Last Friday morning, I went to the pool and did something I have never done before.
I told my coach that my blood sugar may be problematic and said that I may have to stop or leave if things get bad.
I had gone to bed the night before with a blood sugar of 10.2 and some insulin on board. I read for a bit and then checked again before going to sleep to make sure I hadn't dropped too low.
I was 16.2.
I bolused for the high plus another unit for the bizarre climb.
I went to sleep and woke up at 2am. I checked and I was 13.4.
I took twice the recommended bolus and drank a lot of water.
I woke up at 4:50am for the pool and I was 14.4. Dehydrated, exhausted and feeling like there was oatmeal running through my veins.
I weighed my options. Insulin wasn't doing much. Perhaps a swim workout would help.
I took an extremely conservative bolus of 0.4 units to help the exercise do its job and I headed for the pool. I warned my coach that I was high. Which meant that no amount of 'pushing through' would help me go fast if I was swimming slowly. I said that the swim might cause my blood sugar to go down or it might actually cause it to climb higher and I might end up with ketones. If I had to stop or leave, I would. She agreed.
We warmed up and then swam 10x200m. I had no hope of keeping up with the two speedies I normally chase around the pool. One girl, however, was recovering from a cold so she and I were slowpokes together. I slogged my way through and my times were 10-15 seconds slower than normal despite feeling like I was working just as hard.
We relaxed for a few minutes after we finished the 200m set and then headed into 20x25m. The 25m were in sets of five. Cruise, build, fast, fast, easy. Repeat four times.
I cruised. I built. I sprinted and found myself keeping up with the speedies. Keeping up and challenging them. With every stroke I felt better, stronger, faster.
On one end of the pool I felt tired and sluggish. By the other end, I was bouncing and grinning. I was suddenly full of energy and raring to go.
I had lowered my blood sugar enough that I passed through that invisible layer that separates feeling crappy from feeling good.
I roared through the rest of the 25s and felt better and bettter. By the time I climbed out, my blood sugar had dropped from 14.4 to 9.2 and I was almost back to normal.
It's not often that the difference between high and happy is quite that noticeable. It felt like I had been tied up in chains and finally broken free. Pretty amazing stuff exercise.