Sleeping is something I don’t usually have trouble with. I fall asleep easily and can sleep late (not that the latter happens all that often). But the other night, I was totally wired. I don’t know if it was because I’d gone for an evening run or because the day had been nonstop and my body was having trouble unwinding. I simply couldn’t relax.
I lay in bed reading for over an hour before I put down my iPad. (I usually don’t last more than 20 minutes.) But even after all that reading, I still couldn’t fall asleep. I tossed and turned for a half hour until I sat up and started to read again. Then I felt like I had a little heartburn. I tried to ignore it, but it didn’t go away. I tried to sleep again. Useless. I was totally alert.
I don’t know why, but at 12:30 a.m. I decided to check my blood sugar. I felt fine, aside from the heartburn. Still, I reached for my glucometer and using just the light from the Freestyle, I tested.
I looked at the little screen and said, “Oh, shit” as I saw the number 32.
“What is it?” Jess, who had a nasty cold, murmured. It sounded like she was talking in her sleep.
“I’m 32,” I said, still not moving.
“I’ll get you something,” she said.
“No. It’s fine, I’ll go,” I said.
“No,” Jess said.
Before she could remind me of the glucose tablets next to the bed, I’d gotten up and walked to the kitchen.
I opened the refrigerator, and looked in. I couldn’t see anything to eat. I had a hard time seeing anything at all, except black spots. I couldn’t focus. Was I passing out? I was dropping. Must be below 30, I thought. Where was the food? Where did all the fucking food go? The cold refrigerator air on my bare feet reminded me where I was standing. But I closed the door because there was nothing but black spots in there.
I wondered why we didn’t have any food in the house (we had plenty). I heard Jess asking if I was okay. I answered yes because the problem wasn’t me, but the fact that there wasn’t any food around. Then I saw it – not in focus – but still identifiable plastic container of dried pineapple on the counter. My feet moved in the right direction. I grabbed it and shoved a few pieces in to my mouth. A few more. The room came back into focus. I remembered we had some sweet granola in the pantry. I ate.
I went back to bed and waited, telling Jess (cynically) that we should really have some sweet food around. She sneezed in reply. Next blood sugar check was 61. Much better, but way too low to go to sleep.
I felt flattened, defeated, my head hurt, and I was nauseated. I tried to read while I waited to see if my blood sugar was going up. When I saw it in the 90s, I set an alarm to check again in an hour. Then I closed my eyes.
When my morning alarm went off at 7:00, I couldn’t get up. My head was pounding. I checked my blood sugar. It was high, as expected – 204. I took a little bit of insulin, cancelled all work and plans for the morning, and fell back asleep.
Many hours after my hypo, I still felt weak and dazed. When that passed, I felt traumatized. I know what a close call I had. I felt how close it was. What if I hadn’t been wired? Was ‘wired’ my body’s way of telling me something was wrong? Why hadn’t I felt hypoglycemic?
Things could have easily ended differently.
My body’s cry for sugar had been silent. I happened to check my blood sugar. Luck? Intuition? I could just as easily have closed my eyes like every other night, and then drifted into a deep, all-consuming sleep.