Last Friday evening was one of my worst in 26 years of living with Type 1 diabetes. It left me feeling pretty depressed and not myself at all emotionally, mentally or physically...for days. It was pretty remarkable how terrible I felt and how long it took to feel like myself again.
How it all unfolded...
Friday was a jam packed day. It started with the interment (burial of ashes) of my husband's grandmother that passed away in May. While I had a lovely time visiting with family it just left me feeling worn out and needing some time alone. I do have tendencies toward introversion as I age!
I also got to bed later than I planned the night before. By the time I got home from being with family I had a short time to rest before zooming off to a medical appointment. While it went well, it just further left me in need of some rest and down time.
Too tired for anything more
Plans on the schedule that night? My 20 year high school class reunion. I had bought tickets over a month ago for my husband and I - $40 bucks each. There was going to be light appetizers served and pizza later in the evening. As I live with multiple food sensitivities, my options were limited as far as what I would be able to eat. Famished, I made a quick dinner to eat at home of leftovers with my husband.
By the time I finished dinner I realized how tired I was and how much in need of exercise I was. While I usually go on walks daily, I am recovering from a foot injury and not able to go on walks. It had been days since my last bike ride and I had blood sugars that reflected it---high.
I made the choice then and there that I would take care of my health to get back on track rather than make my way 25+ miles across the Twin Cities to attend my reunion. Bummed about the $80 we were losing and that I would miss visiting with some classmates I was looking forward to seeing again, I just had to let it go. Forcing myself to attend when I was too tired to mutter out more than a few words was not going to help anything.
Feeling anything but cool this Friday night...
As I left for my bike ride after dinner I mentioned to my husband that I needed a prescription at the pharmacy and that I would drive there when I got home. He suggested cycling there as part of my bike ride which I agreed was a good idea.
How utmost lame I felt though on a Friday night with this extra little assignment. Cycling to Walgreens for a prescription, missing my reunion because of fatigue and low energy... well I was going to make the best of it and roll with the punches. My plans were what life as a diabetic were going to be, at least for me that night.
Where the problems began?
I had eaten a fairly large dinner, much more carb heavy than usual (think leftover Chinese food on a VERY hungry belly) and I took my regular meal time dose of insulin as I knew how carb heavy it was (it was more insulin than I would normally take before exercise). Concerned it might be too much, I also knew I balanced my meal with protein and I was only planning to ride for 30 minutes-- just to get some movement. I thought I would be okay.
I packed a sandwich bag of green grapes for my bike sack in case my blood sugar dropped too low then headed off for my ride. I decided to just stay in the neighborhood due to the stop at Walgreens needed.
The bike ride
I felt content and snapped this picture for Facebook while I chatted with a woman out for a walk with her dog and ate my grapes. Every last one. Still low, I ate some energy fruit chews tucked away in my bag. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I was talking with her for a while then became nervous when I looked down at my CGM once again to see I was still low.
The grapes were doing nothing. The lady then seemed to notice something might be wrong. I commented I was in a severe low blood sugar and would try calling my husband. I was surprised as she quickly scurried away without saying much else. Didn't she hear the word "severe" I had used and maybe feel a little concerned?
I called my husband's cell. No answer. I called the home line. No answer. Feeling very low, I used all of the energy in me to send a text..
Help. Where are you?
And I waited anxiously for him to text or call back. It felt like an eternity. Every few minutes I kept checking my CGM to only see my blood sugar was not going up and staying in the 50's. It was getting darker out as the sun set and I was starting to shiver. Mosquitoes were biting my legs. I was miserable.
Still low, I was starting to get nervous. How will I make it 3 miles home on my bike with a blood sugar that will not go up? Of course I was also being cautious not to over consume energy chews in a frenzy either to prevent a rebound.
Those moments felt like an eternity. I felt fragile. Weak. Helpless. By this time I was starting to cry.
My cell phone battery was getting low which made me cautious about making too many phone calls. I finally tried calling my husband one more time sure I would not reach him as he had not called back yet. He answered, "Hello?"
All I could do was sob. And sob hard. He kept asking if I was okay. I couldn't get any words to come out and just cried out all the pain, fear, frustration and disappointment I felt.
I was angry too. Finally between the tears I barely got the words out to ask, "Where have you been? Didn't you get my messages? I called you on your cell phone and on the home line. I texted you too." He responded that he had been outside with our dog Jonah and didn't realize I called or texted as he did not check his phone when he got inside.
He asked where I was and said he would come find me. Tired of waiting, tired of being cold with no jacket and bit up I hopped back on my bike to make my descent down a hill on the bike path toward home. I knew it wasn't a good idea as my sugar was not at a safe level to exercise but I was not thinking clearly and just wanted to get home to warmth and comfort.
My plans to have a quick bike ride before a night of rest and reading was not happening and it left me upset. I stopped at a picnic table realizing I did not want to risk falling off my bike and injuring myself.
Jaim finally arrived. He handed me an orange juice drink box and told me to drink it. Jaim walked my bike back to the car while I walked slowly alongside of him. My teeth wouldn't stop chattering in between sips of juice.
Talking it through
There was silence most of the way home before stopping at Walgreens for the prescription I needed. Then we talked.
What can we do better next time so this does NOT happen again?!?! He knew I was only going for a 30 minute bike ride to get movement. Wasn't he worried? Why hadn't he called to check on me or at least returned my calls??
He explained that I almost never come home when I say I'm going to. I get caught up talking with friends in the neighborhood or Jonah our dog finds a friend or two to play with while we are out on our walks. I was still angry and felt let down by him. If he had only been there to take my original call or checked his phone and seen my text, those scary feelings of being abandoned and helpless would not have been felt. I would still have been low, but that I could have dealt with. Having a condition that can at times take away your ability to do what you need is frightening.
As I talked through my feelings I got the dreaded alert on my CGM. It was now going double arrows up. Rebounding. The worst. The drink box I had drank to be safe was not needed.
Trying to create a solution
We decided that for future bike rides or walks, etc that I would text him when I leave and if I am held up for any reason to text him to let him know I am okay. And that he would keep a closer eye on his cell phone when I was out exercising alone. I ended up texting him the next day that I was going for a bike ride after yoga and again when I needed to stop to eat a snack while on my bike ride around the lake.
I am not sure if this is fool proof but I do not want to be stuck in that kind of situation again. It was horrible. Diabetes is hard enough with just daily management but to be in a situation that leaves you feeling so defenseless and scared is not one I want to repeat anytime soon.
Here's to good blood sugars for all of us moving forward as we get out to do the exercise that helps us live long and healthy lives.
What is one of your scariest moments with diabetes?
In Peace & Wellness,
Please join my diabetes blog Facebook community where I share daily about what brings me health, inspiration and smiles as well as some hardships too. You can also connect with me on Twitter or sign up below to receive an email in your inbox each time I post a new article. Thanks for reading and hope to see you around soon!