Low blood sugars are funny. Not ha-ha funny, but peculiar in how they affect me physically and mentally.
A few weeks ago, I had an experience with a particularly scary low. It frightened me so much that I’m only just getting around to writing about it now, because I needed some time to gather my thoughts on what happened.
I’ll set the scene: I was home alone. I had eaten a carb-heavy dinner and decided to do a 30-minute, high-intensity workout. This was definitely far from my best idea ever, because due to the high-carb intake, I had a lot of insulin on board. That, coupled with the exercise, meant that my blood sugar was bound to crash soon after completing the workout.
And it sure did.
I had just stepped out of the shower and wrapped myself in a towel when I began to feel it. That sudden wave of weakness, shakiness, and dizziness. I walked to my bedroom, grabbed all of my diabetes supplies and my cell phone from my purse, and sank down to the floor with everything in front of me. I knew it would be wise to just sit there for as long as I needed, because I was afraid to go down the stairs (and possibly fall down/hurt myself in the process) in that state.
I checked my CGM, which confirmed that I was dropping quickly. I stared at the screen, panic flooding throughout my body. It occurred to me that I should probably do a finger stick check to make sure I was really that low, so I did, and saw that I was 60 mg/dL.
Now, I’ve absolutely been lower than 60 before. It’s never a pleasant experience. But rather than using that as a comforting thought, I couldn’t help but dwell on how terrible I felt and how frightened I was to be home alone with at least four more units of insulin still working in my system.
All I could do was chew four glucose tablets, suspend my insulin delivery, and wait.
In that period of time, I was totally immobilized.
I’ll never forget how alone I felt, how out of control I felt.
I felt powerless against my diabetes. My own body.
I’ll never forget the fear that consumed me, that nearly prevented me from helping myself in this situation.
I’ll never forget texting my mother and my boyfriend, telling them what was happening, and expressing how scared I felt.
I’ll never forget bursting into tears when they didn’t reply quickly enough.
I’ll never forget turning to my T1D Twitter buddies for help by sending a tweet about what was happening, or how swiftly and comfortingly they responded to me.
And I’ll never forget how I let my mind drift as I wondered whether I’d be okay.
It sounds totally dramatic, especially for a low that, in the grand scheme of things, could’ve been much worse. I can admit that.
But I can also admit that this is one of the few times in my life that I felt truly terrified of my diabetes, and swept up in the fact that things can change so quickly with this condition that it can quite literally knock you off your feet.
Obviously, I recovered just fine that night. The glucose tablets did their trick and my low symptoms subsided. It took longer for me to calm myself down, to breathe normally, non-panicky breaths. At least my puppy was around to soothe me.
I was fine, I will be fine. But I won’t forget this incident, ever.