How Low Can You Go?
How low can you go? Depending on your body, and your tolerance, will depend on how low your blood sugar can go before it becomes a scary, unpredictable path to be on.
Drinking, dorming and being in college where some pretty scary times in my life with diabetes. But delivering my twins and dealing with postpartum diabetes rebound was even scarier. I have spoken about these instances on my other blog posts… but below I recall some severe low blood sugar episodes that I’m not too proud to admit:
- Underage Partying: Sometime during my high school years, my friends and I were partying all night long. I told one of them that I didn’t feel right, and that I needed to lay down. Next thing I knew, I was surrounded by a group of friends and none of them knew what to do with me. They were too scared to call the cops/paramedics because we were underage. I recall saying “juice, or soda, or sugar” to my best friend. I could then sit up. It was around 4am, and that was the party killer. We all laid around, hung out, and sobered up. Someone else drove so I could get food to keep my blood sugars up.
- Alone in a Dorm: It was a Monday. I had class at noon, and I slept through it. My roommate was doing her own thing, and I was all alone. I remember waking up, reaching for my phone to check the time, and instead just knocking it to the floor. Why was I covered in sweat? I got out of bed, and my knees buckled. I couldn’t support the weight of my body. I fell to the floor, couldn’t get up and everything was in a haze. I immediately knew I needed juice, but I literally couldn’t get up to get to it. I panicked. My legs weren’t functioning.
But, my arms did. I dragged myself across the floor of our tiny NYC dorm kitchen, and just sat there with the fridge open drinking juice. I know I got up and checked my blood sugar at some point, but I don’t have the slightest memory of what my actual blood sugar level was. I was low and it was just too low for me.
- Behind the Wheel: One afternoon during my college years, I had to take my grandpa to a doctors appointment. I was running around all day and hadn’t eaten much of anything. He noticed I was having issues ‘driving between the lines.’ He also said I was driving really slow and told me to pull over. I checked my blood sugar and it was pretty low.
My biggest fear was getting my grandpa to his appointment on time. His biggest fear was making sure we got there in one piece.
- Late for Work: Living at my parent’s house some years later, my dad was surprised to see I hadn’t awoken for work yet. It was near 9am and he knew I was late. But he couldn’t wake me up? He must have figured out my blood sugars were low. I could recall everything that was going on, but I was upset and didn’t want the help. I hid my hands under my chest, and I wouldn’t give him a finger to prick to check my blood sugar. He tried my big toe instead. I kicked him! Then he called 911 to assist.
The paramedics arrived. They gave me a glucose drip and I started come back to reality. “You’re hot!” — the first word I uttered out to the paramedic standing in front of me. At least they knew I was back to my normal self! To this day, my dad makes fun of me for that reaction.
- Late for Work, Part 2: My husband and I just started living together in his parent’s attached apartment. His mom noticed I didn’t get up for work, so she came to check on me. She tried to wake me up, and I didn’t budge. She called her son, who had to rush home from work, gave me juice and checked my blood sugar. I called in sick, and spent the rest of the afternoon figuring out how I can avoid having bad low blood sugars like this from now on. Ever since then, he has woken me up every morning before leaving for work to make sure I check my blood sugar level in front of him. This episode is why I started on the Dexcom CGM (Continuous Glucose Monitor).
- Pregnancy Lows: After we found out I was pregnant, and before we could really tell anyone (around 9-12 weeks), I had a lot of significant low blood sugars. I also didn’t have much of an appetite, so that could also have played a role in my lower-than-normal blood sugar levels. There weren’t any instances in general that stand out, but the hormone changes through my blood sugars all out of whack.
- Postpartum Lows: I was so tired that forgot to test myself or put a new CGM on. I fell asleep while my mother-in-law watched our boys. She said I started snoring very loudly, and started making noises signaling something was wrong. Hubby was working, but told them to give me juice or something to get my blood sugar up. He knew the signs, and knew I was having a very bad low blood sugar. I was unable to swallow, so the juice was only making me choke. My husband arrived, and shortly thereafter, the paramedics arrived. I was given a glucose drip (dextrose) in my veins, which helped me to regain consciousness. I can recall the conversations everyone had, my husband yelling at the paramedics but in my state of consciousness, I couldn’t explain to them to turn off my insulin pump.
- Postpartum Lows, Part 2: After the first time around, my endo reduced my insulin basal rates. I tested my blood sugar before bed, 125mg/dL. I was feeding Baby A when I started showing signs of another hypoglycemia attack. My husband said I drank a juice box, and he turned off my pump. He tested me: 28mg/dL. He continued to watch my dexcom and my sugars still weren’t going up. He tried giving me glucose tablets, which I didn’t (or couldn’t?) swallow. At that point, he decided that he needed help from paramedics and dialed 911.The paramedics arrived, once again gave me an IV drip with dextrose. I was more quickly able to come back to my normal self.
These incidents have each been eye awaking experiences for me. How low is too low you still might ask? Apparently for me, anything under 50mg/dL is just too low. It can send you into a whole new world of conscious- unconsciousness. How low is too low for you? Please share your experiences in the comment section below.