On Friday, Mike Hoskins over at Diabetes Mine wrote about how hypoglycemia (low blood glucose) feels to him. If you have diabetes, you have your own experiences with hypoglycemia. Nearly everyone’s reaction is different. I almost left a response after reading Mike’s post, but I thought I would write about it here instead.
This is a case where pre-bolusing didn’t work for me.
Friday morning, I was in a hurry to get to work, and I ran out the door without preparing my lunch. This isn’t something I do very often; only about 8 or 10 times per year, I’d guess. Anyway, to save time, I ran out the door with the expectation that I would just grab lunch at a local deli near where I work downtown.
So lunchtime comes, and my BG reading says 82 mg/dL. Not too bad, right? I know I’m buying out for lunch, and that usually comes with more carbs than my normal lunch. Hence the pre-bolus. I knew what I was going to order, and I bloused for it as I was headed downstairs.
I got downstairs and walked the two blocks to the deli, ordered a grilled ham and cheese and a bag of chips to go (this is why I don’t eat out for lunch often). I got my order and started walking with it back to the building where I work. So far, so good.
But when I got back to work, the fire alarms were sounding and I was told I couldn’t go back into the building.
Now I start to worry. I’m worried because I know hypoglycemia is either here or close. And immediately, I started to form contingency plans in my head:
– What if I can’t get back into the building in the next few minutes?
– What if I’m expected to walk down the street and gather with my co-workers at our assigned evacuation spot?
– What will my co-workers think of me if I start gobbling down my lunch in front of a potentially serious gathering of hundreds?
– What if my glucose gets too low before I can figure all this out?
– What if it’s some other kind of emergency and my co-workers are stuck inside while I’m stuck outside? Now I’m concerned about them. How can I help?
To answer these questions, my mind started racing through all kinds of potential scenarios. Sometimes when I’m low, this type of thing races through my head like wildfire in a pine forest. My mind knows that I’m supposed to eat, eat, eat. But that part of my instinct was trying to be squashed by something that almost borders on paranoia.
After a couple of minutes of waiting, but what really seemed like half an hour or so, the alarms were turned off and I was able to get back into the building and enjoy my lunch. A weird middle of the day, for sure.
What does this episode tell me? It tells me that I need to do a little self-examination, and see if I can come up with ways to trigger my brain to eat in those circumstances rather than worry about anything else. For me, I know that hypoglycemia sometimes impairs my judgement. But if I can focus on something, anything that helps me remember what I have to do even while mind games are going on inside my head, I’ll be all right.
In the meantime, you better believe I packed my lunch today.