Diabetes Blog Week Day 3: Memories

Today’s prompt: Share your most memorable diabetes day. 

My most memorable diabetes day is without a doubt my diagnosis, but I’ve already written about that.  It’s been hard to think about a particular day or experience that really stands out. The experience I’m going to share may not be my “most memorable”, but it is one that has stuck with me.

One of my favorite spots

Where I went to college, there is an area of land called The Arb, which consists of 123 acres of nature. There are walking paths, an abundance of trees, open fields, a river, and beautiful landscapes. There are always people walking, jogging, picnicking, laying in the sun, and enjoying the outdoors. One of my favorite things to do while in college was to go for a walk in-between or after class when it was nice out. Sometimes I’d find a bench and read or other times I’d walk the paths. The Arb is big enough that you could walk into the woods and be at least 20 minutes from any of the entrances. It was a great place to clear your mind.

I always have fruit snacks with me in case my blood sugar drops low. They are in every coat pocket, backpack, purses, you name it. I remember a particular day during grad school when I decided to go for a walk in the Arb by myself between classes. I reached my hands into my coat pocket and felt the crinkle of a fruit snack packet. I started my walk into the arb, heading for a spot near the river. My blood sugar was fine when I began, but it quickly started to descend. This was before I had my CGM so I had no idea that it was dropping as fast as it was. All the sudden I went from feeling fine to feeling really really low. All I had with me was what was in my pockets (which didn’t include my meter).

I reached my hand into my pocket to pull out my fruit snacks to treat my low. That’s when I realized that what was in my pocket was actually empty wrappers. I had forgotten to throw them away and to replace the stash in my pockets. I didn’t have anything with me to treat the low!

I started to panic. I was probably only a 15 minute walk back to the Public Health School where my belongings were, but running would only make my blood sugar drop faster (or at least that was  my “low brain” reasoning at the time). I started walking quickly back towards the school. I looked around, I couldn’t see any other people near by. I became really dizzy, to the point where the leaves on the trees were blurring together.  I distinctively remember thinking that I wasn’t going to make it back, I honestly thought that I might pass out right there in the middle of the grass. How long would it take for someone to find me? Who would stop? Would they think that I was just sunbathing? Would my friends worry if I wasn’t in class? Would they think to look for me here?

I’ve had a LOT of lows in my life. I’ve had some that were just as bad as the one I was experiencing and some that were even worse. But what made this day memorable was that I was alone. In the woods. Low. Without a way to treat it. It was honestly my worst nightmare come true.

I made it back to the public health school, my head spinning and my heart racing.  I treated the low right away. However, that might have been the scariest diabetes moment I’ve ever had. Scary because it brought up all the “what ifs”. What if I hadn’t made it back? What if I did pass out? What if no one found me for hours?

Now, I make sure that I have a full packet of fruit snacks with me at all times. I always take my phone and if I will be walking somewhere alone, I make sure someone knows where I am. Having diabetes means ALWAYS being prepared. You never know when or where a low will strike.


8 thoughts on “Diabetes Blog Week Day 3: Memories

  1. I am all too familiar with that feeling of not having anything to treat a low when you really need it. It is one of the most AWFUL feelings in the world if you ask me. Helpless, scared and most of all, guilty. Why is there so much guilt associated with diabetes? I hate that!


  2. YIKES! What a nightmare! Yes, those experiences are scary… had a few myself, one in a parking lot where I couldn't stand up and kept wandering trying to find my car as I dropped lower. My dad's a U-M alum and so I spent many of my younger days around campus, and I know that area well, so I can imagine how it could be going Low there and not being around anyone. Glad it all came out OK and you made it back. Thanks for sharing this. A scary memory, but an important one – if even just to replace the candy in our pockets!


  3. I'm always a bit surprised when my husband goes low and doesn't have a snack. As a mommy of three, I keep my purse and vehicle well stocked with snacks – and that was even before our daughters dx! I don't mind loaning out my stash for him, not at all, but I can't quite figure why he doesn't carry them. I think he does well during the business week when he has a routine, but he gets off on the weekends when the routine goes out the window, and that's what I see. I also see examples of him not thinking clearly. He's gone low while waiting for a table in a crowded restaurant, and he wouldn't run up to the bar and ask for Sprite! He sure sucked it down when I got it for him tho!


  4. I fear this every time I go for a walk — even if I have stuff with me, I'm afraid it won't be enough. I also distinctly remember times when I've had to concentrate on staying “okay” on my way home — counting the steps until I could raid the fridge.

    I bet you don't forget fruit snacks anymore! 🙂


  5. I've had those moments too, there are a few occasions over the years where my mom has gone up to strangers to ask them for juice or food when I needed it and didn't have any for whatever reason. Thank goodness for moms! 🙂


  6. I think we all get caught with our pants down sometimes (that's a weird phrase, but you know what I mean). It's terribly hard (impossible?) to be perfectly prepared ALL THE TIME.

    And when something like this happens? It's terrifying.


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