Living alone with D + low bg's

I am looking for advice on what measures you take when living by yourself.

I had a scary LO bg incident the night before last (see my blog for the story)
and now I have to consider myself lucky to be alive!!
As I live by myself I apparently managed to get sugar just in time so it woke me up from the seizure that followed. This has left me very afraid, as next time I might not be as lucky…

Do you have any emergency plans/ backup support when living alone?

The best thing I ever did was reduce my carbs AND insulin so that the amount of insulin I use is so manageable that I know it can’t take me down very far.
The second best thing I did was repeat my meals, low low carb, til I knew exactly how much each would raise me.
The third best thing was that I put on a monitor and wore it for awhile til I could tell which foods acted slowly enough for the monitor to record it and I could keep all rises below 140. ps. I take care of the husband in the picture, not the other way around.

I live by myself too. My dog is really help full in helping me when I’m not sure what’s happening… He licks me tremendously when I’m high and barks at me when I’m low… I’m not sure how he knows, but it’s beginning to become a pattern that I’ve noticed. Plus he NEVER barks, so this was “new.” I’m wanting to enroll him into classes that train him, but so far he “catches” things when I’m not aware. My dog is very close with me and I’ve had him for a long time, maybe that’s how he knows…

It’s scary to have a low like that. I’ve been fortunate in the month since my diagnosis and haven’t gone so low that I have a seizure. I don’t know what I’d do if that was to happen to me…


Being super low was one of my concerns in moving out on my own.

One thing that might help is to have some glucose near where you sleep (preferably stuff that is easy to open and ingest)… I started doing this after one early morning low when I could barely walk and had to stagger to get something…

I also think it’s easier to treat using glucose tabs since you don’t have to worry about spilling the liquid and going to the fridge. I also keep them in the same spot so even when I’m really low I’ll sometimes go there even though I had stuff by my bed…

I also have glucose in a set location on my nightstand. I woke up last night a little low and was able to have my bf grab glucose tabs without having to explain where they are, it’s nice and helps alot to have it so that worry about anything but correcting the low…

Yes I know, I normally have glocose tablets and biscuits by my bed, but had run out of them that night.
I did however have a carton of juice next to the bed (and liquid glucose in my handbag), but didn’t think of it I guess - I don’t really remember… the fridge is in the bedroom, so I didn’t have to walk far.
Anyway, I think I would have had the seizure by the time I woke up in any case, but it would have been less painfull if in bed… and am just so happy that I woke up!

but what if I hadn’t - am not sure anyone would’ve noticed before it was too late - that is the scary part!
Don’t think I can live by myself after this - although I have for 2 years now… (sometimes having to call my parents and ask them to call back in 10 minutes to make sure I’m still conscous…)!

will be really carefull now, and am sooo looking forwards to moving in with more people in august - although i’ve been hesitant about giving up total freedom.

wow, your dog is amazing, and what a good friend to have!
I guess you don’t have to worry too much then, and he might not even need the training?!
The licking when you’re high, do you think it’s the sugar he’s tasting?

I’m allergic to dogs, unfortunately,
it would be nice if goldfish could do the same, haha :slight_smile:

If I lived alone I wouldn’t be here today. I guess the only backup plan I could think of for that would be a CGM that would scream with all its bells and whistles once you started going low. Specially trained dogs would be a nice option too, if you don’t mind sleeping in bed it.

It’s a heavy burden to carry for someone else to be relied upon to help you through lows while sleeping and whatnot… but I almost feel that it’s necessary. I have come so close to death many times during my sleep and my fiance has saved my life on numerous occasions.

I don’t know what the back up plan would be. The only thing that I’ve done (to alleviate his burden of watching me while I sleep) is to make sure that my BG is over 110 before I go to bed. If it’s lower, it’s risky for me. I’m on MDI, so I don’t have the luxury of a CGM. I risk it sometimes at 90 before bed, but I’m more comfortable in the low 100s.

I keep orange flavored (the only ones I can stand) glucose tablets next to my bed, as well as some small individually wrapped chocolates on a shelf (up high to ward away the ants, etc) I also check my BG two hours before bed, and again right before I put my head on the pillow, to see if there’s a downward trend, or a steady BG level.

I can’t really think of anything else.

yes, a cgm might be a good idea, at least for a while! I will look into it when I have my dr’s appointment in august. Maybe I could get some sort of robotic dog instead :wink: as I’m allergic to the real ones :frowning:

I lived alone for a long time and if I ever didnt show up at work on time my coworkers would call my cell phone. If they couldnt reach me after a half hr they would call a list of emergency numbers I gave to them of people who lived in the area and had a key to my appt. Luckily that never happened and if I was ever late to work it was due to traffic, but it was nice to have people to count on just in case!

That’s a really good idea - although I have tried to be lo-key about D at work (they know I have it, but I try not to make a big deal out of it) - but I guess having a few co-workers who could make sure I’m ok is a good idea!

Okay, I am SO the right person to talk to about this. I am a diabetic who gets low a lot, mainly because I hate high blood sugars and I give myself too much insulin. When I was in college, I didn’t have any really bad lows, or, if I did, I took care of them without people noticing.

After college I lived on my own for a while (I’ll talk about that in a bit) and then with roommates. When I had roommates, generally, they ended up calling the paramedics a couple times a week because I got so much. The paramedics gave me lectures; I promised to take better care, and I did, somewhat.

But since September of 2008 (and from January 2006 to June 2006), I have lived on my own. I have had a lot of severe low blood sugars. Once and only once did I make enough noise for my neighbors to call the paramedics; the rest of the time I’ve dealt with it on my own. Sometimes I’ll wake up in bed, sometimes next to my bed – if that happens, then I know the low isn’t too severe. I’ll test and get something.

But, other times, I’ve had bad lows. They almost always happen while I’m sleeping – I would get equally severe lows during the day, but I’m awake to treat them. When it happens, I generally trash my apartment and have a seizure. I’m not even aware it’s happening. I actually had one this morning. I wake up, have no control over my body, and I know I need sugar, so I sit awhile until I have enough energy to get to my fridge or wherever the closest source of sugar is. Generally, though, by the time I come to, my body has made enough sugar that I don’t even need to eat anything. Once I stop speaking in tongues and can form complete sentences, I assess the damage. This ranges from unplugging my alarm clock (always happens) and being 3 hours late for work to having a seizure on my laptop and completely breaking it.

Anyway, this has happened to me at least 100 times (probably more). Every single time, I wake up and come to. I know people say low blood sugar episodes can kill a person. However, since I have come through it so many times, I really don’t think they’re going to kill me. Obviously, I have no supporting evidence for this, but I wouldn’t worry too much about dying from a low while alone; your body will do what it can to live, and it can and will pump you full of sugar.

You don’t need to be on a pump to get a CGM. Even with most current pumps it’s still a completely separate device with it’s own controller and everything. If you’re interested in it or in trying one talk to your doctor and the CGM company reps. Just because MDI works for you does not mean you can’t take advantage of this technology.

Are you allergic to cats too? Although they are not as trainable as dogs, some of them can alert you. We started training my cat and dog by giving them treats and me holding them when I was low. The dog totally didn’t make the connection but my cat did. Now she comes up to me most of the times when I am going low (before my CGMS has alarmed) on her own and pats me with her paw. Or maybe she just wants a treat, who knows hahaha!

I have the perfect solution for you because I too am allergic to dogs. I have a hypoallergenic dog it’s a yorkie poo. They don’t shed and they are littler so you don’t have to worry about size. My dog weighs about 12 pounds and is small enough for me to pick him up. They are very loyal and are one dog per home dogs. If you want I can give you more information on them just message me. And yes, it is the sugar he is licking off of me when I’m high, so I’ve been told.


Really? I didn’t know that! I’m gonna look into it now! I just don’t want to be connected to some 24/7 like with a pump…

Check out Dexcom and Navigator.

I lived alone for a couple years and I did a lot of things wrong. I wouldn’t remember to refill the basket by my bed with snacks or juice boxes. I wouldn’t eat glucose tabs b/c I’d tried some as a kid and didn’t like them. When I woke up low, I would drag myself to the fridge in the kitchen and eat whatever I could get my hands on. It was bad. But at the time, I thought it was fine. And I hadn’t owned a glucagon kit in 15 years (okay, so I still don’t have one, but it’s on my list). This was when I was 24, 25 years old. You would think I would know better. But I made sure someone knew I made it in. I’d call my mom or a friend. If I was really high, I’d call my parents and see if someone would come sit with me for a few hours until it came down. If I was low, I overtreated big time due to the panic of being alone.

So learning from my mistakes, I’d say that the things I do now, even though I live with my husband now, have made my life easier. I keep the food stocked (and in pre-measured portions) near my bed and in the pantry, I keep a bottle of glucose tabs on the nightstand, I wear a CGM (Navigator), and I test before and after sleeping, no matter what. I’m sure you’ve thought of most of those. But I find that being consistent with it prepares me for the worst. And that helps me sleep more easily. Best of luck, Carrie.

Hey Carrie,
I’m sorry to hear about your scary incident. I think that is a universal fear among PWDs on insulin.

I recently heard a doctor speak about hypoglycemia at the CWD conference. He pretty much said the same thing that Rainbowgoddess said. That while seizures are really scary, they are actually what raise your blood sugar, and keep you alive.

I live alone too, and asked him if he thought lowering basals would be the best defense. He said no, and told me his 2 best pieces of advice were 1) either get a CGM and really pay attention to the trending alarms and treat at a higher numbers (like 70) to avoid the low or 2) run 3 am BG checks at least 3 times a week, so that I can nail down patterns in my BGs.

I have to admit, I also rely on my dog. She also licks my hands when I’m high, and distinctly digs INTO my head at night when I’m low. She also has a very distinct whimper when I’m low. CGMs sound like a good way to go. While they are expensive, at you know you are not allergic to them. Good luck.