Last night was one of the worst nights I have ever had. Before I went to bed, my blood sugar was 66. I drank 3 ounces of orange juice, which usually brings up my blood sugar quickly and went to bed. My mom gets up multiple times in the middle of the night to test my blood sugar so that my sleep is not interrupted. She can poke my finger, and I don’t even wake up, and if I have to drink juice, I often don’t remember the next morning. I am so grateful for her and that she is willing to do this for me.
We decided that since I had juice she could test me 2 hours after we went to bed. It was a shock for her to test me and see the meter show this:
Sometimes when my blood sugar drops between 45-60, I will wake up in the middle of the night feeling symptoms of low blood sugar. I’ll be sweaty, shaky, have a fast heart rate, and feel like the room is spinning. Occasionally I’ll wake up from a dream about low blood sugar and actually have low blood sugar. I think part of what was so scary about last night was that I didn’t wake myself up with symptoms of low blood sugar. Once I was awake, I felt very shaky, hungry, and kind of lightheaded.
To me, all low blood sugars are not the same. I categorize them into how they make me feel and how scary they are:
- 50-70 mg/dL: low blood sugar; I usually feel some sort of symptoms but this isn’t too bad
- mid 30s-49: scary low blood sugar; this is when I start feeling really bad and usually need sleep to recover
- anything below mid 30s: terrifyingly low; last night was the first time I have experienced this type of low; I felt exhausted and slept most of today, and the thoughts about what could happen with being this low are terrifying
Low blood sugar can cause a person to go into a coma and even cause death. It is amazing to me that I was functioning at a level of 26. But it brought up a lot of thoughts and feelings that I try to not think about and bury in the back of my mind. Thoughts that will drive me crazy and make me depressed if I dwell on them. What if Mom hadn’t tested my blood sugar when she had? I doubt I would have waken up. I think about “dead in bed syndrome,” which is when a young person with diabetes dies in their sleep. There’s not an exact known cause of this syndrome, although it is suspected that the person has a low blood sugar episode that they don’t feel symptoms of, causing heart arrhythmia (irregular heartbeat) and death. It makes me realize the gravity of having diabetes and that it could very well kill me. It scares me that no matter how well I try to control diabetes, it seems to have a mind of its own.