Social Media Support 24/7

My eyes open wide. I lay in bed and wonder why I just woke up. Disoriented, I look out the window to try and figure out what time of the night or morning it is. The sky is gray and I realize that I have to get up. As soon as I sit up, bullets of sweat begin to roll off my brow as if my hair was wet from just stepping out of the shower. As I stand up, my blurry eye sight struggles to focus and I realize that my balance is out of whack. 

It's almost four in the morning and I grab for my black little pouch, my savior, my friend, my visionary to what is happening in my body right now. As I open it and struggle to keep my balance, grabbing on to the table in front of me. I let go of the table to stick my finger and draw a tiny drop of blood, grabbing on to the table quickly again. My peripheral vision starts going gray as I turn to the refrigerator for orange juice. I pour myself a whole glass, meanwhile I hear my glucose meter beep with the number: 35, it states. I sit. 
I continue to shake a bit, feel nauseous and I stick my cotton candy in my mouth. What do I do next? I grab my phone. I may not have anyone in mind to text at the moment, but I always let my boyfriend know that I'm up. "Taglines," I text him. This happened once when he was around and I was so disoriented that I kept repeating the word "Taglines." Ever since then, whenever I text him that, he knows my blood sugar has dropped below normal. Normal is around 80 to 120, but when you drop below 60 there is a term called Hypoglycemia that applies, which means your blood sugar is way too low. This happens when there is too much insulin in your system. This also happens in people with Type 1 Diabetes sometimes because of too much exercise during the day, too little food, or once again, too much insulin. 
At a certain point (any lower than 35) your brain loses oxygen and you can drop into a coma and possibly die. Every time I tell people this, they get scared for me. I know, I say. I've got it under control now. There are certain things I do to make sure this does not happen. 
But after I text my boyfriend, I go for twitter. You can follow me at @Kikisbetes. I sit there and tweet about my low symptoms and how upset I am that my sleep was disturbed. Not to mention, that after lows like that, I feel like CRAP the next day. The whole next day. Why?  Because it takes your body about 24 hours to bounce back from the shock of dropping so low. If you are on twitter, there is a hashtag among the diabetes community: #bgnow which stands for Blood Glucose Now. And we put our numbers in. 
Here is a tweet from June 3: 
@kikisbetes:  53. This is getting old and tiring. Thought I was safe tonight.  save me.
What I didn't realize for a long time was that there was this circle of people with diabetes who tweeted all the time about their conditions and could relate to other people with diabetes online. It's great to get things out and ask questions, especially if you follow the right hashtags. #DSMA is another one which stands for Diabetes Social Media Advocates. There are stories, helpful hints or just plain stories that we all know and understand really well. 
I've decided to get a CGMS, that hashtag above, which stands for Continuous Glucose Monitoring Sensor. It's a little thing that's stuck on your side and it checks your blood sugar for you without having to stick your finger and draw blood. With a little egg sized control, you can set ranges like 100-140. When your blood sugar begins to rise above that, it beeps and/or vibrates to let you know and it does the same when you begin to drop. If that thing wakes me up in the middle of the night, I would be able to catch a low before it goes too low, before I feel like crap, or before it gets too dangerous. 
But yes, when I drop, I tweet. It's my way of "venting" although there is no one to hear me. It's my way of getting my feelings out and having someone see them and think, "Yeah, I know exactly what you mean." Especially when you're going through the whole next day, being tired feeling gross and most of all, knowing that your blood sugars are going to be crazy just because of that horrible drop in the middle of the night. 
I told this to the peeps over at the Type 1 Diabetes Lounge, but they didn't tweet. It is my way of keeping myself sane as I drink orange juice and eat a pop tart or whatever it is I decide will get me up fast so that I can go back to bed. There are many dangers we live with and this is just one of them. But tight control can make it better and like I said, I'm on my way to fixing it all. Small changes. One at a time. 

Comments

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  • Great post, Christina! It's an incredible world when we go on Twitter to connect with others even in our times of being Low and High - and there's always someone there who understands and "gets it." It can even be a lifesaver, as some of the Diabetes Online Community have tweeted and made sure all was OK. Thanks for telling about this 27/7 connection here for so many to see!

  • My "code-word" for lows is "generous Dan moment".(ie: "Are you having a generous Dan moment?" or "I'm having a generous Dan moment")...Long story but looking back it's funny in a weird kind of diabetes-thing way...

  • This is Ann from the Type I lounge support group (btw!)

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    Kiki

    As a person with Type 1 diabetes for the last 20 years of her life, Christina or "Kiki" for short, decided to take it upon herself to write about her findings, experiences and struggles with her disease. Her inspiration to educate people about all types of diabetes can be found communicated in this blog.

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