Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The lesser evil

I had pizza for dinner last night. And by "pizza for dinner," I mean "I was battling blood sugars all night long." As is usually the case, I managed to slide into range just as I woke up for the day. Unfortunately, I also had another common pizza-dinner side effect - the Bonus Low.

I wake up with a normal BG, do my usual pre-shower bolus, and have all the normal levels of insulin on board. And some days, for no reason I can fathom, my blood sugar then crashes on the subway ride to work. This morning was one of those days. I felt a little floopy and dig a fingerstick on the train. This little sucker stared back at me:

Rat bastard low.
I rooched around in my bag...no glucose tabs. So I suspended my pump, and looked more thoroughly. I took items out and put them in my lap, searching high and low for my little tube of tabs. But there were no tabs - I had committed the cardinal sin of diabetes. I didn't have anything to treat a low with me.

I then had the unenviable choice of trying to problem-solve my way out of this disaster with low brain. The floopiness had settled in right as we were pulling into 34th Street. My stop was 7th Ave/57th Street. Would it be better to get off the train immediately and then negotiate my way through an unfamiliar stop and crowds to find an exit toward food OR should I gut out the low - pump suspended - and see if I could get to my stop where I knew exactly how to get to carbs as efficiently as possible?

Shaking and sweating and feeling rather dizzy, I opted to gut it out for the next few stops and just get off where I knew I could grab a banana the minute I got to street level. I closed my eyes and held very, very still so as to mask as many low feelings as I could, and tried to be patient as I waited for 7th Avenue to roll around. When it did, I made a beeline for the shop at the top of the stairs, and peeled and scarfed down a banana the second I got my hands on one.

Once I was safely seated at my desk, I became furious with myself: I didn't have tabs with me and I wasn't wearing medical ID. I had the presence of mind to suspend my pump the minute I felt weird, but that seemed to be the only thing I got right. What if the train had been delayed in the tunnel? What if I'd fainted or had a seizure? What if my blood sugar had crashed even further, rather than steadying at 50?

It's a small comfort to tell yourself that if it had gotten worse you could have asked for help - could have  begged strangers for candy from their pockets. But what if they couldn't help? What if there were no lucky LifeSavers in a backpack or spare apple in a lunchbag? What if I'd gotten off the train at 34th to find food and then collapsed on the platform?

I don't know which of my options were the lesser evil. Should I have asked for help first? Jumped off the train right away? Or was I right to try to make it to a place I knew would have what I needed? What would you have done? In the end, I'd put myself at risk and I was just incredibly lucky it didn't have a terrible outcome - carrying tabs and wearing ID is Type 1 Diabetes 101. I feel like an idiot, and like I failed myself bigtime.


  1. Yikes, that's scary. I've had lows, but never in such a public place. I can't tell you what I would have done. But hey, you got this. It's so easy to beat ourselves up about something when we know that we know better. Live and learn, girl! I hope you stashed as many low-treating goodies as possible in your bag when you got home!

  2. first of all, i'm so glad you're ok! that's so scary. i'm impressed you were able to think clearly enough to decide to wait for a familiar environment. you did what you had to do. try not to beat yourself up about it. we've all been there. <3