After spending three weeks with my mom, packing up her apartment and moving her into assisted living, and spending the first night in her new place so she wouldn’t awake disoriented, I returned home. Tired, but knowing in my heart she was in the best possible place, the husband and I were ready to celebrate all that had been accomplished.
So we walked to our local Italian restaurant and sat outside in the glorious 70 degree sunshine for a delicious dinner. I had grilled swordfish with salad as my main. We shared two slices of bread with artichoke and parmesan cheese as a starter, and a cannoli with cheesecake filling as desert, and a bottle of vermentino wine, although he drank 3 glasses and me 2. My blood sugar was nicely around 100 mg/dl before starting the meal, so I took 2 units of Humalog, one for the bread and one for the dessert. I thought I probably needed more for desert, but I knew the wine would lower me a bit.
After dinner, we took a 10 minute walk home. An hour later my blood sugar had dropped to 41 mg/dl. I was wearing my Dexcom, but honestly I didn’t hear it because I had on my earphones watching a video on my iPad. And, I felt no symptoms of hypoglycemia. I am not surprised looking back now because I had a lot of lows over the past few weeks physically packing my mother’s apartment up, dragging furniture to the recycling plant and eating less than usual.
The husband came over to show me on his phone the drop. Over the next two hours, my blood sugar descended to 33 mg/dl before it started rising. I ate 3 glucose tablets, a teaspoon of honey and a teaspoon of preserves, some more stuff I no longer remember, and waited for what felt like forever before my blood sugar was at 98 mg/dl. That was around 11 pm and I went to sleep knowing it would likely rise a bit more, but I didn’t know how much so I didn’t do anything further.
When I awoke at 8 am, my blood sugar was 148 mg/dl. That was fine with me given what could have happened.
It was a mystery to me how 2 units of rapid acting insulin could have knocked me so far down, and how long it took for my blood sugar to rise. My only guesses are maybe my blood sugar was dropping before dinner, maybe the bread, not being dense but airy, only needs 1/2 unit. Maybe the cannoli, albeit sweet, didn’t have that much sugar. I’m also guessing the wine and the fat from the cheesecake filling in the cannoli delayed the rise in my blood sugar after I started treating it.
When I was at 33 mg/dl, the husband asked me if I wanted the baqsimi that has sat in my drawer for a year and I said, “no.” As long as I can chew and swallow I’d rather eat my way up. Was that smart? I have no idea, but I know the baqsimi would have brought me up to around 180 mg/dl and I didn’t want to have to contend with then fixing the high.
Fifty years with type 1 diabetes will never mean that every day isn’t a new day. Every day brings its own blood sugar ride. It was scary to watch the descent and scarier to wait so long for the ascent. It was scary I felt no symptoms. But I know I need to go now for a week or two without a low to regain those symptoms.
Still, I’m grateful that going this low is a very rare occurrence. This is just the fourth time in my life with diabetes it has happened. Every day is just another day with diabetes –– and no one and nothing is to blame.