Today’s Wego Health prompt: Write about a time that you lashed out at someone close to you because of frustration/fear/anger resulting from your health condition and you wish you could take it back. Forgive yourself and let it go.
Giggling and silly discussions about not wearing socks are my normal low blood sugar activities. The goofball hormone kicks in, transforming me into a six-year-old Mae West. I get spacy and snarky and am generally a good time. People around me think I’m pretty funny when I’m chomping on a glucose tab or two. You know how people say: “Aww, he’s a happy drunk.”? I’m a happy hypoglycemic.
Except when I’m bullet-train-to-hell low.
Around 45 mg/dl, a switch in my head gets flipped. Adrenalin and cortisol have flooded my system and with every pounding heartbeat, I hear a whoosh of blood and it’s a screeching cacophony. Good time girl is gone and in her place shakes a wild-eyed mumbling zombie. All sense of comfort and safety runs to the hills and without someone who understands that my only focus is “Get. Sugar. In.”, I can become ugly.
In an earlier post, I mentioned that I had a bunch of lows in a short amount of time. My Dexcom graph looked like a mowhawk. (Love those on babies and hot bassists. Hate them on my Dexcom.) I narrowed it down to one reason: delayed gastric emptying.
My gastroparesis saga will be left for another day. I’m not sure why it’s back and I’m angry that it’s happening now, because the kid and I are on vacation with my family and don’t want to spend it feeling nauseous.
The CGM alerted me two hours into the drive of my first low and I attacked a juice box. Glucose tablets don’t work fast enough when my stomach isn’t working and even juice takes a while to kick in. We stopped for lunch an hour later and it buzzed again while we were waiting in line for a table. “We’re going to eat soon. I’ll get something when we sit down.” Five minutes later, I knew I had made a horrible miscalculation.
Even though my dad has seen me through thirty years of diabetes, he’s never seen me have a bad low. My stepmom has (I love this woman for so many reasons; her cool as a cucumber attitude when all hell is breaking loose is one of them.) and when I whispered: “I need juice. Now. Please…”, she understood that this was no fire drill.
The waitress was kind, saying: “Oh, honey. I have diabetes, too. I’ll get you some OJ right away.” I am sweating and trying not to show any fear for my daughter’s sake, but I am now wondering how long before I begin to cry – or worse, pass out. Then my father asks:
“Why are you so low?”
My head swiveled 360 degrees. I pointed my finger at him and raised my voice loud enough for the surrounding tables to hear: “Don’t. You. Start. With. Me!!! I already had juice in the car and it wasn’t enough!!!! And now I’m dropping too fast for the CGM to keep up!!!!” I unclipped my Dexcom from my jeans and whipped it across the table at him. “Here! See for yourself!”
Ever the peacemaker, my stepmom gently pulled me close to her while sliding the Dexcom back towards me and said: “She’s low, honey. Her stomach isn’t digesting. Let her get juice in. We can talk about this later.” He grumbled something under his breath and turned to keep the toddler occupied until her mommy stopped being a raving bitch.
She then murmured into my ear: “Where is your glucagon?” I bow my head, tell her it’s in the car, and force myself to take huge gulps of the only thing that will help. I want to abdicate the crown that is firmly planted on my head, rip the sash from my chest, and crush the roses beneath my feet. I hate this ugly feeling.
Two frosty glasses of orange juice sucked through a straw. She and I watched the numbers on my Dexcom waver between 46 and 40 for a while. My meter after the second glass announced that I was 50. Twenty minutes later, I was 100.
And sorry that my father bore the brunt of my fear and anger. He knows now that in the question round of the Miss Ugly Universe pageant, I totally rock it with my glucose starved brain’s answers. Because as much as I want to, I can’t take them back.
And I hate that just as much as the disease.