Sunday, April 10, 2011

Climb Back On

I have felt many emotions at the hand of diabetes.  I have felt humbled, frustrated, uncomfortable, capable, and inspired just to name a few.

I rarely feel scared.

This morning, around 3:30am, diabetes scared me.  It scared the shit out of me.

But it all started around 9:30pm last night so that's where the story begins.

Last night, Doug and I hosted a small dinner party with wonderful friends and delicious (if I do say so myself) food.  It started around 5 and, by 9:30pm, all was cleaned up and put away and we were watching the last end of the Scotland vs Norway curling game.

I checked my blood sugar and it was 3.0.  For those who might not know, that's pretty low.  Anything under 4.0 is a problem and the lower it gets, the bigger the problem it is.

So, it's 9:30pm and my blood sugar is 3.0.  Here's what I had to consider.  I took my dinner insulin bolus towards the end of the meal because most of the carbs were in the dessert portion.  So I had only taken insulin an hour prior.  Which means that the bolus was still working on the food I had eaten and my sugar was going to continue to drop.  I also knew that I had had a few glasses of wine which usually results in a lower blood sugar in the middle of the night (it's a liver thing).  So I had to eat and I had to eat a lot.

I had a banana, two dates, a scoop of nutella and some raisins.  All in all, probably close to 60 carbs.  That, I hoped, would take care of the immediate low and the one that I figured would happen around 3am.

I went to bed.

I woke up at 1:30am feeling pretty crappy.  Crappy like I had drunk two bottles of wine crappy.  So I checked my sugar.

It was 20.2

That, my friends, is bordering on insane.  I have had to figure out enough pre-bed snacks to know that I did not eat enough to go from 3.0 to 20.2.  What the hell was going on??

So I told my pump that I was 20.2 and it did the math and told me that I needed 4.6 units of insulin to bring me back down to a good number (5-7).  I took a little less than that to be on the safe side.  I didn't want to go from too high to too low - the yoyo thing sucks.  So I took less insulin than the pump suggested and figured I would wake up in the morning with a number between 8-9.

I went back to sleep.

I woke up two hours later and knew we had a problem.  I checked my sugar again and this time it was 1.7

I believe that is the lowest I have ever been in my life.  Readers with diabetes can probably imagine how scary that number would be.  For those of you without it, trust me.  It feels awful (you're shaking from head to toe, you're sweating so much you've created a small lake in the bed, you're scared and your heart is pounding in your ears).  My brain immediately asked "what happens if you drop to zero?"  I have no idea and I have no desire to EVER find that out.

The best solution in an emergency like that is send the person next to you to get juice NOW!  Problem was that we ran out of juice that evening.  And chocolate milk.  So, rather than explain what I needed, I woke Doug up and told him to come to the kitchen with me and make sure I didn't collapse.

I gagged down a few spoonfuls of honey (I hate honey but it works).  I mixed a glass of water and sugar and drank that. I ate nutella and I had handfuls of raisins.  I stumbled back to bed and checked my sugar again.



I told Doug that if I collapsed, had a seizure or whatever, to just call 911.

I had more carbs.

Ten minutes later I was 5.5.


I figured that my sugar would just continue to climb since I had eaten so much food but I didn't care.  After 1.7, I would take 20.  Anything to escape that terrifying number.

I lay there shivering while my body recovered and eventually fell asleep.  When I woke up this morning, I was 8.6.

Like nothing had happened.

Sunday morning is cycling morning.  I was exhausted when the alarm went off at 6:30 and felt like I had been to hell and back.

Not only did I wake up exhausted, I woke up terrified that it could happen again.  What if it happens when I'm out riding?  Out running?  Alone??  I just wanted to go back to sleep.  I didn't want to to anything that might cause my sugar to drop again. But I knew that I had to go riding this morning otherwise the fear would keep building and I'd be too afraid to run on Tuesday.  Get back on the horse.  Immediately.  Before the fear wins.  

So I did.  I did my usual routine, ate my usual breakfast, took my usual bolus and went cycling with my friends.

Everything went well and my blood sugar behaved.

I have no idea what really happened last night but it taught me a few lessons.  I'm heading out to buy juice boxes that will stay by the bed.  Others will be kept downstairs and I will NOT run out again.

A little voice keeps popping in my head saying "you could have died last night".

Lesson learned.


  1. I'm so glad you're okay. What a scary experience, but it sounds like you're responding in a positive way. Control what you can (like the juice), but don't let it run your life (still going to bike with your friends). I hope you don't have any repeats of that experience.

  2. Wow.
    that's all I can say. I've had "that night" before but never to such extremes. I have only had a reading under 2 a couple times in the past 9 years.
    I commend you on your "get up and go attitude". I'd like to hope that's what I would do too.
    Do you have any idea as to what might have gone wrong?

    this is also one of those reasons I'm afraid living alone. I am sure you are recovered by now but that sounds like one scary night.

  3. I am glad to here you faired out okay. Scarey. Go buy some juice boxes already, and wholey crap you inspire me, you still got up and did your routine. Diabetes curve balls really suck. Take care.

  4. Wow, girl!
    The next morning, a few of us noticed you on your bike through the window of RE during our yoga class ... and you looked completely "Celine!"
    We had absolutely NO idea that you had just had such a crazy, scary night!
    Hats off to you for choosing not to let fear control your life. You continue to inspire all of us!