mg/dL overnight.
5:28 A.M. – Ah, a blissful five and a half hours of sleep before my diabetes said “LOL nope” and woke me up. I’m feeling shaky, so I roll over to check my CGM. Sure enough, I’m below my low limit (which is set at 80). My symptoms match my Dexcom graph, so I pop three glucose tablets into my mouth and plop my head back down on my pillow. I should be okay until I get up in a few hours.
7:00 A.M. – Except nope! My CGM’s alarms and my low symptoms wake me up again. I’m frustrated, because it’s beyond annoying to wake up at the same time I normally do for work on a Sunday morning, and especially since it’s because of my diabetes. I reach for a granola bar that contained 22 grams of carbs (way more than I needed for my correction) and wolf it down. I toss and turn for the next hour. I can’t fall back asleep because it feels like my CGM won’t stop alerting me to what my blood sugar’s doing. It’s almost 8:00 A.M. when I decide to take a small bolus, because I definitely over-corrected for the last low.
9:30 A.M. – I get up for real and start my day. Miraculously, I test my blood sugar and it’s 148 mg/dL. I thought it would be worse but I guess the single unit of insulin I took did its job.
This is a night in the life of a PWD. This is what it’s like to have a chronic illness that doesn’t sleep. This is what it’s like to feel out of control of your own body.
And this is why I think french fries are evil – because they’re fatty, slow-releasing but high carb little jerks.