So if you’re hanging out with me a lot or traveling with me, you should know I have diabetes. My body doesn’t regulate blood sugar as tightly as yours probably does.
I don’t have to take insulin; I am pretty good at keeping my blood sugar levels in the normal range by a) not drinking fruit juices or sugary drinks, and b) eating on a regular schedule. I can use walking to lower blood sugar, but the regular walking around that’s part of big city life usually covers it. Also, drinking alcohol tends to lower blood sugar pretty dramatically, but I’m not very good at that.
So the fasting blood sugar (first test of the day, before eating) norm is under 100, which I’m usually able to manage. The random blood sugar level (I test this before dinner) norm is under 140, which is not usually a problem. Toxic blood sugar levels start at 300, and go into the four digets. I’ve never tested toxic.
So, in fact, I’m pretty good at not having high blood sugar. The danger for me is low blood sugar; if my levels get too low, I suffer all the symptoms (my eyes usually tear up, and that’s how I know). And then there’s the danger that my liver will try to rescue my brain by releasing emergency blood sugar, which is bad as it’s impossible to control the amount a liver will release, or when.
It’s simple enough to avoid low blood sugar; all I have to do is eat on time. Breakfast and lunch are usually regulated by the work day; dinner is usually fine, but it can get tricky sometimes, especially when I’m waiting for other people. The worst is when folks aren’t thinking about dinner, we’ll go later, we’ll go later, where do you want to go, I don’t know, where do YOU want to go, and then suddenly it’s 10:00 and I’m shaking and my eyes are watering. I usually don’t get to this point when I’m with one or two people, but when there’s a big group of people, it’s can be hard to make them move.
It’s been a difficult thing to do, but I’ve realized it’s better to ditch everybody and take care of myself than it is to wait for the damn group and risk a liver rescue. I had to do this a while ago when my friend told me they’d meet me in 15 minutes; 45 minutes later it was 10:00pm and I was crashing hard. I texted my friends that I was bailing and got myself a rescue snack. They were frustrated, apparently, because they arrived at the restaurant just after my text, but by then it was already too late; I had been in a crash situation for 45 mintues, and I wasn’t going to wait for a table or slow service; I needed to eat exactly at that moment and not a second later.
How did I get to that point? I stupidly had eaten a big lunch and a sugary dessert, and then took a long nap. So when I woke up it was already 8:45; the sugary dessert must have ridden high for a while and then all crashed at once.
So when I’m in a crash situation I need to eat. The best is to have a proper meal, but a granola bar will give me about half an hour of blood sugar and then crash all at once after that half our is over.
One last thing; crashing blood sugar hurts and makes me angry. Don’t argue with me, don’t try to calm me down or ask me to be rational, don’t start teasing me about my grouchiness. It will make me want to punch if in your ugly, slow moving face. And I might. So if you see me this way, stop what you’re doing and help me get something to eat. It’s for your own safety.