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Drink the Juice.

Drink the juice, Shelby!Every person with diabetes experiences low blood sugars differently.  There's that line in Fight Club: "You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake," but in the case of low blood sugars, they are like snowflakes.  Or fingerprints.  You can read the list of hypoglycemic symptoms backwards and forwards, but if you have diabetes or love someone who does, you know there's always that rogue one.

"Dizziness?  Check.  Shakiness?  Check.  Wait ... they don't have 'numb tongue' listed on here ..."

A few days ago, my family and I were in Los Angeles for a photo shoot for a diabetes-related project.  (Details to be shared when I can, but since I can't find the non-disclosure agreement, I'm erring on the side of shhhhh.)  As someone who prefers to be behind the camera, and not in front of it, the whole "make up and hair" experience was a first for me.

"Just sit in this chair and we'll start with your hair," the very nice stylist said, easing me into one of those black, swiveling chairs.  

"And Birdy will be here in the room with me, so I can spy on her?"  That was the plan, anyway.  Since Chris was in meetings while BirdZone and I were doing the diabetes thing, there was someone who offered to help bird-watch while I was being all done up.

"Yes.  She'll either be in here with us or out there with [name]. She's in good hands."


So they set to work on me, with gigantic rollers and make up sponges and tubes of things that leave me clueless.  And as we're talking and exchanging our diabetes stories, someone asks me if the toddler just outside the room is mine.

"Yes, that's my daughter."  I feel myself smiling, even though the make up lady asked me to keep my face still for a few minutes.

"It's good to see a happy mom and a happy baby. Steel Magnolias is one of my favorite movies, but not when it comes to thinking about my daughter and her future children."

"I know, right?  I love, love that movie ... except for the whole diabetes part." 

Time passed and my hair grew in volume.  And I heard the Dexcom BEEEEEEEP!ing from my purse on the floor.

"Would you mind handing me that blue receiver thing in my purse?" I asked the girl who was arranging her work station for the next person.  And two quick clicks showed me at 54 mg/dL with two arrows down.

The irony was too much.  Did the mere mention of Steel Magnolias make my blood sugar plummet while having rollers set in my hair?  I grabbed a bottle of juice from my purse and drew a few long sips.  The make up girl blotted my forehead with a make up sponge.

"Is it a little warm in here?  You're sweating a little.  Do you need anything?"

I knew Birdy was in capable hands, and I knew the juice would hit my system in a few minutes.  I just wanted to sit tight and let the sugar magic happen.  After a beat, I started to feel a little better.  And once the Dexcom showed that I was on the climb, I relaxed.

Not every person with diabetes experiences low blood sugars the same way.  They manifest in their own, strange little ways.  But sometimes you manually refrain from touching the rollers in your hair because you don't want a Steel Magnolias moment to be the "rogue" symptom.

Besides, you never want to ruin the epic work of a talented Truvy.  ;)


The scariest low my daughter ever had was in a salon while she was getting nails done for her brothers wedding. She was fine one minute, then a panicked look and a stomachache, then she passed out completely (all within about 10 seconds) – before anyone really realized what was happening. We never even got a reading on her bg, just squeezed frosting into her mouth and she came back within a minute or two. We suspected maybe something with salon fumes might have somehow either masked the initial symptoms or made her go low faster, if that’s even possible. I didn’t even connect it with Steel Magnolias until your post though.

Don't talk about me like I'm not here!!!

I've had the numb tongue. Although I find variance among my own low blood sugars. It depends how low I get and even then, not always the exact same symptoms. My husband says I start talking in a funny way - not that I'm saying funny things necessarily, but soemthing about the shape of my mouth or the way I say the words. He doesn't describe it very well but it's a good signal to him. When I get super low I can't taste anything. But that's during the really bad lows where I almost can't help myself anymore. Luckily they're not frequent. But they are annoying because in my irrational state I sometimes refuse to drink or eat anything because I literally have no sense of taste at all. It seems kind of a nasty trick. I never thought about the fact that others may not have that same symptom til just now!

It is really interesting how we all have different reactions, yet the same issue. I love steel magnolias as well. Glad to hear you were OK and I'm looking forward to details about your shoot!

Coincidence! I was just thinking that my decision to treat a current low with a candy cane from the office holiday leftovers stash would make a great blog title: although Candy Cane Lows sounds like an entry on the holiday blues. Just a heads up to any new visitors, my lows are occasionally accompanied by moderate to severe symptoms of a panic attack. Just know that they'll pass, and that no, the world is not really going to collapse at any minute.

Speaking of weird low symptoms, I often find that I get short of breath, like I'm not getting enough air. I used to get a numbness in my lips when low too but not so much anymore.

Steel Magnolias came about 19 months before I was diagnosed. I think I saw it, but I can't be sure. I know about 6 months after my diagnosis my Mommy & I watched it on video. I remember her pausing it to "go to the bathroom" right after the scene where Shelby has a low blood sugar. She was gone about 10 minutes & when she came back I knew she'd been crying. She paused it again at the scene where M'Lynn is begging Shelby to open her eyes. Mommy was gone about twice as long this time & when she came back I think she was still crying. It was years before I could ever watch that movie again.

The funny thing is that I had diabetes for over 9 years before I ever had my first low. And in the next 10 years you could have counted my lows on your fingers without needing to use your toes too. And none of them went below 60.

In the last 10 months I've had probably over 30 of them as we figure out how the new insulin works on my body. I've been thinking that I should watch it again because I have a whole new perspective to explore. And thanks to all of you guys, I don't think it scares me so much anymore. :)

One reason I love the DOC is I've learned that I'm not the only one with certain symptoms, like a numb tongue. My best friend can always tell when I'm low because I get quiet. I imagine that's a relief for a bit!

I have to ask: does anyone else get sore throats when they have a high blood sugar? My doc looked at me like I was crazy when I told her.

Lows are so different for everyone. I have come to realize that the people who really care about me, know what to notice when I'm low. My husband says taht I have a delayed reaction to everything (true!), my mom says that I get grumpy (true!), my sister says that I start talking funny (true!), and a couple of my students even notice that I daze off or repeat myself (true!). I am SO glad that the people that I care about the most know what to notice and what to do if I need some help.

I just love you.

But I still hate that stupid movie. :)

Sometimes when I go low, I have this burning sensation running down my back, and these sharp pins and needle type feelings in my arms. (The arm thing is fairly new...these strange low symptoms seem to happen the strongest when the low is in the middle of the night.) I've had type 1 for almost 20 years now, and I haven't seen Steel Magnolias since I've had it. I remember seeing it once soon before I was diagnosed, and I was terrified of the hair salon scene where she went low even though I didn't really know what was going on.

My weirdest symptom usually only occurs when I wake up at night with a low, occasionally I have a REALLY REALLY itchy stomach...makes no sense at all and scratching doesn't help. Anyone else get an itchy stomach?

When Lauren was little if she had a low at night she used to dream someone came to her and said "you need to get up. You are really low!" the funny thing is, it would be a certain person for a certain amount of time. Like for a while it was randomly my friend's young son. He's show up "just in time" and wake her up .... she'd come into me and say "I"m low." I guess they were like pretend human CGMS ....

Everyone's different. All I get these days is a kind of chilly, tingly feeling across the backs of my shoulders (and if I'm in bed, the urge to pull up the blankets and go back to sleep), and sometimes just "I don't feel quite right!". I never get anything dramatic or specific that I can pin my finger on any more, and since I live alone, that's just ONE reason why I desperately want a really accurate and timely CGM, and yeah an accurate meter would be nice, too!

My daughter has been experiencing numb tongue with her last few lows ...I had to flip back to this post to show her she's not alone! Thank you

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