I got home from work last night, all terribly normal. The day had been normal and my routine had been normal.
When I was standing in the kitchen I realised that something wasn’t entirely right. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but just knew something wasn’t right.
46 years of experience kicked in so I went straight off to “check my sugar”. And sure enough, I was at 3.2 (58 in the USA). Out came the fruit juice box and the emergency sweets.
The rest of the evening progressed as normal, with my level a little high. Then interestingly this morning it was back down in the 3’s.
The points of interest from this episode are, in no particular order –
- Because my day yesterday was “normal”, why did my level drop?
- Because everything appeared back to normal before bed, why was my level so low this morning?
- From the perspective of a non-T1D person, so what?
Points #1 and #2 are rhetorical questions. One of the frustrating things about T1D is that there are so many things that affect the BGL (Blood Glucose Level) and so many things that can change it. The best way I can describe it for non T1D people is that it is like juggling 3 balls every minute of every day. The 3 balls are food, insulin and activity.
The food is the source of carbohydrate. The insulin enables the carbohydrate to do it’s work and the activity determines how much carbohydrate your body needs. The food and insulin can be accurately controlled, but the activity is much more difficult. Did you have to run to catch the bus? Did you have to stand in line to buy that sandwich? Did you get a stressful phone call at work today?
The things that can change the BGL include the weather, your mood, your physical activity, your level of rest, your current state of health, your stress level at work or school …. and that’s only the easy ones.
But how did I even know “something wasn’t right”? Well, that’s very difficult to explain, but I’ll try.
Have you ever had that slightly out-of-body feeling, where it’s almost as if you are watching what’s going on from outside? Or that slightly unco-ordinated feeling where things just aren’t where they are meant to be, or the kitchen bench is a tiny bit higher or lower than it should be? Have you ever turned your head to look at the person speaking to you and your eyes just want to keep swinging around and you feel you have to tell them to stop? And what about that word you’re looking for? It’s a really easy word and you use it all the time, but right now it’s just out of reach. I wonder why these things are happening?
Hang on …………. I wonder if I might be low.
But if I caught the low last night, why was it low again this morning? Good question and I’m glad I asked.
Firstly, we still don’t know why I went low last night, so maybe the root cause is still there. Secondly, some of the food I had to bring myself back up last night was of the HIGH GI variety. This means fast acting carbohydrate that has the unfortunate down side of not lasting in the system very long. When you hear the diet people rabbiting on about low GI and high GI, this is what they are talking about. In very simple words, high GI is processed sugar while low GI is whole grains and vegetables.
So why couldn’t I get things back in balance properly? Firstly, I thought I had. Secondly, have you ever been juggling the 3 balls and then somebody gives you a new one to replace one of the ones you have? I doubt it, but try to imagine they have. You must not drop any balls and mustn’t change the rhythm of your juggling, but you also must swap the correct ball for the new one.
DON’T STOP JUGGLING AND DON’T DROP A BALL.
Meanwhile, don’t forget to smile and keep showing the world that everything is OK.
It can be quite tiring, to be honest. Oh, that’s another one of those variables that are out of your control. 🙂