Life in LADA land

Living Philippians 1:6 with type 1.5 diabetes

Those pesky lows

on May 30, 2012

I was encouraged to write about lows by my diabetic educator and friend Betty.   Lows (when your blood glucose drops below about 60 or so) are a pain. Pretty much every diabetic has experienced them at one time or another.  Lately I’ve had a lot of them and I’m working on making that stop, but until I get things under control, at least I can write about them.

You can feel it coming on.  It’s like a strange, hollow, sinking feeling in your stomach. You know it’s coming, but you can’t really do anything about it because at that point, it’s too late. I pull out my Dexcom, hit the OK button and the number I’ve been dreading pops up.  57. or 42. or *shudder* 39. By this time, some other instinct that I cannot fathom kicks in.  I have this compulsion to do as much as I can before dealing with the low.  It’s as if I think “If I just keep moving, maybe the low will go away by itself”. In other words, it’s denial, since giving in to the low is an admission that I’m not in control.  So I finish the dishes, clean all the counters, straighten the cookbooks, sweep the floor, then straighten up the living room. Oh, right, I need to eat something! That’s why my Dexcom keeps buzzing in my pocket!  So eventually I remember that in order to get rid of that hollow feeling that has now turned into shakes and sweats, I need to get some carbohydrates in fast.  Then comes decision time – and when your blood sugar is at 40, you’re not really good at making decisions.  Granola thin or peanut butter crackers?  Cookie or  Starburst?  Or am I desperate enough for glucose tablets?

Then, it’s time to wait it out.  My instinct is to keep eating until the weakness and shakes and dizziness go away. But if I do that, next thing I know I’ll be at 250, feeling equally bad in a different way, only now I’m stuck getting rid of a high.  So I eat about 10 grams of carbohydrate and hope it’s enough.  But the feeling doesn’t go away for at least a half hour – or longer.  It takes enormous will power not to just grab the cookie jar and eat everything in it.  The worst is when a low hits just before bedtime – then I’m really grumpy because I have to postpone going to bed in order to deal with the low.  All in all, I usually lose an hour or more dealing with this problem.  It’s not so bad in isolation, but when this happens several days in a row, you get pretty tired of it.  Even cookies don’t sound good anymore.  Wow, I can’t believe I wrote that.

This is the number I hope for after a low……

So that’s what it’s like.  I’m doing a basal test as I write this (which means skipping a meal and checking my blood glucose every hour for 5-6 hours), because I  want to work on adjusting my basal and bolus numbers so that these lows come a lot less frequently.  I really hate doing basal tests, so this should indicate how motivated I am to stop experiencing lows so much.

Diabetes. It’s like a moving target.  And my aim isn’t very good right now.


2 responses to “Those pesky lows

  1. Colleen says:

    My day was pesky highs. I knew it was going to happen. Maybe we can share some of your lows with my highs???

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