Diabetes Blogs

One Bad Day: 2 D's, a Low and a High

I know it's a Monday... but they aren't usually this bad!! My favorite cafe has been closed for months due to an expansion and remodel. It reopened a few weeks ago and I was set to meet a d-friend there late this morning for brunch. Before I arrived, she called to tell me that it's closed today. What are the chances? We drove a few miles into St. Paul to go to one of my other favorite cafe's where I know the food is safe with my multiple food sensitivities. I arrived and waited at a table for her to get to our new location.

At several minutes past 11:00am, just as my friend arrived, I asked the staff at the counter if they might be still willing to serve me from the breakfast menu (available until 11:00 am) -- what I really was craving and hoping to order at the first place! She went back to the kitchen and returned saying they had already put away all of the breakfast stuff. Fair enough. I ordered my favorite veggie sandwich on a gluten free roll. As it comes with corn chips (I have a corn sensitivity among gluten and others), I told her I'd sub it with jojo's (yummy seasoned potato wedges) as I did last time. She said that would not work as the fryer doesn't open until 3:00pm.

She then said I could sub fruit and it would be a 50 cent upgrade. Okay great! Then she corrects herself - no, it'll be $2.00 extra. I had an entire bag of delicious organic green grapes in my purse so didn't exactly want to pay for more fruit.

I asked if I could just sub a salad. Nope she said, that is also a $2.00 upgrade and your gluten free roll is also a $2.00 upgrade. What!? They want to charge me $15 for this little sandwich? NO! I asked if there is anything I can possibly sub due to my situation. She returned from the back and told me no. I ordered some Jasmine tea with my sandwich and was charged nearly $16.00. So frustrating! A nice option would be a side of baby carrots for those who don't want to or cannot eat corn chips or even potato chips at the very least! I might call and suggest this.

The food came. I downed the sandwich in minutes as it was both my breakfast and lunch. Still starving, I pulled out the green grapes I had stored in my bag for potential lows and started munching on them to try to fill myself up. We had plans to walk after lunch so I debated taking insulin, but took a few units as my blood sugar was starting to rise from the meal. I suggested we head out on our walk. By the time we arrived at the river to walk, I tested and was 300. I cautiously took 2 more units so as not to crash on our long walk.

The walking path along the Mississippi River in St. Paul, MN

My friend, also a Type 1, has just started in recent days a new diabetes medication typically used with Type 2's but sometimes prescribed for Type 1's. It has the potential to cause low blood sugars until proper insulin rates are calculated and reduced. She has been been slowly decreasing her insulin rates as needed but a mile or so into our walk crashed into a bad low. And she still had 3 units on board! (active insulin from lunch).

We stopped our walk as she drank the apple juice drink box she had tucked in her bag for emergencies such as these. I was a little fidgety as I was still 275 and just needed to walk to have any hope of getting my blood sugar down. Shortly after she was okay to walk again, I had to use the (extremely stinky!) satellite restroom because of my high blood sugar. Absolutely yucky and just one of the many things we deal with sometimes living with diabetes while experiencing the side effects of a high blood sugar. Eventually we turned around and started walking back toward the car.

We walked a little while before she became low again. At this point she was out of anything to treat her low. I hesitatingly offered her my drink box as it was the only one I had, and I didn't want to be caught in a bad situation if I crashed (taking extra insulin + long walk = potentially dangerous situation).

But of course with her having several units still on board and a low, I wanted and needed to help her. We stopped again and rested on the lawn so she could drink the juice box I gave her. Really concerned at this point, I was hoping this would do the trick and get her blood sugar up. While sitting there I could really empathize with how my husband must feel being with me sometimes. I cannot count the number of times he patiently waits out my lows with me while we are exercising together. All of our T3's deserve a big pat on the back!

Still 250 and resting on the lawn with my friend recovering from a low, I decided to take 3 units insulin with my pen. I had enough with this stubborn high! My blood sugar was not wanting to budge or drop much at all.

And it sure felt crazy to be on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as our diabetes... She needing rest and lots of sugar with her blood sugar still low and me just needing a fast walk because my blood sugar was so high! Diabetes can sure run us ragged in all directions, that's for sure -- just not usually at the same time and in this kind of situation in my experience!

I had an appointment clear across the cities in one hour and with rush hour traffic soon starting, suggested that I walk back to the car and come back and pick her up. She agreed this was a good idea and that she didn't feel she could walk the +.50 mile distance back to the car. Scary situation. Thank goodness I was able to get the car and not currently experiencing a low myself. I left her with a fruit strip of mine, nervous to leave her alone.

Wouldn't you know it, as soon as I started walking back to the car, my sugar starting dropping (Dexcom CGM showed 1 arrow down). Now I was concerned that I would be low and still with a .50 mile walk and 20-40 minute drive straight to the clinic, not have what I needed to treat a low. With food sensitivities + diabetes, it can be a tricky situation...

I ALWAYS bring food with me from home no matter where I go to be able to treat my lows with food that is safe for me to eat and will not make me sick (containing gluten, corn, dairy, nuts...). Otherwise, it could be a dire situation as vending machines often do not offer anything that is safe for me to eat. Thankfully this has never come up due to my diligence.

I made it back to my car, blood sugar still steadily dropping, before driving back the same route we had just walked to try and find her. Thankfully, she was okay and hopped in the passenger seat. Although doing what you can to help, it is an uneasy feeling to leave someone with diabetes alone who is experiencing a low blood sugar.

I drove her back to her car before zooming off to my appointment. I was still worried about both her and my dropping blood sugar, yet watching the clock for the important medical appointment I needed to get to. I realized I had a few green grapes left but only 1 fruit strip -- not necessarily enough to treat a bad low if it should arrive. She assured me she would be okay and was on her way to get a bite to eat. I was going to hope for the best for both of us. Not a fun situation to be in.

Fortunately I made it to the clinic without getting low and even made it on time for my appointment, although I sure was exasperated at that point. And I did have a low a few hours later! At dinner when my husband asked about my day, I could still hardly release much more than grumbles. One day does not usually have this many things go wrong!

Learning Lesson:

Today was a scary but excellent reminder for me to continue always carrying a triple defense of low blood sugar supplies with me at all times. What I always carry with me: 1 six ounce organic orange juice drink box (love these - from Whole Foods), 3 fruit strips (a fruit snack free of sugar), and often fresh fruit as well. Little did I know my preparedness would help out two Type 1's so much today!

And just a reminder to you as well -- I always like my posts to be helpful. Please always carry several options of glucose treatment with you. And if you are starting a new medication or treatment of any kind, ALWAYS bring plenty of extra snacks and glucose with you. This situation could have been very serious if I didn't have a drink box to give her for her persistent low and especially serious if I had dropped low too. Thank goodness we both ended up okay in the end.


What do you like carrying with you for low blood sugars? Have you ever been caught in a sticky situation like this?? 



In Peace & Wellness,

Cynthia

 

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