Sometimes the highs are worth it.

I have a lot to talk about this week. But first, I need to get this thing out of my head from yesterday. It’s about a low. One of those nasty, thrashing around, call 911 hypoglycemic events that we all hate to think about. Or talk about. I’m fine, no real harm done, and the EMS people were only at the house for about five minutes because I’m always better by the time they get there anyway, though the thing I hate most about those times (which have been very infrequent) is that they have to be there at all instead of being out helping someone who really needs to be helped.

The thing about the situation yesterday is that it could have been avoided. There are two ways that I could have avoided such a low. And I have a real point to make at the end, I mean it.

The first: I should lay the groundwork here by saying it was around five o’clock, it was already a full day, with a warm afternoon which included my first outdoor bike ride of the year and catching up on cleaning the kitchen within an inch of its life, cleaning the bathroom within an inch of its life, and doing the laundry. I had just come up from the basement after switching over the laundry for the third time, and Maureen said “Whoa, slow down, come sit down, you look pale”. I could feel myself getting low downstairs, and I took an extra couple of minutes (7? 8? 10? Who knows?) to finish everything down there before going back upstairs. You can see where this is going, yes? So I knew I was low when I came up. But I sat down anyway without getting anything or even grabbing my meter. Maureen is like, “You look low… I’m getting some juice and something to eat”. I told her not to, I have a tube of Glucolift tabs in my pocket, and if she could, please get my meter. I didn’t want to overtreat and kill my appetite for what was shaping up to be a nice Sunday dinner. I wanted to know where my BG was so I could ingest an appropriate amount to get back up to an appropriate range.

So in about two seconds (she’s superhero fast like that) she brings me juice, honey, and my meter. “Here, drink this before you test”. “No, I want to test first”. “No, drink this first”. I had to move her hand away from trying to hand me juice while I tried to get a drop of blood to my test strip. And now, with my brain turning to mush, each attempt by her, each word by her, meant that I had to start at zero again and concentrate from the beginning to inch my way toward that strip. And in the end, that drop of blood never made it there, and the meter, myself, and Maureen all made it onto the floor.

If I would have been left alone for just a few seconds, I probably (probably…) would have gotten that reading and then started treating right away.

The second reason: Of course, the worst could have been avoided if I would have just obeyed orders and immediately started drinking juice and eating honey. And popping Glucolifts like they were candy (they do taste like candy, I confess). But I didn’t. And that’s what brings me to the crux of this post.

Here’s what I learned from this experience: Sure, if I would have been on my own, I probably would have tested first, and I’m pretty sure everything would have been okay and there would have been no need for EMS intervention or anything like that.

But the thing is, I wasn’t by myself. There were two people in this scenario, and other than physically, the other person was affected just as much or more than I was by the whole episode. People With Diabetes: Do you think that the other people in your life aren’t affected at all by what you go through? Do you think that they don’t feel for you at these moments? Do you understand that they feel responsible, sometimes guilty for not helping you enough? If I can help it, I do not want to be responsible for heaping more on my loved ones than they already have to endure.

What I learned from this is that sometimes, it’s just better to risk overtreating and suffer the high BG later in order to save your loved ones the unbearable and unnecessary grief, guilt, and fear of the next time. Holy crap, I would give anything to erase that now. Including a little bump in my A1c or a CGM graph or a downward-carb modified dinner.

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  • scully  On March 11, 2013 at 10:47 am

    I really feel for you on this post.
    There are circumstances that warrant the pre-treating of a low bg check. I know more than enough what it feels like to go low before a planned meal. It always happens that way for me ALWAYS! and the lows tend to wreck my appetite and ruin the food and leave me feeling nauseated.
    I would have done the same thing you did.

    It’s amazing what you wrote about your wife. It’s an eye opener when we try to put ourselves in their shoes.


  • seejendance  On March 11, 2013 at 12:04 pm

    Glad you are okay!


  • Jocelyn Foster  On March 11, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    You are so right, we often forget how our diabetes effects the ones we love around us. This post really made me think. I am glad you are ok!


  • Colleen  On March 11, 2013 at 5:44 pm

    What a great reminder! I’m sorry you went low and I’m sorry the EMTs had to visit.


  • Scott K. Johnson  On March 11, 2013 at 9:44 pm

    Yikes, Stephen. Scary. I’m glad you are alright. Sorry you and Maureen had to go through that.

    I know that I need to be more conscious of what I put my wife through. Thank you for the reminder.


  • Calla Rusch  On March 12, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Trust me — Ive been there and done that! I have a tendancy of hiding my fingers when other people try to test me. I refuse to drink juice and try to go back to sleep in the middle-of-the-night lows. I have put my boyfriend through hell with the lows, but he has been calm enough to never had called the EMT’s on me.
    It has effected our relationship at some points. He has gotten fed up enough that he has wanted me to leave!! I’m glad your wife is there to support you, and give you that juice. But I am on your side, and completely understand how easy it is to refuse, especially in times of bad lows!


  • Karen  On March 12, 2013 at 4:18 pm

    I’m so sorry to hear about the bad low and about how much Maureen was affected by it too. I know I’ve put Pete through hell at times also because of a low. And while I’m not saying we shouldn’t try harder not to do that to them . . . .ever . . . . I will say that when we are low, we often just aren’t thinking straight. What seems to make perfect sense now just doesn’t during a low. And that stinks!!


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