Day two of International Diabetes Awareness Month
Today, we share our stories of being low.
Although every diabetic knows that lows are just a part of being diabetic, sometimes they can be scary. In my 22 years of being diabetic, I've only really had 3 scary lows, which for someone who just got a CGM last year, is not many.
The first scary low happened when I was newly diagnosed. I was sleeping and then just didn't wake up. My parents had to inject me with glucagon and then call the ambulance. I was taken to the children's emergency as I ended up having a seizure. All the tests came back normal and I was good to go back home.
The second scary low happened when I was in high school. I had changed my glucose meter to USA settings unknowingly. I thought the decimal point had just "gone away", so I was reading everything the Canadian way (80=8.0 mmol/L, meaning I need to do some exercise or take some insulin). So when my meter read 50, I thought I was 5.0, which is a good glucose reading. So I went on with my day. I knew I felt off, but I kept checking my BG and it kept reading well. Until I hit 27, so I went to my locker to grab a snack, but I couldn't figure out how to open it. Keeping in mind 27 mg/ml is 1.5mmol/L, which is VERY low. At that point I stubbled down the stairs to sit outside. I ended up outside my gym teachers window. He saw me sitting there incoherent and asked me if I was okay. Apparently I told him "Yes, I'm fine, I have a bad headache, just waiting for my Mom to pick me up." I am a HUGE liar when I'm low, I have no idea why, but I always have been. When I fell over he called the ambulance and my parents, who informed him that they didn't get a call from me to go home.
By the time my Dad got there, the ambulance was also there. They were able to get my BG up fast enough to not have to go to the hospital. I'm just lucky my gym teacher knew me well enough to know there was definitely something wrong with me.
The third scary low happened while I was driving. This was by far the scariest and luckiest I've ever been. I was leaving work to go home. I knew I was low, so I stopped at the gas station across the street to grab a chocolate bar. I ate it in the parking lot and felt like my blood had gone up enough (obviously I didn't actually check it). So, I left to go home. Back story: I lived about 7 minutes from that job. I used to always take the highway home because I felt like it was faster than the backroads. I decided to take the backroads that night, for whatever reason. I only drove for about 1 minute before I realized I should have waited longer in the parking lot, but it was too late. I ended up in a ditch. Luckily, the car that was driving directly behind me was a friend of the family and was well aware I was T1 Diabetic and knew I was not drunk in any way. They informed the police when they got there, ensuring them my blood sugar must be low as I had just left work, there was no way I was drunk. Thanks to being in a small town, the police officer happened to be the mom of one of my friends, so she definitely knew I was in fact low and had not been drinking. The ambulance arrived administered glucagon (I HATE THAT STUFF!!) and my parents were able to bring me home.
I was terrified of driving after that incident. The fact that I was so sure my blood sugar had gone up scared me. I was so lucky that I took the backroads and not the highway. I was lucky that the car driving behind me was a family friend and that the police officer was the mom of my friend. I was just so lucky, but you can't always have luck on your side.
After that happened, I checked my BG constantly especially before getting in my car. I would have a snack even if I was 6.0, I didn't want to take the risk.
Since getting my Freestyle Libre in 2017, I have been checking my blood sugars like crazy. In fact my endo told me I was going to get anxiety from checking it too often. I switched to the Dexcom G6 this year, since my husband was traveling for work a lot and sometimes my lows didn't wake me up. What a life changing experience. Knock on wood, but I'm hoping these scary lows are in the past now!
Share your scary low experiences with us.