Treating Low Blood Sugar: Do it With a Measuring Cup

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This past Thursday was a stressful day for me. As a college student, waking up any time before 10 A.M. is particularly unpleasant. So when my mother informed me that I had an appointment scheduled with my endocrinologist at 7:45 in the morning, I was not a happy camper.

Nevertheless, I found myself rolling out of bed at about 6:30 that morning, noting that my continuous glucose monitor (CGM) was ringing in sync with my alarm. I glanced at the screen and saw that my blood sugar was dipping into the 50 mg/dL range. I thought to myself, Okay, no need to panic yet. I just have to use my meter to confirm whether or not I have to treat a low. Sure enough, my meter informed me that I was 73. Groggily, I headed down to the kitchen to grab a few raisins and a couple handfuls of cereal to correct my low. I would find out less than two hours later that not using measuring cups for my food was a mistake.

Fifteen minutes later, I was feeling revitalized. I felt reassured with my treatment choice, the combination of raisins and cereal seemed to bring me up quickly. I continued getting ready for the appointment, and made it out of the house in record time.

At around 7:43, I pulled into a parking space at Southborough Medical Group, breathing a sigh of relief that I wasn’t officially late. I followed standard procedure: checking in at reception, forking over the co-pay, waiting in the gloomy waiting room for a nurse to call my name. Luckily, the wait time was less than five minutes, a perk of having an early appointment. The nurse – Joan – and I made small-talk as went through the motions of getting my height, weight, and blood pressure readings. As per usual, she went to test my blood sugar, as well. I wasn’t overly concerned about the outcome of the test, I figured I’d be somewhere in the 150-180 range after correcting my low. However, I was proven very, very wrong when the nurse informed me that I was in the low 300s.

“What? Oh, man, I think it’s so high because of what I ate this morning…” I launched off into a detailed explanation of my low blood sugar episode as Joan listened patiently. She told me that I would have to have my ketones checked, just to be on the safe side.

After that ordeal was taken care of, I waited anxiously for my endocrinologist to enter the exam room. A series of thoughts streamed through my head, such as: Will she be angry with me for dealing with my low incorrectly? Did I spill ketones? What will she ask me to change about my current insulin regimen? What if – and just like that, my panicking was interrupted by the doctor’s arrival.

Immediately, my fears were alleviated when she told me that my ketones were fine. Moreover, she was kind regarding my story about my low blood sugar, and worked with me to figure out how to prevent incidents like that from happening again. The main lesson I learned this past Thursday morning was how important it is to always read nutrition labels and from there, use measuring cups to determine precise intake of certain foods. I’ve always been aware of how vital this is, but I guess I needed a wake-up call to remind me to get into this habit. At the end of the day, I learned from a mistake, and now I know what I have to do to prevent dramatic spikes post-low blood sugar from happening again.

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Bryan Johannes

Molly,

Great post! I really enjoyed the part where you stated you made it out of the house in record time.  Love dad.

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