Thought for the Day

Friday, August 13, 2010

Symptoms of Hypoglycemia

What are the symptoms of hypoglycemia?
This is what the American Diabetes Association says:
Symptoms of hypoglycemia include the following:

    * Shakiness
    * Dizziness
    * Sweating
    * Hunger
    * Headache
    * Pale skin color
    * Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason
    * Clumsy or jerky movements
    * Seizure
    * Difficulty paying attention, or confusion
    * Tingling sensations around the mouth

These are good guidelines, but I've been thinking about what hypoglycemia means to me. Here are some more personal experiences of the "symptoms of hypoglycemia."

Being quite certain, as you watch "Angels in the Outfield" on television with your wife and kids, that the angels in the movie are speaking directly to you, and the whole movie was created to send you personally a message that you must change your ways, touching you so deeply that you begin crying uncontrollably so that at first you seem funny but gradually more and more worrisome to your wife and perplexing to your children.

Noticing on the way to work that you can't remember driving the last few miles and realizing it's more than just an ordinary commute driver's trance because you're starting to feel those waves of the universe going in and out of focus, and knowing you need to get off the freeway and stop but taking an exit that turns out to be a truck weigh station that you cruise through way too fast on your way to a real exit where you pull onto the shoulder and fumble some glucose tablets out of your pocket and into your mouth.

Knowing, without a doubt, as you watch a Twilight Zone marathon, that you are being abducted to a duplicate dimension while someone else takes your place in the real world, while simultaneously knowing that you are just experiencing a hypoglycemic event, but also knowing that your low is part of the alternate universe you are being trapped in.

Feeling exhilarated and light-footed running down the beach with two of your brothers, suddenly noticing twinges beginning in your hamstrings, and knowing what it is, but thinking maybe you can just make it back to the car, until the hamstrings just fold up under you, your legs unable to bear any weight, and your abs beginning to convulse, folding you, clenching and unclenching your entire body, your neck, your jaws, seemingly the whole world, tight, loose, tight, loose, whim, wham, and you're laughing, terrified, but laughing uncontrollably as you jerk uncontrollably, because it's so damn funny, to be carried, in seizures, off the beach, by your brothers, who are simply terrified, unable to see how funny it is.

Coming to groggy consciousness staring straight up into a bright, white light in a white panelled ceiling in a hospital hallway with your back flat on a gurney, arms and legs strapped firmly to the rails, head aching, muscles sore, remembering only reeling, swirling glimpses of how you got here, somehow, from sleeping in your own bed, learning only later that you fought for several minutes with three EMTs you can't even remember seeing while they were trying to save your life.

Then there is that other symptom of hypoglycemia, going to bed and not getting up, ever again, like a nurse in Tucson a few years ago, or a teenager recently in Southern California, or others I've heard about over the years. It happens. Insulin is a killer.
That's one major reason that, even though I am surviving pretty well with diabetes, I'm still hoping for a cure.



Windy said...

Great great post. Made me laugh excitedly that I wasn't the only one who has extreme enlightenment moments from random movies. I've also had the hypo unawareness at night... scary stuff. Thankful for CGM. Running is going well.... slow progress, but up to 2 miles running without stopping... then intervals. :) 5k next month!

Tim and Christy Bynum said...
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Crandell Fam said...

Woa...great post, Jerry. And scary, too! I haven't experienced quite those extremes yet, and I can only hope I never have to. I have, however, experienced extremes in emotion while watching movies/reading books/seeing commercials, etc. I'm emotional, what can I say??

jpnairn said...

I get emotional, too Jenny, about movies, TV shows, sappy commercials... but this stuff that happens when my brain is starving is different.

Mike Fraser said...

True, and o-so-scary when it happens. You've incited me to post something about some of my own visions and experiences Jerry. Thanks for posting good thought provocing stuff. said...
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