We all have particularly poignant high and low blood sugars at times. These are the scary ones. The lows that make you consume an entire birthday cake in the middle of the night, and the highs that make you never want to eat anything containing a carbohydrate again. Highs and lows this bad often have specific number associated with them. On the low end for me, it’s anything below 45mg/dL. Numbers under that send me into a tailspin of sugar consumption. On the high end, it’s anything in the 400s. Yuck. Just writing that number makes me feel all sleepy and lethargic. And very, very thirsty.
Anything in the 400s is a rare occasion for me – that’s a range I see only once or twice a year, thank god. And it’s usually under extraordinary circumstances in which the stars of crappy blood sugar issues align and everything falls apart.
Saturday was one such day. I’d had pesky lows all night that ruined any chance of getting some real sleep. Finally, at 4am, I ate some (more) frosting to treat yet another dip, and I reduced my basals by 80%.
I’ll let that sink in. 80% is a ridiculous number to reduce your basals by. If “rage bolusing” can cause a dramatic drop when it catches up with you, then “rage reducing” has the opposite effect. I woke up at 8am in the high 200s. Ick.
I’d had my heart set on going to kickboxing that morning, so I returned my basals to normal and went to a class, hoping the exercise and a normal basal rate would lower my numbers. I should mention I didn’t have a sensor on because my last one had died the night before and it was late enough that I didn’t want to put a new one on and wait to calibrate it. After that, I walked about a mile to meet my friend for breakfast. We ordered egg sandwiches from a local food cart, and I sat down to test. 381mg/dL. Gross.
I bolused eight units – I’d already ordered the sandwich, which by design, contains carbs. I hoped that eight units (which by the way, is a lot for me to take at a given meal), would be enough to cover the sandwich and treat the absurd high I was working. No doubt the hours I had spent with a lowered basal plus a pre-food workout (hey there glucagon!) had sent my BGs into orbit with a complicated, lack-of-insulin-liver-induced-pain-in-the-ass-to-get-down-high BG. I should have known eight units wasn’t going to cut it.
We enjoyed our sandwiches, chatted for a while, and parted ways. By the time I walked home I felt nauseous and fatigued. I could feel the creep of a bad high all over me, complete with a free set of ketones coming on. I tested and saw that number I hate so much: 425mg/dL.
The four hundreds feel horrendous. They feel like a combination of failure and regret, compounded with barfiness and malaise. It’s truly an awful number for me to see, and I feel crushed when these things occasionally happen. I stared at the screen for a moment, then sprung into action. I bolused, filled up a giant water bottle, and tested for ketones all within a span of minutes. It took a few hours but eventually I was back to normal.
The four hundreds. Yikes. That’s where things get really real for me. I hate seeing it on the screen, but I hate how I feel even more.
What are your “ok now I’m freaked out” numbers for highs and lows?