Fear of Lows?
I’ll be the first person to put my hand up and say that I don’t like having lows. I mean, who does? It’s not fun having to push through a work day while chewing down glucose tabs that taste absolutely revolting after years of treating my hypos with exactly the same thing. It’s not fun waking up in the middle of the night drenched in sweat, pulse racing and feeling scared out of my wits. It’s not fun thinking about the potential of developing hypo unawareness, and I absolutely hope that I’m doing enough to minimise its impact on my brain.
But for the most part, these are all relatively isolated occurrences. Lows genuinely don’t concern me. Perhaps that statement comes from a position of privilege. I am lucky enough to have access to and motivation to use great blood glucose monitoring equipment. I have never experienced a hypo where I’ve required assistance, and I feel that I still have reasonable hypo awareness. While hypos may be a part of living with diabetes, they definitely don’t dominate the agenda of my diabetes.
A low can be quickly fixed, and in most cases, pre-emptively treated with the glucose tabs that I always have on me. But in some ways, I know that it won’t be that easy to fix some of the longer term conditions that may arise as a consequence of living with diabetes. So if I am being completely honest here, I am far more concerned about the impact of the higher blood sugar levels on my body than the lows.
I think that’s why, time and time again, I find it so difficult to cope with healthcare professionals’ extraordinary concern around lows. I was somewhat reminded of this last week as I was listening to a local endo talk about hypoglycaemia in her practice.
I don’t mean to say that I don’t appreciate these concerns, or that hypoglycaemia isn’t something to be concerned about. Because there’s definitely a correlation between hypoglycaemia and quality of life. Yet when I see such extraordinary concern around lows, I simply feel that healthcare professionals don’t get that highs aren’t exactly ideal either.
I’m left to manage diabetes on my own for the other 364 days of the year that I’m away from diabetes clinic. I have to make hundreds of decisions each week on my own just to keep my head above water. I feel that sometimes they don’t get just how much of a personal stake is involved in these decisions.
After almost a decade of living with diabetes, lows don’t feel extraordinary. They’re pretty ordinary.