I admit I have an issue. I just looked at my Dexcom data for the last week and it is not bad however every late morning through evening I run high. Just to quantify that its from low 200s (11.1) to around 400 (22.2). I can just picture all the open mouth, jaw on the floor looks from those who know what those numbers mean. I chatted with my new endocrinologist about this issue in my first visit. Although we talked history, not all of it came up in the talk. We only had maybe 15 minutes to cover 40 years if it. I liked her response to my fear, well it maybe closer to a phobia, of getting too low. I tend to over correct and drive it into the lower stratosphere. Why?
I explained to her about my fear of going low. It really is a terror for me when I get below 85 (4.7). Here’s the reason, I get highly combative and/or aggressive when it get too low. Why the high to mid 80s do you ask? I’ve watched my glucose level drop 130 points in 1 hour. At only 85, in one hour it would be in the negatives. Also at high 80s I start to get easily consumed and even simple math gets complicated for me. It takes me a few minutes to multiply two digit numbers. Far longer than normal. The combative part is well known amongst people who know me well and the local EMTs. I woke up one day with 8 of them holding me down on the bed to get an IV started. I was told “You were fine until that needle touched your arm and then………….” I was just coming out of it so it took a little bit for that to sink in. He must have seen the puzzled look on my face he said “Sorry about the bedspread.” and pointed to right of me.
My arm and a good chunk of the bed spread was covered in blood. I had pulled back and yanked the needle out of my arm sending blood everywhere. This is not the first time I have come to with such evidence of violence. The first time I can remember (good memory) is at age 12. I was mowing neighbors yard and it dropped very low. My sister was with me and said I just kept mowing the same patch of grass over and over. When she asked why, I just smiled at her and shut the mower off.
We lived right next door so I walked to the fence right next to the gate and climbed over instead of just going through the gate. My sister tied to stop me and was rewarded for her act by me trying to yank her over as well. I got inside and my mom knew right away what was going on. She tried to get me to drink baby juice with two packets of sugar mixed in (doctors recommendation). As usual I knocked it out of her hand all over the walls, floors and ceiling. Now this is where I had the crap scared right out of me for the rest of my life. She called the doctor, who called the ER (we lived down the street and around the corner from the hospital back then) for a nurse to take a shot of glucagon to our house.
While she was on the phone I had gone to my room to lay down but was back on the couch when the nurse came. I was rolled over facing the back of the couch. How can you remember so much detail while low you ask? My mom told me all about my adventure one time in the ER and it was seared into my mind forever. Back to the story, my right arm was facing up so she jabbed the needle in and I promptly swung back and knocked her about 5 feet across the room. I weighed about 180 lbs. back then at age 12. I now tip the scales at about 244 lbs. and I’m even stronger now than back then, do the math. I can seriously hurt or even kill someone in one of these events.
Another such event was a friend of mine, later girlfriend who was also a diabetic, tried to pin me to the floor to get me to eat or drink something since I was low. I told her after the fact that it was a bad idea to confront me like that. I guess when she was sitting on my stomach trying to hold me down I reached up and squeezed her breast hard. She called my sister and the two of them were able to get me to drink some juice, I think.
Such actions like this make me fear having lows. I have injured people I love and respect while I am not thinking straight. A co worker at former work place was actually pretty smart during an event at work. I was low but not extremely low. The nurse working that day was an old school nurse who had a plan to dump raw sugar into my mouth. When I heard what her plan had been originally I was worried. I may have tried to flip her over the chair and seriously hurt her. The co worker who I had worked with for over a year came over and just plopped down on my lap and started talking to me. The distraction worked. The nurse tilted my head all the way back and dumbed in a spoon full of sugar.
Now far be it from me to disagree with a nurse but that seemed like dangerous stunt. I know from CPR classes that you tilt the head back to open the airway. Tilting my head back while I was in the chair was sure to open that airway while she poured raw sugar into my throat. All I can say is lucky woman, on two counts. First, that I didn’t go Rambo on her and flip her to the floor. Second, that she didn’t choke me out by pouring sugar into an open airway. I would think a nurse would know this potential problem.
Ok enough with the history, I think the point has been made that I have a long and storied history of not reacting the best when my glucose is low. I am more than happy to drive it higher than it should be to prevent those lows. This is where my point of view differs from the doctors. I hear all the time “80 is not low. You do not need to correct it until it gets low, 60 (3.3)”. So don’t correct it until it is too late then hope you are still lucid enough to do something about it. Sorry that is NOT going to happen.
The second issue I hear but again I don’t see it their way. “If you get better control and stop those highs you will not have the complications such as loss of eye sight, heart attack, stroke, or kidney failure. You will live much longer.” Ok, wow! What did I do to piss you off and threaten me like that. Live this pain filled and work infested life longer than necessary? Now that is just cruel. Stop it. I did not say I want to end my life. I just do not want to prolong it any more than needed. From my point of view there is little to nothing worth fighting that hard for in my life at this point. No wife or girlfriend. Some family members but the ones I am closest to are getting up there in age and may not be around much longer. When they are gone I really don’t have a whole lot to push me toward living to be 100. My old endocrinologist cringed when I told her back just after high school I had it in my head I was not going to live past 40. I am now 48. I am 8 years past my expiration date so each day is a notch in my belt on my side of this fence.
So each time I see my glucose drop too far I start going down the rabbit hole and over correct. I am fine with this although no one else is. I’d much rather see it too high than too low and have to call the EMTs or police to get control again. My fight now is to learn how to not go way too far. Maybe keep it below 250 (13.9) as much as possible. Working on it for now.