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When Hypo. Hamburger & Gravol Collide

22/02/2013 10:50

How do you respond when even though you planned in advance, something happens to churn up what would have otherwise been smooth sailing?  Each one of us are awesomely, exactly who we are meant to be.  Some of us are super organizers & almost ready for anything that life may toss our way.  There are other folks who tend to “play it by ear” & find that we tend to manage “A Okay” with this method. 

You know that I have shared with you already that left to my own natural devices, my tendency is towards a type of “creative organization.”  Throughout life, that form of chaotic organization worked pretty well most of the time.  Boom, then along came the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes just over 5 years ago.  That was the game changer I found.  “Creative organization” was no longer an option leading to positive consequences I soon learned.  My goal like yours was & is to feel as well as possible.  If that was the result that I wanted then I had to make different choices about how I was going to affect positive results.  There is a quote by Einstein that essentially tells us that doing the same thing over & over again & expecting different results is the definition of insanity.  Put a little gentler, may I offer up that perhaps it is at the very least the definition of denial.  It is easy to do things the same way.  It takes effort to replace habits.  It is hard work.  The question that we ask ourselves though is whether the hard work & effort required is going to be worth it.

Within our type 1 community, it is very likely that each one of us have tried our best many times to keep within that magical blood sugar range & have something derail our best planning.  Here it comes.  There are always 2 questions that I take along every minute of the day with me in this life.  They are:  what can we do “about” the situation & what can we do “with” the situation.  Even though we have planned well during a given day does not mean that we will be rewarded with a beautiful looking 5.5 smiling back at us from our glucose meters.  Oh dear, we just don’t know that we are in the process say of catching a cold that has to date been symptom free.  As a bit of comic relief, there is nothing like a person with type 1 being able to predict his or her own cold 3 days before the symptoms begin!  We get the clue to the cold by the bizarre numbers on our meters days before the Kleenex are needed!  How about stress?  Trying to account for stress in advance with insulin calculations is a little like walking the tightwire blindfolded while sleepwalking!  These are just a couple of examples of the trying to do everything right yet receiving less than favourable blood sugar parallels.

It is an instant connection listening to other folks with type 1 speak of experiences that they have had when it comes to low blood sugars.  Low blood sugars are to me a short time span of mini helplessness.  The feeling is awful that’s for sure.  Thinking becomes a monumental task & well, it is difficult to explain the feeling to folks who have not experienced this 20 or so minutes at a time of hypoglycemia. 

Realistically, I have come to accept that there will be incidents of hypoglycemia from time to time.  The doing something “about” part is the preparation proactively each day.  That is the math part where we each calculate our carb to insulin ratio, exercise, stress, colds and that type of thing.  It is also the part of the equation where we remember to do a glucose test before driving to ensure safety of all drivers on the road. 

How about the part of hypoglycemia that speak to the “doing something with” aspect?  We all have countless tales of hypoglycemia that occurred even though we did everything in our power to prevent them.  My heart goes out to you since we all share this frustration from time to time.  Let me share a wee story of dinner out with my “barbaloots” (sons) on Valentine’s Day.

Our second born son, Brian asks every day for the same meals:  pizza, pancakes or hamburgers.  It goes without saying that each of these 3 meals are reserved for the occasional “treat.”  Still, it does not detract Brian from requesting these meals.  Valentine’s Day takes on a little different flavor when you are raising 3 growing boys.  Temporarily, gone are the days of a romantic dinner out with table cloths & soft music for 2!  I say this with a smile though since I would not give up a single day with these precious, adventurous & exhausting boys. 

This Valentine’s Day, one of Brian’s meal dreams came true.  We did go out for hamburgers to Harvey’s.  The Harvey’s in our area is located within the same parking lot as the movie theatre.  The movie goers were out in abundance & found the convenience of having dinner next door to be the thing to do.  Yikes, when we entered the door to Harvey’s, the line up was at least 30 deep.  There is nothing like 3 growing boys motivated to have burgers to keep you all committed to standing in a line though.  I always check my blood sugar before driving, always.  Before we left the house, I was patting myself on the back seeing a delightful 6.7 glowing on my meter.  By the time however, it was time to pick up our order, 30 minutes had gone by.  That was 30 minutes of standing & entertaining boys in a line up.  By the time it was time to communicate what toppings were to be on each burger, my brain drew a strange blank.  5 burgers…and no idea what was to go on any of them including my own.  That was the time to decide what to do “with” what I knew instantly was hypoglycemia.  Two things came to mind & they were:  humour & honesty!  Our sons were comfortably seated across the room at this point & I was standing in front of the lady asking me what to put on each of the burgers.  I looked her in the eyes & said, “I am in low blood sugar & I have no idea what to put on the burgers.”  Then I just chose to laugh.  Years ago, I would have been so embarrassed & tried to hide the low blood sugar but not anymore.  If it has to be a part of life, then I am going to choose honesty & humour or H2 as I have coined the phrase.  As a little addition & comic relief, sometimes I call it H2O because when I have hypoglycemia, it is like my brain is at zero or temporarily erased!  Humour & honesty are just the antidote for that though!  Anyhow, I let the lady know that I would have to call the boys over to do their own orders & that they could also choose the toppings for my burger too.  She joked a little with me & said that I was very trusting to let the boys choose my toppings.  No one had to be “wierded out” & how great is that!

Then the French fry races  began after we were seated.  The competition was a close one since the boys are super fast eaters especially when they are consuming a favourite food.  I usually take about 10 times longer to finish but not this time.  When you are in low blood sugar, don’t you find that you feel that urgency to get your sugars back up in record speed.  I know I always just want the low blood sugars to end as quickly as possible so that my “brain power” is restored again.  The French fry races resulted in a very upset tummy.  Tummy, may I introduce you to Mr. Gravol.  Mr. Gravol & Mr. Tummy have a common friend & that is Mr. Hypoglycemia.  These 3 characters almost always collide during low blood sugar.  Have you found too that you every so often wake up in the night to the “shakes”, test your blood sugar, see that it is low, grab a juice box & drink it at super speed only to a couple of hours later need to get up due to a tummy ache from the juice on an empty tummy.  Those 3 characters in the middle of the night is something that we could each do without!

Have you thought much about what you do to prepare in an effort to avoid low blood sugars?  How about thoughts that you have about what you are going to choose to do “with” those inevitable yet hopefully rare times that an unexpected low blood sugar appears?  Perhaps it is not H2 or H2O that is the answer for you.  Perhaps it is something else.  My heart’s hope is that you find yourself in the company of people who support & care about you during “highs”, “lows” & everywhere in between!

Smiles, Saundie :)

Have a lovely weekend & it will be super to share again on Monday.  This Monday's writing is entitled, "Butterfly Sugars"