Monday, March 16, 2015

The Monster Under the Bed

It is a thief in the night.  The monster under the bed. The lingering thought in the back of your mind that sticks from when you are brushing your teeth, through your dreams and nightmares, and into the early morning. Will I go low tonight? Will I wake up in a cold sweat dying for cupcakes and ice cream? Is my meter near my bed? Is there juice near my bed?

Nighttime low blood sugar isn't the most pleasant of things to talk about, but it's something that has really be gnawing at my restful sleep the past couple of nights. I am fortunate enough (knock on wood) to wake up when my blood sugar goes low. However, this typically is never a pleasant experience.  When I was young, I would sit straight up in my bed and call for my mom until she came and fed me juice and wiped away the cold sweat that had accumulated all over my face.  Now, I half-wake, toss and turn, mumble to myself, and have a strange internal conversation until I finally roll over and grab my meter:

"Get up. Open your eyes. You are low."


"Just roll over. Just test and you can go back to sleep."

"No. Too tired. Too asleep."


I'm not quite sure why this conversation happens and why I don't just sit up and test. Is it sleep deprivation? Is it my subconscious trying to be in denial of my diabetes need? Either way, it scares me when I wake up and find that I am in fact low. Why was I trying to stay asleep? Which leads me to further worry about those who do not wake up when they feel low. Thankfully, modern medicine has come a long way and many sensors can now stop incoming insulin when they read a low blood sugar.

However, this doesn't make nighttime hypoglycemia any less stressful, both for parents and for those with type 1. It is a haunting that we have to learn to cope with. And it doesn't exactly do wonders for one's psychological well-being. Things such as nighttime lows remind me why those with type 1 diabetes are much more susceptible to depression and anxiety. And that's okay. It is something we have to talk about, and something we have to deal with. Much like our blood sugar levels. It's all part of the job.

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