LifeAfterDx--Diabetes Uncensored

A internet journal from one of the first T1 Diabetics to use continuous glucose monitoring. Copyright 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016

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Location: New Mexico, United States

Hi! I’m William “Lee” Dubois (called either Wil or Lee, depending what part of the internet you’re on). I’m a diabetes columnist and the author of four books about diabetes that have collectively won 16 national and international book awards. (Hey, if you can’t brag about yourself on your own blog, where can you??) I have the great good fortune to pen the edgy Dear Abby-style advice column every Saturday at Diabetes Mine; write the Diabetes Simplified column for dLife; and am one of the ShareCare diabetes experts. My work also appears in Diabetic Living and Diabetes Self-Management magazines. In addition to writing, I’ve spent the last half-dozen years running the diabetes education program for a rural non-profit clinic in the mountains of New Mexico. Don’t worry, I’ll get some rest after the cure. LifeAfterDx is my personal home base, where I get to say what and how I feel about diabetes and… you know… life, free from the red pens of editors (all of whom I adore, of course!).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Nocturnal low

Dateline—3 a.m.
Blood sugar 52 mg/dl


Guardian didn’t wake me.

Neither of my Type-3’s woke me.

The cat didn’t wake me.

The sweat woke me up.

I’m drenched, my shirt wet and cold, clinging damply on my shivering skin. With shaking hands I do a fingerstick using Abbott’s new rubber-backed Freestyle Lite; the Queen of the Night. She uses self coding strips and features a large readout with a bright white “strip light” that lets you test in total darkness.


I stare dumbly at the number the Queen reports, trying with a muddy brain to process the fact that my blood sugar is dangerously low. I fumble blindly for my jar of cherry slices; my default cure for hypos small and large. I get the lid off the jar, my hands now shaking. I fumble one piece out of the jar and try to eat it slowly. Then a second. That’s about 20 or 25 carbs now. More than enough. I could go back to sleep and wake up in the morning.

But riding on the wind with the Hypo comes it’s dark partner: Fear.

My IQ roughly equivalent to my blood sugar, I stumble to the kitchen, half blind, my glasses who-knows-where. In the pantry I find an unopened sack of yogurt covered raisins. I zip off the easy open tab, but my hands are shaking too much to get the sack open. I cut closer to the re-sealable zipper with the kitchen scissors. No luck. Damn these Fresh-Lock (a registered trade mark of the Presto Products Company, no shit) containers! I wonder how many diabetics have died in the night trying to open Fresh-Lock sacks to get to carbs?

In desperation I try tearing into the sack using my teeth. No go. Tough stuff, these Fresh-Locks. Finally, I eviscerate the sack with the scissors and begin stuffing the raisins greedily into my mouth. Next comes cookies and corn chips. Between the two bowls of Apple Jacks my IQ crosses the 100 mark and I take 10 units of Humalog from the grey pen. I know the rebound excursion is coming.

Then I collapse back into bed. My heart is pounding in my rib cage. A frantic animal trying to escape it’s cage as the ship sinks. A double pulse. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump. THUMP-tump.

So heavy and strong I can almost hear it. Am I having a heart attack? Is it the huge surge of sugar coursing through my veins? Is it the adrenaline of fear?

3 Comments:

Blogger Frayed Edges said...

I sat here reading this and have tears streaming down my face as I did so. I'm so new to the whole diabetic realm and fear seems to be my constant companion these days. I was right there with you as you ate the cherries, the raisins, the Apple Jacks...(OJ and a Crunch bar yesterday for me)...the sweats, and OMG, the fear.

Thank you for sharing. I feel, for some reason, more human right now than I have in days...to know that I'm really not the only one.

8:38 AM  
Blogger Chrissie in Belgium said...

All THAT happens to you at 52mg/dl. It is so scary to me that only when I am in the 30s do I sweat or even begin to feel anything! And do you have an explanation for the hypo. When they hit you for NO REASON that really messes with my head!

11:57 AM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Lows that wake me during the night kick my ass. Big time.

2:27 PM  

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