Diabetes Self-Management Blog

Last Thursday, I began my day shaking with hypoglycemia and ended it chugging water in an attempt to quench the indescribable thirst that can come only with hyperglycemia.

It wasn’t a good diabetes day. In fact, I felt so crappy from the highs and the lows, it just wasn’t a good day at all.

When I got up, my blood glucose reading was in the 70s. No biggie. I grabbed my coffee and repaired to the front porch (followed by two cats and three kittens) to greet the day. Apparently, while I was sitting and sipping coffee and being entertained by the felines (while they were being entertained by birds and squirrels on the other side of the screens), my blood glucose was dropping…and dropping…and dropping.

When I went back into the house and opened the newspaper, I noticed it was shaking. I picked up a pencil and held it between my thumb and index finger. The pencil was shaking, too (try it sometime when you’re low—it works). I checked my blood glucose. Oops!

There have been times when I have been hypoglycemic when I wasn’t hungry. This was not one of them. I ate three watermelon-flavored glucose tablets. I should have stopped there and checked again in 15 minutes, just like I’ve been taught. Also, intellectually, I know that it takes a bit longer for your brain to register that your blood glucose is back in a decent range. About half an hour, from some research I read a few years ago.

But man, was I hungry! And my head just didn’t feel good. I knew that if I got my blood glucose up, I would feel better. To do that, I had to eat or drink something. Since I was in my low-blood-glucose-starvation mode, I chose eating.

I made—and ate—a two-egg omelet. No carbs, but I was thinking more of hunger at that point. Then I scraped the bits of icing left on the bakery container from my granddaughter’s birthday cake and ate that. Somebody had left the remains of a bag of barbecued potato chips on the table, so I polished that off, too. There may have been more. I don’t remember.

After a bit, I went out to run errands. One of the things I wanted was a magazine that’s published by the local newspaper for which I had written the cover story. I knew what the article said—I just wanted to see the pictures. At any rate, they wouldn’t give me one because it wasn’t supposed to be on the streets yet. I got snooty and snippy with the poor circulation people. I’m not normally a snooty and snippy person: Just ask my friends. (Friends? Are you out there?) I then stomped off and did what I should have done in the first place: Went upstairs to the newsroom and got a magazine from the editor.

I was bloated from too much food and thought about canceling my “ladies who lunch” date. I went anyway. I should have ordered a salad. But the hamburgers looked awfully good. It was a new place that was said to have great hamburgers. Far be it from me to miss a good hamburger. Besides, it had been long enough since my morning binge that I was hungry again.

Did I mention the place was said to have good onion rings, too?

As if messing up for most of the day wasn’t enough, along came dinner. I had thrown some boneless, skinless chicken breasts in a Crock-Pot that morning with some salsa, peanut butter, and soy sauce. (Trust me: It only sounds inedible.) What to have with it? Why, rice of course! Did I measure the rice? Did I weigh the rice? Nope. I just ladled it onto a dish and spooned some chicken and sauce over it. It was good. I had seconds.

I think there were doughnuts involved somewhere that day, too.

On top of all of that, my continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) sensor had died in the middle of my errand-running, so I didn’t have instant feedback on what was happening with my glucose levels. I could have put in another sensor, but I like to put them in at night to settle in for a few hours and start them up first thing in the morning when my glucose is (usually) pretty steady.

A full day of too much of the wrong foods didn’t contribute to good diabetes management, and it didn’t do my weight-loss plan much good either.

On the other hand, I felt so crappy from making the wrong decisions on that one day that I didn’t want to do it again. Anytime soon, anyway. The next day, I put myself back on track and have been doing much better ever since.

Maybe I need a day of screwing up once in a while to remind myself why I need to pay attention to my blood glucose management: A day of pretending that I don’t have diabetes and don’t need to shed some tonnage…er, pounds. I will give myself credit for getting back on track the next day instead of throwing up my hands altogether and continuing to repeat my mistakes which, to my detriment, is something I’ve done in the past.

The chicken is good without rice, and I can go back to that restaurant and eat a hamburger but either ask them to hold the bun or set the top of the bun aside myself. Eating a hamburger with a knife and fork might even prevent me from dribbling juice down the front of my shirt. And I’ll get a side salad with it instead of onion rings.

The onion rings there aren’t all that good, anyway.

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