Thursday, August 12, 2010

First Time Frightened

(Please note: I am aware that some of my readers have dealt for many years with diabetes being fare more intrusive than mine is at this stage. I am guessing that my reaction to what happened may seem silly, but I want to document this as I experienced it.)

Wednesday morning, my fasting test was in the 140s, higher than is optimal for me. So, though I don't to this often, I decided to test before leaving for my lunch hour and choose lunch based on the result. 132, so I decided to just have a salad for lunch.

I usually like to relax in the staff lounge over lunch hour and pick my meal up on my way back to my desk. I'm trying to do some pre- and post-testing to learn better meals, so I tested again. 82. I'd dropped 50 points in an hour of doing essentially nothing. That felt new, and as close as I was to the bottom of my good range, I was afraid that I was still dropping. And the meal I had chosen was pretty close to carb-free.

I admit it: I panicked a little. Was I going to go low, maybe seriously so? And what could I do to stop it? If something really bad was happening, a quarter cup of tomatoes wasn't going to slow it down. (Did I remember that I had glucose tabs for backup, sitting right in my desk? Noooooooooo.)

For the first time since diagnosis, I was scared about what was happening to me then. Sure, I've worried plenty about complications down the road, and about the significance of the occasional tingling in my feet, but that's a different thing. Even the time I was in the 400s, I knew what had caused it and I thought I knew the best thing to do about it (though I was wrong).

Even though the adult part of my brain kept trying to assure me that a problem was unlikely, I still felt frightened. And, I felt alone.

I calmed down some, and ate my salad. Half an hour later, I was at 87, so I was no longer dropping. At my 2-hour post test, I was nearly 100. The crisis, if there ever was a crisis, was over.

What's significant about that event to me is not what happened with the blood sugar, but how I felt about it. I'm not surprised that I was frightened, but I wouldn't have anticipated the sense of isolation. That sense of isolation might be telling me that I need a stronger emergency backup system. Maybe I need to remind my colleagues about my supply of glucose tabs and what to do if I need them. Maybe I need to decide how I would handle a real semi-emergency, one that didn't seem at a 911 level.

I'm not alone. I just need a plan.


  1. Thank you for sharing, Sir Bob! I was just thinking yesterday after I had gotten back from our little field trip with friends that, yes, they know I'm diabetic, they see me test and give insulin before meals etc....yes, they know I can go low,.....BUT I have not educated them on what they would need for me to do if I passed out or was too scatterbrained from a serious low to treat it myself (ie. test, treat low, maybe even glucagon). So, I, myself need a plan.

  2. Your reaction doesn't seem silly at all. I've had diabetes for over 30 years, and there are still times when I'm terrified about a low. That feeling that we are dropping and there is nothing we can do to stop it and the terror of what could happen . . . . I'm sorry to say I'm not sure that ever goes away.

    What I hate most is that you felt alone. I think reminding your co-workers of what to do and having some sort of an emergency plan is a great idea. I've also found if that fear strikes at a time when I'm able to hop on Twitter, then the support and advice given there goes a long way towards calming me down and reminding me that I'm never alone.

  3. Not silly, no way.
    It's frightening when your body does something you are unfamiliar with. It scares the daylights out of me.

    I know that alone feeling all too well and I despise it. But I live/work alone so....that's what the D-OC is for.

  4. You're certainly *not* alone in feeling this way. I've been T1 for years, but my husband is T2 on meds, and never experienced a low until a while ago he had his first low while we were on a walk but didn't realize what was happening, and because he said nothing to me at the time. When we got home, he ate everything in sight while I was downstairs (probably posting on TuD) totally unaware. During the walk he was apparently using every ounce of his concentration on putting one foot in front of the other to get home that it didn't even occur to him to ask for a Dex glucose that I carry with me. What that experience did though is my husband now has a certain appreciation that he previously did not have for what a low is like. A low can certainly be a confusing and scary thing, especially when you haven't had one before, and it can be unique to each person, and even each time you might have a low can be different from another (altho, hopefully you won't have another!) But most importantly, you are certainly not alone in this, or even close to being silly!

  5. The fact that you felt those feelings make it perfectly valid and I think good for you to talk about them. Not silly at all.


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T Minus Two by Bob Pedersen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.