A Story About A Severe Low

A Severe low is nothing to take lightly. After all, not only is it frightening, it can kill you! A severe low is when there is too much insulin in the blood, resulting in an often sudden drop in blood sugar level.  This results in a whole host of symptoms which include confusion, slurred speech, slow reaction time, unconsciousness, and sometimes coma or death. Many times a diabetic suffering a low blood sugar will seem to be drunk or otherwise intoxicated.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  We (my husband and I) began the day with a walk to downtown to enjoy the 21st annual Kingsburg Car Show. We only live a couple of blocks from downtown, so the walk there and back was short, but the walk while there was a good mile. diabetes

After the car show we decided to ruin our good workout by going out to lunch.  We enjoyed a Chinese buffet.  I bloused (taking fast acting insulin to cover the carb count in a meal) as best I could figure for what I intended to eat.  I actually estimated well because I didn’t spike over 140 all afternoon.

At home I spent the afternoon and evening doing some house cleaning broken up with breaks to rest my aching back and check my Facebook, email, blog site, and other sites I’m a member of. And spend a bit of time watching T.V. with my man and cat.  My blood sugar stayed well within the normal range all day, save for the slight spike post lunch.

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Hubby and Macie

It was about 9 P.M. when I realized I hadn’t eaten since lunch. I immediately made the dim-witted decision to eat some peanut M&M’s I had been eyeballing all day.  I sat on the couch and watched some television while popping the candy, one after another, until they were gone.  This was one of those large bags meant for groups of people to enjoy.

Oh, yeah, I bolused for it.

I took my blood sugar reading, calibrated my CGM, took my nightly basal insulin dose, took my nightly pills (which include Metformin for insulin resistance), and then hung out on my computer for a bit before deciding to go to bed.  I didn’t want to go to bed.  You see, I was exhausted after my long, productive, and active day, but I had just eaten a ton of candy and knew if I lay in bed it would only make me feel icky.

I went to bed.  I chatted with my husband for a bit.  Making sure to complain about how nauseous I felt.  My man replied more than once with comments on how I shouldn’t binge on candy.

My CGM went off with a warning.  I expected to see a high alert but was surprised to see a low alert, 52. I got up and checked my blood sugar, expecting to have to calibrate my CGM, but my blood sugar actually was low, 57.  I expected it to come up on its own.  I have gastroparisis which means my stomach tends to digest and empty slowly.  This can delay rises in blood sugar as well.

I lay in bed, feeling sick, waiting for my blood sugar to rise.  I chatted with my husband a bit more.  I wasn’t feeling low at all, but I was feeling sleepy.

The next thing I remember is my husband crouched down in front of me.  I was sitting on the edge of the bed.  He was talking to me, asking me questions. He was spooning honey Greek yogurt into my mouth. I asked what was going on.  Slowly realization of what was happening set in.  My lips and entire mouth were tingling with numbness. I was trying to ask questions but I couldn’t make the words work; I was thinking the correct questions but the words were all wrong.

My husband asked me what food he was handing me. I saw trail mix, but I thought colors.  I knew it was peanuts and M&M’s. But all I could think of for the words was red and blue.  I knew it was wrong.  I wanted to cry.   I have heard of people experiencing aphasia, but this was the first time I ever have (if that’s even what it was).  It was very unsettling. diabetes1

Within seconds things were becoming more clear.  I asked what time it was.  I asked what my blood sugar was.

“It’s low.”  He answered.  He showed me my CGM.  There was no number, it just said “LOW” in red letters.

I asked what my meter read.  You can’t rely on a CGM for exact blood sugar.  My husband said he had checked my blood and got an error.  I told him to bring it to me.  Either he had made a mistake in his panic, or my blood sugar was so low the meter couldn’t read it.

I checked my blood sugar and by this time it was up to 72.

I sat and talked to my husband about what had happened.  I told him everything I remembered.  He told me I had rolled over to go to sleep and then I started punching him. He asked me what was up and I just let out some weird grumble sigh.  He instinctively knew something was wrong and in just the few seconds it took him to sit up and nudge me, I was unconscious and unresponsive.

It took him minutes to wake me and get me to sit up on the edge of the bed.  He put glucose tablets in my mouth and pretty much had to dissolve them to get me to swallow them.  He was so panicked that all his severe low training flew out the window.  He fed me yogurt.  And when I finally came around to moving, and mumbling, he tried to get me to eat trail mix and bread.

“Oh, my God, my blood sugar is going to go through the roof.”

An entire bag of peanut M&M’s that was still sitting in my stomach, and now all of this.  I felt so over stuffed.

I also felt incredibly sleepy.

I went to sleep knowing full well I was going to wake with a skyrocketed blood sugar.  And I did.  I woke a bit later to my CGM warning me I was getting high.  I was scared to take insulin and go back to sleep.

So I just went back to sleep.

Several hours later I awoke to a blood sugar of 394.

I hate roller-coasters.

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Author: Tamra K. Garcia

Stephen King says to "Write what you know." I know diabetes, I know me; so this is what I write about.

3 thoughts on “A Story About A Severe Low”

  1. How mentally depriving are the roller coasters…I hate them too, you know they are just going to make your day so crap. I felt everything reading this as I have been through it many times. New day, new outcome…be strong.

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  2. Tamra, you write wonderful blogs. Thanks!

    I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6. I had seizures several times each year, and my parents had a very difficult time bringing me back to a conscious state. I think my last seizure was in the 1980s. I test 15 times per day to keep a close check on my BG levels. A CGM would certainly help, do you have one? Medicare does not cover them, so I have to do frequent testing to compensate.

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    1. Yes, I do have a CGM and it does help a lot. I still test at least four times a day because a CGM is not meant to replace blood testing. But it does help to see trends in glucose levels and alert to highs and lows. I just didn’t pay attention this time.

      Liked by 1 person

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