I have thankfully never passed out from a low blood sugar, nor have I ever been rushed to the hospital due to ketoacidosis, and my A1C has never been over 8.1 mmol/L, so I often get told that I have good blood sugar control. But before it sounds like I’m bragging, I should say that I’m nowhere near perfect, and the following diabetic horror story about a “scary” low is more than enough proof of that.
A week ago I arrived at Chris’ house (the boyfriend) and I think my blood sugars were already dropping because his housemates’ loud jamming session was really irritating me while we tried to make dinner (I tend to get very irritable and emotional when low). I tested and sure enough I was dropping, though I had not yet dropped into that range classified as hypoglycemia. I had forgotten to bring juice or fruit to gos (one of those chance occasions that rarely happens, I promise!) and Chris didn’t have any quick sugar (or really much food at all) at his house as he had not been grocery shopping in awhile (oh the woes of student life) so I decided I would take the 7 minute walk to the convenience store. Naturally Chris didn’t like the idea of me going by myself and tried to stop me, but he was also unsure whether it was the loud music that made me want to get out of the house, and since I rather rushed out, he couldn’t stop me (and the dinner on the stove made it hard for him to follow me). It was obviously a poor decision on my part to go walking by myself in search of sugar when I was dropping (mistake #1), but I was irritated by the loud noise, errr music, and I was in that low blood sugar survival mode where all energy is focused on getting sugar, quickly, and so none is left for reasoning.
So I set out to the convenience store on my own, and I remember being conscious of my walking speed and thinking that walking too fast would make me drop faster, but walking to slow might mean I might not get to the store in time (it’s funny, the things that become important when my brain is lacking sugar). I got to the store fine, but as I only had $1.50 in change, (and my sugar lacking brain decided that it was important that I not use my debit card) I debated over which single candy had the highest carb count. I chose a pack of Cherry Blasters (48g for the pack) which cost me $1.45 and immediately started downing them (which was a little hard to do since they were sour). I headed back to Chris’ house immediately (mistake #2, I should have sat down to let my blood sugars rise) because I knew he’d be worried about me (mistake #3, having my phone on silent). I was still walking slowly, but it was no longer deliberate, I now felt that I couldn’t possibly walk any faster. Uh oh, that could only mean one thing. I tested, and yes I was still low. But this wasn’t a normal low at 3.6 mmol/L, or 3.1 mmol/L or even 2.8 mmol/L. My meter told me I was 1.3 mmol/L (24 mg/dl). You don’t have to know much about blood sugars to know that once you get to 1, there isn’t much farther you can drop.
At this point I was about ½ way to Chris’ but decided to turn around, go back to the store, and buy an overload of sugary things (mistake #4, I didn’t call Chris to update him about this dangerous situation I was now in). I headed back, thankfully made it to the store okay, bought a bottle of juice and two packs of candy for good measure (of course this time I had to use my debit card). I paused for a moment (at least I had enough sense to do that) and downed half the juice and a whole pack of candies. At this point I checked my phone, which was still on silent, because I had been gone for about 20mins and thought Chris might be worried. Sure enough, I had 3 missed calls from him and 2 texts asking me where I was. I called him back right away and told him I was almost to his house and I was okay. Once I got to his house and he knew I was okay, he was understandably upset at me. He had his shoes on and said that right when I called, he had been ready to go searching the streets for my body. I’m sorry he ever had to feel such worry on my account, especially when I had caused such a dangerous situation for myself.
I made a lot of mistakes that day, from my initial mistake of heading out on my own without first eating any type of carb, to not calling Chris to update him. But everybody makes mistakes, that’s life, and life as a diabetic means that sometimes those mistakes might be life threatening. Yes it was scary, but on the positive side, both Chris and I learned from it. He decided to buy juice for his house for my lows that he would refrain from drinking (which is very thoughtful and sweet of him). And I was reminded of the importance of having quick sugar on me at all times (you won’t catch me without juice or fruit 2 gos anytime soon, that’s for sure).