Sugar Fingers


Last night I went to bed at around 10 p.m. I was tired and needed to get to sleep early since I had a 20 mile run ahead of me in the morning, which I planned to wake up for at 4:20 a.m. 

I got into bed and checked my blood sugar. We had eaten dinner relatively late and I had taken a substantial amount of insulin (around 4.5 units) because my blood sugar was a little high to begin with.

At bedtime my blood sugar was 173. I plugged the number in to the bolus wizard on my pump. It told me I didn’t need to bolus (well it actually read bolus 0:00 units) and said that I had 4.2 units of active insulin on board.

Well, I couldn’t go to sleep like that.  So, although I was very tired I decided to read for a while. After half-an-hour or so I started having a hard time staying awake, I was reading the same sentences over and over again. I decided to just go to sleep.  My blood sugar was 104. I knew that was not good, so I set an alarm to wake me 45 minutes later. Knowing I probably wouldn’t hear the alarm, especially if I was going low, I asked Jessica to make sure I checked my blood sugar when it went off.

When the alarm went off I did not hear it and when Jessica woke me I felt groggy and disoriented, all I wanted to do was fall back to sleep. Jessica insisted, and I checked my blood sugar again. It was 62 and, as far as I could tell, falling. I didn’t want to eat anything, both because I wasn’t hungry and because I didn’t want to wake up in the morning, before my run, with very high blood sugar.

“Have some glucose tablets,” Jessica suggested. “There’s a new container in the bathroom drawer.”  She offered to get them for me, but I didn’t want to make her get out of bed.

I stumbled through our apartment (thankfully, we don’t live in a big house) and found the bottle of dex4 glucose tabs. I had a hard time opening it. But I finally did and had a glucose tab.

“How many did you have?” Jessica asked me.

“Just one”

“That isn’t enough.”

So, a little more alert, I went back and had a few more glucose tabs (at this point you’re probably wondering why the hell I don’t keep them near my bed). I ate some dried fruit, too.

I got back into bed and set another timer.

“Did you brush your teeth?” Jessica asked.

“No,” I said. “I want to sleep and I’m not getting up again.”

“Did you wash your hands?”

“No,” I said.

“There’s probably sugar on them.  It’s going to screw up your next test.”

45 minutes later my alarm went off again. I had no trouble waking up. I grabbed my glucose meter and checked my blood sugar. 285.

I was about to panic, but then I remembered Jessica asking me about washing my hands. I tried another finger. It read 110.

Relieved, I went back to sleep and when I woke up at 4:20 my blood sugar was 150. Not perfect but good enough.

I got up had my coffee and went out to run a good 20 mile run in the rain. (It took me 2:37:16.)

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Catherine Price
8 years ago

@Toby Thanks :)

8 years ago

Nice time on your 20 miles!

8 years ago

Argh. Diabetes is so tiring. Not just because of the constant attention it require — it can steal your sleep! I’m very sorry to hear about what sounds like a frustrating night. 

Melanie E.
Melanie E.
8 years ago

If I see that I don’t need to bolus because of a good amount of active insulin, I dial in that I’m going to eat a certain number of carbs and keep checking to see how many I can eat before it tells me I need to bolus for them.  Then I can eat that amount of slow carbs before bed and not really worry about having to wake up to check.  That way I’m being proactive with the insulin on board.

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