Interruptions at The Rookery

Did you all see G-Money’s vlog post the other day?  The one where he was playing basketball with his family and had to stop because he got low?  If not, go watch it now.  What we get with this slice of his life is how frustrating it can be dealing with a low.

Feeling low sucks. It is very frustrating when it interrupts your day (or night).  But what drives me even more crazy is when my low, my interruption, spills over into other people’s lives.  My interruption is now affecting their life, and interrupting their moment.  It makes me feel very self-conscious and guilty, even though in many cases I could not have done anything at all to avoid the low.

Watching George’s vlog post made me think about a low that put a screeching halt to some fun stuff I was trying to do with my kids recently.  My kids were bummed, but of course very supportive and understanding (as we saw with George’s awesome family).

My son is incredibly interested in nature and creatures.  It’s great.  He knows more about many things than I do about stuff.  I can ask him what kind of bird that was, and he’ll rattle off the name of it in a blink.  It’s so fun.  Along with that I’m enjoying learning about photography, and taking my camera out on nature walks with him (and sometimes my little princess).  My son recently went on a field trip with school, and saw a “Rookery”, which in this case is an island in the middle of the Mississippi river with very tall trees.  Up in the tops of these trees are a whole bunch of heron nests!

Hearing about this, and hearing that it was not far from my house, we headed out one Saturday shortly after breakfast to take a look.  We parked the car and started walking through the park trails along the river.  We walked about a mile towards the Rookery when I felt low.  A test of 56 mg/dl confirmed it.  A quick glance at my pump showed over 17 units of insulin active in my system.  Shit shit shit.

I had just eaten (and taken insulin) for breakfast about 45 minutes ago, which in this scenario translated into knowing that insulin was going to peak soon.  Peaking insulin is a Bad Thing when low.

How did this happen?  I am the first to admit that I am not the best at counting my carbs, but I was very confident that I got it spot on for breakfast.  Speaking of breakfast, where the heck had it gone?!  Why was I low?  My confidence was shaken, and I wondered if it was all just sitting in my stomach, not digesting yet.  This was not a new or unfamiliar meal, it was something I had eaten a hundred times before.  WTF!

I started to assess my situation.  I had a full tube of glucose tabs in my pocket, but because I had all that insulin working through me, that wasn’t going to be enough to pull me out of this low .  There was a pop machine in the park house, but I only had a $20 on me.  I knew we had to stop in our tracks and head home, even though we hadn’t seen what we came to see.

I was worried.  I had my kids with me (a diabetic parent’s worst nightmare – a debilitating low while in charge of little ones).  What if I can’t get my blood sugar to come up, and end up passing out?  Assuming I could make it to the car, was I really going to jump behind the wheel, with my kids in the back, and try to get home?

I felt stuck, and helpless.

I had to break the news to my two little nature adventurers, who were having a great time exploring the area and were excited about seeing more.  It broke my heart.  My son was trying to come up with solutions (“dad, I think there is an old hard candy I spit out in the back seat of your car…”), but the only option I could come up with was to eat the glucose tabs and get home (which was closer than any store) before the shit hit the fan.

I chomped down the 40g of glucose tablets I had in my pocket while we walked to the car.  I tested when we got to the car and had gone up to 83 mg/dl.  We drove home, where I kept fighting the low for another half hour or so.  Where. Did. My. Breakfast. Go. ?.

I felt so guilty about messing up the kids adventure, but being the great kids they are, they understood and moved onto the next thing in their day.  They are so great.

I went back to The Rookery another day, without the kids (who were busy with something else).  It was a sight to see.

 

Picture of a heron flying in the sky

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Scott K. Johnson

Patient voice, speaker, writer, advocate. Living life with diabetes and telling my story. Patient Success Manager, USA for mySugr (All opinions expressed are my own and do not necessarily represent the position of my employer).

Diagnosed in April of 1980, I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. Read more…