Wednesday, February 6, 2008


Lately some fellow bloggers (Kerri, Elizabeth, Nicole and Amylia) have been talking about their experiences with severe hypoglycemia, and how our bodies miraculously manage to function despite the crisis raging inside. This afternoon, in the middle of a two-hour meeting, I had my own similar bout with a crashing low.

I normally eat lunch at my desk, and today I was very careful (or so I thought) with my mealtime bolus shot in the hopes of avoiding a drop later on. After my presentation at the beginning of the meeting, our client asked several long, drawn-out questions about my work. I felt weird and knew I needed to go test, but couldn't. I should have eaten more for lunch, I thought. But with a fading case of RPS and an antibiotic floating around in my system, the low really could have come from nowhere. Finally my boss took over and moved the discussion to another agenda item.

Not wanting to be rude, I put off leaving the room as long as possible. A balled fist formed in the pit of my stomach and my fingers tingled with alarm. My pulse was galloping along, a colt intoxicated by the wind. Something very strange and skewed was happening to my eyesight. Finally I knew I couldn't stand it any longer. I picked up my silenced cell phone and pretended to receive a text message. (This dodge seems to go over well in my workplace--a good thing for a "closeted" PWD like me.) No one glanced up as I slipped away and stumbled to my desk. I felt eerily calm, even though the voice in my head screamed, 'Eat something!'

I grabbed a bag of dried tropical fruit and gobbled up what I could while fumbling for my meter. All the while I clocked my time away from the meeting, concerned my boss would notice if I took too long an absence. After a couple of minutes to catch my breath and get down the fruit and a granola bar, I felt steady enough to go back in the room. I picked up my pen and went back to my role of attentive assistant, as if the floor hadn't just fallen out from under me. I didn't even break a sweat. What's weirder, the 34 today felt less intense than a 60 I had a few weeks back. To think of all this happening in the dead of night (as it often does to many of us PWDs) scares me.

It's tough trying to be human. So often I feel more like a little machine, especially when my body's doing its damndest to keep running, even on empty. I just hope the signals keep working to let me know when the tank's almost dry.


Anonymous said...

It really is crazy how this stuff is so familiar to us now that we can still function and think rationally at such low numbers.. I'm glad you found a good way to get out of your meeting at treat it!

Cara said...

Wow. That's awful. I'm glad you are alright. I'm really lucky. My supervisor's daughter has type 1 & a co-worker's husband has type 1. So it's not a big deal for me to treat a low or a high in front of everyone.
I'm glad you're okay.
Somedays a 48 will not even effect me at all, while other days a 65 makes me feel crazy. It unpredictable at times.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Hi there,

Thanks for your comments. I sometimes feel like I'm living a 'double life' at work when it comes to the D. It just ends up being easier for me to keep a lid on it, especially at health insurance enrollment time. My current boss actually tried talking me into a lower-priced HMO so the organization would save money (we're a nonprofit). Having said that, when I have 'outed' myself, the people I worked with were very supportive.

Cara, I think being women we're especially attuned to the ups and downs of the numbers! I swear it's worse when I'm mid-cycle, I'll crash at 65. Weird :(

Thanks for reading!

Scott K. Johnson said...


I agree with snd1590 - it's crazy how we can get through these, almost like on autopilot!

I think it's weird too how the intensity of the low doesn't always correspond with the actual numbers.

daedalus2u said...

I don't have diabetes, and don't know anyone who does, but to me it is absolutely "crazy" to worry about being "rude" when you are going into hypoglycemia.

Hypoglycemia can be a life threatening event. It is not "rude" to excuse yourself to do something that is necessary to save your life. If the people you are around don't understand that, you should find other people to be around. (I appreciate that is easy for me to say, particularly around work).

The "low" that is most important isn't the "low" in your blood, it is the "low" in the tissues of your brain that are outside of your vasculature. But those levels can't be measured. Those are the levels that make the difference between being concious and not. Some other substrates can substitute, such as lactate and acetate, but usually those are low.

Araby62 (a.k.a. Kathy) said...

Hi daedalus2u,

Thanks for your comment. I find it really fascinating to find out what's happening, scientifically speaking. I'm very lucky to have never lost consciousness during a low. Having said that I don't want to "push it", and this episode was rare in context.

As PWDs know, it's difficult sometimes to balance work and other real-life demands with diabetes. I'm pretty good about making my health a priority--I pursued a less demanding career and have left jobs where the "people around me" didn't get it. This one is no exception...just don't tell my boss yet :-)

Thanks for reading!