Whenever I meet someone, whether it be in the T1D community or a muggle, there is always this moment where we discuss our Personal Bests. Personal Bests meaning our Lowest Low and our Highest High. These are the blood sugar values that have exceeded our wildest expectations and surprised us by bringing us to our knees. This is by no means a recommendations to see if you can Out-Diabetes one another but a story of a significant low in my life. Through the course of our lives they inevitably happen (thanks to current CGM technology, not as much).
What brought this idea to mind was a recent low I had while visiting the local Costco. My CGM started going off as I approached the meat section and a quick glance showed 65 mg/dL with TWO ARROWS DOWN. The initial moment of panic is set off by the background math of "how did I end up here?" - Mine was a slight delay in insulin coverage for the breakfast I had hours earlier. Anyways, I then jumped into Rescue Mode and ripped into a package of CapriSuns 100% Juice and boom I was back.
The Lowest Low - I was in the midst of my Middle School Band career and we were rewarded with a trip to Disneyland (end of the year trip). Everything was running smooth throughout the day, we had a great time at the park, we were able to go 'Backstage' and perform Disney soundtrack themes to the animated movies and it was awesome. I was under a somewhat strict diet under the advice of a quack Endocrinologist so I wasn't able to indulge in the Cotton Candy and sweet treats like my friends. I remember we had dinner at the Blue Bayou (highly recommended) with my friend-crew (mom as chaperone) and then spent the night chasing each other around the park with ultra-realistic cap guns that are no longer sold at Disneyland - for obvious reasons. I remember testing a few times throughout the day and never really feeling too terrible. I still had good resilience from lows and highs at this point but I feel like I was in decent control for the day. We got back to the buses around midnight, the freeway on the way home was blocked by an accident which added about 2 hours to the trip. We made it back around 3am......and that's where my record stopped recording. Apparently within the first hour of being home my little brother woke up (thanks Drew!) to me breathing weird - woke my parents up - my dad tested my blood sugar - 18 mg/dL - mom injected glucagon and force-fed me sugar gel - I wasn't responsive and just shaking - after about an hour on high alert my BG levels stabilized. I had just had my first and only Low Blood Sugar Reaction.
I woke up after 9 am feeling like a truck hit me. My brain was throbbing, my muscles sore from the contractions and shaking, my mom was asleep on the couch and dad checking on me intermittently. I had absolutely no idea what happened but thanks to my brother, I got every gory detail (thanks Drew!). It took a little over a day to get back on my feet. Thankfully we didn't need the help from an EMT - the family history of Diabetes had prepared my mom for the eventuality of a low like this - and we were prepared. After some T1D investigating, we attributed the low to the limited carbs and protein I ate that day, which wasn't enough to sustain the Disneyland energy. You can easily walk over 8 miles at Disneyland over a full day and with my limited snacking and eating, I was on the road to a significant low. I was completely unaware of my trend throughout the day. I tested once every 2-3 hours which is not a means of knowing how the body is reacting to all of the fun. A CGM would have been a great tool in my scenario but the technology was not there yet...
Lows happen and they're no joke. I've been fortunate to have only had one reaction since my diagnosis but I know plenty of people who have had a regular occurrence of these reactions and it sucks. Luckily, technology is improving at an unbelievable pace and CGM technology is getting more and more accurate. I'm now trying to think of a way to wrap this up.......maybe.....the moral of the story is to prevent lows- ensure that you have plenty of cotton candy at Disneyland when you visit.