Monday, June 8, 2009

My Wake Up Call

Waking up in the middle of the night with a low blood sugar is awful. For the sake of anyone who has never experienced it, I'll explain what it feels like. In short, it's like this.
You wake up, shaking so badly you feel possessed. You try to move your hand, but you can't remember where your hand is. It takes some heavy concentration before you finally remember that it's right there, attached to your shoulder, and that it's that thing that's shaking so badly it's making your whole bed vibrate.
I could go on and on about the dizziness and the dis-orientation, but I will spare you. I will tell you about the insatiable animal inside of you. Your brain is screaming "food! food! food!" and it is incapable of dealing with any other thoughts. So you eat. And you eat. And you eat. And you eat. And then when you're totally sure you finished eating, you eat some more, mostly because you are still shaking like a leaf.
If you want to properly empathize with me and how all of this feels, try setting an alarm clock for 4:30 am, and then get up and eat the entire contents of your kitchen, and then some. If you don't want to try it, you'll just have to believe me that you would wake up with a killer stomach ache.
So motzei shabbos, or I guess you could say early Sunday morning, I woke up at 4:30, feeling exactly as I described above. I checked my blood sugar, and it was really low. (45, for those interested parties.) I got up and got food, then more food, and more food, and more food....and finally went to sleep, feeling stuffed, but still shaking.
I woke up in the morning, and immediately i knew something was wrong. I was feeling really awful. The events of the night before had come back in a flash. No wonder! My stomach was exploding, I had lost an hour of my already shortened night, and I felt all around terrible. But then I started thinking about it...

Yogi Berra once said, "if I didn't wake up I'd still be sleeping." Most people think that is just another malapropism from the king of malapropisms himself, but for people with diabetes, that phrase has some real meaning.
If I didn't wake up, or to be more precise, if Hashem hadn't woken me up just then, I would still be sleeping....I'd never wake up. So while that whole incident was something I would really not repeat, I feel almost glad that it happened. I feel like it was Hashem's way of sending me a personal reminder that He is looking after me, and taking care of me, and that I'm in His hands, and I shouldn't worry.
Like I've said before, it's all a matter of perspective.


Anonymous said...

Far be it from me to offer advice in this area, but when my father had diabetes at the end of his life, he used to always have a chocolate bar handy for such situations (heavy in sugar) and that seemed to do the trick.

Also (again, far be it from me to offer you advice but...), especially before you go to bed, isn't it better to take less insulin rather than more to avoid this type of situation? It's my limited understanding that taking a little too little insulin is better than taking a little too much.

If I come accross as ignorant or obnoxious, then please ignore everything I just wrote.

corner point said...

SD, how come you don't keep some food by your bed for occasions like these? This is not the first time it's happened...

And why do you have to eat so much at that time? Can't you just eat a normal amount of food? I know your brain may be "telling" you to eat...but do you really have to go that far?

Inspired said...

I haven't had a low at night in ages! (a lot of highs, is that any better?) When I do, I'm too shaky to get out of bed so I just keep candies in my night chest, that solves the problem.

Anonymous said...

I just want to add that I can't imagine how horrible a feeling it is. I remember my father telling me of waking up with his heart literally punding. It must be a very scary feeling.

whoever said...

Hashem is constantly sending us such messages, and it's up to us to perceive them as such.
Not always easy, but definitely worth it!

Inspired said...

I thought this T-shirt would be relevent here. Enjoy!

tembow said...

i like the message you learned from the experience! it shows how everything we go thru in life is there for us to grow and learn from.

SD, you rock!!

Mikeinmidwood said...

My wake up calls go more like this. "Huh? why am I awake?, ow! Oh shoots! I put my arm under my pillow again and it fell asleep, I better do the same" as I pull my arm out and fall back asleep.

Something Different said...

Anon- Firstly, let me explain. Next to my bed I have this little container with an extra meter, strips, lancing device, and of course, some sugar, usually in the form of a Big Bird juice box. Murphy's law says that you won't be low if you are prepared for it. So although I hardly ever wake up low during the night, it happens mostly when I am away from home, as I was this past motzei shabbos. Really, it makes sense, because when I go away I have my routine totally messed up, and that's why it happened.
And you are right about the second point too. I am normally very conservative about my bedtime blood sugar. My blood sugar was in the 130s when I went to sleep that night, which is totally not low. But if it is on the low side, I do generally have some carbs to make sure I don't drop.
You don't sound ignorant or obnoxious. Don't worry. :-)

CP- bout your first question, look above. Bout the second, well it is tough. firstly, look at the link inspired posted. It's not just me who is doing that. I used to think that it was, and I was horribly embarrassed. Then someone brought it up at a shabbaton for girls with diabetes, and I was astounded at the number of "me too"s that were echoing around the room. In fact, my CDE (certified diabetes educator), who has tiabetes herself, told me that she woke up low and ate an entire box of cookies. It's a bizzare phenomenon, but very hard to conquer. People have that problem during the day also, when they go low, but BH I have worked out a system where I don't go overboard. And no, this is not the first time this has happened, and though I wish it was, I wouldn't say that it will be the last either.....

Inspired- how do you spell CGMS? :-p BUt really, I hadnt had a low in forever either. Months....

Anon- (I figure you're probably the same anon as before, but just in case I will answer seperately) It is awful. I wrote a post about it here: but truthfully, no matter how much time and how many words I put into describing the feeling, it is not something anyone can ever understand unless they have been through it.

WE- But easier than not seeing them....

Insp- Awesome! ;-)

TB- Oh, I know I do!

MIM- you apparently don't have diabetes. :-)

Anonymous said...

(same Anon as before)

Thanks for the link. Just curious: When you wake uo shaking etc., why do you first struggle to measure your sugar? Why don't you use those extra seconds to eat right away and get out of your misery?

You don't have to reply. I imagine you have a reason, but I just wanted to throw that out there as a suggestion(?).

Staying Afloat said...

This post seems to be a good place to tell you one of the reasons I've been lurking on your blog for a bit.

I have tremendous respect for anyone dealing with life-long diabetes. When I was pregnant with my youngest, I was "temporarily diabetic" and the only way I got through it was the knowledge that eventually the baby would be born.

I'm a horrible eater and a never-dieter and this diet was a huge and difficult adjustment. So much awareness! However, I noticed that as I was forced to monitor my eating, I did more monitoring of other things as well, including my middos. That, I miss. (But not enough to go on a diet.) So I guess I think it's so great how connected you are with Hashem through this challenge you have.

Plus, you're fun.

Something Different said...

Anon- the answer is that I am not thinking clearly. Now I know that I shouldn't, but b'shas hamaseh it seems important. Crazy, eh?

SA- Just to clarify for the readers, you were talking about Gestational diabetes.
Thats an interesting way of looking at diets...I never thought of that. Though I do know that dieting has helped a lot with my self control.
And thanks for the compliment. I think I am fun too. :-p