Fearful and Falling in Target

What do they pump into the air at Target? Is it Afrezza or something? Because that seems like the only logical explanation for the phenomenon that seems to occur to most other fellow T1Ds when we step into a Target store.

Low blood sugars tend to happen at Target. Also known as “Target lows”, they can occur at any Target, big or small, no matter how long or short the shopping trip.

I experienced one last week. And it was severely exacerbated by the fact that I was visiting one in my new city for the first time by myself.

You are a rare gem.
Damn you, Target, for making my blood sugar go low during basically nine out of ten visits.

As you can see from my CGM screenshot, my blood sugar was definitely not low – not even close to it. I was in the mid-250s by the time I headed to the store, which is absolutely NOT where I like to be. But I didn’t take a correction bolus or even raise my basal insulin temporarily, because I guess I just had that feeling about my Target trip. I didn’t bother checking my CGM again after I parked, figuring that I’d do my best to make it a quick trip with minimal purchases.

Forty minutes (I’d been aiming for 20) after I’d stepped into the store and one semi-full cart (oops) later, I started feeling panicky and gasp-y. I told myself no, no, no, I wasn’t going low, I was just maybe reacting strangely to the scent of all the cleansers in the aisle I was occupying. I could deny it all I want, but in the back of my mind, I knew that I needed to pull my cart over, dig through my backpack, and locate my CGM so I could at least be informed of what my blood sugar was doing.

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Honestly, Target and all other retailers should just make glucose tablets free to any shoppers who are having a low moment.

So I did just that. Upon checking my Dexcom app and seeing that down arrow, I practically started hyperventilating. That’s when the following series of thoughts flew through my mind:

Okay, just get to the checkout…

Ugh, why is there only one open?! Guess you’ll have to self-checkout on low brain. Great…

OMG, Molly, you know you can only scan one item at a time…go faster!

You are NOT going to go down in this Target. Not today!!!

By some miracle, I successfully purchased my items and booked it to my car. Once I loaded everything inside, I suspended my insulin and shoved three glucose tablets into my mouth at once, chewing them so fast and furious that it probably deserved its own movie by the same name…(oh, but that’s taken *tee-hee*).

Normally, I would wait for my blood sugar to come back up before even thinking about driving home…but this wasn’t exactly a normal situation. I was on my one-hour lunch break from work, and I was rapidly approaching the 59-minute mark. The rational part of my brain (the way, way, super-far-back part) knew that I would be okay after about 15 minutes or so, but I was just so stressed about being alone in a strange city and wanted nothing more than to return to the safety of my apartment, pronto.

Of course, I had no idea how to actually get home – I needed my GPS to get to and from Target, and I’m sure I’ll need it to get basically anywhere for the foreseeable future – so I plugged my address into my phone’s GPS app.

And yet I STILL managed to take a wrong turn or three as I anxiously drove back to the apartment.

Less than 15 minutes later, I was parked and my shopping bags and I were inside my apartment. And that’s when I fell apart, feeling stupid for letting the low happen and getting lost on the way home…and feeling extra dumb for crying so hard about it.

Yeah, methinks that I’ll be running a temporary basal reduction the next time I plan a Target trip. I don’t want to be fearful and falling again any time soon.

 

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14 Words That Describe how Glucose Tablets Taste

My shaky hands pop the lid off the tube of glucose tablets. A puff of dust floats out from the tube – a cloud of sugary residue from the ten tablets stacked neatly on top of each other. A friend watches me remove two tablets. Unfazed by their gaze, I chew them quickly, knowing that they’ll kick in soon and give my blood sugar the boost it needs. My friend waits until I’ve put the tube away to ask me what glucose tablets taste like.

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Ugh…I can practically taste the sugar dust by just looking at this photo.

This exact scenario has unfolded a number of times over my years with diabetes. I don’t know why people are so fascinated by glucose tablets and their taste. Is it because I describe them as sugar pills? Is it something about the way they’re encased so tidily and conveniently? Do the pastel colors look especially appetizing to some people?

Whatever the case may be, I’ll put an end to all the curiosity surrounding glucose tablets right here, right now. Here’s my list of 14 words that describe the taste and texture of “magic sugar pills”, also known as glucose tablets.

  1. Chalky.
  2. Dusty.
  3. Artificial.
  4. Dry.
  5. Fruity.
  6. Slightly medicinal.
  7. Mildly acidic.
  8. Sweet.
  9. Brittle.
  10. Dissoluble.
  11. Powdery.
  12. Tangy.
  13. Stale.
  14. Crumbly.

So based on those descriptors…do they still sound remotely appetizing…? Probably not. Though I didn’t use the most flattering language to describe them, they’re still responsible for saving my butt – literally – countless times. And for that, I can forgive glucose tablets for not being the most palatable things.

Money Talks, Low Blood Sugar Slurs

Somewhere between Class A, B, and C share mutual funds, I got lost. That familiar fog clouded my brain and I had trouble focusing my gaze on anything, let alone absorbing any of the information being shared with me. I felt like I must’ve nodded my head so many times over the course of the conversations that I probably resembled a bobble-head. Words tumbled slowly, awkwardly, out of my mouth: I babbled “yup” and “right” over and over again to show that I was still engaged, even though I absolutely wasn’t.

What was wrong with me? I was having a low blood sugar in the middle of my (first-ever) meeting with a financial advisor. Stellar!!!

Obviously, I made it through the meeting fine. I got back to my car, tested my blood sugar, discovered that I was 66, and corrected it with three glucose tablets. I wiped my hands together, watching glucose dust puff up into the air like a cloud, and chided myself for not taking action sooner than that moment. I suppose I didn’t want to alarm the advisor by sticking a needle into my finger in the the middle of our meeting, but that hasn’t stopped me from doing what I must do, medically speaking, in other situations. Ordinarily, I would have calmly explained, “I have type one diabetes. I think I’m experiencing a low blood sugar right now. Do you mind if I check my blood sugar here, or could you please direct me to a place where I can do that?” I would also let the person know that I’d be fine either way, I just wanted to be sure so I could focus my energy back onto them and not my diabetes.
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I’m not really sure what was different about this particular low blood sugar event, but I didn’t do the “right” thing because I didn’t want to be rude and interrupt the advisor’s train of thought. But waiting nearly thirty minutes into experiencing these symptoms could have caused things to turn out much differently. My blood sugar could have gone even lower, and it could have become an embarrassing or scary situation for both of us.

I guess this’ll serve as a reminder to myself to speak up. It’s okay to interrupt, because my health and safety (and potentially the health and safety of another person) is at risk. It’s not rude, it’s good common sense.

Favorite Things Friday: Tabs2Go Cases

One Friday per month, I’ll write about my favorite diabetes products. These items make the cut because they’re functional, fashionable, or fun – but usually, all three at once!

Traditionally, I’ve toted glucose tablets around in a tube. My tube of tabs travels with me everywhere, because lows can be unpredictable and it’s always wise to be prepared. Though the contents of the tube have quite literally saved my life countless times, said tube is bulky. It takes up room in my diabetes kit. The tube is awkward to carry around when I go jogging, and more often than not winds up getting tucked away in my sports bra – not the most comfortable feeling.

But then a little, square, plastic container came into my world and changed how I carry around glucose tablets.

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See that bright blue object attached to my purse? That’s a Tabs2Go case! It holds four glucose tablets at a time, the perfect amount to bring me back up from a low blood sugar. What I love most about it is that it’s dual purpose: It’s a case for tabs as well as a keychain. This means I can attach and detach it from my various key fobs, lanyards, and bags with ease, and as I please. I can tuck the case into my pocket without it creating an unsightly lump, and it stows away discreetly just about anywhere.

I have to give a shout out to Scott Bissinger, who created Tabs2Go and kindly supplied me with two of my own when I met him at the TypeOneNation Summit in Boston last month. Innovative products like this help to make the lives of people with diabetes a little easier, which makes me grateful.

Plus, I have to point out the fact that these cases are customizable. See the metallic embellishments I added to mine? Diabetes products that are functional and can be personalized are the real winners in my book!

Memory Monday: BD Glucose Tablets

One Monday per month, I’ll take a trip down memory lane and reflect on how much diabetes technology, education, and stigma has changed over the years. Remember when…

…BD glucose tablets were like, the only kind of tabs available?

I remember them vividly. The tablets were came in what looked like giant packages of gum. They were orange-flavored, but colored white. And they were square, chalky, and the epitome of boring. Even so, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I used to sneak them from my mom’s purse when I was little. (Sorry, mom.)

I don’t really know why I did it, considering they weren’t exactly the tastiest treats. But it felt rebelliously good to take one here and there, even if I wasn’t experiencing a low blood sugar. I knew I wasn’t allowed to graze on snacks as I wanted, and I knew that it would make my blood sugar go up. I also knew that I didn’t fully understand what diabetes was and why it was so important to be careful with how many glucose tablets I ate at the tender ages of six and seven years old.

Over time, I kicked the habit. As more flavors and varieties of glucose tablets popped up in the market, I grew increasingly resentful of having to use them to treat lows in the first place. I wasn’t enticed by the tropical or berry flavor mixes; after all, they didn’t have quite the same appeal as those weird white tablets.

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Today’s glucose tablets come in much more colorful and flavorful varieties.

Now, I’m just glad I’ve discovered ways to bring up a low quickly that don’t involve chewing chalky discs. Orange juice, mini boxes of raisins, gummies, smarties, and more all work efficiently. I still choose to carry around glucose tablets, though, because the tube they come in is discreet. Glucolift brand tablets are a personal favorite to stock the tube with, because they’re more pleasant to ingest, thanks to their quick-dissolve formula. Plus, I can’t totally hate something that’s saved my butt more times than I can count.