Family Projects and Sneaky Low Blood Glucose

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This week in diabetes all was going well until we decided to do a “family project.” Now, like any good husband, I’m all about a family project. In my family growing up, a family project was always entertaining, partly due to a combination of my sarcastic nature and the idea of everyone trying to work together. It usually ended in my mom questioning what my dad was doing and my dad finishing the job alone after questioning her question as only a father can. My dad is a fairly handy guy, but apparently that gene skipped me.

I am the first to admit I’m not the handiest guy in the world. I’m not an idiot when it comes to tools and such, but I’m far from being able to build some stairs or repair a sink. I’m more of the hang-a-picture, install-some-blinds-from-Pearl-River kind of guy. My wife, on the other hand, is pretty handy, and the project we were tackling was the removal of our window air conditioner unit.

It all started smoothly with drills, toolboxes, and a plan to reorganize our closet to make room for the AC and maximize our space. I’d eaten a little oatmeal for breakfast and taken a unit of insulin to handle it. Right after we removed the AC with very little hassle, I got a little shaky and checked my blood glucose. It was low—59, if I remember correctly. So I drank some orange juice and took a 10-minute break to let my body adjust.

It was a little spooky how quickly low blood glucose (or hypoglycemia) slipped in out of nowhere. I find that the smallest amount of activity can often lower my blood glucose or have an effect on how quickly the insulin I’ve taken begins to work. Of course, it makes sense that insulin works faster when you exercise, but sometimes it surprises me just how quickly it works and how much energy certain activities can burn.

I played a 30-minute show this past Tuesday night, and when I ate a dinner beforehand that I would normally take 3 units of insulin for, I decided not to take any insulin. After the show, my blood glucose level was 88—and it’s not like I’m running around the stage going crazy, I’m just simply playing, singing, and maybe dancing a little bit depending on the audience.

I did take into consideration the fact that, for the show, I was wearing a horrible Christmas sweater as an added sweat factor and possible blood glucose “lowerer.” I’m really glad I didn’t take any insulin with dinner, as it would have been a bad experience to go low on stage and have to figure something out really quickly. I had a granola bar in my pocket, but it’s always awkward to eat when people are staring at you.

If you want to take a look at the sweater, check out our new Christmas video on It should be up in the next few days.

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