Seeing is Believing

Slowly awakening Monday morning, I reached over to the nightstand, picked up my continuous glucose monitor (CGM)[1], and pressed the button to get my blood glucose number. Forty-three. Mentally examining myself, and ignoring the fact that I’m hypo-unaware[2] 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[3] 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[4], 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.

  1. continuous glucose monitor (CGM):
  2. hypo-unaware:
  3. CDE:
  4. basal rates:

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Jan Chait: Jan Chait was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in January 1986. Since then, she has run the gamut of treatments, beginning with diet and exercise. She now uses an insulin pump to help treat her diabetes. (Jan Chait is not a medical professional.)

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