Low Rider

What happened when a low blood sugar interfered with a bike ride.

travis_grubb_profile_page_90x90By Travis Grubbs

March 2012 — It was January 18, 2012, 6:45 PM. I was enveloped in darkness, and a bit unsteady, as I rode my bike home. Being a "multi-tasker," I was also mentally monitoring my physical condition as the glucose tabs worked at raising my blood sugar, in addition to trying to recall Ilene Raymond Rush's column, Second Chances, which contained the excellent piece, "My Partner in Lows". I have yet to formally meet Ilene, but from reading her column and swapping a few Facebook messages with her, I have formed the opinion that she is an awesome lady, as well as an excellent wordsmith.

When I read her column a few days earlier, I was struck by how her husband sprang into action to assist her as she suffered a low while exercising at home. I was left with the impression that she was fortunate that he was nearby and that he is a good partner for her.

I had pretty much forgotten about this column until this evening, when it was my turn to suffer a low. As I arrived home from work at 5 PM, I decided to not ride my bike on the trainer in the garage (a boring endeavor), but to ride it on the paved bike trail that extends behind my house. This would mean that approximately nine of the eighteen miles would be ridden in the dark, or by "bike light."

I dutifully checked my blood sugar. It was 103, so I skipped eating a quick snack of grapes since I seldom drop more than 20 points during my ride. My 103 was a bit high for this time of a weekday, but I had eaten an awesome hot wings chicken wrap for lunch, so I figured the carbs in the sauce and the tortilla were responsible for my elevated reading.

My ride started off good, but as the sun went down, so did my BS. I was approaching the seventh mile when I started feeling bad and felt sweat running down the side of my face in the chilly 55 degree air. My hands weren't trembling, but I knew I was dropping.

Now, I know we are supposed to "test, not guess," but I knew I was dropping (remember, I am a man and we are never wrong, just mistaken). I reached for my glucose tabs, only to discover that they were safe at home and not in my pocket! Stupid Rookie Mistake = 1, Travis = 0.

Fortunately, I didn't forget my cell phone. I called my wife, Tanya, and arranged for her to meet me at a parking area at one end of the bike trail with my meter and glucose tabs. We met at the designated rendezvous, I tested, and I dropped to 63 — a drop of 40 points! I dutifully downed a couple of glucose tabs. Being a stubborn male, I declined Tanya's suggestion that I stuff my bike into our Toyota Prius, but elected to ride it the two miles home.

I was pissed that this low occurred and I wasn't going to just give in to it. However, I stood and talked to Tanya so that she could scrutinize my condition and see that I wasn't going to go out of my head, collapse, go into a coma, etc., before I attempted my bike ride home.

I arrived home safely, and was pleased to see that I at least completed 12 miles of my abbreviated bike ride. My type 2 may have forced me to revise my plans this time, but I will fight it by not letting my guard down again, expecting the unexpected, and having a partner to help me deal with this chronic condition. I am thankful that Tanya is in this fight with me. She is definitely the right partner for me.

Read more of Travis Grubbs' Turn the Page columns here.


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.

Last Modified Date: June 17, 2013

All content on dLife.com is created and reviewed in compliance with our editorial policy.

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