“I’ll Have a Regular Soda, Please.”

A funny thing about life with diabetes is that new experiences occur all the time. For example, this was a first for me the other day: ordering a regular soda at a restaurant instead of a diet.

Why was this necessary? I chalk it up to a few different factors that affected my blood sugar: 1) I did strength training earlier in the day, which can make me go low several hours after the fact. 2) I ignored the diagonal down arrow that had appeared on my CGM, because I really didn’t think I’d end up below 100 mg/dL before dinner. 3) It took a long time for our dinner to come out, and I’d made the rookie mistake of bolusing soon after ordering the food. 4) I also think I miscalculated the carbs in my dinner – I’m used to ordering this particular dish, a cajun chicken salad, with a beer or two. But since I gave up alcohol for Lent (more on this in an upcoming blog post), I wasn’t getting the extra carbs from the beer, which I forgot to take into account.

So yeah, in hindsight, I could’ve seen the low blood sugar coming. But I just didn’t anticipate some of these occurrences, such as our food coming out late. This particular restaurant is usually timely, but since it was a Saturday evening and the bar was rapidly filling up, I should’ve connected the dots.

Diet Coke has a special place in my part, but in a hypoglycemic emergency, it just won’t cut it.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda. There was nothing I could do about my rapidly dropping blood sugar, unless I bit the bullet and ordered a regular soda. Shoving my diet root beer to the side, I flagged down my semi-bemused bartender and asked for a regular Pepsi, trying to ignore the fact that he was joking about how “diet just wouldn’t do it for me any longer, eh”.

If only he knew that the circumstances required sugar, stat.

It only took him about 60 seconds to deliver the Pepsi, but it felt like a long time. My CGM alerted me to an urgent low and things around me were a little fuzzy. I was trying to engage in conversation with my companions, who knew that I was going low, but maybe weren’t aware of how quickly I was going down due to my determination to appear normal.

Once my Pepsi arrived, I gulped down several sips and sighed with relief as my dinner appeared soon after. I wolfed down every last bit of it within 15 minutes, taking breaks only to drink a little more soda. I knew I needed to control how much I drank, because I didn’t want to end up sky high later on in the night.

Fortunately, my blood sugar was coming back up to normal within no time, and I actually didn’t even go higher than 172 mg/dL for the remainder of the night. A huge win, all things considered. Even though it was a somewhat scary experience, I’m glad I did what I needed to in order to take proper care of myself…even if that meant drinking regular soda, which was actually pretty gross. How do people actually enjoy that saccharine sludge?!


One thought on ““I’ll Have a Regular Soda, Please.”

  1. Part of being a diabetic is being able to diagnose a problem and come up with a treatment on the fly. Sound to me like you did a good job. No one is perfect and you are not any different in this fact than the other 8 billion people on earth so take breath. It really irritates me when someone critiques my lifestyle, even if they are diabetic also. Maybe even more so then. They should know no two people are alike therefore no two treatments are alike. A good workout like you talked about can not only jump your metabolism for a hour or so, it may jack it up for better than 24 if you got into resistance training. I did all the time in the past and could tell how it affected my sugar levels. If I stopped lifting for more than a week, my sugar when off the rails, roller coaster rails at that. Once I got back into step they fell back into a more stable range. People talk diet all the time but I push more for exercise as a fix for obesity. A diet can put your body into a starvation mode, even if you are far from skin and bones, by dropping your metabolism into the basement. Exercise on the other hand has the opposite effect and raises it back to where it should be. I consume about 3,400 calories a day and have not gained (or sadly lost) more than 5 lbs. in somewhere around 20 years. Recently I started using regular soda like Mountain Dew or Coke to stop or reverse a low trend. Yes, a 46 gram carb laden Mountain Dew has simply arrested my low slide instead of raise it back to normal. Other times it sends it into low earth orbit. If no one else will do it, I will. You did a good job with your dilemma.


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