Thursday, October 17, 2013

A Cinderella Story

Last night was interesting.

It started out as an ordinary Wednesday evening after work. 

I popped in Jim Henson's "Labyrinth" (circa 1986), and measured out some cereal to munch on. 

My living room was dark, except for the candle lights flickering. 

My vision started to get fuzzy, and spotty. I brushed it off as just needing to take my contacts out. I checked my Dexcom; it was 82, and I had just confirmed it with a finger stick glucose, not even ten minutes before (my meter had said 76). 

Then my brain started feeling fuzzy. I was getting tunnel vision, and I started getting the head tics that happen, right before a seizure happens. 

I started panicking and ran over to my meter bag. I struggled to get a single test strip out of its bottle, and it took me two or three tries to get the test strip inserted into the meter the correct way.

I pricked my finger, and because I was snuggled under a blanket, and my fingertips were still warm, the blood came flowing out, and ran down my finger and pooled into my palm. Five seconds later, the number on my meter that greeted me sent me into sheer panic.


31, 31, 31.

My heart immediately started racing; I couldn't tell if it was out of rhythm, because it was pounding so fast.

I paced back and forth in my tiny apartment; ran into the bedroom, nothing there. Ran into the living room, nothing there. Raced to the kitchen, and looked into the refrigerator. Two Juicy Juice boxes. I grabbed them, and ripped off the straw, unwrapping it and trying to insert the straw into the top of it. I broke my straw. I grabbed the other juice box, and couldn't get the straw in, so I gave up and threw it. 

I found my stash of Gala apples from the apple orchard, and bit into it. The juice was cold, and so sweet. It tasted so good. I rummaged through my cabinet and found my half-eaten jar of Jif peanut butter, and started scooping it out with my fingers. I coated my entire mouth with peanut butter, praying the sugar from the apple, and the "protein" in the peanut butter would bring me back up. 

I checked Dex again; double arrows pointing down, and not even a reading, just the word, "LOW." 

I started hyperventilating, and crying. 

I am alone in my apartment with a severely low blood sugar, and there is no one to help me save my life, but myself.

I'm still having the head tics at this point, and I can't support my weight by standing up in my kitchen, so I sink to the kitchen floor and lean up against the cabinets for support.

I can hear the Labyrinth blaring in the background; my favorite part! The "Dance Magic Dance" scene! I'm trying to sing along, and picture the movie playing out in my head, but I can't focus. I can't keep my thoughts together. The only thing that is permanent, is this:

"Keep eating, Meghann. Keep eating. Keep eating. Keep eating."

After I finish the apple and peanut butter (I didn't even wipe my hands off, let alone wash them of sticky apple and peanut butter), I went back out into my living room. The movie is still playing. Dex keeps vibrating and beeping at me. Still double down arrows and LOW. 

I feel awful, I'm scared. I can't breathe. I'm shaking. I'm terrified I'm going to have a full-blown seizure and pass out. Who will find my body, if the worst happened? I remember thanking myself for wearing my medical bracelet with my mom and dad's telephone number on it. 

I'm laying on the floor of my living room, curled up in a ball. Terrified. 

I look up to the clock to see what time it is. 9:08. This started at 8:56. 

Then my eyes fell on it—the glass pumpkin jar, filled with my fall favorite—candy corn. I remember yelping out in happiness; pure sugar. Something I know for sure will raise my blood sugar. 

I remember buying the bag, over 2 weeks ago, at Wal-Mart with my mom. She scolded me, and told me I shouldn't eat them. But the $2.25 bag of Brach's candy corn ended up saving my life. 

I shoved 42 pieces of candy corn into my mouth and chewed them as fast as I could. I wanted that sugar to coat the inside of my body and raise my blood sugar as high as possible. I didn't care how high, I just didn't want to die. 

While still chewing, I made it into my bedroom, and fell face first into my pillows.

I texted my mom. 

"Blood sugar went super low to 31 but I am ok. Ate a lot of food, just wanted you to know."

I can feel my vision coming back. My thoughts stop racing. My heart isn't pounding anymore, and I'm no longer having head tics. 

Mom tells me to test my blood sugar again; 136. Fifteen minutes later, 167. 

I feel so much better. Everything happened so quickly. One of the most terrifying moments of my life. The sheer desperation of eating to live, and the fear of being alone combined, wore me out. I cried from relief, and a little embarrassment. 

Mom and I made plans via text messaging to recheck my blood sugar at midnight. 

It's amazing how something so insignificant, like candy corn, can be such a beacon of hope in a moment of desperation. 

That small, pumpkin-shaped glass jar filled of candy corns saved my life. And maybe the Gala apple and Jif peanut butter! 

This Cinderella made it home before midnight, and lived to tell the story.

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