Monday, January 08, 2007

Would it kill you to spell it "LOW"?

Have you ever seen this on your meter?

I had a scary episode of low BG this morning. In fact, I think I made a new low record. According to my Ultra OneTouch meter, I was "LO" (as they like to spell it), which means I was below 20 mg/dL. Needless to say, it was a very unpleasant experience. I think there are several factors that contributed to this, so at least I have a good explanation and can learn how to avoid this in the future.

First of all, my Dexcom is not working. The sensor that I have been using for the past week has been an A+ sensor, tracking my actual BG's quite nicely. Because of the unfortunate requirement to reset the sensor every three days, it was no longer working. (It worked fine up until the 3-day time limit expired and I reset it, which imposes a 2-hour delay while it calibrates.) Anyway, I was hoping it would start working last night but it didn't so I guess I'll have to insert a new one soon. The end result is that I didn't get the tip-off to low or falling BG's that I have begun to rely on with the Dexcom.

Secondly, I think my insulin sensitivity has gone up. I've been exercising a bit more in the past few days (but not a lot more than usual) and have also been eating less. My total daily insulin dose has been reduced by about 25-30% and I have lost maybe 1-2 pounds in the last week. These things usually increase my insulin sensitivity.

Fortunately, at the time of the low, I was close to work, which is a medical center. I found 2 hospital employees to help me; I think one of them was a nurse. I am really grateful for the help of these two people. Since they were medically trained, they didn't freak out and didn't call 911 when I declined the offer. I explained that I was a type 1 diabetic, that my blood sugar was really low and that I needed some help. I was fairly sure that the 2 sports gels that I had eaten would pull me out of it, but was concerned because I had also taken Symlin this morning. I don't think I've ever felt that close to passing out (except when I did pass out once after surgery, but not for low BG!) One of the people asked me if I needed more food. I would take anything and ate both of her yogurts. I hope she found some other breakfast. I also ate the remnants of her Christmas candy canes. I started feeling better pretty soon and they agreed that I was looking better.

Not to be too glib, but now, that I've seen both "LO" and "HI" on my meter, after 18+ years with type 1, does that make me a real diabetic? (Of course I would never intentionally go this low!)

And why do some people pass out at 40 and others not? I've never passed out because of low BG.


Megan said...

Sorry you had a rough day. That's super scary! Unfortunately, I have seen that more than I like to think about. And I am really hoping you went back in the memory and took that picture later, now when you were LO.

Anne said...

Ha ha! no I took the picture this afternoon. The question is this: why did I feel compelled to test my BG when it was obvious I was super low? I had already eaten 50 g of gel before testing, and I guess I'm always curious to see just how low I am.

Thanks for your comments...

Megan said...

I become curious to know how low I go too.

Crazy thing is, I feel like if I didn't test, I can't write it in my log.

Heidi said...

Those lows are indeed scary. I have had 4 or 5 of those "LO" readings during the past summer, being able to do the test and eat by myself.

After starting the pump it actually seems like those below-2.0(36)-readings have become more part of the routine - not at part that I like, though! Strange thing is that it is not like I am asymptomatic at the time, but the severity of the symptoms may vary quite a lot from time to time. Some time I feel like crap when I am 3.8 (68), while other times it is just a hunch that I should test, only to discover that I am 1.8 (32), but feeling remarkably well and not needing any help to treat the reaction.

Shane and Becca said...

Scary, Anne! that's pretty LO. I'm glad you were able to get some help. Shane once treated a patient, and the nurse told him that his blood sugar was 1. Is that possible?

Anne said...

I bet the nurse was referring to mmol/L units instead of mg/dL. 1 mmol/L is equivalent to about 18 mg/dL. Did the patient show up like that? I don't know how long someone could stand being that LO.

Kevin said...


I have never had a low that low (though I have had one or two HI readings in my 27 years of diabetes). That must have been very scary.

And that is a great question as to why some folks pass out at 40 and others do not. I have no idea, but I have never passed out either. I have blacked out, but was still concious enough for friends to help out, but that only happened a few times and it has been quite a while since the last time.