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Boil to Simmer & Stop, Drop & Roll
Do you remember the last time that you felt like “steam was coming from your ears?” For most of us, there are highs & lows in life. That means that we each experience the full spectrum of emotions at one time or another.
Literally, highs & lows are both physiological & emotional for folks with diabetes. The highs are the high blood sugars (hyperglycemia). The lows are low blood sugars (hypoglycemia). Many times in life, I have heard the age old adage of “just keep it in balance” or “too much of a good thing is not good.” Yikes though, I find that with blood sugars, I often envision myself on the trapeze overlooking a swamp of hungry crocodiles. It is quite the balancing act. On the one hand, there are the activities that may cause high blood sugars of: inaccurate math on my part in calculating food to insulin ratio, inaccurate packaging information on a food label, stress, excitement (fun), colds & flu, chaos, sudden deadlines, scary movies or distressing news or driving on anything other than what we jokingly call “a goat path.” Those are just a few blood sugar elevating factors. Then there is the other side of the coin of the low blood sugars & the potential causes for those. I have found that many things lead to hypoglycemia for me including: calculation error on my part regarding insulin to carb ratio, inaccurate labeling on food packages, exercise, excitement (fun), hormones (yay), fast food. Highs & lows physiologically are different for each person as we would expect since everyone is “exactly himself or herself.”
Here’s something that I have found over the years to be helpful. If we are living with type 1 diabetes most of us accept realistically that high & low blood sugars are inevitable from time to time. When sugars go too far in either direction, we tend to feel not well at all. Each one of us may have come to discover that with the inevitability of the roller coasters of blood sugars that we may as well have an “emergency plan” in place. I like to call my plan for reducing hyperglycemia (high blood sugars), the “taking from boil to simmer emergency plan” & the alleviation of hypoglycemia (low blood sugars), “stop, drop & roll.”
My dear heart second born son, Brian was having some good boyish fun a couple of nights ago. He decided that it would be a hoot to hide in one room & turn out the lights & then pop out at me when I came down the stairs. He scared me alright. I know his heart was in the right place yet unfortunately, this good sized scare of the “pop out in the dark unexpectedly” maneuver sent my blood sugars rocketing into space. I had to invoke my “take it from boil to simmer plan.” I explained to the boys & my husband that I needed to take some time on my own for a while. I gave myself an insulin correction & did a little inspirational reading & then listened to some soft music. It was not long before I felt like myself. Had I not taken that time though, it would be a mammoth exercise in trying to be calm. Hyperglycemia (high blood sugars) seem to physiologically make my blood boil so to speak. It is not a great feeling so it is a relief to get the blood sugars back down into range so that I can be myself again. The "boil to simmer" plan has been implemented countless times & you may find this to be the case too. Do certain movies send your blood sugars soaring? Just last night, my husband & I made the opportunity to finally watch "Zero Dark 30" & about thirty minutes into the film I found myself with that unmistakable high blood sugar headache. Ah, my previous beautiful blood sugars had taken a huge leap. Off I went to do a glucose test to see that my results were twice what they had been an hour prior to the movie. I decided to do an insulin correct & abandon the rest of the movie since it was getting close to bedtime & as many of us know, blood sugars on a roller coaster prior to sleep time is especially brutal. Thankfully, two hours after the insulin correction, my blood sugars were in good shape again for an awesome night's sleep. Life is all about choices. Sure, another choice could have been to continue to watch the movie yet the cost was too high for me. Life has a way of reminding us that choices have consequences.
The “stop, drop & roll” is the hypoglycemia plan. It is the plan in place for the inevitable low blood sugars. The stop part is pretty self explanatory. I stop whatever I am doing & “drop” a straw into a juice box & “roll” into a comfy chair for 10 minutes until I generally feel like myself again.
If I know that it is inevitable that my car is going to run out of gas & that I will have to fill it up again before that, then why would my health plan be any different? There is no comparison to me between my car & my health. My car is disposable & just a thing yet my health is mine & I want be the best possible steward of this in this life. If I know to have a plan in place to look after my car & its needs, then you know that I am going to have a plan in place for diabetes too.
Maybe your “emergency” or contingency plans for your health have their own titles. My heart's hope though is that we all have plans ready to best meet our health needs before the need arises.
Smiles, Saundie :)
Wishing you a week of steady as she goes with no "boiling" or "stop, drop & roll" needed. Next Monday's sharing is "Pathways to Kindness." :)