Sunday, February 3, 2008

Bonking and bonking hard-the diabetes way...

So most people have experienced low blood sugar episodes. Maybe you didn't eat breakfast and had a busy morning and felt shaky and weak. Or maybe you were on a long bike ride or a race of some sort and didn't eat enough and just couldn't keep up due to a lack of sugar in your system. So what is it like to do this in a much more intense way. The diabetes way.

I had a friend who would ride his bike and not eat on purpose to force is his blood sugar low so his body would "get used to it" and he wouldn't be affected so much by it in races. If he only knew the sure way to due this is take insulin.

The funny thing about taking insulin is that it can sometimes act unpredictably. As I wrote before that when you take insulin if forces sugar into yours cells and causes the blood sugar levels to drop. For me when I'm awake I am ultrasensitive to how I am feeling. Am I having a hard time with simple concepts? Can I add simple numbers? Do I have that feeling I get when I have low blood sugar? If I am excercising, do I feel lethargic or tired? Is it the sugar or am I just tired? Some people can go from perfectly normal to acting drunk (a sign of low blood sugar), sweating profusely, unresponsive to you, or even mean or beligerent.

If I feel "funny" I check my blood sugar. The funny feeling might just be all that coffee I drank. Of course this complicates things... You always need to have a test kit and insulin handy and of course a sugar source. It can feel like climbing with out a rope to be out with no source of glucose nearby.....

Bonking at night can be another story for me.... It hasn't happened much but it has happened and can happen anytime. Luckily for me Anne, my wife, was there to save my butt the time it was worse.... Usually at night I wake up, I might be cold, having weird dreams or feel shaky and can get some juice or something (in this state I am in a feeding frenzy mode and will eat most anything I can get my hands on and very quickly--like a starving dog). Well not this time......

I got ready for bed with a blood sugar reading of 140 after a long skate ski that day. I like it to be around 150-170 at bed time as insurance that I will get up in the morning, especially if I have excercised extensively. I was watching TV while Anne went to bed. Apparently the insulin I took acted more quickly than anticipated as I fell asleep while watchin TV.

The next thing I remember was Anne's voice like out of a dream telling me to "drink this..." I slowly recognized it as orange juice. I was completely covered in sweat and freezing as slowly I realized I was on the tile floor in front of the couch. My elbows felt like someone had beat them with a baseball bat, my legs felt like I had just run 20 miles and crampy.

Slowly I became more aware and heard her reading, "feed something to supply sugar over the long term." (or something like that). I really felt awful and a bit nauseous. After another 15 minutes my blood sugar was 33 and I could talk to her. Finally after some more food I was completely aware and my blood sugar was above 80 or normal. Anne was obviously shaken and it took nearly as much time for me to get her to tell me what happened as it took me to come out of my stupor.

She had heard a noise downstairs. Some banging. She was initially uspset that I may wake the baby, I think. She found me basically in convulsions banging the back of my elbows into the tile floor quite violently. So that's why my elbows hurt and there were large bruises forming. She said I was also kicking my legs. So that's why I felt like I ran 20 miles.

It wasn't until the next day that I got her to tell me everything. She had to hold down my leg and give me a shot of Glucogon to get my liver to release sugar from stored glycogen (like starch). I found the left over package an sure enough it said, "feed person fast acting sugar and then feed something to supply sugar over the long term." It also listed side effects as nausea et al...... This was very hard for her to do but I am very glad she did it..... Luckily this type of reaction is rare this was the worst in 12 yrs... Some people have reactions like this quite regularly...

1 comment:

Dr. D said...

I went real low camping in Borrego. I remember tryin gto put blood into the computer link plug on my meter. I'm laying in my tent in the desert. I always kept a powerbar handy. When I could wrap my head around it I tested and was in the mid 20s. I won't tell you about the time I passed out because of a sudden crash and woke up in handcuffs.