Friday, February 09, 2007

Subzero Temps., Hypoglycemia, and the F Word

This past Tuesday was a grizzly cold day. I woke at 5 a.m. to the radio saying, "It's 10 below in the Twin Cities this morning, and the windchill is minus 35". I have been taking the bus to work for many years and know what to wear for the 7 block walk and the wait on the streetcorner - long underwear, down vest under my coat, assorted layers of mittens, hats and scarves. When it comes to dressing properly, I epitomize common sense (and look like a lumbering polar bear).

Just before lunchtime, an announcement was made on the PA - "L is going to make a Ho Fan (the nearby Chinese takeout) run - if anyone wants the lo mein special, let her know". I love having lunch personally delivered to my desk and immediately placed my order. Ho Fan's lo mein is a solid glob of noodles and soy sauce, with perhaps a half ounce of chicken and sprinkle of green onions. It's not within the realm of "moderate" as far as carbs go. My usual insulin dose to cover lunch is 3 units. For the lo mein, I decided to take 9.

That afternoon, as I was getting ready to leave, I tested at 115 - a perfect value for going home. That is, a perfect value if I'd had only 3 units for lunch. I still had at least 1-2 units on board. I'm pretty sensitive, and at that time of day one unit can lower me by about 80 points. I forgot.

I rode home, got off the bus, and had traveled no more than a block when I got the sensation of the sidewalk moving under me, like on a treadmill. My clearcut signal. I forgot. I kept on walking, and within just a few minutes I was really headed south - still four blocks away from my condo building and getting colder by the minute. I ducked into the security entrance of another building and decided to test (I should have immediately crammed some tabs, but I forgot.)
Take my meter out and it feels cold. Strips don't work when they're cold, but I forgot. Tried to lance my finger, but it was too cold, and no blood came out. Stood there, my mind totally blank, not having a clue what to do next. (Better put mittens back on).

In an agonizing step by step effort, I made it to my building. I forgot how to get my key ih the door and one of my neighbors helped me.

Rather than immediately eating, I decided to test with my nice warm at-home meter - 32. That seemed absurdly low so I searched for my spare meter to confirm, but the battery was dead. Still no eating. Eventually I got out a Juicy Juice box, but could not get the tiny straw in the teeny hole. Then thought of the maple syrup that came in the Xmas breakfast gift box. I opened the cute little jug and had several big swigs - in fact most of it. 2 hours later I was at 420, but, safe at home in my flannel pj's.

One act of forgetting the "insulin on board" concept caused me to go hypo which caused me to forget a lot of other things. People hvae done a lot of recent posting about hypos, and I agree that many times they come out of nowhere, and that's where the frustration lies. Yet, this one could have been prevented, so I'm not in such a tizzy. I'll just try to remember next time.

Have a good weekend everybody.

19 comments:

George said...

Oh MN that was so scary! I am glad you made it home but man what an awful experience.

jill. said...

Yikes 32! I'm glad you made it home :)

MileMasterSarah said...

I can totally relate to this. The lower I get the more likely I am to forget to correct the low with glucose. I just get "busy" doing "something" while low. Once I hit the forties, around half the time I need help "remembering" to take the tabs. Ah well, I rarely get that low anymore. I don't envy you the walk in the cold though. It has been bitter, and I've been starting my car at 1 am to the tune of complete suckiness off and on for over a week now.

type1emt said...

Glad you're ok- it is easy to be even more ditzy then usual(when hypo) when it is cold. Or at least, I think so(favorite recent hypo pastime, wandering around freezing parking lot looking for car, only able to think about finding car)
Take care.

art-sweet said...

YIKES! I have spent way too much time staring at candy displays and pondering which candy to buy when I'm low so I totally know the phenomenon you're describing!

Scott K. Johnson said...

Ug. Isn't it just CRAZY how our logical thought process can completely abandon us in those times where we could really use it?!

Glad to hear you made it home in one piece. I too have chugged down syrup on at least one desperate occasion.

Stay warm!!

Chrissie in Belgium said...

OH Kathy I understand! First I want to just send you a hug (((((hug)))))) Glad you got out of your bundled up North Pole clothes. Glad you are now home in your PJs. Just glad you made it. Sounds REALLY cold! Did you get some really "proper" long underwear? Why can't they make monitors that function in the cold? They stop functioning at temperatures much higher than those you now have! What are we d's suppose to do? I try and pack my monitor close to my body, under my sweater. I have also had hypos where I FORGOT how to put the key in the door - DUH? It is so weird that we can physically walk around and think all sorts of other stuff EXCEPT go and eat some food!

Steve said...

I hate when that happens. I don't go low very often, but when I do, I usually don't recognize what's happening (foreign ground.) As a result, it can go pretty low. I've passed out at work. Argh!

BetterCell said...

Kathy....forget about this "testing business", when you are feeling Hypoglycemia. YOU know your body by now after many years w/T1DM. In the situation as you described every second counts as to whether you will remain conscious or not. Eat/drink whatever it takes to remedy the situation FIRST. This "testing" first, can work against ALL OF US. In Hypoglycemia, you are treating an emergency situation that has FIRST priority, not the "testing" which can be done afterwards and insulin adjusted as necessary.

Bernard said...

Kathy

That's a scary, scary combination. Real cold weather and a bad low.

I'm so glad you made it through safely.

Isn't it funny how easy it is to forget the things that we know we should do. I've done it many times myself.

I've had hypos where I've forgotten how the lancet device works - I can't find the release button!

Stay safe in this cold weather.

BetterCell said...

Your Email box is not working.

Kassie said...

these things always seem preventable after the fact but I'm often amazed at how things start to snowball!

glad you made it home...

Zazzy said...

That is just really, really scary. I'm so glad that you made it home safely. Take care of you.

Lori Rode said...

I'm so glad you're OK! Soon it will be spring, yes? Well, sooner or later it will be spring...

Vivian said...

I do hope it starts to warm up for you. I am so glad you are ok and hope you are having a better week this go around.

cassandra said...

i had one of those forgetful days last week too. scary. and in the freezing cold, things tend to feel kind of numb with or without a hypo.

MileMasterSarah said...

Kathy,
Yes, I have had several people ask me if I feel bad because Gracie has diabetes.I have also had several people ask me if I didn't expect it....I've also had several people tell me that diabetics aren't supposed to have children. It takes all kinds. I Have no razor sharp comments. Mum is the word. Nothing I could say would be worth repeating and I would regret it later, despite their ignorance, no need for me to be mean (although inside I'm quite nasty!)

Molly said...

I could write that same story. It's true. I get low and lose common sense. Having Dixie has helped, because she shepards me to food when I forget. It's funny. It's 15 degrees and feels like a darn heat wave. I left my jacket unzipped when I took Dixie outside this afternoon.

Zazzy said...

Hi! I wanted to drop by and apologize - you got caught in my spam filter. I really should check more often but it so rarely makes a mistake!