Diabetes, Attitude, Parking Garage, and Slick Sidewalks

Yesterday was one of those days. In fact, it was such a one of those days that I found it necessary to close out Wednesday, January 19, 2011, by rewarding myself with a movie and pizza for my having suffered through it.

OK, not really. It wasn’t that bad. Yet thanks to blood glucose issues and exercise — and a few other things I’ll get to in a moment — the two hours from when I left work until I finally settled down for the evening to movie-pizza combo gave me pause to wonder if my normally calm, cool attitude towards adversity is losing its hold.

My world, small and insulated though it may be, for 120 minutes yesterday seemed very at risk and out of control.

The day at work went well, and even though I spent four and a half hours of my afternoon in a meeting, I was engaged for the entirety, and I learned a lot about something I wanted to know more about. The meeting, however, is when I could tell things were getting weird.

Monday and Tuesday I worked out extra hard at the gym. I lifted for an hour and then took an hour-long spinning class, both days, during which I really pushed it. I mean, I pushed it. I felt great, though, and I made sure to monitor my blood glucose and take in an appropriate amount of carbohydrates. Both Monday and Tuesday nights I avoided blood glucose issues, which isn’t always easy to do after difficult workouts.

Those two days of strenuous exercise, however, kind of sneaked up on me during Wednesday’s meeting. I may have spoken before of what some people call an exercise-induced second low, which often can happen at some point within 24 hours after a workout. Yesterday afternoon, my blood glucose began to drop. I corrected with juice, and then got some food in my system via a Clif bar, and then I added more carbs with some exercise drink at the end of the workday.

Before heading to the parking garage to get my car and go home, I checked my blood glucose yet again. For the moment it was fine.

As I mentioned, I normally take things in stride. But for the next two hours my life seemed to be a whirlwind of things going from bad to worse; or, at least, not as I expected. Yes, not as I expected. And because I was preoccupied with these unprepared for situations, little issues became larger issues, and those now-larger issues pushed out my ability to pay attention to important issues — such as, for example, oh, let’s say, blood glucose. (As we often say in our house when diabetes gets in the way of what most people see as a normal routine: “Stupid Disease.”)

It all began when I left the parking structure after work. The automated gate — for which I have an electronic device stuck to my windshield to activate it — refused to raise up. I detached the little blue device from its velcro housing, waved it in front of the sensor, but nothing. I then backed up about three feet to reactivate the sensor (thinking this might help because it has in the past). Nothing.

Me, in my car, stuck in front of an automatic gate. Great. By now a woman had pulled up behind me, close enough so that backing up farther to try to reactivate one more time wouldn’t work. She honked a “hurry up.” Well, yeah, I’m trying!

Then the person who’d pulled up behind her honked.

Now, I’m no idiot; I knew I had to do something. Yet what to do?

This is when slight panic can set in, especially when one’s mind is preoccupied with other things. Call the parking-structure people? Push that button on the box? Really? But the automated device should work! I want it to work!

Fortunately a gentleman happened to be entering the structure on foot. He came over to my window, and we decided that if he manually lifted the gate, then I’d have room to drive under it and get on my way.

Now, though, my heart was racing. I’d made it out of the dreaded structure, but I was filled with parking-structure anxiety. If I would have been behind me in one of those cars, I’d have been calling me all kinds of names and cursing my inept parking-structure ways. I didn’t want to be that guy, the stuck guy. Yet I’d just been that guy.

The entirety of the way home I tried to simmer down, yet my preoccupation came back to the fore: I was worried my tardiness might be too long for the dog, because Ellie (the dog) hadn’t had a proper… umm, well, let’s just say she hadn’t called forth number 2 in over 36 hours.

I’d made the commitment earlier in the week to do Wednesday evening’s walk because my wife had an after-work haircut. I love taking Ellie for her walk (I usually take the morning duty). However, because I was already running late from the meeting, and now from the parking structure, I was filled with anxiety, imagining Ellie in discomfort. (In reality, I’m sure she was curled up asleep on the couch, oblivious to her need to poo.)

Once I got home, all seemed well, so we set out on our evening walk, an evening walk in Michigan, in the winter, after a day earlier in the week of freezing rain and then a dusting of snow. I wore tennis shoes, and I soon realized that the sidewalks were a patchwork of black ice, crunchy frozen slush, and spots of super-slick frozen pools covered by a dusting of snow.

Four times on the walk I almost fell and bit concrete. Four times, however, I prevented myself from falling — once, actually, in an ungraceful yet practical move that I’m sure Olympic speedskater Apolo Anton Ohno would have commended me for. After I righted myself after having not actually fallen, I imagined I looked just like this[1].

Once again, though, the icy dog walk served to stress me out. Worry about falling. Worry about falling on the dog. Worry about falling on my butt, or breaking an arm or leg, or breaking my insulin pump.

Once again, worries to occupy my mind; something else to take me away from thinking about my blood glucose issues. That is, until the last few blocks before home, when I began to think, “Whew, it’s really cold out, but I sure am warm,” and then, “Whew, it’s really cold out, but I’m feeling really clammy. I’m really hungry.”

Because of all of the juice, water, and sports drink, once home I eschewed checking my blood glucose to instead use the restroom. After that, the blood glucose check revealed I was at 50 mg/dl. Oh so not good. I grabbed something carb-o-riffic from the fridge, threw some kibble in the dog’s bowl for her dinner, and sat at the kitchen table to wait out the rise of the blood glucose.

That’s when Kathryn walked in with her new, incredibly cute haircut. Even in my discombobulated low-blood-glucose state, I could compliment her on her new ‘do. (Really, all I wanted at that moment was to eat an entire bag of corn chips and whatever else was within reach.)

That’s also when we both decided that, even though I’d planned on making enchiladas for dinner, it made more sense to call out for pizza and then enjoy a movie. Which we did. Which made for a lovely end to a day that had a couple of hours in it that didn’t exactly go as planned.

  1. this: http://tinyurl.com/49z2zlo

Source URL: https://dsm.diabetesselfmanagement.com/blog/diabetes-attitude-parking-garage-and-slick-sidewalks/

Eric Lagergren: Eric Lagergren was born in 1974 but didn’t give much thought to diabetes until March 2007, when he was diagnosed with Type 1. He now gives quite a bit of thought to the condition, and to help him better understand his life as a person with diabetes, he writes about it. Eric is the senior editor for the Testing Division at the University of Michigan’s English Language Institute in Ann Arbor. (Eric Lagergren is not a medical professional.)

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