Monday, April 5, 2010

"Jenny what's 7 plus 12?"

Low blood sugar is something that plagues everyone with diabetes. And as your sugar is under better control, you experience lows more often.
My first memory of a low was third grade, we were taking SLA tests and we were delayed going to lunch. I was sweaty and felt really hungry and like it was hard to concentrate. My teacher, nervous, sent over my friend Melissa to ask me what was wrong. When I told her I didn't know I just didn't feel good the entire class was immediately dismissed to lunch.
In middle school my soccer coach promised a slurpee to anyone that could break open the ball by kicking it hard, I knew I wasn't allowed a slurpee so I decided then and there I wouldn't tell him I was a diabetic, so if I was ever able to kick the ball hard enough I could get a slurpee too like all the "normal" kids.
In high school my principal also had type 1 diabetes. So for every fire drill he made me sit with the school nurse who had extra food in case I had a low.
These are just a few of the stories I remember as a kid. Imagine sleep overs and birthday parties with no cake. No gatoraide at soccer games. All of this made me just want to be like the other kids, and so I stopped telling people I had diabetes thinking this would make me "normal" too.
When I went to college I ended up rooming with that same friend Melissa from third grade. She already knew, so there was no hiding my diabetes from her. And in the 4 years where my parents were not living with me, she kept me in line, and kept an eye on me. She even enforced a group healthy dinner each night. During college this was unheard of. :0) We are still picked on about this, but in many ways this little thing probably has kept many diabetic side effects missing from my life.
After college I moved to the city, got a new doctor who change up everything and was very strict. Under her care I got my diabetes under serious control, my numbers were dropping! But along with that came more lows. Still not talking about my diabetes, this lead to many issues with lunchtime meetings running over, low blood sugar at work, and even with friends.
I was 25 years old the first time it got so low I passed out. I was at a dinner theater and they had to call 911. Here's the thing, when my sugar is low I can still function. And once it gets below about 45 I can function but I can no longer realize it's low to tell you I need help. I remember waiting for our table to be called to go up to the buffet. I remember knowing my sugar was low but not saying anything to anyone because I didn't want to upset anyone or upset the outing. So how did they know? I came back from the buffet with a dinner plate full of mustard. I don't remember anything at this point, but they tell me I was still able to talk and walk around.

So I started reading up on it, and I started studying it more, and this is where math came in. From what I understand at dangerously low blood sugar levels I can still function at anything I do typically. Walk, talk, smile, hold a plate, etc. What I cannot do is something that takes more brain function, like math. So now when I am acting different my friends all know to ask me a math question. If I can't answer it correctly then they make me eat some glucose tablets. So simple, yet also very effective.
Not telling people your sugar is low, or that you have diabetes is dangerous to both yourself and others. I have learned the hard way to speak up, speak out, and keep myself safe. You have to ask for help. Asking to eat first at a dinner theater is not as embarassing as being hooked up to an IV passed out in the middle of a dinner theater......

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