Diabetes Self-Management Blog

This past Thursday I saw an amazing documentary in Philadelphia with my mom, cousin, and two of my friends, called Islamic Art: Mirror of the Invisible World. The architecture as well as individual pieces of art shown in this documentary were breathtaking. (Be sure to check out the national broadcast of the program July 6th on PBS!)

Not only was the documentary itself beautiful, but so was the venue we watched it in. The Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts is as beautiful as it gets. In all, it was a really fantastic night…aside from my uncooperative blood sugars.

Before we left my house and headed into the city, my blood sugar was fine. I had just come back from walking around the mall, which always brings my glucose down, but I was hovering around 140, so I had no real worry about dropping too low. As usual, I made sure that I had a snack in my bag. On Thursday, it was a pack of five or six AirHeads, each with about 15 grams of carbohydrate in them.

When we were about halfway there (traffic was a nightmare), I felt my blood sugar dropping. I had two of the AirHeads and figured I would be fine. Once we arrived at the Kimmel Center, I was still feeling low, so I went ahead and ate another one. I checked some time later and was back in the 150s. After another half hour I felt off, so I checked again and was 232. I gave myself only a partial correction because of how much I had been dropping and figured I’d be fine.

Between the documentary itself and the opening and closing remarks, the entire event lasted about two hours. On our way to the parking garage, I felt like I was really dropping. I checked and was 156. I knew that my blood sugar at that moment was fine, but that I wouldn’t last. I finished whatever AirHeads I had left and hoped I would be fine.

The minute we reached the highway, I knew something was really off. I felt really, really low. I thought I had at least one more AirHead in my bag, but there were none. I asked my mom if she had anything in her purse, and she didn’t. (My cousin graciously offered me her really sweet-tasting chapstick, which I politely refused.) One of the friends that came with us had some packaged pineapple with her that she gave me, but it only had 8 grams of carbohydrate in it.

I was actually starting to panic because I knew I was really crashing and there was no way I could make it all the way home without having something substantial to eat. Before I could even say anything, my mom swerved off at the first exit and in a matter of a few minutes we were parked in front of Target. She raced inside to get me something to eat. At that point I finally checked and saw that I was 42. After a couple more minutes my mom was running out of Target with a huge pile of snacks. I mean this was a real HAUL!

In retrospect I realize just how lucky I was to have my mom driving. Had it been anyone else, he or she might not have realized how serious my low was and assumed I was fine like I always am. I don’t even want to think about what could and likely would have happened. It’s moments like those that make me extremely grateful for the parents that I have. To know that I didn’t have to say anything and my mom knew exactly what to do was so crucial. It would’ve been one thing had I been completely unprepared, but it’s just scarier because I did have a real snack with me before we left. It was literally 75 carbs worth of snack, and still it wasn’t enough.

It’s easy to forget just how serious diabetes is sometimes. You can never been too prepared or cautious. I still don’t know what it was that caused my blood sugar levels to be out of whack. All I know is that I’ll definitely be way more on top of packing snacks!

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