I just posted the first of a series of blog posts about the burden of living with Type 1 diabetes. The endless decisions, loneliness, financial burden and many more. One of my greatest struggles of living with Type 1 is the on-the-go surprises.
Sometimes I love surprises. A surprise birthday party, or a “just because” gift are always great, but a surprise low? Not the best. You know the feeling. You’re in the middle of your day and start feeling dizzy, and hot, and start losing your breath; you know you need to find something sweet fast or else risk passing out in the middle of the store you’re shopping at (and we all know how embarrassing that could be.) Surprise lows are also very scary, one minute you’re fine and the next you’re dizzy and afraid to black out. When a low comes out of nowhere there’s not much you can do to prepare for it, you just have to plan ahead and have some candy or juice nearby, just in case.
But what about a surprise high? Those are even worse. You’re feeling great all day and decide to check for reassurance (and also so you can finally report a good number) but the 5 seconds after the blood hits the test strip a number above 300 shows up. WHAT? So you check again, go through the process of cleaning your finger, changing the lancet, putting in a new test strip, and taking even more blood out of your already bleeding finger, and still get a high number. Those are the worst, those make you want to re-evaluate everything you’ve done in the last hour, day, and sometimes even week. Surprise highs are sometimes caused by under-bolousing but more often caused by stress, sickness, or even the weather.
The worst part about surprises is just that, it’s a surprise, there’s no way to know it’s coming or to prevent it. You have to take the surprises and learn from them, maybe one day you got stuck without juice and dropped low, next time you leave the house you’ll know to bring some extra sweets. On a vacation one year, my younger sister forgot to check her blood sugar before going down to eat breakfast with my brother. She figured she was going down to eat, after all it was just an elevator ride away. The next thing we knew we were getting a call from the infirmary, my sister fainted from a low, and she had her plate in her hand, ready to eat. I learned from that day to never leave the house without checking my blood sugar, because that could have easily been me in the infirmary all day.