If you think I need insulin when I’m low…
…then we have a real problem. There is a perpetual understanding that being a diabetic means that when anything is wrong, just get the kid some insulin. And if I hear one more person ask if they should get me insulin when I take a quick seat, shaking away with a crazy low alarm on my Dexcom, I’m going to be in a perpetual state of fear someone might just jab me with some insulin if I pass out.
Yes, of course they mean well when they offer to get my insulin. But, of course I worry. Nonetheless, that’s not the intention of this post. Yesterday, as it has been happening many times before in the last year, my hormones decide to take a random shift and I’m locked in a state of LOW. After seeing several endocrinologists, no one can figure out what has been causing these crazy spells, so in the meantime, I notice the pattern, drop the Levemir, and start eating. You all must know that horrific feeling that you’re stuffed to the brim with food and juice and yet are still low and need treatment. It might be just as bad as being low and being nauseous…maybe. But anyhow, that was my entire afternoon yesterday. My blood sugars like to behave in bizarre ways: I treat a low, and I know that compared to other diabetics, I definitely require more sugar for that number to budge. Then two hours later, the blood sugars are lovely and stable just to be followed another two hours later with two hours of crazy highs. And there’s very little way around that during these spells especially.
Yesterday, my concern was through the roof when, after being 47, I’d had 1/2 cup of marshmallows, a banana, 1/2 cup of juice, a handful of golden raisins, 1/4 cup of frosting and my favorite low food, an Apple Pie Larabar, just to finally reach 105 on my Dexcom over an hour later. Yikes. So, I jumped on the phone with my mom, a diabetic herself, to discuss my returned low spell and how I was going to make it through the day. The worry is high with me, living alone, during these spells, but the Dexcom has definitely relieved just a bit of that stress.
I do have to mention briefly, how fantastic Larabars are for a perfect size, easy to grab and store, gluten free low blood sugar treatment option. I absolutely love my Apple Pie flavor but all flavors are gluten free, which is always fun with flavors for things that are often gluten loaded- like chocolate chip cookie dough and blueberry muffin! I buy them by the box and get a discount at Whole Foods and they stay fresh for ages, and can be thrown in a coat pocket and stored at the bottom of my backpack in case I go through all my other food and need to locate my emergency- emergency stash! Be sure you all try them the next time you’ve got a need for some tasty sugar.
My mom proceeded to recall that a glucagon can be given in doses, through a syringe, at least a few decades back for when a diabetic has the flu, or issues like these. So, after much research on her behalf, she determined that according to the AMerican Diabetes ASsociation, the Mayo Clinic, and Joslin Diabetes Center, as well as this research by the NIH, the following chart is still applicable in 2014:
The glucagon should be mixed, as per instructions, and then a normal insulin U-100 syringe should be used to draw the dose. The rest of the glucagon can be stored for 24 hours in the fridge.
Though I didn’t end up needing this yesterday as I’d thought, it was just a bit of a relief knowing that I had a way around pushing food and juice as I’d been doing all day. Of course, I am not a medical professional, and please do your own research and determine if you’d like to use this option. As an aside, my mom did warn me that glucagon can definitely make your heart race, so don’t take it and immediately go running around about campus, as I would have potentially done!
Finally, I wanted to share a graphic that Udi’s Gluten Free shared via email this week, just to give you all some always needed perspective that there are a lot of us out there dealing with shoving gluten free food for a crazy low every day.
We’re all here for each other, especially on rough days like my last few.
Take it easy, but take it.