Seeing is Believing

Slowly awakening Monday morning, I reached over to the nightstand, picked up my continuous glucose monitor (CGM), and pressed the button to get my blood glucose number. Forty-three. Mentally examining myself, and ignoring the fact that I’m hypo-unaware as all get-out, I decided the CGM was wrong and I was just fine, thank you very much.

Off to the bathroom I went for my morning toilette and then to the den to check my BGs with my meter. Forty-nine.


OK, I was low. That is, I must be. After all, both my CGM and my meter said I was, although I was just FINE and in full control of both my physical and mental faculties. But I was hungry. Man, was I hungry! I could eat a HUGE bowl of cereal, followed by…well, I couldn’t quite figure out what.

Off to the kitchen, then. Where, all of a sudden, I felt that sickening “I feel like crap, I don’t like this feeling, make it go away fast” sensation that is one of my symptoms of hypoglycemia. The one that used to make me sit down on the floor and cry.

Quickly, I went to the refrigerator, took out the container of orange juice, opened it up and frantically gulped some down. Nope, no glass. (Shh! Don’t tell anybody!) There was no time for a glass, as far as I was concerned. Then I wolfed down about half a bowl of cereal while the water heated for my tea.

What the heck happened there? Remembering all the while that I’m usually hypo-unaware, was I symptom-free as long as I was lazing in bed, but the little bit of activity after I got up (a couple of times on and off the scooter and brushing my teeth) brought it on, or was it the psychological act of seeing a number that was decidedly in the hypoclycemic range on my meter?

A long-time CDE friend of mine said she’d heard from several people that they were symptomless until they checked their glucose and saw the number, which would argue for a psychological theory. Except that Monday was the first time I’d seen a low number and had symptoms occur. (Hmmm…Does that mean I’m only psychotic once in a while?)

I would have checked to see if there have been any studies done on that but, frankly, I have no idea what search items to put in.

It’s been a strange couple of weeks, anyway, blood-glucose-wise. First, I ran higher than normal for some unknown reason. Then, just as I was about to raise my basal rates, everything plummeted. Monday, for example, I took no insulin at all for a bowl of cereal that normally would have taken me over 200 mg/dl, even WITH insulin. The highest I got was 127. I then decided it was a good day to eat Chinese food. And hit 276. Sigh.

Maybe no day is a “good” day to eat Chinese unless you’re willing to blow your BGs for a bit. That’s why I rarely eat Chinese food, as much as I like it.

Goodness knows what’s going on. Whacked out post-menopausal hormones? The endless days of crazy-hot 100º temperatures? Lack of rain? Sun storms?

Whatever has been happening, I do know one thing about all of this: It will be good to see my endocrinologist this week.

  • jim snell

    in a good chinese restaurant – NO MSG and watchportions and sugar I do not have a problem. Other than load burns out early and does not last.

    In cases where msg loaded and some other chinese spices; it overrides my metformin keeping liver under control and ram glucose 200 plus every time.

    I watch this very closely.

  • Beth

    Jan, your hypo story reminds me of my J-U-I-C-E episode – all tears and wailing Juuuuuuiiiice, Juuuuice, while completely forgetting that I had glucose tabs in my pocket.

    In Chinese restaruants, I have found ways to eat without BG highs. I order mostly vegetarian food (I am one of those rare people who really like tofu), eat very little rice, and avoid fried stuff. Don’t know if this would work for anyone else, but it works for me.

  • Phyllis Emroll

    Jan, have you been inside my 51 year old menopausal body and head lately? You could be writing the story of my life and it is strangely comforting to hear someone else is living it as well. I don’t feel quite so alone. I have only been diabetic for 2 years and thought it will eventually ” settle down” , but I guess I am wrong. My husband will be entertained to read it because he frequently looks at my CGM at night and tells me I am low and I say, “I’m fine”. I have noticed my hypo symptoms (sweating,dizzy,heart pounding) to start as soon as my feet hit the floor, even if I have been low in bed symptom free for hours. Let’s all agree to pay attention to those warnings from now on. They are there for a reason.

  • marylittle

    my life also as i lost all symptoms to autonomic neuropathy..i have had to stop basal altogether as even one unit anytime causes a massive drop and when it starts dropping my body does the ‘screaming’ also i can still function down in the mid 30’s but after that i can only eat glucose tabs until i pass dog nudges me awake and sits there until i come back almost 3 hours gets scary for sure and adjusting the novalog once again i have been diabetic type two for 25 plus years

  • Nancy

    Being on insulin for 39 years, I have been through quite a few “lows”. I once consulted with a doctor who suggested I write down what symptoms I was having before the low occurred. This helped me to be better able to focus on checking my blood glucose more quickly the minute I suspect a low. I know the most important thing to do is to treat it, then worry about the higher blood glucose later. I also have learned that I can become quite beligerent when low, so I have trained myself to listen to those who know me and my symptoms ;;) I also treat my CGM lows with having a small juice box and glucose tabs beside my bed, using these asap before doing another thing! A monitor near the bed helps, too. I would suggest talking with your dietician in order to maintain bs control when eating Chinese food on occasion, limiting it due to the high amount of sodium. That way, you can still enjoy it, as you should!