We have a taqueria just around the corner from our place. As is the norm in our suburb, it’s very hipster – staffed by people far-cooler-than-I’ve-ever-been with bemusing facial hair that I understand to be ironic, but in my mind just reminds me of either a lumberjack, Salvador Dali or someone from a barber shop quartet.
But I can overlook all the posing, because they serve a kick-ass mojito and awesome tacos. Plus, it really is a three minute walk from our place.
We went there the other night. We were kid free (yay for camp!) and within minutes of jumping out of the cab after getting home from Brisbane, we were making our way there. I had been low for much of the two hour flight, my CGM emitting a piercing ‘You’re low, treat it’ alarm and me hissing ‘Shhh. Pay attention to the jelly beans I’ve just eaten’ at it, making me appear a slightly crazed women muttering to a box down her shirt. I also set a temp basal rate, certain that I’d regret it later and would be high as a kite by the time the plane landed. I was wrong.
I was still eating jelly beans in the cab, but at least my CGM line was steady and by the time I paid the driver, it was sitting at 3.9mmol/l and the arrow was straight across. So when we were walking to the restaurant and I could feel the low alarm continuing to vibrate, I was pretty confident that the sugar would kick in soon (like, now!) and all would be right. And the temp basal rate was still active, so not only didn’t I have any insulin on board, but I’d had hardly any basal insulin delivered for two hours.
We threw our things down at a table and went to the bar to order. Thinking it better to be safe than sorry, I ordered an orange juice alongside my mojito and drank it quickly as soon as it was placed in front of me. I swilled the ice around, making sure I got every last bit of the available sugar.
I could sense that I was really low again, but even through the fog, I knew that a lot of glucose had been consumed in the last hour or so. I subconsciously reached under my top and disconnected my pump, and could feel my skin was slick with sweat.
At this point, I was feeling a little confused because at what I thought was the middle of a conversation, Aaron stood up and walked away from the table to the bar. I couldn’t work out what he was doing (my vision at this stage was unreliable at best). Eventually, he returned with another glass of juice – this time, no ice – and gently put it in front of me.
I drank it in one slurp (graceful) and sat back, reaching into my top to silence the alarm, which was helpfully telling me that I was still low. My mouth was buzzing, my lips and tongue feeling slightly numb.
‘You were really low,’ Aaron said to me later on.
‘Really? How could you tell?’’ I honestly thought that I was doing a perfectly good impersonation of carrying on a conversation, and the hypo was not on show for all to see.
‘You started a sentence five times. And never finished it. You just sat there in silence after saying a few words. And eventually would start another sentence. Or the same one. And not finish it.’
I had no idea.
I can’t pin point why I was so hypo. I didn’t ignore the impending low – as soon as my pump alarmed to suggest I was at the low limit (which is set above hypo level so that I do something before actually being low) I started treating. I continued to treat and monitor. I set a temp basal rate. I did everything by the book.
But still, it was a sticky low that wouldn’t quit. There was no shocking rebound – I reconnected my line when we left the restaurant and my CGM was reading 7mmol/l, and the next morning, I woke up feeling fine.
And when I think back to it now – and when I reviewed the CGM graph the next day – I am reminded just how crap diabetes can be at times. It’s certainly not the worst low I’ve ever had, but it was awful.