It’s as simple as walking around the block, running to catch the bus, screaming at insurance companies on the phone–I never know when it’s going to hit, but suddenly it’s there like a bat in your hair (actually my experience with bats has been positive; I watched them fly seamlessly from the dock overhang of my boyfriend’s place in Florida).
Anyway, it’s that moment when you feel weak, like your body is giving out. Your arms start to go limb. Your mouth feels dry. You’ve lost sensation in your feet. Taking a step requires effort. And then it hits you. Your blood sugar is low. But who wants to eat another glucose tablet? The nasty powdery aftertaste they leave does not coincide with my hygiene routine. I already brush my teeth more than the recommended two times per day.
I even started using this “natural” toothpaste because I figure if I’m going to brush my teeth that much, I might well as safeguard my health. Well, that’s another story. But do I carry juice on me? Not like my former roommate, another type 1 (coincidentally I might add–we met her through Craigslist) who carries juice boxes around for those “low” moments, something her mom started doing when she was diagnosed at 13. Some habits never change.
But I’ve never had that habit. I always stayed away from sugary foods. The only liquid I ever drank was water. Why was I diagnosed with diabetes, you ask? Hell if I know. If you read my book, Sugarcoated, you’ll have a better understanding of the whole “diabetes” situation.
Sometimes, it’s not as simple as one, two, three. I don’t even know I’m having a low (my doctor tells me that’s because I have too many lows). Like today, I was covering an event for the communications office where I work. I took a break and stepped into the nearby cafe for some refreshment on this 95 degree day in Baltimore.
I always carry water with me (yes I’m the one that goes to the bathroom two or three times during a three hour movie–who wants to sit there for three hours anyway?). But what about some vitamin water? I didn’t want any more coffee. I’ve been trying to suppress my need for caffeine. I picked up the zero calorie version. No need to take insulin when I don’t have to.
I paid for the drink and twisted off the cap. After one sip, I thought, this is a lot sweeter than an artificially sweetened drink should be. Sure enough, I’d picked up the regular vitamin water (a whopping 32 grams of sugar per serving size). By the way, serving sizes are not always the whole bottle. I thought this was awfully deceptive when I was first diagnosed and had to pay attention to carbohydrate amounts.
But then it occurs to me. I feel kind of weak. I’ve been walking around the heat with my insulin pump on. There’s still active insulin in my system from breakfast, and usually that plus exercise causes my blood sugar to drop. So maybe I didn’t feel “low,” but I like to think my body took action on my behalf and picked up the high-sugar drink instead of the non-sugar one to replenish itself.
I know that’s not likely, but it makes me feel better knowing I’m not in this alone, that someone is looking out for me even if that person is inadvertently me.
I saved the rest of the vitamin water for my next low. It’s bound to happen, and I look forward to the blackberry-pomegranate aftertaste more than the raspberry flavored powder in my pocket.