Feeling shame after lows

Hello everyone. I’m new to the forum but I’ve been type 1 for 27 years and have had Addison’s Disease for the past 13 plus years. I’m looking for guidance. I use a T2 Slim pump with Dexcom sensors. Prior to that I used Medtronic’s and had a lot of issues with highs, lows and sensors. Since switching it’s been pretty good aside from occasional and manageable lows about once or twice a week.

That changed Friday night. I had a snack mid-afternoon (which is unusual for me). I calculated the carbs to units as I do with all my other meals. But the ratio didn’t work and I started a progression to dangerous lows after dinner a few hours later. To top things off I wasn’t at home, hadn’t brought my glucometer and Basqimi with me (which again I know is a cardinal rule I should be following) and my sensor errored to require a sugar reading. I drank sugary soda when I felt the low coming and it worked for a bit but not enough.

The evening ended with me forgetting I had glucose tabs, behind the wheel trying to get to a store to get some more sugar, pulled over and my two tween daughters giving me glucose tabs.

Has anything similar happened to anyone else and am an awful diabetic (and as a result father) for this situation? It sure feels that way to me.

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Sean, Probably all of us have had a similar experience. You are blessed by your 2 daughters who took care of Dad. I’m type 2, but I have had a few scary hypos. So scary that I carry my little emergency kit with me always.

Well not always, a couple of times I realized I left it at home. I wasn’t having a hypo, but bought some Sweet Tart originals just in case.

Don’t beat yourself up and do something nice for the girls. I know you are thinking that you put them at risk. True, just learn from it.

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This kind of thing happens a lot to me. I have been type1 for 35 years. Sometimes there is no explaining it. With my dexcom I can usually avoid anything symptomatic. I still go
Low but rarely so low I can feel it.
Except yesterday. I actually didn’t exercise after work. And you would think I would run high, but I didn’t I ran low and I felt it.
I keep carb gels I my car and in my hiking stuff.
They boost your sugar and also stick with you for a while.
I aim for 90% in range or better. Some days I’m 100% easy. Some days I’m in the low 80s. And there is nothing different from food or exercise.
This disease it never going to respond to pure science. Too many variables involved

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Don’t feel ashamed of having a bad day. It happens to all of us. Here’s a few tips for traveling that have served me well with over 30 years of type 1 diabetes.

Have a go bag with snacks and anything you may need in an emergency. Start keeping it in your car, it should have a dedicated meter and unexpired strips, shelf stable snacks, fast acting glucose and glucagon. This bag will save you whether you are having a bad low BG while out and about or in a natural disaster situation or simply a broken down car.

I know you are beating yourself up about this incident but learn from it. Don’t drive while low, it’s about as bad as driving while drunk. My motto is be prepared. I live in the mountains and there are many miles between towns or services. I don’t leave home without plenty of supplies to get me through unexpected issues.

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There are two things (at least) going on in such a situation.

The first is that “going low” feels like a personal failure. We often set very high expectations for ourselves for perfection; some manage better than others but we all encounter unexpected circumstances: extra unplanned exertion, fewer carbs than expected in a meal, delays to eating. Any of these factors or sometimes totally unknown factors can drop us low. Having CGM can improve situational awareness and response times but expecting perfection is not reasonable. Obviously having emergency carbs is a good idea!

The second, in my own experience, relates to the emotional instability that can happen with a low glucose. Irritation, frustration, anger, helplessness, and feeling of failure all can cause one to feel shame. Again, “how can I have let this happen” is the problem.

“How will I prevent or reduce this from happening in the future?” Is a better response, needless to say.

Don’t beat yourself up! You pulled through and no one was harmed. Having a plan, particularly NOT DRIVING when impaired, is one way to deal with this if it happens again.

You aren’t alone in this.

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Pretty much a Yup! from anyone who’s been at this more than a week or so. I’ve been at it for 40 years, so more times than I can count I’ve had to hear “Aren’t you supposed to keep something sweet with you at all times?” And the answer of course is yes, and I do and I do and I do, and weeks and months go by without needing it, and then of course the one time it comes up is the one time I’ve for some reason or other forgotten or messed up. “Yes, I DO keep a little packet of Chips Ahoy cookies in my jacket pocket, but I switched jackets, or had to eat 'em last time and forget to get another,” or whatever. I keep those things planted everywhere, but the ONE time I actually NEED 'em… Worst is when it’s a friend of the non-D variety and the ONE thing they know is you’re supposed to ALWAYS have sugar and they have no idea that something like this, which is there 24/7/365, involves the occasional screw up, there’s just no avoiding it.

Welcome to TUD, btw., hope you stick around!

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I’ll add: yes, a few times and yes, I was ashamed and embarrassed and felt guilty (like I had let people down). I’m dealing with this for 30 years, so have to expect and deal with and learn from my mistakes.

Once was after a day of a lot of work in the cold rain as we were doing home renovations and I had to take a bunch of stuff to the dump. Had a delayed low that night after going to sleep (at 2 AM) and a seizure and a visit to the local ER courtesy of the ambulance. Good thing my wife was there. Luckily I didn’t lose my drivers license over that.

Another time, going for a hike that went a lot longer than planned and I forgot my treat bag back at the car. Someone had to hike out, get my emergency glucose rations, and come back for me.

You learn from these experiences!

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It happens to all us. . I remember spontaneously deciding I wanted to go for a walk, getting to the farthest point of the housing track before the turn back home and feeling a low come on. I remembering calling myself an idiot and a few other things because I did not stick gummy bears in my pocket, I did not have my CGM reader with me and I didn’t have my phone with me to call my hubby. And all at night. Luckily I made it home.

I always tell a new person, carry something with you at all times. Too many variables control our blood sugars and yet we can still forget.

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Agree !!!

Another fallback for those with pump is to cancel/suspend basal, especially if only basal on board. I’m surprised at how quickly Tandem gets my BG to rebound without food, quicker than me eating glucose/food.

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Happens to me more than I like to admit. I have my “man purse”, a PacSafe that I carry one of everything I use in it. I’ve been T1 for 40 years and am on MDI so I carry all of my insulins and testing materials. I carry 3 containers of “glucose tablets” (old glucose tablet bottles with 3 packs of Smarties in each), syringes, long and short insulin, and my meter. I started using this back in the late 2000s when I had a pump and CGM and kept using it when I went back on MDI. This may help you from these unexplained lows.

Don’t feel shame after sever lows these and highs happen to everyone who is a T1.

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I have had some problems with lows. I have a t:slim and Dexcom. I find it easier to enter carbs and let pump settings calculate insulin units. Also, when I realize I may have given too much insulin, I typically unplug my pump tubing from my body until insulin on board runs out. Good luck. Don’t be too hard on yourself.

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This stuff made my low blood sugar brain explode yesterday.
It tasted like dreams coming true with a hint of marshmallow.
image

Good for you for building a couple of young women who will make fabulous ‘street medics,’ because when they come across someone who’s not ‘thinking straight’ for the rest of their lives, they will consider that the person might be having a medical event. That will be good for them and society because low blood sugar is one of the most common medical events that people are likely to encounter. They will likely be the women ‘who know what to do,’ in a confusing medical emergency, out in the world, some day.

I think it’s good for young people to know how to identify an emergency and react to it. It helps them better understand risk and good judgment as adults and put different events in perspective. Take them both out to a fancy dinner and tell them that they exercised good judgement in an emergency. Instead of feeling ‘shame’ about it, you ought to feel pride that you have raised two competent young women. Tell them that. Life is full of risks. How people respond in those moments matter.

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That has for sure happened to me, and I can relate to the feelings of confusion and shame afterward. We’re humans, and being our own pancreas is a hard job.

One thing that’s helped with my own guilt is that no experience is a failure if you learn from it. Take the lesson as best you can, and try to appreciate whatever you can. You’re still here. Your kids are learning empathy and care for others, and that’s not nothing. And today is a new day.

You’ll get through this, and sounds to me like you’re doing fine.

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People who are ashamed of needing help and asking for it are more likely to literally die of embarrassment.

Even if you shoot yourself in the foot, never be too embarrassed to ask for help.
If you survive, you can use embarrassment to motivate you to learn to do better.
Not perfect, better.

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Thank god for alarms, their on my phone and Rx. Day time I set low at 70. Night after bed until 0600 it’s at 90.
My problem is at night I became hypoglycemic even if I raise my glucose level to above 180 before bed it’s dropping to below 90 by 0300-0400. My other issue is , and my Endo Dr. warned me. I don’t feel myself going low.
The other week my Dexcom suppler was late getting my sensors to me. I went 3 days without a sensor. The second night my wife woke me she felt something was wrong. My blood glucose had dropped to 52.

I had the same issue for years until I got on a CGM and was able to demonstrate to my endo that as soon as I took more than 1 unit of long-acting insulin (Lantus or Levemir) a day, this same issue would occur. My recommended daily long-acting dose was 6 units at that time. I slowly dropped 1/2 unit each day until I totally ditched the long-acting insulin and stopped having nighttime lows. I am MDI and control my BG exclusively using Humalog fast-acting insulin. This may not be your issue, but may be worth testing or at least looking at.

I’m on novalog. Use to bolus 6-8 units prior to a meal. Have dropped back trying to basal dose with 2nits when I start to see a rise. But all that is doing is maintaining a lower level durning the day. ( a good thing)

CJ, I have always wondered how short acting insulin gets you through the night. I would have to take extra shots during the night without a long lasting insulin on board.

I think it has to do with my being OMAD. If I have any carbs after 3 PM or so, I need to take multiple 3-4 units of fast-acting every few hours during the night, and dawn phenomenon can start as early as 3 AM, requiring 4+ units. My fast-acting takes 26 minutes to kick in and is 95%+ done 2 hours after injection. So I think 2 hours after lunch, my carbs have done their duty, and fast-acting has mitigated the meal. I do occasionally micro-dose if needed based on my CGM. Just a guess and my endo is baffled as well.

Thanks for explaining what you do, but I still don’t really understand why that works for you. Great that it does though.