Picture this scenario, which happened just a couple hours ago this evening. I went to my 2nd week appointment for physical therapy. Nearing the end of our session, I began to feel that sweep of wooziness that can only be one thing- low blood sugar. Going against my own better judgment, I decided to wait to check my bg until my appointment was over. Both of my CGMs ‘low alert’ alarms went off (my low alert is set at 60). I didn’t check my blood sugar because I felt it would be a nuisance to check it when I only had 5-10 minutes left of my appointment, and I didn’t want to interrupt her while she was giving me instructions for my at-home exercise homework. After the appointment I walked to the waiting room to get my coat, and sat down and checked my bg, it was 56. I had the one thing you don’t want to see on your CGM when you are low- down arrows. Crappity crap crap.
Talking to myself and trying to relax, I dug through the clutter in my purse for a source of sugar. Juice box? Nope. Candy? Nope. Glucose tabs? Only an empty roll container. How did I forget to refill my glucose tabs? I angrily asked myself. Now what am I gonna do….
The physical therapy clinic was now closed, the front desk people gone. But I remembered that on the first floor of the building I had seen a small novelty shop. I knew that if they weren't already closed (it was after 5pm), they would be closed shortly, since all of the offices inside this building were at the end of their business day. I ran down 2 flights of stairs, shaky from head to toe, knees wobbly in my way-too-high-heeled boots, profusely sweating at the forehead hairline, under arms, back of my neck and under my butt cheeks. I was so sweaty that it felt as if I had wet my pants. I make it inside the little novelty gift shop to find that they only carried a few food items. Now comes the part where it sucks to be a celiac diabetic. I’m trying to read the labels on the few bags of snack items, with shaky eyes that can't focus on the words; trying to determine if any of them are gluten free. None are marked gluten free. Now, if you are diabetic, you know that panicked-feeling that comes over you when you get that low. Everything already seems a little heightened and then when you can’t find a source of food/sugar to help you, you panic even more. I had to make a decision- buy something that I don’t know is gluten free, just to get something to treat the low blood sugar, or try to drive somewhere nearby to a fast food joint to get some soda. Buzz Buzz… the CGMs 55 low alarm is now buzzing, blood sugar in the 40s with down arrows.
My decision was to eat the snacks in the store; there was no way I could drive with that low and I was parked so far away in the parking ramp that I wondered if I’d even make it to my car, walking in high heeled boots with my balance so affected and also with the wind chills being -20 (shivering in the cold drops my blood sugar really quickly).
I found a bag of tater skins from a brand I’d never heard of that said they contain Milk and Soy. I don’t know if they were gluten free, all I knew is that I had to eat something and eat it fast. Obviously fast-acting glucose would have been a better option if it had been available.
After stabbing the bag with a pen to open it, since I couldn’t get it open, I devoured the bag right outside of the store, right there in the hallway. You’ve never seen a chick shovel so many chips in her mouth at one time. Afterwards, I walked to my car and sat there for 20 minutes or so until the low subsided.
The moral of the story is that if you are a celiabetic, you need to be better prepared than I was today. You need to have a gluten-free source of glucose with you at all times, and not rely on the hope that you will always be somewhere convenient that has what you need. I should be doing daily checks to make sure I have glucose in my purse AND in my car; refilling them when I use them up. It’s tough when you have to always be prepared for two diseases. I don’t always get it right.
I’m sitting here now in dry clothes (pajamas), with the hair that frames my face and the back of my neck still wet from the sweat attack. Just praying now that those tater skins were gluten free, so my immune system doesn’t take a nasty hit.