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Arden's Day Blog

Arden's Day is a type I diabetes care giver blog written by author Scott Benner. Scott has been a stay-at-home dad since 2000, he is the author of the award winning parenting memoir, 'Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal'. Arden's Day is an honest and transparent look at life with diabetes - since 2007.

type I diabetes, parent of type I child, diabetes Blog, OmniPod, DexCom, insulin pump, CGM, continuous glucose monitor, Arden, Arden's Day, Scott Benner, JDRF, diabetes, juvenile diabetes, daddy blog, blog, stay at home parent, DOC, twitter, Facebook, @ardensday, 504 plan, Life Is Short, Laundry Is Eternal, Dexcom SHARE, 生命是短暂的,洗衣是永恒的, Shēngmìng shì duǎnzàn de, xǐyī shì yǒnghéng de

How does that feel

Scott Benner

This morning I saw a tweet from @StaceyDivone that got me to the keyboard...

 

 

 

 

I’ve always wondered how high or low BGs make Arden feel in the moment, later, the next day and so on.  The problem is, Arden has been diabetic since she was two and I think that the feelings that I see PWD experiencing must just be ‘normal’ to her.

 

Any parent could tell you that one of the main goals of parenting is the overall comfort of your child.  I remember when my son was a baby, the first time that he got a cold all I could think was, “does he feel the way I do when I’m sick? - of course he must...” I’d imagine the pressure in my head, the general feeling of being exhausted, light-headed - the only thing that comforted me was the idea that he wouldn’t remember and that of course that the feeling would go away - not be a constant.

 

It’s not the same for Arden, she is going to experience highs and lows throughout her life. On one hand maybe it’s good that she’ll think of these moments as ‘normal’ but I’m more focused now on understanding how she is feeling when she is low, going low, high, going high. Does it effect the next day, her energy level, what? I don’t know and Arden isn’t able to discern enough to tell me in the detail that I would like. That is, she knows if she doesn’t feel well and she definitely knows and verbalizes how she feels in the moment but I want to know if a rough morning is because of an overnight high or low. Could an uncharacteristic outburst be due to a recent or impending event. Again, I know that her ability to reason and control her temper is effected by a low and that she feels nausea when she’s high but I’d really like to hear in detail from an adult about how diabetes makes a person feel so that I could be even more empathetic to Arden in those moments.

 

If you have time please leave a comment and share your experiences. This would be great information for many parents of T1 kids to have and understand. Thank you!

 

Oh and if you aren’t following @StaceyDivone or me @ArdensDay on Twitter... please do!\

 

**

The following are archived comments from this post. You can post new comments below.

Of course I'll comment since you were great enough to mention me :)

I have to say that as I'm getting older (and so is my diabetes) my physical feelings related to blood sugar readings vary.  By that I mean that I don't always feel the same from similar situations.  I have lows sometimes that knock me out for hours after.  I have lows that I don't feel at all.  I have lows that make me nauseous but nothing else.  I have lows that give me the "classic" symptoms of shaking, sweating, brain fog.  
As for highs, I seem to feel them a lot earlier than I used to when my BG ran higher.  My most common high symptom is tiredness.  If I'm 230+ I sometimes I feel like it's a huge struggle to keep my eyes open.  But not always thirsty or having to pee a lot.  I can also get nauseous when I'm high.  With the highs though, it depends on how long I'm running high I think that will determine how long I feel crappy.  Like last night I ran close to 300 for about 4-5 hours unfortunately.  I'm still feeling it a little bit now and it's noon!  
I never have energy and am always tired and constantly wonder if it's diabetes related.  Sometimes my twin sister complains about the same thing so I think maybe not.  But who knows.  I also don't remember what it's like to "feel" without having diabetes so I'd be curious to hear what PWD who were diagnosed later in life have to say.  
I think it's wonderful that you want to try and know what she's feeling!  Shows you as a care giver putting your whole heart into it :)
Friday, April 15, 2011 - 12:14 PM
I'm with Stacey on this one. They vary. Sometimes a 60 will kick my tail and the low feeling will linger for hours. Other times I'll be functional with a 35. Sometimes highs make me hungry, which sucks. And they can make me really tired. Nausea sometimes comes with the highs, but doesn't happen often for me unless I'm REALLY high; like in the upper 300s. Sometimes I feel panicky with a bad low. Usually it's when they hit hard & fast and I'm having all all the classic symptoms of shaking, sweating, trouble consentrating, etc. 
I know my answers don't really give you anything solid to go on, but j just like all the other aspects of diabetes, it can be really random.
Saturday, April 16, 2011 - 08:54 AM
I was diagnosed when I was 8, so I don't remember anything different.  I do know what it feels like to have my blood sugar in range most of the time...I don't think I can qualify how I feel as "normal" but more as "that's just how it goes!"  
I can echo what has been said so far--sometimes there is is no rhyme or reason to how I feel.  I can feel just fine, maybe a little thirsty and sleepy, at 400 but have a 320 that kicks my butt.  With a butt-kicking high I'm nauseated, fuzzy mouthed (kind of like I haven't brushed my teeth in days), tired, feel like I'm moving in slow motion.  The worst for me is when I'm high and my heart races.  For some reason I just can't handle that. Over the years, my symptoms of lows & highs have changed.  I've run the gamut on those over 22 years!  

Usually I feel fuzzy and out of sync for a few hours after higher high but with lows I usually bounce back unless it's a day of low after low after low...  The worst for me are the days of low-high-low-high because I just feel worn out from not getting a break (physically & mentally).
Saturday, April 16, 2011 - 09:57 AM
Ali
I've got 2 children with type 1 aged 6 & 8 and they both say that they feel that their tummies are shaky when they are low. My daughter who is 8 also says she can feel panicky when low.  Although they don't very often run high, they can mistake high bgs for low ones.

My husband who also has type 1 for 25 years has all the symptoms as per the other comments and again a low can feel different each time.  He also says at times he can feel quite emotional when low.
Saturday, April 16, 2011 - 10:26 AM
Scott
These comments are fantastic... Just what I was hoping for, please keep them coming. I think I'll combine them into their own post when it's done. Great info for parents within! Thank you all!
Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 12:03 AM
I am so glad you posed the question that I've pondered since Jenna was diagnosed three years ago at age two.  This subject is one I've been planning to blog about too in recent days.  I desperately want to know how Jenna feels at any given moment.  Sometimes her behavior can be pretty intense and it begs the question - why? I want to understand. I too would like to thank everyone who has responded and all who will respond.  Your input is so very appreciated by us D-parents who wish like hell we could just make it all better but will settle for better insight.
Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 12:31 AM
it's always interesting to see how other people feel because it varies from person to person.  I have a really hard time describing how I feel when I'm low.  If I'm not too low, it's just kinda a shaky feeling.  And I definitely get low brain--foggy, can't think, can't react.  If I get below 60, then I get all sweaty and stuff.  It takes me a little while to recover from one of those.

The biggest thing when I'm high is my temper.  I have no patience and am prone to snap at people easily (sorry everyone).  I also get thirsty and sometimes ravenously hungry.  And just an overall blah or gross feeling. 

So, moral of the story, stay away from me when I'm high! ;)
Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 12:32 AM
I find symptoms vary on a case-by-case basis, they don't necessarily come in any set order (though by the time I'm sweating and my eyes are having trouble seeing straight I know I'm in trouble).

Most of my regular 'low level' ones have already been mentioned. 'Feeling a bit hungry' is particularly annoying  - it's not like that doesn't just happen anyway. And correcting for what you thought was a low-level hypo only to test later and discover that you just actually happened to 'feel a bit hungry' and have sent yourself high is a real kicker. 

Speed of drop seems to have a lot to do with warning onset for me. If I gradually fall from 75 to 65 over 4 or 5 hours it's much harder to spot than if the same drop heppens over 30 minutes.

The only times I've felt a hypo hangover were following overnight/early morning hypos where I'd got nastily low and needed my wife to help out. That hasn't happened for a good while now though, thank goodness.

I'm one of those who rarely if ever feels a high at all. I can test wondering how I'm doing and suddenly discover I'm 270+. The most I ever get for a short term high is a slight feeling of indigestion. If I stay up there for a day or two I'll get blurry vision and increased thirst, but mostly my highs come as a bit of a shock requiring me to work back through the sequence of events to try and work out what I've done wrong/what happened.

As others have said there's also everyone's favourite the symptom-switcheroo where you feel a bit one thing (in my case perhaps a bit of indigestion) only to test and find you are completely at the opposite end of the scale.

Then of course there's the 'predictive-hypo'. Feeling some low level hypo symptoms at 90-something after a meal, and they just carry on hanging around unchanged (with you having to ignore the 'feeling a bit hungry') until you finally test and discover you've dipped below 70. 

Good luck with your quest to understand how this feels. And good luck too with trying to keep the highs and hypos from happening at all (the fewer you have the better you feel 'em). Sometimes I think parents/partners of PWDs have the hardest time of all.

Mike
Sunday, April 17, 2011 - 06:51 AM