The lowest of low blood sugars

Low blood sugars happen. Low blood sugars are not fun. Sometimes they are easily manageable. Sometimes not so much. And sometimes a low blood sugar strikes and after you've recovered you're left to wonder how did that happen and how the heck did you manage to recover. Thankfully, those aren't often but then again just one occurrence is one too many. 

This past Saturday should have been a great one. It was opening day of college football for my team. Go Huskers! The plan was simple. Wake up, put on my game day gear, watch College Gameday on ESPN, do some laundry and then settle in and cheer my team on to victory. Saturday apparently didn't receive a copy of my plan for the day though because instead the following happened. 

I woke up and was groggy. Right away I knew my blood sugar was low. And then I panicked. I assumed I slept through my alarm clock. I started to think it was Saturday night. That I missed the Nebraska game. Or it was Sunday or even Monday. I had no clue. So, I tried to climb out of bed in order to get to the kitchen to test and have some juice. My body vetoed that decision. 

I barely pulled my head up from the pillow before it immediately dropped back down. I couldn't lift it. I tried to move my arm to my nightstand to at least get my phone and learn what time (and day) it was. I couldn't really move my arm. It just flailed in the air. My other arm was going numb under my stomach as I laid in bed. I attempted, unsuccessfully, to toss and turn in bed to get my body moving so I could get out.

In my attempts to determine the day and time, I grabbed my pump off my pj shorts. I had no success with that because I couldn't get it towards my face. So I gave up. And I tried to clip it back onto my shorts. No dice. If the survival of mankind was on me being able to clip my pump back on, mankind would no longer exist. I had absolutely no control of my muscles or body. 

And then the alarm clock on my phone went off. Success! I knew what day and time it was. It was only 8:30 on Saturday morning. With all the focus on my arm and hand I somehow managed to hit snooze on my phone and let out a sigh of relief. Eight minutes later it went off again. I focused with all my might and was able to actually grab my phone and drop it on my face before getting the alarm completely turned off. 

I was making progress. After laying in bed awhile longer I thought maybe I would have the strength to get out. No dice. I wasn't even able to shimmy to the edge of the bed. By this point of the morning I was starting to fade in and out of consciousness. Or I was going delirious. Either or. I'm not sure. I know at several points I just screamed as loud as I could. I screamed "HELP!" even though there was no one around to help me. I cried quite a bit as well because I was beginning to feel doomed. I knew what was wrong and what I needed to do but I couldn't do it. I started imagining that I started a group text with people but none of them could come help. One was the man I went out with the night before, one was a PR colleague who I rarely speak to in NYC and another lady I barely know on the south side through a local PR colleague.

Eventually I was able to roll my body out of my bed and onto the floor with a boisterous thud. It hurt like no other but that was the least of my concerns. I tried to pull myself up to my knees and lean on the bed to get onto my feet. Each time I attempted that, I collapsed back down onto the floor. So, I shimmied my body towards the wall. Maybe I'd have more success trying to cling to the wall. I had to get to the kitchen.

Somehow, at some point in time, I was able to cling to the wall. And slowly move my way towards the bedroom door. I wasn't able to walk like a normal person. My knees weren't bending. My legs felt like jell-o but were moving like sticks of wood. I got to the kitchen. And there was NO wall to get to cling to to get to the area where my glucose meter was. Crap!

At this point Rocky was whining to get out and scratching at the kennel floor. My heart broke. I informed him I loved him but needed to get sugar in me first. I tested my blood sugar. 41. What the heck?! I felt like I was hovering around 7. I've tested a 36 before and felt absolutely fine. Why was this 41 like a cement truck plowing over me? I carefully clung to the counter and moved my way to the fridge and grabbed two eight ounce cans of Coca-Cola. I slammed those suckers down my throat. And just stood there. 

Eventually, I was able to walk across the room without having to cling like body glue to anything to let Rocky out. I made my way back to my bedroom to grab my slippers and glasses and slowly returned to the kitchen and ate cereal straight out of the box. Although I still needed an assist from the wall, I made my way out to the living room and collapse on the sofa. I called my father crying and asked him to call me during halftime to remind me to check my blood sugar. He called every quarter just to be sure. 

The rest of the day was spent hovering near 300 which I knew would happen. I also had to change my infusion site which added to more stress because was I high from over-treating my low blood sugar (and more or less eating everything in sight) or was the infusion site bad? 

The day was made better by Nebraska winning their football game but that was basically the only highlight.


  1. A similar thing happened to me several years ago, I think I was 15 or 16. I woke up and could not move at all. My arms, legs, and head were completely frozen. I was able to yell, thankfully, and my mother came and brought me some juice. It took several minutes before I could sit up. Around the same time period, I had a different episode where the opposite happened--I could move, but not talk. Neither has happened since; it was just a one-time thing. I've had bouts of weakness and general floppiness, but not the complete helplessness. Sleep hypos tend to be the worst, in my experience.

  2. I have a suggestion. Ask your endo for the opportunity to wear a Dexcom G4 Platinum for a two week period. There is a diagnosis which goes by the name of a Somogyi. The flip side is a Dawn phenomenon. I am blessed with diagnosis. My basal flow is cut by 33% during the period of 2 am - 5am and the Receiver unit wakes me up to respond to oncoming lows at night. Check out YouTube Hope this helps and as always have a great day.

  3. Kristin,

    Scary stuff! Glad you are okay now. What a powerful blog post. I recently had a similar experience where my blood sugar was 46 and it was one of the worst hypos of my life, even though I have been lower before; Mom remembers some childhood sugars in the 20s... Regardless of the number itself, the lows like the one you described are so humbling sometimes. (Thanks for reminding us that you're a total jerk, diabetes!) Apparently it's hypoglycemia awareness week, so maybe that's why all these lows are appearing? Well, we won this time, lows. Thanks again for sharing!



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