Being Human

Today I went to IKEA to pick up a small bookshelf and some extra hooks for a peg board I got there a few months ago.  Sounds like a quick and easy errand, right?  Except it’s IKEA. Anyone who’s ever been there knows: it’s a maze, and it’s nearly impossible to get out of there fast.

I had stopped for lunch on my way there, which means I had recently taken insulin.  Because I planned to go on a hike with Lucy as soon as I got home from my “quick errand”, I took a little less than I usually do at lunchtime. Anyway, it’s always a guessing game and every day, needs change for reasons we can measure and understand (i.e. how many carbs we are consuming, how much insulin we are taking, how active we are immediately afterward) and there’s also all the mysterious elements we don’t understand, can’t measure, and really don’t even know about that play into things as well.  Trust me, it’s complicated.

I felt like I was walking around and around, not really getting anywhere.  But that’s sort of how I always feel at IKEA, don’t you?  Those arrows on the floor started to feel very frustrating.  I felt like surely, I must be getting near the end of the road. Eventually, I found the hooks I was looking for.  But as I looked at the package, my brain felt so muddled.  How many hooks were actually in there?  And were they the same shape?  And how many was I suppose to get?  And why the hell was my vision tripping me up so hard?

Just then, I heard the ambulance sound my Dexcom app makes as a warning when I’m having “urgent low blood sugar”.  Ah ha! That explains the big mental struggle I was having.

I reached into my purse for my preferred method of quick sugar to raise my blood sugar- Mentos!  But I only had about 6 left in the package.  “That’s probably enough to get me out of this,” I thought. But I also realized my brain was just failing me, so really… what did I know?  What if it wasn’t enough?

I tried thinking rationally. I thought I could always buy some candy or a Coke there, but then, with that confusing maze, how could I find it quickly.  Could I just ask a nearby stranger if they happened to have any sugar they could give me?  OH. NO.

I was getting dizzier and more confused by the second.  And I was having little black spots in my vision that I sometimes get when my glucose level drops severely low. There was nothing left for me to do, so I just sat down in the middle of the aisle.

And within just a minute or two, a girl appeared out of no where, and leaned down and said, “Do you need help?  Are you okay?”

Honestly, I’m not exactly sure what was said between us, but it went something like this.

Her, again, because I think I was just staring and not responding to her first questions: “Really, anything you need. I can get you water, or food, or just whatever.  Just let me know how I can help you.  I work here. We have a care team for stuff like this and I can get them to give you whatever help you need.”

Me: “Well…  I’m not ok. But I think I will be.  I’m sorry. Maybe it would help if I  could get some quick sugar- like juice.”

I felt stupid and embarrassed, but also desperate and grateful she showed up when she did.

She walked away for a minute, and then came right back to let me know she had told them (the “care team”) where she was so they could come to us.  She sat with me as I kept apologizing and telling her that I thought I was already feeling much better. She said, “Hey, this is no big deal.  I’m more than happy to help you.  This is just BEING HUMAN.”  She told me her grandfather had diabetes so she remembers him having trouble like I was, when she first noticed me. I had asked her how she noticed I was struggling and she said, “Well, I don’t normally see anyone plop down in the middle of the store- usually not even kids, unless something’s really wrong.”  Who knew that was the universal SOS cry?!

As soon as the two care team people showed up with some orange juice, I was just overcome with emotion.  I think I was scared, freaked out, and as a bonus, my brain was just really struggling to come out of it’s deep fog.  And I found myself not only on the floor, drinking oj with 3 IKEA employees around me, but then all of the sudden, crying.  And truthfully, I was just crying because I was thinking how sometimes, being human is such a fragile, and also nice thing.  I was reminded that that’s really what we as humans are all about.  Helping each other when we suffer the proverbial fall.

Being human.

It’s not that big of a deal.

But GOD, do I appreciate it.

Blood Sugar Roll Call

I’m not totally sure what is meant by today’s topic put out by the #happydiabeticchallenge – I guess I’m suppose to shout out my current blood sugar?

Here’s mine right now:

That looks great, but let me tell you- had you seen me about an hour ago at the dog park, it dipped (I think) more than this graph shows, and I was NOT looking so good then.  I had to cut me and my boy’s time out there a little short because I was feeling like crap, as it took a while to get back above that magical 65/70 spot that makes all the difference. I had candy with me, but I HATE eating crap to treat a low.  So instead, I ate half a Larabar.  Way healthier, but it also takes a lot longer to bring my blood sugar up. Fortunately for me, I’ve got a patient dog. He was happy to take a load off while we waited for me to start feeling human again.

And if we could go back even further and look at the past 24 hours of that graph, you’d see I also got out of my “desirable” range (WELL above it, in fact) for no reason yesterday afternoon before dinner.  I brought it down, and felt pretty good about where it was at when I went to bed.  But around midnight, that bitchy blood sugar had a mind of it’s own and shot back up around 150 and hovered there all night.  I like to sleep through the night with a lower blood sugar than that and usually I do, but lately, that’s not the case.

(*Note.  I took a screen shot of my Dexcom readings for the 24 hour period to put here, but when I tried to post it, or import it into photos on my computer it said due to security reasons, I was not allowed to do that. Sorry there’s no graphic here. )

So I sort of call BS on this Blood Sugar roll call.  Saying what my blood sugar is in ONE moment, does NOT tell the full story of even a 24 hour period.


Coke Saves Lives (When You’re a Type 1 Diabetic)

It’s not often that I drink a real Coke. It’s also not often that I accidentally take way too much insulin.  But the two seem to go together well.

the two look nothing alike really. and i keep them in different places. but still… mistakes happen.

Last night, okay- I’ll admit it-, after a glass or two of wine, I dialed up my insulin pen to take my long acting shot of Tresiba for the night.  Except that the second after I injected it, I realized, “Oh crap! This is NOT the Tresiba pen.  This is my Humalog pen!” And then I immediately started searching around for any sugar I had with me so I could counteract what that insulin would soon be doing to my blood sugar.  I had some Mentos (my favorite th-2go-to sugar when I’m having a low blood sugar situation), but most likely not enough to make it through this pickle I had just gotten myself into. I asked my husband to run to the store and get me candy.

It was a little late, and we are on vacation, in the mountains, so he just went to this little market very close to us to see what they had.  Thankfully, they were open, because lots of places around here were already closed for the night.  They didn’t have any candy.  But they did have a 2 liter bottle of Coke.

A Coke. And a smile.

To be honest, I’m so glad it was Coke rather than Mentos this time.  It’s one thing to eat 3 or 4 Mentos when I’m a little low.  But to have to eat gobs of them over the next several hours would have really made me sick I think.  Getting the Coke down wasn’t so bad though. In the beginning, it was actually sort of glorious!

Fortunately, we had a pretty light dinner, so I wasn’t having to drink Coke on a full stomach.  I kept my glucometer near by, as well as my Dexcom. About 30 minutes after my accidental insulin shot, I saw that my blood sugar was starting to tank, so I started drinking the Coke.  This was a medical need!!  And at least, in the beginning, I was sort of in heaven. I even ate a few chips to really get the party going.

I continued to drink a very small glass of Coke about every 15 minutes.  My blood sugar stayed around the 70s-80s range, but it never got below 65 mg/dL.  I was trying to avoid severe highs and lows- those rollercoasters all of us diabetics know all too well- and I actually did!  I knew my Humalog would peak around 1.5-2 hours, and would clear out of my system within 4-5 hours.  We all (that’s me, Fermin, Lucy and Ricky) stayed up until 2am, to make sure I went to bed when my blood sugars had leveled out.

As always, I slept with my Dexcom by my bedside. And I was able to sleep through the night without any high or low alarms going off.  YAY!

Coke. Sometimes, it’s what’s good for you.