Rick01 and Dina got “caught” away from their sugar while on walks, but not as bad as this one:
Above the Lamar valley, in Yellowstone, there’s a lot of very interesting petrified wood logs and stumps in an area called “Specimen Ridge”. Mistake #1: I went up there by myself. Mistake #2, with only a high-calorie sandwich for lunch and two little 10-pack tubes of sugar tabs “for emergency”. (NOT ENOUGH.)
After walking the Ridge, and going West to the great Redwood stump, I ate my sandwich and decided that it was a pretty day and still real early-- so I continued West, without a high-quality Topo map (Mistake #3). After “a while”, I decided that it was time to turn North and head back down to the Road (Highway 212), then just walk along the road to return to my Car.
Nope. Big cliff, at least 5.7 difficulty, I’ve got no rope and and I’m wearing hiking boots, not climbing shoes. Even though I was a strong climber back then, capable of 5.9s and even 5.10s, I decide that it’s too dangerous for even an expert in the middle of NOWHERE. (Not a mistake, right choice.) Grabbed a few sugar tabs, because my bG is starting to go down-- I’ve already done more than 8 miles in really steep terrain, at least 1500 vertical feet already. I figure, “well, there’s gonna be a spot I can get down if I just go a little ways further, and by going forwards I don’t have to backtrack through all that stuff I’ve already seen. And besides, some of that was awfully up and down, It’ll be a lot nicer just to head West, so I can return by walking in the flat valley or along the road.” (Mistake #3.)
After another bG test, I finish the first 10-pack and start on the second, and drink another pint of water. (About one pint left.) Head up to the ridge so I can make better time headed west and “see” the downhill options more easily. Start hiking. First couple of miles, nothin’ good down there… keep going. Another mile or two, still doesn’t look much good. I’m starting to think, “Well, they’ll know from the car location that I went up to Specimen Ridge, but by now I’m nearly 10 miles from there, in a place no one ever goes… they’ll NEVER find the body!”
I’m really scared, with good reason. I know that the few remaining sugar tabs aren’t gonna make anywhere near enough bG to handle the trip. After a bG test, 35 mg/dL, I eat a few tabs. Finally, I see a watercourse which I can pick my way down, slide on my butt, whatever. Based on that bG test and the barely adequate number of tabs I already ate, I choose to ALL the remaining sugar tabs before I try it. (Good choice, I’m probably already below 50 again.) And finish the water, better to drink it now than carry it down. I remember a couple of deer looking at me really funny, from very close up-- maybe they were thinking, “he doesn’t smell right, and he’s walking really funny too.” (Well, at least I wasn’t getting funny looks from hungry wolves, who had just been introduced into that area two years before. That could’ve messed up the re-introduction program something awful.)
Or maybe there were just thinking, “What the heck is a HUMAN doing way up here?” Well, I got down OK. But the few hundred yards to the Road, US-212, was a big struggle for me. My legs kept giving out. I was no longer angry about having made so many bad choices, I just focused on reaching that Road, getting help, and staying alive by doing so. I don’t know how long it took me, but I eventually got there. “OK! Flat pavement! Now comes the EASY part!”
Which I probably couldn’t have walked on my own anymore, it was way too far. But the first passing car saw my obvious distress in trying to walk in “the middle of nowhere”. (As far as parking lots, buildings, and parked cars were concerned. But of course, the Highway was like Times Square compared to where I’d spent the afternoon. A car every 10 or 15 minutes, wow! Almost like gridlock!) Although my legs weren’t working too well, I explained that my car was a few miles ahead, and I needed sugars. They drove me to my car, and I got a lot better in a hurry.
The moral of my story is: bad hypos, while you’re not sleeping, are almost never from JUST ONE mistake, and avoiding ANY of the 2 or 3 dumb things involved is usually enough to prevent them. You only have to do one or two things right-- and the first thing to do is ALWAYS, ALWAYS have at least 100 grams of “extra” carbs within a few hundred yards (i.e., a FULL bottle of sugar tabs in the car.) I did the testing right, but without any carbs to solve the problem, testing didn’t prevent my disaster.