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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Not Suppose to Happen

Ever since I've had Constance, I haven't had a lot of lows below 50 mg/dL thanks to its handy alarm that goes off when I go below 55 mg/dL.  And she's great about alerting me before then if I go below 70 mg/dL (my preset "Low" alarm).  Needless to say, I was getting pretty good at feeling my lows and not letting them sneak up on me (hello, hypoglycemic unawareness).  That is, until this past weekend . . .

This past weekend we were hosting my parents and nephews during their Spring Break (My nephews' Spring Break, not my parents.  Retired people don't have Spring Breaks, do they?).  So we spent most of the time trying to find activities that would keep a 9- and 11-year-old boy busy, active, and happy.  We went bowling, played pool, played on the Wii, and chased our 2 dogs around in the yard.  The combination of being a full-time aunt and hostess made for little diabetes management.  One day I only tested my blood sugar 3 times the whole day!  (Preview of motherhood?)

So I pretty much relied on Constance to keep me alert to any out-of-range happenings in my blood sugar.  I know that's not her purpose, but I felt confident in her keeping me on track.  And one afternoon, after a series of movies and Wii time, I felt a little "off".  Nothing crazy, just a little shaky and feeling fuzzy in the head.  Constance said I was holding steady in the low 80s, so I didn't worry when I tested expecting a reading between 70-90 mg/dL.  However, a gleaming 35 mg/dL welcomed me on my screen!  I didn't want to alert or scare anyone, so I stealthily grabbed a glass of juice and filled it to the brim.  I sucked it down and grabbed an ice scream bar from the freezer (which we don't normally have, but we were spoiling our nephews . . . and ourselves).

I walked out to the garage where Trey was working on something, and sat down beside where he was working.  Even though my parents and nephews know I'm diabetic, I didn't want to make a scene.  But I needed to let someone know how low I was in case things got worse.  "I'm 35."  "Whoa, really?!" Trey exclaimed.  "Yeah, I didn't feel that one coming."  I just sat there for 30 minutes, eating my ice cream bar while Trey continued working.  "This sucks," I said, finally gaining enough composure to speak.  "How am I going to be able to keep up with our kids when a weekend with our nephews wipes me out?"  Trey jokingly said, "Maybe having kids can be your cure?"  I smiled, and went back inside to test, 110 mg/dL.  I knew I was coming up fast and over-corrected, but a 35 mg/dL scares the crap out of me too much to be conservative. 

This incident only confirms the fact that I shouldn't rely on my CGM in place of finger stick tests.  Had I not tested because Constance thought I was in the low 80s, there's no telling how low I would have gotten!  At the same time, I expect her to alert me well before a 35 mg/dL when I'm low.  That sensor was fired and changed out on its 8th day, because I do not consider a 50 points difference a passing grade.  The current sensor is working like a champ the way I expect it to.  Regardless, incidents like these shouldn't happen.


  1. THIS is what scares me about the whole automated pump. Until they fix the inaccuracies that can happen with a CGM and get it near perfect, I don't see it as being a "cure" of any sort.

  2. We have nephews that we "host" often too (5,9), tons of fun but not so good for the diabetes management! I usually have lows when they are around because we are on a different schedule. Glad you caught the low, that one is a scary one! I don't have a CGM and am kinda worried about getting one when I hear stories like this!

  3. I agree, those incidents shouldn't happen. I've noticed my CGM has a sixth sense for when I've invested too much faith in it and will go rogue on me. Blech. And, I hope you didn't beat yourself up for overtreating that low. A 35 mg/dl would scare the bejeebers out of anyone. I'd probably have my face in the sugar cannister!

  4. Im sorry Holly!!! 35 is definitely a scary number. Im glad you were able to catch it. I sometimes rely on my CGM way too much, so I feel ya. How do you set your Dex for 70?? Mine only goes by 20s and I have to put mine at 80 :(

  5. woah nevermind about the 20 point increments. I just now realized, after months and months, that the 20 point increment is only for the high alert. gah.


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.