Bouncing BGs Lead to New Awareness

How ’bout those Colts? If I’d known a few years ago they’d go this far, I would have taken the football Peyton Manning autographed for my granddaughter and kept it in a safe place. However, she slept with it and the writing is all rubbed off.


Frank (the cat) and I settled into the recliner to watch the game Sunday, but I don’t think either of us saw the kickoff. Yep. Sleeping again. I slept so long I didn’t even see the Saints come marching in, although I did open my eyes long enough to see the Saints and the Vikings were tied near the end of the fourth quarter. For you Jets fans who are gritting your teeth and vowing never to read my blog again, I can explain: I live in Indiana. And the Colts’ summer camp is about five miles from my house.

It’s been a l-o-n-g week. I have another infection, my grandson has pink eye, and my husband’s voice is making an effort to leave him. Antibiotics are working on my infection. How can I tell? My blood glucose is dropping and I’m scurrying to adjust my basal rates down.

This is getting annoying, you know. I take antibiotics and go low. I finish taking them and go high. I’m forever adjusting my basal rates to handle the swings in blood glucose.

One thing that’s happening on the bright side, however, is that I seem to be regaining some signs of hypoglycemia.

There are a number of signs of hypoglycemia — shaking, sweating, hunger, confusion — all kinds of neat stuff. Not everybody has the same symptoms and not everybody recognizes when their blood glucose is too low. Somewhere I read that people are pretty much out of it when their blood glucose is in the 50 mg/dl range. As I’ve said before, I’ve been known to carry on coherent conversations in the 40’s. (Wait a minute. That was in last week’s blog.)

Back in the beginning, one of my signs was that I would sit down on the floor and cry. Another was that I would get snarly (“I’m not angry because I’m low, I’m angry because it’s hot outside and I’ve been riding my bike for an hour.”) My husband once told me that, when my blood glucose got too low, my eyes would glaze over, I’d get grouchy and look as if I wanted to bite the head off a rattlesnake. Doesn’t that paint a lovely picture? Wouldn’t you like to be married to that woman?

Not too long ago, I got to the point where it seemed I could look at food and my blood glucose would soar into the 200’s and 300’s. I’d have to pour about a bucketload of insulin into my body to get my glucose down.

Then I started on antibiotics. Again. A few mornings ago, I woke up at 4:30 AM very thirsty. Wouldn’t you know there was nobody awake to get me a glass of water? The slackers! I actually had to wake up enough to hobble into the kitchen and get my own.

While I was sitting on a stool, gulping down ice water, I noticed that the lights had little halos around them. Strange. Things were looking just a wee bit fuzzy, too. Then I got hungry; hungry like I’d never been before. It was an “open the refrigerator and tip the contents into my mouth” hungry. I filled the basket of my walker with a banana and whatever other foods fit into there and made my way into the den, where I checked my glucose. It was in the 50’s.

Dang! Hypo awareness! It wasn’t just a one-time occurrence, as I thought when I wrote last week’s blog. My awareness apparently is coming back. On the one hand, I welcomed it, especially when my continuous glucose monitor was off — which it was that night, as it was warming up.

On the other hand, that hunger thing has got to go! I’ve vowed to book a cruise through the Panama Canal when I’ve lost 50 pounds. That was a couple of years ago and I’ve only lost about 23 pounds so far. If the hunger thing continues, I may have to change that to “if I don’t gain more than 50 pounds…”

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  • Jo Ann Hynds

    Jan, I really enjoyed reading your blog. My BG bounces too & for me it is really frustrating! It’s nice to know I’m not the only one with that problem. I am not on insulin or medication for my diabetes but trying to control it with diet & exercise.

  • Joyce

    When I was pregnant with my twins 20 years ago , my husband learned to recognize my lows.He also learned after the first low that he should not verbally confront me, so he would say things like ‘ I know I am the skum of the earth, but could you drink this while you tell me how bad I am’. Soon my bloodsugar would be back in the normal range and I would no longer be saying how terrible he was.He understood that the bloodsugar levil affected my reasoning, and never got mad at me for saying terrible things. In fact we would laugh about it after I felt better.
    We were blessed with two healthy boys who are now college students, so our work to stabilize my bloodsugar levils did pay off.

  • Mary

    Jan – could we be twin daughters from different mothers? After reading every one of your blogs, I swear that I could have written it myself … word for word. Thanks fr being there and for having the courage to be so blantantly honest about about what you are going through and dispersing it with humor along the way. Take best of care and please continue with your blogs …

  • Will Ryan

    Thanks for your post, Jan. It’s reassuring to hear another diabetic talk about the BG roller coaster. For the past week I’ve been more challenged than ever before. My BGs have been all over the place and I’m not aware of any direct cause. So, like you I’m taking major insulin doses along with trips to the refrigerator.

  • Lori

    I too have been having the roller coaster ride, especially lately and I have to wonder if menopause is affect my sugars. My doctor’s office just notified me yesterday that (at 49) I’m going through menopause. It’s not only messing up my sugars, but my career, and mental/cope skills. This is not the time (economically anyway), to leave a job, but I have to admit that as additional duties are added to my already overloaded job list, I consider it everyday – even knowing it’s (at least in my head) the wrong thing to do. But it’s a struggle. If anyone has suggestions, please let me know what they are.

  • Jan Chait

    Hi All,

    It would be nice to have a sister. All three of my brothers do, and I’ve always wondered how come they do and I only have brothers.

    Of course menopause — or perimenopause — can affect your sugars! You have hormones jerking around all over the place. What bothered me most in those days was waking up in a sweat and not knowing if it was a hot flash or if I was low. I tended toward grouchy, too, and had some problems with memory, which is normal. As far as the hot flashes went, drinking a couple of glasses of soy milk a day seemed to help. Tofu, edamame, and flax seed also are high in phytoestrogens (a dietary estrogen). Other foods have phytoestrogens, too. Just look it up.

    Back to the hormones, which I can’t keep straight as to what’s doing what. I do know that BGs tend to drop during a woman’s period. Even years past menopause, my face will break out and my BGs will drop for no reason once in awhile.

    You’ve got to admit that diabetes sure isn’t dull, although we often wish it were!

    Will, men have hormones, too. Maybe that has something to do with your roller-coaster ride. Maybe it’s the phase of the moon. Who knows?


  • Deb Dixon

    With all that “bouncing around” have you ever developed a fungus on your skin because of high BG?

  • Jan Chait

    Hi Deb,

    No, not that I recall. When my BGs were consistently high, about 15 years ago, I had a recurring vaginal infection. Right now, my problem seems to be recurring infections and slow healing related to my recent surgeries.