Lows....Running the Train!

So am I the only one that thinks, "oh I can do this." I was in range after lunch, went and taught my course, then stopped to do a couple errands (now 4 hours after lunch bolus). I was at the hardware store, not my most confident shopping, but come on...I was looking for a large container to put catfood in. The top on the container I was looking at seemed overly complex and when I needed the sales person to explain that it was for more permanent storage, I realized I had low blood sugar. So I left Ace and got in my car and we all know the correct action to take - test and treat. Nope. I figured I was just 2 minutes from the post office so I could go there and test and treat, then get my mail. I did this and I was 48. Next correct step: Get my mail, then wait in the car for a bit and test again before driving. Nope again. Figured I'm only 6 minutes from home (on a winding mountain road) so off I went. The sun seemed really distracting despite sunglasses and visor. I got home, tested and was 29!

I have no idea why I went down to 48 4 hours after bolusing, then down again to 29 after treating. But we all know *$%* happens. What I do know is I had no business being on the road even for 6 minutes at either number. So am I the only one who does this, tries to see if I can "beat the train"? Gee, sounds like a drunk slurring the words "I'm fine to drive."

Hey Zoe:

I've been there. I have the worst results when I'm winging it and get a little too cavalier about things. That's when this disease rears its head and bites me, reminding me that it needs to be taken seriously ALL the time.

Glad you're OK.


I'd suggest being *very* careful with that. I'm a claims adjuster and have run into cases where plaintiffs will file charges that a PWD is as criminal (more than just negligent which, in some jurisdictions, can fall outside of what's covered by insurance...) as being a drunk driver. I've probably done similar things both driving and cycling. I keep a 1/2 lb or so of jelly beans in the center console of my car, just in case. If your meter is +/- 20%, 29 could be crazier and, despite my general insouciance about low BG, 29 and driving is a potential disaster for you and others.

You are, of course, right, AR. I always have glucose tablets, it's just the waiting I was resistant to. I didn't know I was 29 until I got home, but of course, 48 was low enough I should have definitely parked my butt in the car until it came back up. The post office is in the same parking lot as a nice coffee place so I could have just strolled over and kicked back with a cappuccino. Impatience has gotten me in trouble in my life!

I don't drive, but this is one reason I almost never delay treating a low (I can't say I never do it, but very rarely). I've had more than one occasions in the past few years where I've almost passed out even *with* treating a low promptly - not willing to take the risk of delaying a treatment. If I could drive, I don't think I would ever get behind the wheel of a moving vehicle knowing I was low, due to the risk to myself and others. But then, I view driving as a huge priviledge (It's like having a little detachable portion of your home that you can use to go anywhere at any time!), so I can see how others who do it every day might treat it more casually.

I know it can be hard to think clearly when you're low, but maybe keep some treatment at various locations in your car so that it is easy to get to. I, personally, am never without glucose tablets on me unless I'm in my own apartment (where they are stashed in every room). Even if I'm just going to a meeting down the hall from my office, I have glucose tablets in my pocket.

Also, I would suggest that if you feel low and are not near your meter, you just treat it anyway. If you turn out to be wrong you can just bolus for the glucose tablets, and if you do turn out to be low then it means you've treated it that much faster. I usually have my meter nearby, but there have been a handful of times where I haven't for some reason and have just treated anyway.

It's good to not be scared of lows, but on the other hand I think there is a point at which lows do become dangerous, and I think they should always be treated with caution. The reason we treat lows early is so that they don't become dangerous, after all...

First of all, I'm glad you're OK and nothing happened. This is a reminder for all of us to not play games with a low. I recall being in my endo's office several years ago when the nurse recognized "a low condition". I felt perfectly normal, but the numbers don't lye! Don't cross the DMV, or you'll be taking the bus.

Hey Twin -

I'm glad you're OK. The last time I was at 48 I treated and still ended up passing out. I have occasionally tested before driving, seen a 68, taken a couple of glucose tabs and assumed that I would start coming up. It's a very dangerous habit. Since my recent excursion, I've tried to be more careful.

Take care of yourself,


I always have my meter and glucose tablets, Jen. It's using them, and more than that, waiting until they take effect that got me hung up!

No bus in the woods, NorCal, it would mean having to move; hmmm...that puts it in perspective a tad!

Yep, that's what I assumed...treat the 48, get the mail (and yes, I sat in the car long enough to read the mail) and then good to go....nope!

I think Christopher nailed it with the word cavalier and even a tad macho...if girls can be said to be macho! Not sure what those "I can handle it" feelings are about.

I do this also, though more often with highs than with lows.

Today, for example, I had a high (<300) and knew that I should put some insulin in....but my pump cartridge was empty. I let that slide for a few hours.....and had a few hours of <350. (thankfully it came down really quickly, and without a follow-up low :)

I've done it on the low side also -- one time I saw 30 on the CGM, felt no symptoms, so assumed that the machine was inaccurate. A while later I checked....and I really was 30. Oops :]

What I've learned from that is that you really should do what needs to be done when it needs to be done, even if you "really can" wait "a little bit."

Waiting for a low to come up is frustrating. I swear it feels longer than it really is, especially if you are having bad symptoms. Does your meter or phone have a timer that you can use? I use a timer on my meter for pre-bolusing and also for lows so that I don't over-treat them before 15 minutes is up...

Timer on your meter?? Don't. you use the One Touch Ping? Where is the timer? I actually find 15 minutes isn't adequate for my lows to be raised, closer to 1/2 hour

Actually I think you clued me to part of why I didn't want to wait, Jen. I felt crappy and when I feel that way I want to be HOME!

Yep, thanks, Mike!

I do use the Ping as my pump but recently switched to the Contour Next for my meter. I was planning on upgrading to the Vibe, which has no meter remote, so thought I would try a new meter - then I found out there's no Vibe upgrade, anyway. The reminder feature was one reason I picked this meter, but the other was that it allows you to put more blood on the strip for 30 seconds - and I've also discovered that it uploads readings 10x faster (literally) than the Ping does.

Well Zoe, I'm glad you're OK. The thing about lows is that your brain is not working correctly and it's hard to get around it. We all know people who refuse glucose when their spouse or friend or someone sees that they are low and insists they take something. Personally, I know I've driven with a low (and I'm not proud).....but like you Zoe, I took the glucose and just couldn't wait! Why???

Maybe if we beat in the brain long enough...it will become more automatic like taking the glucose.
Take care!

Though the Ping actually does have a reminder feature under "Bolus", but you can only set it in 1 hour intervals which makes it very limited.

Thanks, Mari! I'm well aware that lows affect my cognition, so I don't know why it should surprise me it affects my judgement!

zoe, im glad you are ok and didnt have anything happen on the way home. i dont drive but do commute by bike. i find i kind of lose my sense of reality if im that low, and the "yeah, i got this" mindset tends to take over when im in the 50s or lower. and then its the "lemme see if i can get home before i treat", almost like a challenge. when i am normal again i think about how stupid that was and ill never do it again, but its usually that im 5 minutes away from home on a bike and i think about there being some good food i want to eat thats in the pantry, how i dont want the glucose tabs in my pocket or something like that.
the waiting to come up can also be a problem. i know im supposed to wait but sometimes it doesnt happen.
for me, i attribute it to the lower functioning cognitive wave-length im on, get all like a teenager with the risk taking. its not just you!

Thanks for sharing, pancreas. Yep, I think that's what it is!