Tuesday, November 29, 2005

How's It Hanging?

When I was a wee lad of, oh, seventeen, I was a tad naive. And shy. So when the guy came up to me at my locker and said, "How's it hanging, Ryan?" I really had nothing to say. Frankly, I didn't even know what it meant. How's what hanging? And just how do things hang, anyway?

My lack of response triggered him to go into a rare moment. He decided to educate me. "You're supposed say, 'Loooooooooowwww'," emphasizing the word low in a deep, throaty voice.

Then, I got it. I understood. He was referring to my most personal of possessions. And, I thought, how entirely rude to ask someone something like that. Besides...just what do you say if, well, it isn't hanging low?

Anyhow I say all this because I wanted to discuss low blood glucose levels. Yeah. That's the tie-in. So, how's it hanging for you?

Of all of the problems diabetics face, to me the worst is the low. I can deal with highs. They don't bother me so much. But being low is just miserable. You feel shaky, or weak, or have blurred vision, or become irritable, or experience tingling or numb extremeties, or (eh-hem) impotence, or headache, or sudden nausea, or any combination of the above.

Thankfully, I'm very senstive to my lows. My BGL hits 73, and I can tell. But not always. When I'm tired, it takes longer to notice the symptoms...usually into the 50s. If I'm exhausted, I might hit into the 20s!

Prior to being placed on the pump, I actually had a fairly decent A1c. I was hovering in the low sevens with due diligence. But I was accomplishing this by having a lot of lows. Sometimes every day (or night). And that was the reason my doctor thought it best I switched to the pump. I'm so glad I did, because one of the greatest benefits I've seen is the enormous reduction in lows. Sure, I still have them. But neither with the same frequency nor intensity as I once experienced. And once I managed that, I was amazed at how much better I felt in general.

For me, eliminating lows is top priority. I'm willing to accept more frequent highs instead.

Do you want to know the absolute worst part of being low? I'll tell you...the horrible headaches that come about two hours after I've been low. They are intense, and they grow debilitating rather quickly. Ibuprofen doesn't nothing. Only Tylenol. You ever get those kinds of lows? The kind that bring on the dreaded headache?

Work on your lows. They are dangerous. They don't feel good. And they can feed into a roller coaster cycle. If you haven't yet reduced your lows, forget working on the highs. You'll feel much better for it.

And the next time someone asks you, "How's it hanging?", I can only hope your answer won't be, "Looooooowww!"


Andrea said...

I have to disagree. I would deal with a low anyday over a high. Highs make me anxious, tired, and, basically, I feel like crap. Not to mention that often times they take forever to bring down. Now, lows may be more of an immediate danger, but if you test often you can treat them- and, hey, it gives you an excuse to eat :). Once treated, it doesn't take long to start feeling better or for you blood sugar to rise. Ideally, I rather not have to deal with either extreme, but guess that's not a possibility right now :( .

Scott said...

Personally, I agree ... lows stink, but for me, lows are far harder to avoid than highs, which never seem to bother me anyway. I have my suspicions that synthetic "human" insulins and analogs are a big contributing factors, as I never had problems until we were involuntarily switched to synthetic human insulins. I also have issues with hypoglycemia unawareness, a problem I've dealt with for the past 25 years (avoiding lows for the 4 years I was in college when my A1c's were terrible never restored the lost "symptoms" either, so there's one claim that I dispute).

RyanBruner said...

It's interesting how each person reacts differently. For me, while highs CAN make me feel down, I'd take that anyday over the symptoms of lows. Because unlike highs, lows make me have to "stop my life" and wait. Highs, I can function normally while I'm bringing my BGL down.

Kerri. said...

While a low brings tears, frustration, that feeling of "lost," babbling incoherencies, and rage, it's the fear of know what complcations a high sugar could cause that makes me prefer lows.