« Not So Grrrrrrrreat! | Main | New England Snow Day Survival List. »

Wake Up, Test, and Repeat.

It's like that scene in The Graduate, where Dustin Hoffman is floating at the bottom of the pool while life mills around above him.  That feeling of water clouding my vision, leaving the numbers on the alarm clock looking blurry and projected from miles away.  A strange, floating feeling to my limbs, like there are layers of helium between my muscle and my skin.   Yet my hearing is honed to a fine precision, taking in the steady sound of Chris breathing, the cat snoring at the foot of the bed, and the sounds of the wind in the trees outside.

I also hear my own heart beating.

38 mg/dl.

3:42 am on Tuesday morning.

I thought about possible causes for the low blood sugar.  There were plenty, as Monday night was spent laughing, drinking, and partying hard with co-workers.  Then there's the fact that I'm on the "off week" for my birth control pills.  Plenty of factors to consider.  Even though I went to bed at a blood sugar of 173 mg/dl, I knew the chances of an early morning low were elevated. 

I set my alarm for 4 am, but found myself awake, staring at the ceiling, and willing my arms to reach over for my testing kit at 3:42 am instead.

Chalk it up to a moment of miscalculation.  I drank the juice on my bedside table and then eased myself back into sleep.

But last night, I didn't go out.  I didn't drink anything with alcohol in it.  I didn't go to bed excessively late or entertain any dodgy blood sugars.  The only variable I could find was the absence of birth control hormones this week.  Taking that into account and remembering Monday night's low, I lowered my basal rates last night and went to bed, again, at a blood sugar above 150 mg/dl.

4:02 am.

The cat opens her mouth into a wide yawn, exposing her tiny pink tongue, as I scramble for my kit.

38 mg/dl.Wake up, rinse, and repeat.

Nothing freaks me out more than scary lows, two nights in a row.  The same frighteningly low number.  I'm short on sleep and even shorter on confidence in my body.  Tonight, I will lower my basal rates further.  I will set my alarm for 3 am and see if I can catch this low as it happens (it's like tracking a hurricane sometimes).  I'll try and figure out if it's just the off-week for the pill or if my basal rates have suddenly found themselves to be too much on the overnight. 

Calculating, factoring, estimating, guessing, hoping, trying, remaining determined.

Wake up, test, repeat.


Wow, that's nervewracking. I hope that whatever is wrong gets better soon.

hey Kerri,
that does sound scary, sorry it happened 2 nights in a row!

When i ramped up my exercise (in both amount and adding weights when i used to do mostly cardio) i started having crazy nighttime lows like this almost every night. It went on for a few weeks, until my nighttime basal was down to 0.5-0.6 units/hr, from my previous 0.9-1.0. It was weird, I felt like it kinda happened all of a sudden, my metabolism just jumped up a level. Maybe your "changed up" workout is working?

And in the shorter term vision that that, if you're doing more anaerobic stuff, i find that drops my blood sugar more 7-10 hrs later, while cardio has a bigger impact more immediately.

good luck tonight!

Thats crazyy...i understand when you talk about all the factors we must take into account when something goes wrong aka a low or high sugar...actually we never stop thinking. We have to alway constantly have in the back of our minds what our sugar is doing? how many carbs, what type of food is this, what will this do to my sugar, am i going to workout today, will my workout yesterday-effect today, was i a lazy bum today, when did i eat last, why am i high, why am i low, why does my sugar do whatever it wants sometimes?...there is so much stuff to consider to do what WE do EVERY DAY in order to manage our disease...i can't even list them all.
But with that said..we still go on everyday thinking of these things because we have to and it's part of our lives...its what we know..sometimes it sucks but other times it's not so bad.
SOOO Good luck tonight. hope you figure out how to stay within range so you don't have to keep going low at 3am. :)

I was doing the diabetes shampoo routine last week. I had it figured out pretty quickly, hopefully you will too. Super low overnight lows are the worst.

Do you still have your Dexcom? Sounds like this might be a good week to give it another whirl....my 10 yo daughter got one about a month ago, and while it's not nearly as accurate as i had hoped, it has helped a LOT during the last week when she got sick. It alarmed and caught several things that would have gone between normal "poke" times. (And she's at the age that hormone hell is just starting, so I'm trying to use it to help set up some kind of "that week" basal rate to combat the highs she gets based on my cycle). Anyhow, I hope tonight is a better night and you don't have any more scary lows.

I'm glad I'm not the only one who plunges on her "off week". Hope things get better for you. I hit 66 today when I got up. Woo hoo?

Ouch. I hope you don't encounter anymore of those scary lows.

The "off week" always sends my blood sugars crashing. I actually have a lower basal profile to deal with it, but it's still a horrible week. With the approval of my doctor, I now take an "off week" only every 10th week, which is a big improvement.

Stupidly cold weather also sends my needs down, and I always need a basal overhaul when it really hits, like it just has in London!

One of the things I don't like about diabetes is the frequent night-time interruptions. All that lost sleep and just the aggravation of night time blood sugar correction. What a pain!

Kerri I hope you figure out a solution and get back to your regular schedule soon.


I've been going through much of the same thing (although not the birth control pill bit). I've been waking up regularly around 5am in the 40s and 50s. My symptoms aren't all that strong any longer, so I have to check to make sure it's not just sleepiness I'm feeling.

I've also made it a habit to test before getting out of bed in the middle of the night to go retrieve a crying baby -- I wouldn't want anything bad to happen if I were low and carrying a baby.

And let me tell ya, those 5 seconds can seem like an eternity when there's a baby crying.

Are you still doing that new workout routine? I found when I was working out hard, those lows came in the night very regularly.

Interesting that it's during your "off week" too. Maybe you need a completely different basal pattern for that week each month? I can't remember having those weeks without hormones since I've been pregnant for over 8 months! :) I'll keep that in mind when I start back up on the bc pills shortly.

Good luck Kerri!!

your description of that scene from the Graduate captures it so well..that feeling that I've never been quite able to express.
that's it.

hope it never happens again!

Your posting brought tears to my eyes. With a 5 year old diabetic diagnosed just 11 months ago, I feel like I'm constantly chasing my tail. So many days that things happen with no rhyme or reason. I see that even the very experienced diabetic goes through this too. I hope tonight is better for you. Have you ever considered getting a dog that is trained to detect the onset of lows?

Post a comment

(All comments are moderated. Thanks for your patience!)