March 29, 2008

A Hard Day's Night

1:11am Friday morning. I opened my eyes and was suddenly wide awake. I'd just had an extremely vivid nightmare. I have vivid dreams often, and they usually happen in conjuction with one of three things: overheating, having to pee, or low blood sugar.

When I woke, I figured option 1 and 2 were the culprits, but decided to check my blood sugar anyway. I always check it if I wake up in the middle of the night. Sometimes, it will go low and cause wake me up, but I won't feel the effects (the first is usually shakiness) until I get up and start moving.

54 - that's low. I made my way to the kitchen to forage some food. By the time I got there I was shaking, my heart was beating very hard, and I had difficulty focusing my attention on anything. This scared me because my husband was away on business and I was home alone.

The only task at hand was to eat. When I'm low, I get this uncontrollable urge to shovel food into my mouth until I feel better, which takes about 15 minutes. So you can imagine how much someone can eat in the space of 15 minutes. Having self control is difficult because it feels like my thought process has slowed down and my survival instincts have kicked in.

The "correct" way to fix low blood sugar is to eat about 15 grams of carbs - something slow acting, like crackers or a glass of milk, and perhaps a bit of juice. Then wait 15 minutes. If you don't feel better, do it again. These instructions were obviously made up by someone who had zero experience having low blood sugar. It's pretty tough to just sit there feeling like crap for 15 minutes in the middle of the night when you know that eating a bowl of ice cream or a candy bar will make you feel better in 5.

I usually try to be good, but this time I did something in between what my brain wanted me to do and what the books tell me to do. I went back to bed. Woke up 2 hours later with high blood sugar. Guess I ate too much. When my alarm went off, it was still high, and I was feeling exhausted. When my blood sugar jumps around from low to high, it leaves me feeling like I've got a hangover. Super fun.

This experience threw off my whole day. Going to the gym went out the window, my numbers were messed up all day, I didn't feel well, and by dinner I was ready for bed. There's no good reason why my blood sugar went low. But my whole day was ruined because of it. Unfortunately this story happens about once every other week. But you do what you can, and do your best for it not to happen tomorrow.

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