Saturday, May 9, 2009

Testing 1, testing 2....(A high low)

This morning at about 1 AM I woke up scared. I've had two low-blood sugar induced seizures in my lifetime, and one was during the night. I've also had my fair share of really bad lows - barely conscious, stumbling, bumbling, and hanging on by a thread.

Even the thought of those episodes brings a bit of anxiety to me. Historically, I've done much better (mentally) with the during-the-day low blood sugars. I know there's a psychological trigger going off at night, and yet it's still a battle for me.

Before the pump, I would wake up and eat so many carbs that my blood would be 400 or higher in the morning. I knew it was dangerous, but feeling so helpless when low, I simply refused to stop eating until I started to feel better. Part of the problem back then was that my blood sugar average was in the mid-200's, so a 60 felt absolutely horrible.

Since the pump, my blood sugar averages are 1/2 of what they used to be, and fall in the normal range now. This makes me feel (literally) wonderful! However, my blood sugar generally has to drop a little lower for me to feel it in a similar fashion as before. Not the same, mind you - the low symptoms are now much less severe.

Consequently, the over-treating for lows is primarily a thing of the past.

Notice how I said, 'primarily', and not just ...'a thing of the past?'

This morning at 1:00 AM was not my best moment. I woke up immediately (or so it felt), as if someone had yelled, 'fire.' I jumped out of bed, and my obvious symptoms of a bad low were present and getting worse:
  1. Shaky. Not outwardly, but inside, hard to explain, easy to identify.
  2. Sweaty. Always starts on my nose (weird, I know). When it's bad, my whole body perspires, and it feels like you're sitting in an internal sauna.
  3. Slight blurred vision. Just in the center of my vision, and not constant.
  4. INDESCRIBABLE HUNGRY! Famished, craving carbs and lots of them.
  5. Scared. Considering the aforementioned history, night low's are not my cup of tea.
During the day it feels like one or two of the symptoms on the list above casually crawl in, taking there own sweet (no pun intended!) time to arrive. At night it feels like the symptoms are kentucky-derby thoroughbreds charging down the stretch to see who can claim the title of 'worst symptom yet.'

I popped out of bed, adrenaline rushing, single minded to where my coveted antidote lay waiting. Pineapple juice and other delicious high sugar carbs motivate and get me there in record time. But for some odd reason, I instead reach for the milk, do 180 to the food pantry and grab the cheerios. After haphazardly pouring my cereal, I grabbed the sugar.

Cue the music, "duuuuh, da dum dum...."

Confirming my low at this point is useless, but good for keeping the overall average down. I'm just kidding there. So I set up a blood sugar test, and wait 5 seconds for the result. Five seconds,
no big deal, right?

1....Come on...
2....This takes foreeeever...
3....Seriously, my blood is already lower than the reading....
4....Can I wait annny longer?

And this morning's reading.....the blood sugar that had me so freaked out...?

What the...?? That can NOT be right!

Test again....

Ahhh, that's better. Well no, not better, it's worse. Well, not worse, but at least I know I am in fact low and truly have the right to feel super-crummy!

If you can't see the time, the top one says, 12:53 AM. Bottom: 12:53 AM! So it mut have been a bad test strip or something weird like that.

Back to the low...

I pour on the sugar (Cheerio's), and start in. Again, I normally pick the pineapple juice (from Sam's club, check it out..)

But this morning I fell back to my old ways - sugar and lots of it.

Sometime later I realized I had consumed waaaay to many carbs for the low, so before going back to bed..oh wait, I forgot to mention I also enjoyed some ripples french onion chips (see previous post)....o.k., where was I?

Waaaaaayyyyyy too many carbs. So I start figuring out how much too many and take some insulin. Even writing that is hard, because that is lame and really poor diabetes management. Zero self-control. But knowing the blood sugar is going to skyrocket if I just 'let it ride,' I take a few units.

6:30 AM wake up: 330 blood sugar - feeling as bad as ever. Arrgh. Take insulin, and get ready for a great morning!

Where? At 'Walk to cure diabetes' where I've been invited to talk about how awesome the pump is, and how it makes diabetes management easier!

Oh, the irony.

The lesson?
It's not the pump that failed, it was 'user-error!' The pump didn't give me too much sugar, I (quite willingly, I might add) did.

The pump is a necessitiy for every diabetic, I am convinced. But it will only work as well as you (and I) allow it to. It's still up to me to do my part, and early this morning, I blew it. Thankfully, every day, every meal, every moment is another chance to get it right.

Stay encouraged, do your best, and tell every diabetic you know to either start or keep pumpin...


Scott K. Johnson said...

Oh man - I'm in touch with those middle of the night lows. They are almost impossible to treat rationally.

Jill said...

I awake to the 'clink, clink...clink' of the spoon swiping across the bottom of the cereal bowl (scraping up the sugar at the bottom) and I know without a doubt that 2 things are happening out there in the kitchen: first, my husband has a very low blood sugar reading and second...he's totally over-treating. My initial reaction is to leap out of bed, rush into the kitchen and tell him to stop! STOP EATING RIGHT NOW! But I wait...until I know I'm for sure not going to mother him...and gently walk over to him and ask if he's ok. Is there anything I can do? Do you need anything? about I sit here with you awhile and eat a snack myself? I've learned that it's my support and understanding he needs....not my nagging. I'm so proud of your progress, honey!

beckybj said...

I have complete confidence that you will do better next time. You're too hard on yourself.

Megan said...

I just stumbled upon this blog because I've been trying to understand the world of living with diabetic testing. I wonder if the strip that gave you the bad reading was coded incorrectly. Would that have made the reading that low? I read that it can be up to a 43% inaccuracy if the coding isn't right.
Either way, hang in there. I can't even imagine waking up with that kind of terror, but I'm sure I'd be right there with you and the Cheerios.