Fined! O.W.L: Operating While Low

April 9, 2012By 0 Comments

Men do it, women do it, type 1’s and type 2’s do it.  Actually, as I’m writing this I feel like I’m dropping…so hang on a minute…

Okay, I’m back.  As I was saying, all people with diabetes do it, we operate while low.  Whether it’s a vehicle, a phone, or even facebook, we like to think that we can push the line just a few minutes longer while having a low before we have no choice but to stop, pull over, and do something about it.  How is it different from someone texting, putting on their lipstick, or searching for their sunglasses?  It really isn’t, as all of these things are avoidable when driving especially, but everyone makes the mistake.

It’s easier said than done.  I appreciate all the people that try to empathize with me and say things like, “Oh, I totally know how you feel when your low, I always get a little dizzy if I don’t eat breakfast.”  Then there’s my wonderful husband, who always likes 1+1 to = 2, and just can’t understand how I can go from 140 to 40 in a under 30 minutes; “But hun, what did you do?  Why did it drop like that?  It doesn’t make sense?”  No, it doesn’t always make sense.  I wish I could say to people, “Yes, that’s exactly what it feels like to be low, just a bit dizzy.”  Or to my husband, “Hun, I must have accidently bolused myself.”

A low is almost indescribable.  Many diabetes bloggers and the like have tried to describe it in their own words.  For me, I can best describe it as feeling that at any second, any moment I could literally just black out and wake up in the movie the Matrix, especially when I’m dropping very very quickly.  It’s as if one moment your completely lucid and running on the treadmill and then the next minute your frozen in time trying to decide if and how the car keys should turn on the ignition as you attempt to convince yourself that you can make it to the gas station to grab a juice or soda.  All the while, it would be more logical to get out of the car and go back into the gym which has 3 huge vending machines right at the front door with an array of carb loaded beverages.  But there is no logic.  The front part of my brain tries to speak to my hands but it gets shoved back into my head with a fuzzy slipper.  It’s as if there are fuzzy slippers all up and down my arms and fingers.  This is how I felt today.  I started my workout with a blood sugar of 190 (I had no more juice left in my car and was due for a restocking and thought I would be all set) and completed a 20 minute intense cardio run followed by 30 minutes of strength training.  I didn’t feel the low until I opened the front door to the gym and I stopped in my tracks as I stared at the parking lot fully knowing where my car was parked (only 20 feet away from me) and realizing I had to walk through an imaginary bowl of jello to get to it.

It is very difficult to rationalize with someone who is low.  Try being that person who is low, and being alone, and trying to rationalize with yourself.  All you can think of is… ‘I’m fine, I’m not that bad, I can make it a few more minutes…a few more miles.’   I hate when a low wastes my time.  I don’t want to have to stop my life for it, not even for a minute.  But sometimes I have to.  I have realized recently that I need to do a better job of stopping, pulling over, giving myself at least 10 minutes, or at least until the two voices in my head agree on the fact that I’m having a bad low.

If you know someone with diabetes who is having a low, just know that its way scarier for them then it is for you to be watching it.  That trying to get them to talk to you is not helpful, as the last thing they want to do is use the tiny amount of energy they have in them to talk back, when all they can do is try to remember to get the straw to the juicebox in their mouth.  And if they’re alone, which happens all too often for most every diabetic who is busy and independent, well, we’ve been doing this a really really really long time so we should try harder to not O.W.L.  (visual, slapping myself on the wrist).

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