Blog Entries With Tag: hypoglycemia

Posted: Sep 29, 2013
                            Ahhh the fashions in 1970

How many of us have been designated drivers?  As a diabetic, amongst my friends when I was younger, I would normally be the one a) that had a car (and could afford the gas/insurance); and/or b) didn’t drink to the point of total obliteration of the mind.  So, after having a good time, piling into the car to head back home (for more partying sometimes) – I would make sure that my friends were okay  - glass of water – few aspirins – then be on my way home if I wasn’t staying the night.

Sigh, the responsibilities of being a diabetic when your friends aren’t (I think we younger diagnosed diabetics have to grow up faster sometimes than our nondiabetic mates).  To some of you, it may seem like we miss out on all the fun – but in away – I never felt I did (well – hey I did indulge from time to time –I mean I’m no saint).  The main thing, I could remember EVERYTHING the next day, they couldn’t, and the stories I could relay to their kids today would be such a hoot - but I won't - don't worry.

The other day, a friend of mine, who immigrated to Quebec about 10 years ago, that I’ve known since the age of 7, called me up, inviting me over for coffee and cake (ohhh homemade cake .. NOT - they don't like to cook <lol>).  I actually hear and see less of them than when we lived further apart.  Their life is complicated (whose lie isn't?) – and boy oh boy – that could make for a whole other blog – but that’s their story to tell if they can write honestly.

At the time, I knew I had 4 units of insulin remaining in George Michael (my Animas 2020 insulin pump –still going strong into his 2nd year of being out of warranty – hope I don’t jinx him here by saying that).  I figured that I’d be okay – my BG (blood glucose/sugar) was acting stable that day (5.1 mmol/l – 92 mg/dl) – so I knew I’d not need to correct with multitudes of insulin if I went high – even with coffee and cake.

I stayed for an hour – chatting up on what had been happening in their life over the last 3 months (boy oh boy – what a soap opera).  Then Monsieur George went into ALARM mode – FEED ME NOW!!   No biggie, and I guess for some of you reading this, you’re thinking “why didn’t she bring back up? She preaches this to all of us!!”.  Well, I forgot, plain and simple.  I also knew, that going without insulin for less than an hour would not be the death of me (not like my DKA experience back in August – 6 hours without insulin – NOT GOOD).

So as I attempted to leave (hey –they like to talk – yap yap yappity yap) – my friend was reminiscing about the times I had been low (Hypoglycemia / low blood glucose).  If I could have captured the look on their face – of how I looked to them when I was “drunk” with a low – PRICELESS.  It was something that I forgot about – that they’d probably seen me that way many times over the past 45+ years – and it was actually kind of neat that they would remember those details – and I was seeing how I looked in their eyes. 

They work for a dentist – who is a Type 1 diabetic.  They told me that they had asked their boss – incase the he went low – where did they kept their insulin, etc.  The dentist was reluctant at first to tell them where it was kept in his office but in the end told them. That’s when my brakes came to an abrupt screech – and I said. 
Car braking hard 
“ You would have given them insulin when they’re low?  That’s the last thing you should be doing – they will go even lower!!! "

It actually freaked me that my friend, who is a Dental Assistant, who has known me for so long, would consider giving insulin to someone in that state - and would they know how to test their BG properly to access the situation?

I once again put on my “educators” cap like I seem to be doing alot lately when I'm out on the town – hoping that the simple explanation I gave to them, will ensure that any diabetic that they come across in future, that either may be going low or high (Hyperglycemia / high blood glucose/sugar).  I’m hoping it retains in their noggin’ – because obviously knowing me for so long – they still don’t get it (like my Mum who thinks apple juice is sugar free).

It also proves to me – why many of us are so anal about our control – and taking care of ourselves – rather than others (even “trained” nurses in a hospital – and I speak from experience).  We know what works best for us – and hope that we don’t get into the situation where we need someone to assist us – without full knowledge of what to do.

NB:  When I got back home after picking up a few groceries along the way - I was reading 8.1 mmol/l - l46 mg/dl.  Infusion change - fresh juice of life in my pump - back to regular programming!

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Posted: Jun 28, 2013

Love me - I'm a cow - moo!!Recently I got together with some friends from high school.  Sadly, it wasn’t for a happy occasion, like we have done in the past, but for saying good bye to a good friend of ours, who had battled breast cancer for 5 years, and sadly lost to it, as it invaded their body.   I didn’t realise until last w/e when we got together to raise a glass to her time their time here on planet Earth – that they had become diabetic during those years.   All of you know, from my past blogs and statements I’ve made within the social media …. “ if they’d had diabetes – they would be alive today “.

I found out that many have now become Type 2 diabetes (T2D).  As one of my friends put it – their whole family has it – so they “inherited” it.  I had to hold my tongue back on their statement, as I’m still on the fence post about whether Type 2 is passed on.  I am under the belief that the rise of Type 2 diabetes has a lot to do with how we now lead our lives, such as inactivity, foods that are eaten … the list goes on.

One thing I performed as soon as I arrived at my friend’s house for the good bye party – was test my blood sugar (BG) after the 2 hour drive.  I’m getting better now, as an insulin dependent gal to test before I hit the road.  I pulled out my little Lolita who was interviewed a few years ago otherwise known as my FreeStyle Lite meter.   Of course, they thought this was a nifty little meter (I have cool skins for it).  They thought I was such a good diabetic to be testing my BG, but of course, with wine and food awaiting me, I wanted to make sure I’d be in the good zone (neither going low or high).

One thing that one of my Type 2 Diabetic (T2D) friends told me when we started  talking about my scribbles here at and my Facebook/Twitter posts – was how different we feel when we go either low or high.  For myself, I feel tired when I go low, and when I go high, which isn’t too often, I don’t tend to feel much different.  For them, it was going high that made them feel tired.   Maybe being a Type 2 diabetic – the symptoms of our blood sugar number varies?

One of them is using Victoza  – which according to my Mum – her sister uses – and it appears to be working for helping her shed weight/keep BG's balanced BUT apparently she has become lactose intolerant since starting on it.  I asked my friend if he had some of the symptoms that my Aunt has – and they said yes (they love cheese like I do – it’s a low carb food!!!).  It’s hard to say after reading the link above on Victoza if the stomach/bowel problems could be all due to lactose intolerance – since this is a common complaint of many Victoza users.  Therefore, the only way to find out if you are lactose intolerant is to either do it the inexpensive way – of cutting out lactose products – and then reintroducing them OR the more scientific way of knowing for sure – is a hydrogen breath test.  
Picture credit of breath test - Phineas H/Flickr
It’s hard though to really pin it just on the Victoza – since lactose intolerance is also common with osteoporosis, osteopenia, pain, high blood pressure, depression to name a few.

The other scenario –since symptoms are similar is having a wheat and gluten intolerance.   It’s an iffy there as far as self testing goes –as you can tell by this link from the National Foundation for Celiac Awareness (NFCA).  

Just remember –anything you read on the Internet – even from me – ALWAYS question your health care practitioner. about what is happening if you’re taking Victoza or have other health problems. Take note of some of the things you’ve read here – and be an advocate of your own health!!  If you don’t ask – you’ll never know.

Hmmm, the things I learn about when I start to research for a simple blog!

Picture of two cows breaking up - from my DairyFreeDream blog site

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Posted: Dec 19, 2011
I belong to a few forums - actually I belong to ALOT - that deal with children with diabetes.  I try to help out parents with their own kids - and give them abit of insight as to what perhaps their child is going through with dealing with diabetes. 

A group of parents in Ottawa in a Facebook group were recently talking about the fact that the school system there does not treat their diabetic children when they are perhaps having to use a glucagon kit for when their child is having a low blood sugar (hypo).  They do not understand why the kit cannot be administered like an Epi-pen.  Having worked in the school system - we are always trained how to use an Epi-pen - but never in my years in school - was a glucagon kit every brought up in any of the refresher courses we took yearly.  In the 12 years I worked in a school - I only came across one diabetic child - in Grade 1 - and sadly - never got to work with them (I was in the Daycare portion of the school system).

I told my Mum about this concern of parents - and she admitted that they only kept the glucagon kit at home - it was never left with the school nurse (in my days - in the 60's - 70's we actually had a full time nurse).  She'd always pack a roll of Lifesavers or jelly beans to be used when I was low.  I actually had one friend tell me many years later, that she was jealous that I could keep snacks at my desk.   How funny is that?  A non-diabetic being jealous of a classmate having sweets to eat!

One thing my Mum told me is that she was working in a high school and was called down to the office to help out with a teenager that was having a hypo.  The Principal figured with my being diabetic, my Mum would know what to do.  Mum went and got bags of sugar from the cafeteria (the only sweet stuff she could find) and managed to get it into the girls mouth.  Apparently this did the job, but as we all know, sometimes when we are having a hypo, we are like a bank safe, where we refuse to open up to stuff that will make us better. 

She was saying, giving the same scenario today. She wouldn't have done that.  She maybe would have advised the staff what to do, but not actually done the deed of administering.  Remember, we had no blood meters in those days, so who knows if that girl was maybe hyper?  There are so many scenarios that can go thru' a persons head - basically - " Could I do more harm then good? ".  It's kind of sad when you think about it - that some people would hesitate to help - but I don't blame my Mum in thinking this way.  I mean, what happens if she had killed the girl when she thought she was doing the right thing.

I know that in my mind - and let's pretend I don't have diabetes -  with no tools around to figure like we do today what the blood sugar is, I would have probably given the sugar, called up the parent(s), and gone from there.  Having a high blood sugar even for a short time I would be hoping that it wouldn't do any serious harm.  Is that the right attitude to take you think?

I will always remember one snowy day, when I was perhaps 8 or 9 years old, trudging home in what I thought was the longest trek home from school in my layers of clothing (think of the scene from The Christmas Story - and you'll understand).  I was sweating like bullets in all the layers of clothing, and remember flopping down in a fluffy white snow bank, just wishing I could go to sleep.  I don't recall having any friends with me at the time walking home.  I was pretty much a loaner.  So I just kept on truding along, in a daze.  All I really remember of that day is ending up at my home, sitting on the backdoor step, probably in tears, and that's it.  Either my Mum came home from work at that time.  I'm not sure, but I lived through probably what Mum's today would consider a very bad hypo, but we human beings have this amazing ability to fight for our lives. 

One thing I asked my Mum today - did the schools I attended know I was diabetic?  Her answer was - only in the primary school system - but never at high school.  I think today's generation of children with diabetes - probably that is something that the school would want to know.  If I had a bad hypo during gym, would anyone have known what to
do with me?  Would my friends know?

I say friends, because on the w/e - I was out with a friend I've known since Grade 3.  She was saying that if I went low - she knew what to do - she could give me some insulin.  After over 40 years of knowing each other, it sort of shocked me abit (and no - we hadn't started drinking yet).   I told her that I had my Dex-4 with me, and if I did go low (badly) - I could Suspend my insulin pump from delivering insulin.  I'm hoping I never have to be in the situation where I need someone's help - as I'm sure you are all thinking too!  

Again, as I've written in the past.  Diabetes for me was in the foreground.  I didn't think of it much (not like I do today - with all the info that is available - the D-OC (diabetic online community).  It didn't affect how I grew up as I got older.  I actually sometimes think it made me a better person having diabetes and being able to understand others that have health issues.  Maybe all we diabetic kids should go into the medical field (do you think we'd get a group discount? <lol>).

Glucagon Emergency KitNB:  I haven't had a Glucagon Kit since I left home.  Perhaps if I had hypo-unawareness I would - is that a bad thing not to keep a kit on hand do you think?


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Posted: Jul 19, 2011

Yesterday on Facebook -  Diabetes Daily had a poll going about the amount of carbs we consume a day.  Going back to it today – the one that seems to be winning out is 50-100 grams of carbs a day – which I personally think I cannot do.  I then decided to go over my past few days (this is after I’d put down my choice of 100-150 grams per day) – and was amazed to see that the last 3 days my average amount of carbs is actually on 90 grams.   I may have to go back to the poll and change my answer.  One of the other higher totals (same as the 50-100 totals) was “I don’t count carbs”.  Either they were folks like myself that just eat based on what they think is alright for them and semi-shoot in the dark for the amount of insulin to cover the carbs I used to be that way and managed to stay in an A1C of 7% - but my blood sugars did yo-yo a lot back then on multiple dosage injections (MDI) – which probably led to the lower number for my A1C. – The other thing is that those that answered perhaps were not on meds at all – but just diet and exercise.  All I know is that when preparing to go onto an insulin pump, I started to look at food labels more closely, not just for the carb count, but for other things like fat/sodium count that I felt was important for me to monitor as well.  I guess I reeducated myself after 40 years of being a diabetic – and just following the guidelines I was brought up on by my Mum and CDA with eye balling the amount of rice I had on my plate, etc.  It did work, but I just wasn’t being as precise with carb counting as I am now.

That’s one thing that I noticed the other day when going grocery shopping with a friend.  I picked up a bag of Bing cherries that are affordable at this time of the year.  They told me that they had bought a bag the other day (about 2 kg) and had consumed it practically in one go.  On top of that she was buying another bag as I picked out the darkest cherries I could find to share with my DH over the week!!  The first thing that went through my head was the amount of carbs they had consumed in that one bag of cherries –it boggled my mind.  Next we stopped by the bread area.  I swear those places pipe out smells of fresh baked bread just to draw you in – resistance is futile to most – but in my case – the constant walking wanna-be-dietician - I resisted the urge to a loaf of cheese bread my friend was buying.  As they teased me with the comment of, “There is one loaf left – buy it!!!”  They then told me … that they would be consuming this WHOLE loaf probably that afternoon.  I just had these flashes of potential diabetes or not being able to fit thru’ the bathroom door in the making.  On top of that they are already have been diagnosed with hypoglycemia – yikes!   All I could say was – “In my next life I come back with a pancreas that doesn’t pack in on me” – and almost added – “and a bank account that can pay for all the clothing / medical bills I may get from becoming overweight”. 

For some of you who are newly diagnosed with diabetes – carb counting is a chore – along with watching the quantity/quality of food you consume.  Trust me, it gets better over the time, and in the end you’ll be doing the calculations without even thinking about it.  For long term diabetics like myself, it’s just something I’ve always done; looking at food with a critical eye and pondering what it’s after effects will be to my health.  I really rarely think about what I doing except when faced with a food that I can’t really access properly – then I just wing it the best I can!

Off to munch on some cherries (not the WHOLE bag!!!!).

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Posted: Oct 29, 2008


Many people are under the impression they are unaware of their bouts with low blood sugar aka “hypo unaware.”  I am not so sure everyone is.  I believe most people experience symptoms but they do not necessarily associate them with low blood sugar. 


For instance, a poster recently wrote they are “hypo unaware” yet they noticed they are thirsty when their blood sugar is low.  So … they are not actually unaware, they are just experiencing less acknowledged symptoms. 


How do you associate less widely discussed symptoms with low blood sugar?  I recommend testing more often than “recommended.”  It is nearly impossible to observe “strange” feelings or new symptoms by testing just 4-6 times a day.  I sure did not make a correlation between the symptoms and low blood sugar when I was testing the recommended number of times per day. 


I test before I treat a suspected low or just when I feel “weird.”  I have added such symptoms as:  yawning, feeling cold, excessive thirst, short-duration shooting pain to the temple, hives, seeing white spots and unprovoked sexual stimulation to my list of warning signs.  There are others.


On the other hand, I am rarely shaky anymore – the most widely published symptom of low blood sugar.  That works for me.  Shaking for 15 or 20 minutes is highly annoying.  Adrenalin causes the shaking, so apparently I am releasing a little less adrenalin than in the early years of my diagnosis.


So, if you think you are unaware of low blood sugar, step back.  Pay very close attention to weird sensations that, at the moment, seem mundane.  Check your blood sugar.  Do not wait.  If your blood sugar is 70 or 80 but you know you have insulin peaking, check again in 15 minutes.  You may be feeling the peak of the insulin or the start of a drop.  You do not know unless you test.  If you were high when you started, you may be feeling the sudden more dramatic drop but may not be low yet.  In any case, these are all symptoms that are helpful to correlate to your body.  They are all a warning for you to pay attention and note the “oddity” for future reference. 


Of equal importance, try not to be lulled into the complacency of “I’ve got this down pat.  I know how I feel.”  Think of it as the weather.  If you do not like it now, it is likely to change in 15 minutes.  So be prepared.

Doris J. Dickson

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