A New Low
The surprise sneak attack of a low blood sugar.
By Travis Grubbs
April 2008 — It happened to me on March 4, 2008 at approximately 6:00 p.m. Looking back, I think the first sign of a problem was at 4:45 p.m. I was standing in City Hall talking to a councilman about a construction project when I started to feel slightly sweaty. I did not think anything about it because it had been raining that day and the humidity was still high. I left City Hall at about 5:00 p.m. and then drove the thirty-eight miles home.
I enjoy this drive because just about all of it is through rural areas dotted with pastures containing goats, cattle, and one small pasture with donkeys. It is also not unusual to see a few wood ducks in the marshy areas, or a deer in one of the fields. After a pleasant drive home, I walked into the house at 5:50 p.m. and was enthusiastically greeted by my three dogs, Candi, Penny, and Dixie. My wife, Tanya, was pretty pleased to see me as well. As I said hello to the girls and kissed my wife, I felt fine.
At 6:00 p.m. I was returning a phone call and checking e-mails when it hit. I started sweating profusely and felt ill. My hands were trembling, and my arms felt very weak. I got off of the phone and carefully made my way to the kitchen table, where I keep my diabetes supplies, and quickly sat down because I did not trust my legs to hold me up. I checked my blood sugar and stared at the number 45 on the monitor's screen. I was dumb founded. How did this happen?
I called Tanya to the table, showed her my reading, and asked her to get my cashews. She quickly returned with them and an energy bar, one of those fruit, nuts, and oatmeal compressed concoctions. I ate two handfuls of nuts and the energy bar. I remained at the table until I began to regain my strength. I then went into our bedroom and laid down. I was exhausted and still felt bad. After a while, I ate dinner, but I was back in bed by 8:30 p.m.
I had been low before, but the 45 reading was a record low for me. I had never been below 55, and there was always an explanation such as eating late or extensive physical activity. This time there was no explanation and not much of a warning. My type 2 just reared up and said "SURPRISE!"
I am thankful that this low had not occurred while I was driving home since I did not have anything with me to eat in my car, and all of the protein / carbohydrate sources were still feeding in the fields. I keep glucose tablets in my document bag, but since they were very seldom needed, I had left them at the office. That has changed! I now have glucose tablets in my desk at work, in my car, in my document bag, and in my pantry. I also keep nuts in my desk at work and now make it a practice to eat a handful before leaving the office. After this experience, I am determined to not set another record low, or revisit the present one.
dLife's Viewpoints columnists are not all medical experts, but everyday people living with diabetes and sharing their personal experiences, most often at a set point in time. While their method of diabetes management may work for them, everyone is different. Please consult with your diabetes care team before acting on anything you read here to find out what will work best for you.
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