Tuesday, October 13, 2015

A Rollercoaster That He Didn't Want To Ride

Angry and I were on vacation in Mexico in June.  Being brand new to my continuous glucose monitor (Dexcom), I had decided to leave it at home.  We were going to spend the majority of time in the pool.  I didn't want to chance ruining a brand new receiver and it doesn't read through water very well anyway.  It would have come in handy at least one time though when I had one of the lowest lows I've ever had.  

Angry wanted to tell his side of the story.  Those that love us D Peeps will understand and he wanted them to know that they are not alone in their very own struggles and worries.

This 'story' is written as he told it to me:

We got back to the room after dinner and I wanted to watch some TV.  You went to bed and fell asleep pretty fast (I could hear you snoring!).  About half an hour later you asked if it was "hot in here."  I told you no and I figured it was a hot flash speaking.  A couple of minutes later you asked me again. 

My first thought after that was "Oh shit" and I went to the bed planning to touch your back to see if you had the cold sweats.  I could SEE before I had to touch you that your hair was wet.  I knew I had a problem on my hands.  But you were conscious and talking to me so I was hopeful that this wouldn't be too bad.

I asked you if you wanted to test your blood sugar and you, for once (actually I think that was the first time ever), said yes.  I got your meter and sat next to you on the bed.  You were turned away from me so I couldn't see the result but you said, "It's low."  I was surprised because you usually say "I'm fine."  And normally that's where our battles begin.

I offered you some crackers and you told me that those wouldn't  work fast enough.  This got me feeling good as I assumed you weren't too low.  You'd not be able to understand that if you were.  The mini fridge in our room had juice so I got both the apple and orange juice bottles and asked you which you'd like.  You got me a bit worried when you told me you don't like apple juice.  Yes you do!  Was your normal 'fight' response coming out?  You did drink some orange juice but then became obsessed with the carb count.  You kept turning the bottle around and around trying to read and understand how many carbs were in there.  I tried to reassure you that everything would be fine and finally just took the bottle away from you in frustration.  I was getting pissed that you wouldn't drink it!

Even though you had just barely had any juice, you kept insisting that you needed to check your blood sugar.  I handed you your meter and you tested at 25!  In the 26 years we've been together I don't remember ever seeing a number that low.  My adrenaline was already pumping and now I felt a bit panicked.  Then you dumped the bottle of test strips on the bed and that really bothered you.  You couldn't pick them up no matter how hard you tried and just kept fumbling and fumbling.  The words "What about those?" were repeated over and over as you were struggling.  I told you several times that they'd be fine and you needed to worry about getting your blood sugar back to normal.  You just kept at it and I finally picked them up myself. 

You asked again, "Did I test my blood sugar?  I think I should test my blood sugar.  What about my blood sugar."  I told you that you had just tested and and we were going to drink some Sprite instead.  You wouldn't touch the soda until I let you test.  The meter (about 10 minutes since the last try) said 29.  I told you, "See it's only 29 so let's drink some more."  You asked me "Is that bad?" and I told you "Yes."  Then you asked me "How do I know that the reading is right?"  My answer was "Because it's always right."  The argument was still winnable or so I thought.

But no, that answer didn't work as you kept asking "What was my blood sugar?  Do I need to test my blood sugar?"  I told you several times that you had just tested a minute ago and it was low so you needed to drink the damn Sprite.  But you just kept saying over and over, "I need to test my blood sugar.  I should test my blood sugar.  Did I test my blood sugar?  How do I know what my blood sugar is?"  I explained that you had tested three times already and you said I needed to show you the used strips to "prove it."  I was not digging in the garbage for the fucking test strips so I told you to "trust me."  But you kept asking to test since I couldn't prove you had.  So you tested again, four minutes later, at 28.  It wasn't moving up yet but I knew that it wasn't going anywhere THAT quickly. 

I kept trying to get you to drink more Sprite but you decided that it now tasted "yucky."  I hoped that between 1/2 a bottle of orange juice and maybe 1/2 a can of Sprite something good was going to happen with your blood sugar.

You sat quietly for about fifteen minutes while I watched to be sure you didn't pass out.  Then out of the blue you asked me what was going on.  I told you that we had a bit of a problem and I suggested another test because you seemed to be feeling better.  About an hour from "Is it hot in here?" and you were reading at 64.  Thank God!! 

I felt like we had it under control and that you'd keep rising and you surprised me by actually taking a couple more sips of that "yucky" Sprite without me asking you.  Your pajamas were soaking wet but you didn't want to change because you didn't bring any extra.  I told you to wear one of your cotton tank tops and a dry pair of underwear instead but you made a goofy face and said, "No way; that's not pajamas!"  I let you win that argument even though I felt bad.  Was I going to wrestle you to change?  No way.

At that point you said you felt sick to your stomach but you were going to try to get back to sleep.  I would have liked you to stay up a bit longer and test again but I was pretty sure you'd be OK.

I tried to get to sleep myself but I felt like I had just run a marathon.  My heart was pumping, my hands were sweating, and I was trying to get over being completely freaked out by those numbers.  I've been through a lot of lows with you but I've never seen numbers that low.

That's what Angry told me.  I vaguely remember picking the orange juice.  I do remember testing at 64, tasting yucky Sprite, and feeling like I was going to puke.  I don't remember anything else.  Over an hour of my life had disappeared without a trace. 

We discussed what happened at breakfast the next morning and he asked me what my original test was since he didn't see it.  I checked the meter and it was 27.  As I scrolled through the night's readings I wasn't sure I ever remembered seeing numbers that low either.  That's when he told me, "That was like a rollercoaster.  I didn't enjoy the ride though."

I feel guilty for episodes like this one.  I hate that he worries.  I hate that he knows I may need help at any time.  I hate that he wonders what will happen to me if I'm alone during a hypo like that.  I know that the CGM has helped alleviate some of those fears but they still exist, even if they are buried a bit deeper in his brain.

But I also feel blessed that he's my partner in all things, including my diabetes.  I have a husband who has spent our time together supporting me and helping me.  He loves me despite and because of my diabetes.  I couldn't ask for anything more.  I'll try to keep him off the rollercoasters from now on but I'm not promising anything.


  1. Glad you are OK and your husband was able to manage the situation. And for all of us with Type 1, it's good to hear the spouse's experience with some of these crazy things we put them through. Although I am not in love with my Animas Vibe pump as a CGM receiver, I do like having it as an option for water vacations and then not having to worry about the Dex receiver.

  2. Very glad that you were able to get through that low with your husband's help. Yes, I don't doubt that it's a frightening experience for our partners. Even after all of the 30+ years we've been together, it's still difficult for my partner to put up with my low bg induced aggression. Not fun for any of us.

  3. Laddie - I was thinking about the Vibe but am still undecided. I know that this situation was not so argumentative as others. I should have him tell a story about the time I punched him in the face. That wasn't fun for him at all (not that it ever is!).

  4. Janis - We've had that discussion that it's really hard for him. This time I was actually "nice" but I've punched him in the face before. I truly believe our partners, family, and anyone else that helps us are truly superheroes.

  5. Kayleigh - Your Uncle is da bomb!! :-)