Treating Hypoglycemia: A Chance to Revert to Toddler Behavior

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At something like 4:30 AM on this past Thursday morning, my CGMS woke me up with the “low” alarm.  Hypoglycemia. I always keep my receiver in bed with me so that I can check it in the middle of the night if needed.  This particular night, I was so completely exhausted that I subconsciously ignored the alarm twice before I gradually became cognizant of what was going on and I pulled myself up in bed to check my blood sugar.  62.  I wasn’t too worried, but then again it was 4:30 AM; the only thing I was worried about was getting back to sleep.  The CGMS receiver still shone brightly as I slowly collected my thoughts.  And thus, with the realization of the “unfair” circumstance that was before me, I quickly plummeted into the realm of early childhood.  


The basket of low supplies I keep on my nightstand, complete with glucose tablets, glucose gel, juice boxes, emergency numbers, and a hand-carved angel my parents gave me when I was diagnosed.



First, there was the whining:  I don’t wannnnnnt to get out of bed!  I don’t wannnnnnnt to treat this low!  I’m not even hunnnnnngry!  I had flashbacks to my own toddlerdom, where I would find myself drawing out words I knew were important in the sentence.  I was so tired!  I just wanted to sleep!  

Then, the irrational decision-making:  Maybe if I wait it out, it’ll go back up!  Maybe I should just lie back down and call a friend to discuss the situation.  At this point, I was willing to stay awake; I just didn’t want to get out of bed.  

Next, the sudden awareness of bodily functions:  I think I have to go to the bathroom.  Why the desire to remedy a full bladder trumps the need to treat hypoglycemia, I don’t know, but it got me out of bed nonetheless.  I stumbled toward my bedroom door, then realized I hadn’t done anything to treat the hypoglycemia yet.  

And this is where the toddler-like behavior comes to a climax:  Great idea!  I’ll treat the low while going to the bathroom!  Next thing I knew, I was sitting on the toilet, in the dark, slurping down a Clifford juice box.  I still had my eyes closed as I sipped through the bent straw–the envy of 29-year-olds everywhere, I’m sure–and finally reached some normal level of consciousness.  I opened my eyes and stared at myself in the mirror.  What am I doing?  If someone would have walked in on me in that moment, I’m not quite sure how I could’ve explained myself.  My thoughts immediately traveled to when I used to teach preschool and I would catch students doing the most ridiculous, albeit earnest, things.  Blindly carrying a juice box to the bathroom could certainly be considered creative problem solving… right?  

Grasping for any sense of dignity, I trudged back to my room, empty juice box in hand, hoping my roommates didn’t happen to wander out of their rooms while this half-delirious episode was taking place.  I replenished my little basket of low supplies that I keep next to my bed.  I tested.  I checked the time.  And then, as if nodding adieu to the Terrible Twos, I climbed back into bed, victorious.  Victorious because I had successfully taken care of my body’s immediate needs, yes, but more importantly because I did something no two-year-old gets to do:  I actively chose to not brush my teeth again before returning to bed.  Take that!  I winnnnnnn!


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Comments (2)

  1. Susannah at

    Your low basket is so artful! My nighttime low supplies: a box of sugar cubes in a ziplock bag in my bedside table. I had to dip into it 3 times last night. I fell back asleep several times without action before reawaken later and realizing that I still needed to treat. My process: mouth guard out, munch 4-6 sugar cubes, drink some water, mouth guard in (you’ll notice, no teeth brushing). As always, thanks for sharing your experiences.

  2. Karmel Allison
    Karmel Allison at

    Oh man. I’ve been there. Especially the, “Well, if I just ignore it, it will go away,” approach to treating lows. I’ve also been clearing alarms on my CGM in my sleep as of late– so I wake up an hour and a half after the first alarm, with the second alarm telling me I’m 50 :/

    But! I always brush my teeth. I highly recommend that. I learned as a teenager that correcting lows at night without brushing leads to lots of cavities. Trust me. Brush ’em! 

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