Out of nowhere, time can slip away from us when a high or low blood sugar comes at us unexpectedly.
This happened to me the other day, hitting me like a sucker punch in the gut and stealing a couple hours of my afternoon.
Thanks to that Low, those hours are time I’ll never get back. Still, I’m so very grateful that I was able to eventually catch this hypo and treat it myself, and it didn’t happen overnight when my radar for sensing lows seems to go quiet. We have to be grateful for the small blessings, you know?
Besides the considerable risks, what I hate most about these “hypo excursions” is the sense that precious hours of my life have been robbed from me, gone down some unforeseen rabbit hole.
In this case, a cause isn’t tough to pinpoint. I’m assuming it was the fact that I recently began an insulin pump vacation, to take a break through the start of the year, and have gone back to multiple daily injections. While no stranger to the pump hiatus (I’ve been on two in the past three years), it’s always a change that takes my body time to get used to.
My pump use dates back to my final year of college in 2001, and before that I was on two or three injections a day since the time I was diagnosed at age five. But I’m not one who follows the FDA’s guidance of rotating my infusion sets as often as one should, so my skin tends to get worn out and I often look like a bruised and battered pin cushion. There’s some significant scar tissue.
So I’ve gotten used to taking the intermittent pump hiatus and “being free” from that contraption for a bit. Don’t get me wrong: I love pumping, think it’s all kinds of groovy and plan to happily return to that flexibility of dosing. But my body needs time to heal, and the pump vacation mixes things up and allows me to change my routine that doesn’t often get the chance for a refresher.
I’d been mulling over this most recent break for a number of months, and finally decided to begin the day after Thanksgiving. But on Day 6 the bottom fell out of my seamless transition and my D-Management caused me to nearly fall of the cliff (not Congress’ “fiscal cliff” of course, but the BG Cliff that we PWDs know all too well…)
Diabetes can take you over the cliff in a couple of ways.
With Highs, it takes the form of us feeling that we’re stuck in molasses. Tired. Can’t get motivated. Just feel under the weather and as if tucking our heads back under the pillow would make it all go away.
With Lows, so often we just find ourselves quickly gorging on fast-acting carbs and then waiting… waiting for higher BGs to arrive, waiting for safety, waiting before getting behind the wheel or carrying on our workday or studies or whatever life activity has been so rudely disrupted by these unwelcome symptoms.
In that Low I mentioned late last week, I lost several hours of work time thanks to a hypo that hit without warning. That day, I’d forgotten to take my basal dose of Lantus first thing in the morning, so I had to catch up by taking the shot three hours later than usual. As a result, the typical kick I get right after lunch was delayed by a few hours, causing that late afternoon Low.
It seems clear to me now, although it wasn’t then.
Not wearing my Dexcom continuous glucose monitor (CGM) thanks to my current scar tissue hiatus, there was no early warning this time.
I remember the blurry vision, the cold shivers, my inability to concentrate. But instead of mentally connecting the dots and treating that hypo immediately, I managed to convince myself I was just tired and needed to take a nap.
And that’s when I disappeared. Missed a phone conference… Didn’t respond to emails or texts from Amy.
Being that I work from home and the only one at my “office”" with me during the day is my dog, this could’ve turned out badly… Thankfully, it didn’t. I managed to wake up, realize what was happening, and pull myself out of it enough to treat.
About two hours had passed by the time I came out from under this Low and inhaled some of the glucose gel that was on hand. My sensibilities flooded back, and I realized how much valuable time had been lost.
Sometimes, these Lows happen and you can’t prevent them. Sometimes you don’t know why, while sometimes you do. Either way, they aren’t welcome and are scary as hell.
I hate using excuses about diabetes when it comes to work or any part of my life, but when these incidents come up, I’m so incredibly thankful for understanding people who “get it” or at least don’t give me grief.
And when you feel like you’re losing precious hours of your own life due to frustrating factors beyond your control, it’s invaluable having that kind of support.