D-Blog Week Day 2: Make the LOW GO! (a.k.a., eat everything I can see)

From Karen, our assignment for today:
Tuesday 5/11 ? Making the low go. Tell us about your favorite way to treat a low. Juice? Glucose tabs? Secret candy stash? What?s your favorite thing to indulge in when you are low? What do you find brings your blood sugar up fast without spiking it too high?

I have a lot of trouble with lows. No, that’s not exactly accurate. I have a lot of trouble with over treating lows. I have always been amazed by those of you strong-willed enough to control your eating/drinking while low. I remember Kerri talking about her “Eight Sips” being her key mental thing to treat her lows without going crazy on it. I thought to myself “man – I’d drain the whole bottle!”

I’ve talked about this a bunch before, and have gotten a TON of great comments, suggestions, and experiences from many of you. But I still struggle with it.

Depending on my day, if I can stick to fast acting glucose, specifically glucose tabs, I do a lot better (duh!). But there are many days where I choose other ways to treat my lows, and it almost always backfires. Why do I put myself through it, you ask? Well, because eating other stuff to treat a low is more short-term fun.

It’s pretty silly, because when I do that, I usually eat more than I need, then end up taking insulin to offset a rebound high. But because I pigged out when I was low, and didn’t count my carbs, I can only guess how much insulin to take. And what do we know about guessing insulin doses? We know good blood sugars DON’T often follow. It is usually an express ticket for the blood glucose roller coaster.

I hate the blood glucose roller coaster. But apparently I don’t hate it enough to grind GLUCOSE TABS through my thick skull.

And if you haven’t already, check out Sara’s post about a funny story from when she came to Minnesota for a visit…

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13 thoughts on “D-Blog Week Day 2: Make the LOW GO! (a.k.a., eat everything I can see)

  1. Getting over this problem took some very concerted practice on my part, though of course I still sometimes give in. 🙂 I agree that planning is really the key: you need to make it as easy/brainless as possible to eat only exactly what you need. My solution: tootsie rolls. They’re perfect for me for many reasons: they’re cheap and can be bought in massive quantities, the regular-sized candies are 5 carbs each, so I only need 3 (which is about as much low counting as I can manage), if I eat an extra 2 or something it’s not too much damage and the carbs can be counted by the wrappers if I overdo it, and, most importantly, I LOATHE them. Really, they’re vile. Being low makes them palatable, but not delicious, so I’m unlikely to freak out and eat the whole bag (I assume this is the logic behind glucose tabs, but those things are so expensive!).
    The success of this approach depends on having them on hand literally at all times – by the side of the bed, in my work bag, in my going-out purse, in my pockets when hiking, etc etc. They’re almost as ubiquitous in my life as used test strips. 🙂 It’s therefore pretty much always easier to reach for tootsie rolls than anything else, and I have less time to get into full panic mode where the monster beast takes over for real. Even when panic-attack low, if a reasonable solution is only an arm’s length away, going to the kitchen seems like a real marathon…
    Good luck! I feel for you because this problem really plagued me for years (ooooooh, frosting….), but to be honest training myself out of it is probably in the top 3 of the best things I have ever done for my diabetes management…that post-low high is the *worst* feeling.

  2. Hi,
    Your MIL might be experiencing something called hypoglycemic unawareness. It is a very scary thing where someone can’t feel their low blood sugars happening anymore. It is a fairly common thing, and it scares the heck out of all of us living with diabetes. I wouldn’t say it is normal to have so many episodes so frequently, but we’re all different.
    Does she see an endocrinologist and/or CDE (Certified Diabetes Educator)? They might be able to help her figure out ways to prevent many of these reactions, and also talk with her about options for her.
    There have been some great advances with continuous glucose monitors over the past few years. There are 2-3 different models and manufacturers on the market today. These devices can help catch a low blood sugar and beep and/or vibrate, alerting your MIL that her BG is dropping low.
    She needs to talk with her doctor about them. If she sees a general practitioner, he/she may not be knowledgeable enough about them. An endocrinologist (a doc who specializes in diabetes) and/or CDE would be able to help her get set up on one.
    I hope that this helps a little bit, and I’m sorry that all of you, including your MIL, are struggling with this. Diabetes is a hard thing to live with, and I’m sure that she’s not enjoying any of it either. You all are fabulous for taking such good care of her.
    There are many wonderful people who would be happy to talk/e-mail more about this stuff with you. I encourage you to check out the forums here at Diabetes Daily and over at TuDiabetes.org.
    All the best!

  3. I just came across this blog while searching for information.. I’m not sure of proper blog etiquette but, I have a question I’m hoping someone can help me with. Please. I’m trying to understand low blood sugar episodes..
    My mother-in-law is a type 1 diabetic and is on a pump. However, she has SEVERAL low blood sugar episodes a week. Sometimes 2-3 a day. We have to call her every few hours to check on her…. we can immediately tell if she’s having a low blood sugar episode and have to drop everything and run to her house to make her eat. We’re worn out and worried to death about her. I’m not sure that she has gone more than 48 hrs in the last 4 years without AT LEAST 1 episode. And to be clear, these are not episodes that she recognizes herself and treats on her own ..these all require a family member to intervene and force her to eat a glucose tab or drink something. I guess I’m wondering if this is normal for most Type 1’s?

  4. Oh yes, I’m often totally guilty of that too. Because hey, my 13g juice box is not as much fun as jelly beans or chocolate frosting!! And then I try to SWAG bolus to cover all the junk I ate. Yup, and end up low again. I’m right there with you, my friend.

  5. I have to agree with Wishing Mama, although I can’t say I always do it. I try to use Glucose Tabs “medicinally” and therefore have a limit and don’t over treat. However, when I head for the junk food — cookies, candy, candy, candy — well, you can see the pattern. I am a compulsive overeater and sugar is my problem. Any excuse will do. It’s tough. Then factor in the panicky feeling of a low and staying in control (of self) is very, very hard. I do a lot of praying.

  6. Hey Scott,
    I hate glucose tabs. I know the best way to treat my lows, is to have some regular coke. But mostly that’s not what I take to treat a low. Especially at night, I go for.. cookies.. Any kind. Mostly chocolate filling. I save the wrappers and after this splurge, I count carbs and bolus for the excess. I know I should have regular coke or apple juice, but it just doesn’t happen.. because my nightly lows are way too low, to act reasonable..

  7. Usually, when I eat to treat a low, I would kinda in panic mode. I’ld pick up anything in sight and eat just to get the number back up. After suffering from that style of treatment once too many times … it was time to make a plan. Now I will grab an apple (already washed, saves time) get my apple slicer (great tool, slices entire apple with just one push) and a table spoon of peanut butter.
    I’m trying really hard to take care of myself when the lows strike. I recall my father eating so much when this happened to him and I never understood it. Now it’s crystal clear. I totally get it. It’s a scary feeling.
    You have to look at it this way … if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Have a plan of what to eat always. No more free for all of me. Must stay in control.

  8. Ehum. And…because one of my weaknesses is that I just can’t leave well enough alone…that would be “HEARS my rants”
    as opposed to
    “here’s my rants”
    Ok. Done ranting.
    G’nite. See ya tomorrow 😉

  9. I’m learning SO MUCH with this project. Seriously…I had no idea that when Addy acted like a starving monster, it was “normal”.
    Hearing about other PWD and reading their descriptions has really opened my eyes to what she goes through.
    I feel SO MUCH more educated and I’m quite grateful for that 🙂
    I also wanted to thank you for all your kind comments. There are a lot of blogs out there…I’ve been reading as many as I can this week while keeping up with life. I know I’m a PofCWD, so our journey might not interest alot of other bloggers. But, you’ve always been so kind…and you’ve always taken the time to leave a comment. I feel like someone out there here’s my rants…and…takes a moment to listen.
    So…thanks for that. And keep up the great work 🙂

  10. I have just started having lows and the first one was the scariest thing ever! But the next one was a bit easier because I recognized the signs immediately and treated it with glucose tablets as fast as I could. I knew what was coming and focused (as best I could) and just sat until it passed. It is a horrible feeling though and I know that afterwards all I will want is to sleep…is that normal? I’m exhausted after.

  11. lmao lol
    YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!! lol
    i also know better but…..
    and really its a habit from the days of before!with no meter or tabs man you did what you had to do!!
    thanks man!! we dont need no stinking glucose tabs!!

  12. You know what I say, Scott? If you’re coherent enough to “count” the specific amount of carbs to treat a hypo then it’s really just a figment of your imagination. Who can think straight during a real one? You’re fighting the enemy when you’re low. You’re not a felon if you over treat one of them.
    I don’t eat glucose tabs. I think they are just gross. I know one box of raisins will do the trick. I’m coherent enough to do that, but don’t ask me to measure or count things out of a package.
    Jennifer