I don’t get a full night’s sleep. Ever.
It comes with the territory, really. Diabetes doesn’t play nice during the day, so why would it at night? Every time I wake up in the night, I immediately take stock of my body. Am I dizzy? Are my extremities numb? Those are a couple of my sleepy-brain low blood sugar symptoms.
In all honesty, I should be waking up more in the middle of the night. Not because of a low blood sugar, but rather to check my blood sugar.
Night checks are one of the best ways to lower your A1C. It doesn’t make sense to ignore your bg overnight. After all, you spend 16 hours awake, bending end over end to make sure you’re within range, and then just disregard it for 8 hours? Sounds like a recipe for disaster.
Its easy to think “My blood sugar is fine through the night or else I’d wake up more often!” But that is simply not true. According to this article the average diabetic doesn’t wake up to 75% of their low blood sugars. That is scary! Yet I know it’s true, because even when I have the Dexcom screaming in my ear for 3 hours straight, I often times don’t wake up.
I’m currently on a CGM break, which I usually do every couple of months, so I’m flying blind every day, unaware of highs and lows unless I’m frequently testing or manage to feel one when it gets really bad. Two nights in a row, I’ve woken up in the mid-50s.
The CGM technology is so wonderful for helping keep track of yourself overnight, but I really need to put in more effort to make my overnight numbers better if I want to reach my A1C goals.
I reached a new level of low blood sugar last night – not in terms of actual mg/dl number, but in the events that transpired.
When I went to bed last night, my blood sugar was a little high but on its way down. I woke up twice to correct for the low in the night, eating a total of three rolls of smarties.
Then at 3am, my husband rolled over and woke me up, complaining that both my Dexcom and my Enlite cgms were alarming (because I’m running both at the moment for a future blog post). In my low and half-asleep stupor, I yelled at him that I had already eaten a bunch of smarties, before I finally rolled out of bed to get a glass of milk.
I made it to the kitchen, tested my blood sugar (72) and calibrated both cgms. I grabbed the chocolate milk and began pouring it into a glass. But I started to feel weird, like I was going to pass out. I raised the glass up to my lips and immediately it fell out of my hands and spilled all over the counter, the floor, my dexcom and myself. The room was spinning. I stumbled and sat down on the floor of the kitchen and mustered up enough strength to yell for my husband.
Allen jumped out of bed and, seeing what had happened, quickly poured me a new glass of milk. He got a towel to clean up the mess, and also grabbed his phone to snap a picture of the mess, because he knew I’d want it for my blog.
Meanwhile I sat in a ball on the floor, drinking my milk and trying not to cry. I was so embarrassed that I had lost control like that, especially when I wasn’t even all that low! But every low is different and diabetes is still unpredictable. I’m just thankful that the cgm technology I am lucky enough to have did its job and woke Allen up.
Last night was another one of those nights where I went to bed hopelessly high. It was completely worth it, because I was with friends at a sushi restaurant and I felt like a normally functioning person for a little while.
I knew when I got home that I would suffer the consequences of that short-lived, worry-less freedom. And my bedtime BG check showed me what I already knew: 300.
About two weeks ago, I had the lowest blood sugar reading I’ve ever had, in the middle of the night. It was scary of course, but my husband had it under control and we survived. I posted a photo of my meter showing the number on my twitter and expressing my thankfulness for being alive. I then received a tweet in reply to it from a guy named Tony who is an ambulance driver. Tony and I proceeded to get into a heated argument over several hours which got multiple others from the diabetic online community involved. It was nasty, it was ugly, it was awful.
It all stemmed from the fact that I said that one point lower was our “call the ambulance” number.