Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Diabetes And A 46 Low Blood Sugar At TJMaxx ~

This happened a few days ago.
The meter flashed the number 46 as I stood there, leaning against my shopping cart at the TJMaxx/HomeGoods super store, and I tried to figure out my next move. 
I’d already eaten a Kind Bar and I quickly downed another one and suspended my insulin pump. 
I was sweating and shaking and the square footage I’d have to cover in order to get to the register where the sodas were seemed to be at least football field away.
I stood there somewhere between the Girls aisle and Women’s Sportswear and tried to keep it together. 
I was sweating, like really sweating and I had no doubt that I looked like a hot mess.I watched the clock on my phone for a good 10 minutes before I tested my blood sugar again. 
the number 54 appeared & I didn’t feel comforted, I actually felt worse. 
I had two more KIND bars in my handbag, and quickly downed KIND bar number three and silently said a prayer of thanks to the local store I’d purchased them at the day before. 
I wheeled my cart as quickly and as steadily as I could towards the registers and my blood sugar savior - the red Coke fridge holding the ice cold sodas.

There the red Coke fridge stood, shining and acting as a red beacon of hope and blood sugar balance. 
I saw the green sprite bottles and I needed one immediately. 
But just as I was within arms length of grabbing a Sprite, I  was quickly soda blocked by a  mom and her little girl, who, and out of no where, had planted themselves firmly in front of the fridge’s door. I uttered, “excuse me I need to get a soda,” without even looking at them, grabbed a twenty ounce bottle of Sprite and cracked it open. 
I drank a big swig and made my way towards the patio furniture display just past the registers and by the front doors. 
And there I sat for a good twenty minutes - trying to pace myself with the Sprite and wrap my head around what had just happened. 
I hadn’t felt the 46 low come on until I did and the number had literally and figuratively thrown me for a loop.
I was alone and I wasn’t wearing my medical ID bracelet and the whole “what could have happened,” made my eyes burn and start to leak - OK, maybe the low blood sugar had something to do with that, too. 
I breathed and closed my eyes - I couldn’t get upset about what I didn’t do - I needed to focus on what I did do - And I needed to stay calm and stay the course. 
I thought about the beach and the ocean waves and how calm they made me feel. 
I thought about swimming out towards the pier and diving under the waves. 
I thought about the sounds of waves and gulls and I felt better.  
A few minutes later I checked my blood sugar again and it was 89. 
I took few more sips of soda, got up, went to the register and paid for my soda. 
The woman at the register looked at me and said: Is this all your getting? 
Me: Yep, it’s exactly what I needed. 

And that opened, half finished bottle Sprite sat in my car for a week - just in case, before I could bring myself to tossing it in the trash. 


Rachel said...

Gosh that sucks. I hate it when stuff like this happens. It really reminds you of how powerful diabetes is. I always try to stay on top of it, and feel like I am in control and diabetes can't stop me from doing anything... and then I hear about something like this, or it happens to me. A low blood sugar strikes without warning and really brings you to yours knees. I'm sorry this happened to you, and I'm sorry you were alone and scared. This is why we need a cure. One day. Hopefully. Until then, I'm making sure to put my ID on my wrist and checking that I have glucose in my bag. Sometimes I don't. Sometimes I forget how important it is. Sometimes I don't want to think about how important it is. Thanks for the reminder.
hugs (and puppy kisses from Tenzing)

Gabrielle said...

Oh, I know that feeling of "that soda machine is so far away" so well. One time during a work stay at a hotel, I got super low alone in my room at night. So low that I ate all my emergency sweet tarts and that wasn't enough. So I set out, dollar bills in hand.

First soda machine - the cash thingy is broken. Onwards!

Second soda machine - won't take my very crisp dollar bills, keeps spitting them back out! I had to stop and laugh at the mental image of me having a seizure in front of a soda machine with a fistfull of dollar bills in my hand. You gotta laugh at these situations we find ourselves in!

I ended up going to lobby where the little store was still open, handing the cashier 8 dollars for a two dollar candy purchase (math was a bit beyond me at this point) and just stood there stuffing my face as the cashier hands me most of my money back with a weird look. Its a strange life we lead.

Glad you made it through OK!

Scott S said...

That completely sucks and anyone who has the balls to say that diabetes is a perfectly "controllable" or "manageable" disease needs to experience something like this before they start rattling their mouths off (and that especially includes people in the medical profession). Its really frightening and that alone is a perfectly valid reason for not having a great HbA1c. I actually wish there was a way for non-diabetic people to experience this for themselves; if they could, they might see things very differently! I'm glad you made it through OK!!

Janis Nussbaum Senungetuk said...

I'm very glad you had the Kind bars available, that you were able to lean on the cart and walk the distance to reach the Sprite and then had a place to rest. It's very frightening, especially when you're alone. I never remove my MedicAlert bracelet. I've experienced similar situations too many times and want the reassurance of that medical information being readily available.

Frank said...

Yes, hypos don't always happen at home or during a private moment as we would like. They can happen at the worst or most inconvenient of times. Before an appointment, during an exam, at work or in a public place. There seems to be no shortage of experiences to learn from!

Colleen said...

Well, that was even scary to read. Glad you were able to take care of yourself!