There is an important lesson to be learned by some of the diabetics in their first years and I seem to be very slow on accepting this one: low blood sugar is still bad blood sugar.
When you're first diagnosed (usually with pretty impressive blood sugars) you learn to be afraid of high blood sugar pretty fast. It's very easy, actually - your mind has already associated the high numbers with the terrible symptoms that you've had for the last few months - blurry vision, stomach pain, irregular heart beat, difficulty in breathing etc. Those are only some of my worst.
But low blood sugars, on the other hand, seem to be something distant and a little utopic - you have type 1 diabetes, surely it's the high blood sugar that's gonna bug you, right?
I remember how, in the first two days after diagnosis, I was listening to my doctor more intently than Jesus was listened to by his followers (I was in the hospital, there was nothing more interesting to do). She told me that I'm likely to experience hypoglycemia, aside from the usual hypers, but that it will be rare and hopefully uneventful (insert pause for laugh here).
She told me that I'll know when it will hit me and that I'll never forget the first one.
Well, two weeks later, I was dealing with the usual reaction to insulin (blurry vision, swollen legs, dread at the fact that I'm gonna have to inject it for the rest of my life) and I experienced a welcomed and sudden clarity of vision. For the first time after over a week, I could see perfectly clear and I thought that the side effects had finally passed (I was calling my doctor daily, eager to know when I'll get my vision back).
I decided to test, anyway, to see if there's a correlation with the number, and it was 40. And I was actually excited that I was having a low. Finally, I know what that is! I can put it behind me now!
The lows didn't put me behind, though. They kept visiting more or less regularly, we are tight-knit friends.
And lately, as it happens with old friendships, I discover uglier and uglier parts of them.
In the morning I usually wait for 30 minutes between injecting and eating and that helps me not have a peak. Unfortunately, sometimes I eat and I get low right after and there's nothing I can do - I already have carbs in my system, I have to wait for them to reach the blood because eating more food would only get me higher.
Like one of these mornings, when I had a low so debilitating that my vision kept getting black but my brain didn't even register the slow process of going blind. It was only after the sugar hit the system that I started to see better and I realized that I was actually not seeing before that. I was blind for a few moments but only after I regained my vision did I realize that I got blind in the first place.
I didn't even test because I didn't know that I was getting low. I only know it was pretty bad because 2 hours after, another old friend greeted me from my meter - a 270 rebound high.