The Dexcom said 177 mg/dl and dropping, but after a full 60 minutes of cardio, I expected the graph to show a lower trend.
“Whatever,” I said, a little confused because my pre-workout blood sugar was 143 mg/dl. Felt foggy, but I was a little dehydrated so I figured I needed to get home and relax. Ignoring the cotton-ball haze I felt encased by, I grabbed my keys and gym backpack from the locker room and walked out into the parking lot. After trying to get into someone else’s black Honda Civic (forgetting, in my fog, that we replaced my old car for the Mom Car), I put the key in my car’s ignition and sat there for a few seconds.
And then a few seconds more.
It wasn’t until I was out there for about two full minutes that I thought “Hey, might want to double-check that Dexcom reading” with my meter. The receiver was now showing some double-down arrows. And my glucose meter confirmed with a bright, shiny 35 mg/dl.
“Oh, you suck,” I said directly to my diabetes. And like a fast, hot breeze, all the symptoms of the low hit in full force, as though seeing the number made it actually real.
Now that the weather is warmer, glucose tabs are all I keep on tap in my car for lows, but since I felt like a pile of crumbs, I thought it would be safer to go back into the gym and let someone know I was having some trouble. Because if I passed out, for the first time, in my car, it would take a long time for someone to find me.
On autopilot, I went back into the gym. The guy at the counter was checking in some new members, but he looked twice at me as I grabbed a bottle of orange juice from the cooler and leaned heavily on the counter, downing the majority of the bottle in a few sips.
“You okay?” he asked.
“Not really. I’m having a very low blood sugar moment right now and I didn’t want to sit in my car alone, in case there was a problem.” I tried to smile, but I was so jerky and unsteady that I resembled a hungry velociraptor more than a woman. All teeth, stretched smile, and my eyes were trying to find something that was roughly 1,000 yards away.
“Okay. We’ll wait until you’re up again.” He finished signing in the new members and I tried to convince myself I was at a bar instead of the gym. (“How you doin’? Sure, you can buy me a … a bottle of juice.”)
For about fifteen minutes, the gym guy chatted with me about how diabetes – both type 1 and type 2 – has infiltrated his family. Grandmothers on both sides, aunts, cousins, his sister, his father and his mom … the list of affected family went on for the duration of my low blood sugar. So many members of his family were dealing with some version of this disease. He knew exactly how diabetes could ruin your day. And he could see how it was ruining mine.
“I am sorry for taking up so much of your time. I feel much better now. Thanks for keeping an eye on me,” I said sheepishly, back up to 98 mg/dl and feeling more human and less dinosaur-y.
“Any time. You were exercising your right to loiter,” he said. “It’s a good way to cool down after a workout, right?”
“Sometimes it’s the only exercise I get these days.”
*This blog post was originally published at Six Until Me.*