Friday, December 21, 2012

A frightening experience

Yesterday I had an incredibly terrifying experience.  As I mentioned in my last post, I was going to talk to the Optifast medical staff about the two higher readings I had in my blood sugar, feeling a little alarmed that I might have come out of remission with the diabetes. I didn't know for sure if that was the case, but since I no longer had any diabetes-related medication or insulin, I felt it would be irresponsible for my health if I didn't ask for advice on what to do and maybe keep something on hand for emergencies.

There are many fantastic people I have dealt with at Kaiser's Optifast clinic in San Diego.  However, one the physician's assistants leaves a lot to be desired.  Every time I have spoken with her, and this is probably the fifth or sixth time, I feel like she's not paying attention to me.  Her eyes are always looking in other directions, she's yawning or looking as if she's having a hard time staying awake.  But, she was the one in the office when I went in the other day.  I caught her up to speed on what's been going on and asked her if I should just have some insulin on hand for the times when perhaps my blood sugar might be a little higher, just to be on the safe side.  She acted her usual self but focusing on other things and, I felt, not really listening very well to me.  She told me that instead of jumping the gun with insulin, she wanted to put me back on one of the diabetes meds I was on before called glyburide.  It is supposed to be taken with a meal before dinner or at the beginning of the day.  Granted, the dosage she gave me was minimal compared to what I was taking before, but I had to trust.  She told me that since I'm no longer on Optifast products, I would need to get all my medical care through my primary doctor from now on, which was fine by me.  I completely trust me doctor, who has been caring for me for about 15 years now.

So, anyway, I took one of the pills with dinner that night.  I checked my blood sugar before I went to bed and it clocked in at 63.  Normally, when it's within 2 hours of eating, it should be around 140-160.  When it's more than 2 hours, it should be 80-120.  I was a little alarmed that it was 63 but rationalized to myself that it'll go up during the night because that's what it used to do all the time.  At 3:30 in the morning, I woke up covered in sweat.  I sat up and my hands were shaking, I was trembling and feeling very jittery. I had an electric blanket on me but was feeling extremely cold.  I knew without a doubt, before even testing, that my blood sugar was too low.  I hurried into the kitchen where my meter was and it read 53.  Oh no.  I stood in the kitchen and told myself to calm down because I was starting to panic and said, "Okay, what did Kaiser tell you to do when your blood sugar gets too low?"  Oh that's right ... eat/drink a serving of carbohydrates, which is 15 grams, and then test again in 15 minutes to see if it went up.  I was a little worried that I wouldn't be following my food plan for the day, but couldn't even think about that.  It's not that I was trying to be perfect, but I didn't want to set myself for rationalizations that it was okay to eat whatever I wanted.  However, in the moment, all I knew was I needed to get my blood sugar up pronto.  So I ate an entire banana, which is two servings.  I know those are full of natural sugar.  I tested again and my blood sugar was now 38.  Wait a minute ... what??  Instead of going up, it went down?  Does this mean I would have to eat something else?  I didn't have any sweets in the house, so I really didn't know what to do.  All of a sudden, I remembered that I had pure sugar in a canister in the kitchen.  It was about a year old, but I knew I could sprinkle a spoonful or two on top of oatmeal and that was certain to jack up my blood sugar.  It just had to.

The next time I tested, it was 48.  Dang it ... still too low.  I think I was out of the danger zone of having to go to the hospital, but I decided to call the doctor's office just to make sure I was doing the right thing.  They gave me some advice and told me not to get behind the wheel of car because I could possibly pass out.  So I didn't go into work.  It took nearly until 3 pm for it to get high enough to be considered normal, although it didn't stay there.  It dipped lower again and then finally normalized.  It got me to wondering if the diabetes truly had returned because, if it had, it wouldn't have taken me near as long to raise my blood sugar.  Just having that banana, let alone the oatmeal with the pure sugar, would have done it for me.

It was a scary experience for me because I didn't know what was going on and because I was all alone.  The "all alone" part was what really scared me, and, frankly, made me a little sad.  There are moments when I get really lonely and down on myself because I don't have a special man in my life these days.  I wonder what is so wrong with me that I don't have someone by my side any longer.  I know I'm not the most beautiful woman in the world, but I'm also not hideous, at least I don't think so.  Yet, all alone.  It's in those moments when I really need someone next to me that I feel it so strongly.  But, instead, I was all alone in the middle of the night, scared, panicked and trying my best to remain calm with a blood sugar that was dropping dramatically.  Thankfully I am okay now.  I did the best I could to rest, sleep and try not to even look at my work e-mail.  I got through the moment and that's really the most important thing.

I'm too exhausted tonight to work on my Question of the Day segment, but I will pick it up again tomorrow.  I'm officially now on vacation for two weeks and I'm looking forward to doing a bunch of nothing.  I'll definitely spend a lot of time exercising and taking good care of my body.  In addition, my mother will be coming to stay in my house for a few days this coming week and then my dad will be coming in from Utah the following week to spend a few days with me as well.  I'm looking forward to that.  Just to relax and be in a state of no pressure, no stress ... well, I can't wait.  Thankfully, there's no drama in my house tonight.  I like that.


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