Thursday, June 2, 2011

Glucose Tabs and Tight Ropes

Wandering through the produce section of Walmart Neighborhood Market, I felt a little bit funny.  I glanced at Dexcom and saw a 75.  That's not far from low and Dex hadn't been having the most accurate day, so I thought I'd better make sure.  I pushed my cart out of the way near the deli counter, where a lady waiting for her order started to eye me as I fished through my giant purse, and got my meter case out.  I opened it up, inserted a strip, and tried to pull the lancer out of its elastic.

The cap popped off and went flying, bounced off a shelf, and rolled under my cart.  Dang it.  I put the lancer down... and it rolled off the meter case, bounced through the slots in the metal grocery cart, and landed underneath.  The nosey lady stared hard.

I heaved a sigh, started to move the cart out of the way, and the meter case flipped off of the produce I'd balanced it on and into the cart.

I glanced at the nosey lady and felt extreme annoyance.  At this point, I knew testing was only a formality.  I'm clumsy when I'm low, and now I was getting both frustrated and irritable.

I moved my cart, gathered and assembled everything, and tested.  55.  Not a number that makes me panic, but not a good number at all.  I fished the last four Starburst out of my purse and unwrapped and ate them as I contemplated buying pretzel crisps and hummus.  (Pretzel crisps, yes.  Hummus, not today.)  I didn't feel good at all, but just moved slowly and tried not to let my instinct to eat sugar for survival convince me to pile donuts and cookies into my cart.

Almost 15 minutes later, Dex buzzes and flashes a 44.  I've started to sweat and I definitely feel worse.  I should feel better by now.  I abandon my trip to the cracker and cookie aisle and make a B-line for the pharmacy, where I know there's a bench.... and a water fountain.  I'm powerfully thirsty (something that normally accompanies a high, but whatever).  I sit a minute to let myself hit the 15-minute mark and test again to see a 57.

Not. Good.

I don't have anymore candy in my purse, but there was a further point to heading for the pharmacy bench; it's immediately across from the diabetes supplies.

I grab a bottle of glucose tabs and, sweating on the bench, struggle to tear the plastic off of the cap.  I'm starting to feel a little embarrassed...  Am I going to have to ask someone to open this for me?  I'm not that bad off! I finally make a dent and tear the plastic back in a ribbon, get the dang thing open, and eat three tabs in rapid succession before I stick the jar in my cart and drink deeply from the fountain.

Oh glucose tabs, you may be chalky, but you are a sight for my tired, hypoglycemic eyes.

Finally content, I sat on the bench and spent at least 10 minutes (which felt more like an hour) dabbing sweat from my face and hoping I didn't look or smell too awful.  But no one seemed to be paying attention to the pasty, sweaty pregnant lady on the bench, so I figured I was probably good.  Then I started wondering... would people notice if I passed out on the bench?  Would they assume I was some weirdo who had fallen asleep and just let me get worse?  Even though I was sure I would be OK, I fingered the medical alert charm hanging from my neck to make sure it was visible.

Once I started feeling human again, I made myself stay on the bench a few more minutes for good measure.  55 is not the lowest number I've ever had, but this was by far one of my worst lows.  It felt horrible and it had been persistent.  It had actually made me worry for myself and my baby.  It reminded me that the necessary tight control I've been keeping for the health of my baby includes some danger.  When you're keeping your numbers this low, you don't have very far to fall when your numbers start to drop.  Tight control is also a tight rope.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Elizabeth, I have had many a low like this! I feel so bad that you went through this and that nosey lady didn't even see that there was a reason for concern! I get very clumsy when I'm low and drop everything, which only infuriates me more.

    I've actually sat in the cookie isle ripping open bags of cookies and shoving them in my mouth when having a bad low. No one even stops to think that maybe it's a medical issue...not a woman possibly pms'ing!

    Hang in there!!!