Photo by Nocturnal.Intellect on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Learning and Lows

It has been an intense week of blogging about diabetes. It’s been an intense week of living with diabetes too.

I have found so many other diabetes bloggers during Diabetes Blog Week that I may never have to buy another book again to always have new material to read. Our community that is sharing about this disease is so awesome, and BIG. I love that, but I also hate it.

Right now probably isn’t the best time for me to write about diabetes, since I’m still quite upset with it, yet maybe it’s the perfect time. I do well with my diabetes. Most days, I have it handled and am able to show it who’s boss.

Today was not one of those days. I spent a full day outside for A-Flizzle‘s birthday, hanging out with friends, discovering and having a blast playing Ladder Golf, and then coming home and giving my animals a bath. Then I went to meet up for dinner, and wouldn’t you know it…I went low.

It happened so fast. One of those sneaky lows, where I started seeing funny shapes and lines in things and people’s faces that shouldn’t be there. This is something I’ve realized seems to happen sometimes when I’m dropping too fast and getting too low, these really disturbing lines and colors that my brain realizes aren’t right, but can’t quite connect to a low blood sugar and something being wrong. Imagine the world subtly and all of a sudden looking like a mismatched patchwork quilt, kind of like a real life Picasso. That is as close as I can think to describe what it looks like, a Picasso painting. I was studying A-Flizzle’s face, trying to figure out why it looked like her jaw was on her forehead and her eye was by her ear, when she looked at me and said, “Are you okay?”

Photo by Nocturnal.Intellect on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Photo by Nocturnal.Intellect on Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

That was when I realized my speech had already left the building. All I could do was shake my head no. No talking. No checking the Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM). No grabbing my kit and managing to fumble with my testing supplies so I could do a fingerprick. No reaching in my pocket to fish out my keys that have my four emergency glucose tabs on the keychain. No, none of that. I just put my head in my hands and closed my eyes, trying to focus.

A-Flizzle was all over it, as were my dear friends DJ and H1L1. Whatever conversation we had been having, which I think was about the dogs at the table near us, was thrown aside. All the training and education that I’ve given A-Flizzle over the past year and some odd months about what to do if I drop low, and assuring her that it isn’t a question of IF it will happen, but WHEN it happens, kicked in. I have to say, she handled it like a pro, and as unpredictable as diabetes can be, she took over showing it who was boss while I was temporarily put on the bench.

While A-Flizzle was fishing my glucose tabs out of my pocket and feeding them to me and my lack of motor skills, refusing to let me panic, DJ had scrambled to go get orange juice (any kind of fruit juice would have worked, or a regular Coke, but I wasn’t able to tell them that at the time), and my buddy H1L1 was there fielding flying glucose tabs from off the ground before the aforementioned dogs could eat them as treats. I love my girlfriend and friends. This was the first time that I have had a low where I needed a little help since A-Flizzle and I have been dating, and between her and my friends, I cannot describe how thankful and grateful I truly am.

Still, I feel guilty.

I know it isn’t my fault.
I know that nobody is holding it against me.
I know that today was the exception, not the rule.
I know that there was absolutely nothing any one of us could have done to prevent this low. It happened way too fast. My CGM actually alarmed with the low alert while A-Flizzle was feeding me glucose tabs. Way to be on the ball there, technology! (See also: sarcasm)

I also know that I’m telling myself most of this, in hopes that it is true.

The guilt I feel is because there we were having a fine time, carrying on perfectly good conversations, appreciating the day that we had all spent together, maybe sharing a little gossip between friends, and then all of that got derailed by stupid diabetes. Diabetes was like a toddler at the table, eating its peas and carrots and minding its own business, and then all of a sudden demanding the attention of everyone by screaming and throwing a spoon at my forehead. Diabetes should really learn some manners.

I don’t like that diabetes is like that, that it can take over any situation with little to no warning. I don’t like putting anybody else in a position where they have to take on the responsibility of my diabetes. It isn’t fair…not to them, and not to me either. Still, this was one low where I didn’t have to spend precious minutes quietly focusing my way into telling my hands to reach in my pocket, get my glucose tabs, and eat them. I was comfortable enough, and maybe even scared enough, to trust A-Flizzle and my friends to know that I needed help, and to be able to help me. That trust alone tells me that I’m getting better at not hiding my diabetes, and why I admire the people who save us every single day, so very much.

9 comments

  1. So sorry that you had that experience, Martin, yet so very glad that you have such amazing people in your life who know what to do to help you when you need it.

    Glad you’re OK. All the best, my friend!

  2. Wow Martin – I’ve been in that situation a few times – and I always remember the worst one was on a cruise ship – sitting with a group of total strangers. Luckily, one was a nurse, who caught on quick that I was going to the land of no return. She ordered OJ so fast that it came to our table like magic (some cruise ships dudes are sooooo slow) – between her and my hubby – I was back in the land of “NoRmAl” but like you – it came on so quick – no time for preparation at all. Luckily, it doesn’t happen that often to us – but when it does – it’s great when we have folks around that get us 🙂

  3. Thank you for sharing this story.

    As a parent, I often take on the emotion of guilt — wondering if *I* did something or if *I* didn’t recognize the symptoms soon enough or if *I* somehow screwed her up some other way.

    I’m so happy to hear that A-Flizzle was ON IT. Great job to her! And to the rest of your crew.

    And to you for letting them in, being open and transparent, and willing to share this part of your life with them.

  4. As a parent of 2 babies with diabetes, I really appreciate reading your experiences. My son is now 6 but developmentally delayed and still doesn’t have conversational speech. Needless to say, I still have to rely on visible symptoms to tell if he is having lows. Luckily for us they don’t happen very often, but when they do, I often wonder what he is going through. Reading your experience helps me understand just a little better what he might be going through when that happens. This is one more reason why I have enjoyed meeting so many new people this week in the DOC.

    Hope you continue to have great friends like this. God bless.

  5. Oh, Martin. IT IS NOT YOUR FAULT! We’ve all been there. Had those lows where we are dependent on others to help us. I know I have. And I hate it.

    I also hate that diabetes has the ability to step in and interrupt life like that. Ugh.

    The important thing is that you’re okay, that A-Flizzle and your friends knew what to do. Hugs!

  6. I know it wasn’t your intention but I’m sobbing.

    So many emotions, too many to put into a comment right now. But thank you for sharing and thank God for your awesome gf and friends. Xoxo

  7. This is my good friend Martin.. and though we’ve never met in real life, I can say I am proud to know him. I hate the thing that caused us to be introduced, but I love his heart. It’s real… and it’s HUGE… If ‘D’ were a person, it could never measure up to him… it would be spending all it’s time feeling guilty for being such a cowardly POS that it has to rely on sneak attacks from the rear… for if it were to ever face Martin face to face, it’d shrivel up, shake with fear and turn into the nothingness it is… for it would have been face to face with a giant…

  8. Great post. Sorry you had to go through that experience, but thanks for sharing it so honestly. While refelcting on the great event that was 2011’s DBlog Week it is important to keep in mind that each of our D journeys, our daily truimphs and disasters just keep on comin…

    M

  9. It is true:
    It’s not your fault.
    It’s not being held against you.
    It was the exception.
    It wasn’t preventable.
    You are a good person.

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