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I'm a glass-half-full type 1 diabetic/celiac with a C5 spinal cord injury and life-altering allergies. I was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, grave's disease and celiac disease in 2010, a spinal cord injury resulting in a spinal cord fusion at the C5 level in 2012 (resulting in chronic pain and life-long physical restrictions) and bad ass allergies in 2013. I believe having a positive attitude is the only way to live with disease and injury. I also believe that life doesn't have to be PERFECT for it to be WONDERFUL. Disease and injuries are expensive, so I live a frugal yet full life (I'm a fru"GAL"!) Please know I am NOT any sort of professional and am not giving professional advice. This is just my blog; my day-to-day story.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

When you pay the price for being unprepared.

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.

7 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear you had such a scary low. Glad the store was still open. I eventually pushed my low threshold up to 80 (from 70) because often when it gets to 80 on the Dex it's really already closer to 70. You might want to consider bumping your's to 70? just to give yourself some more breathing room. Take care.

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    1. Katie, that's definitely a good idea, to move my low alarm up. I've played with that idea before and I think I'm going to have to do that.

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  2. Oh Nikki! I often forget to fill my tube of dex in my purse but I ALSO keep one of those emergency 4-tab holders in a different spot in my purse. it's the back-up to my back-up and if all else fails.... sugar in the car, always.
    I could feel the panic as I was reading this as a fellow celiabetic.... it's not just the need for sugar...
    :(

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  3. I'm right there with you! The last two days when I've had lows (which have been frequent) I forgot to refill my glucose tab tube, and then when I need them... they're not there. Nothing like stumbling to the vending machine in the basement at work so I can buy a bottle of juice.

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  4. Reading labels to find if something is gluten free is hard enough when you're not low and dropping! I'm sure it'll be a long time before you make that mistake again! Going to refill my glucose tab tubes now...

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  5. Oh geez. I can't imagine the extra sense of panic and fear when going LOW and not having food, then needing to find a safe food to use to treat. I hope the tater skins treat you well in a few hours. I've started leaving a few gels (LevelLife, Gu, whatever) by my front door, and I stick one in my jacket pocket every time I leave (if one's not in there already).
    Glad you are okay.

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  6. Yikes - scarytown for sure. Glad you're Ok.

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