Hot or Hypo?

I was out of the warehouse on Friday morning, doing the rounds of my work site. I’d done it before. I knew that it would be a more intense level of activity than I was typically used to. I knew that I had gone low the last time that I had done it, some months ago.

I knew what I needed to do to prepare myself, but my mind was elsewhere that morning. It wasn’t until I was outside, that it occured to me I wasn’t prepared. I hadn’t brought any skittles with me. I hadn’t set a temporary basal rate in advance of starting this activity. I hadn’t even checked my blood sugar level since breakfast.

I quickly pulled my insulin pump out of my pocket, setting a temporary basal rate of “OFF” for the next hour. It had been two hours since I had last eaten and given insulin, so I was pretty confident that the insulin I had on board from breakfast wouldn’t be a significant problem. My blood sugar levels had been falling back nicely to 5.5s after breakfast for most of the week, so I was pretty confident I would be fine on that front, too.

I just hoped I had set that temporary basal rate in time.

It was so humid last week. That uncomfortable, sticky, draining, end of the world kind of heat. I was sweating. I was exhaling air loudly, and thinking about how unfit (read: lazy) that I was despite my very physical job.

I had no idea whether it was simply the heat, or whether I was actually hypo.

I glanced down at my wrist, noticing the Medic Alert bracelet that I had neglected to put on that morning – the first morning I hadn’t done so in at least a month. In that moment, all I could think about was the possibility of collapsing in the deserted carpark. Would I lose focus, and suddenly walk across into oncoming traffic? Did anyone around me know that I had diabetes, or what that meant? Would anyone even know what to do if something did happen? Where would I be able to get sugar if I desperately needed it?

It’s rare that I have these kinds of thoughts. Ever. Yet being away from my meter and Skittles, alone and in a potentially dangerous situation of plummeting blood sugars, really sent me to the edge.

In hindsight, I was pretty confident that I was fine. If I were dropping rapidly as I do during intense exercise, I would feel it. If I did really feel the need for Skittles, I’m sure I would have doubled back. If my mind hadn’t been so preoccupied, I would have brought them with me.

When I was finally reunited with my meter an hour later, I couldn’t help but feel a slight sense of accomplishment after the morning’s events.


  1. Rick Phillips

    I once ended up in Miami (1,300 kilometers away) with no strips or meter. I let it go for 3 days. Yeah it was bad.

  2. It makes me nervous walking around the block without hypo treatment. I can never tell the difference between hot & hypo and Brisbane has had that really bad hot weather too.

    4.3 is a good way to end your adventure but too close to comfort for me.

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