I don’t always feel my blood sugar dropping. I don’t know if I’m starting to develop hypoglycemic unawareness or maybe it has to do with the speed at which my blood sugar is dropping. I used to always start to sweat and shake a little when my blood sugar headed down into the 50’s and 40’s, or at least I’d feel some sort of weakness coming upon me.
But lately, on the few occasions that I’ve been low, I haven’t really felt it. At least not like that.
On Sunday at around 10:00 p.m. while I was washing dishes, I noticed Tom’s light was still on. I couldn’t believe it. After he had stayed out late the night before and had spent all of Saturday saying he was too tired to do anything, including his summer homework assignment that he didn’t finish before school started.
I was annoyed and angry. I assumed he had stayed up reading without noticing the time (or just not caring). When I got to his room I saw him sitting up in his bed with headphones on listening to music and looking half asleep. This pissed me off even more.
“You’re so tired you can’t even read and you still don’t think of going to sleep?” I shouted. He just looked at me with a tired face as I continued, “You’ve been saying you’re tired all day long and you have school tomorrow. Go to sleep.”
I walked out of his room and went back to the kitchen. I was annoyed at his lack of responsibility, but I was way too angry. My reaction didn’t fit the crime. I knew it. So, as I always do when something seems off, I checked my blood sugar. It was 37.
Shit! I looked at my pump and saw that I still had 3 active units of insulin in me. How did this happen and why didn’t I feel anything?
I opened the refrigerator. I was startled, confused, and worried. I had a Hershey’s kiss, a few M&M’s, an apple… and that was just the beginning. As I ate I felt guilty and humiliated about my hypoglycemic rage. Sure, I was justified in being annoyed at Tom’s behavior. But my response was way over the top. By morning Tom probably forgot all about my outburst. I, however, have to live with the knowledge that this can happen. Diabetes can steal my reasoning abilities and self control. Worst of all, I didn’t even feel it coming.
PS. Let me correct that “cerebellar” reference to “cerebral”. No, hypo was not to blame this time, just a bit of disuse. ;-)
I have found that hypoglycemia in that 30-40 range can amplify whatever emotion I am feeling at the time. I think it is just a symptom of the reduced cerebellar activity (higher cognition) during hypoglycemia. Cerebellar activity tends to be inhibitory of more instinctive midbrain behaviors. So, during hypo, it appears that the normal inhibitory effect is diminished, and emotions (and emotional behaviors) seem more intense. Michael, your post is most appreciated. It helps us all to talk about these more rare and disconcerting effects of diabetes, as a means of raising awareness, and preparing protective prevention and defenses. I’ve… Read more »
Mike, I can relate to this. In fact, the only signs of hypoglycemia I have left are confusion and anger. (In my early days of T1D, I would get the sweaty, shaky, tingling feelings.) A couple of weeks ago, I was outside gardening. I asked my husband to run in the house and get me a juice box. He came back out with it and asked me, “You looked normal. How did you know you were low?” And I answered, “I realized I was mad at the dirt.” As I was shoveling, the resistance of the dirt was really pissing… Read more »