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Fear Factor: The Diabetic Edition

July 30, 2008

On Saturday night after spending a long, exhausting day at Universal Studios, we were starving and ready for dinner. After a brief exchange of “What do you want?” “I don’t know, what do you want?” “I don’t know, what do you want” (think the vultures from the Jungle Book), we finally decided on Margaritaville.

The conversation was lively and it eventually turned towards stories about unusual hypoglycemic experiences. Namely, the strange and unusual choices one has used to treat a low blood sugar. They ranged from eating candy with the wrapper still on to mistaking Tums for glucose tablets!

My story took place a few summers ago when I was babysitting for a toddler. I had just put her to bed and was getting ready for a relaxing evening of TV watching before her mom came home. I started to feel a little “off” so I tested my blood sugar and saw that I was indeed low. Not a severe low, but still low. When I reached in my bag to pull out my juice box, I discovered there was nothing inside. I can’t remember why I didn’t have anything, but I assume that I probably used it earlier that day and forgot to take another one with me when I left my apartment. I wasn’t too concerned because like I said I was babysitting for a toddler. There had to be juice in the house, right?

Wrong.

Apparently the mother didn’t believe in juice for either her child or herself so I was left with a fridge full of leftovers and Crystal Light. None of this was very helpful. There was a gallon of milk, however, on one of the shelves, so I pulled it out and poured myself a glass. At this point, my blood sugar was starting to drop even more and so the panic associated with a low blood sugar was starting to set in.

Anxious about my blood sugar and frustrated with myself for not being prepared, I decided I needed to make sure that my blood sugar didn’t drop. Although I knew milk had sugar in it, I was not convinced it would work fast enough.

So I decided to put a little sugar in it.

I stirred in a couple tablespoons and gulped it, trying to catch all the sugar before it settled at the bottom of the glass. Unfortunately, sugar doesn’t dissolve much, so I poured another glass and tried to swallow the rest of the sugary milk.

It was, in a word, totally gross.

But it worked.

What is your weirdest hypoglycemia treatment? Have you ever eaten anything to treat a low that you probably shouldn’t have? Leave them in the comments or send me an email and I’ll post some of them later this week.

19 Comments
  1. July 30, 2008 1:22 PM

    Ooooh I’ve done the sugar in milk thing before when I was at camp. It’s a strangely sweet milk–very weird.

    unfortunately, sometimes, there just isn’t juice in the house and I lose track of where the glucose tabs are and then I find there’s no candy (we don’t eat much candy) and then I panic, because the milk’s probably bad–we don’t keep things stocked as you can see. And then I find a stash of lifesavers mints… So, lifesaver mints come to mind right now! and a good handful of them–and there’s no time to leisurely suck on them either.

  2. amber permalink
    July 30, 2008 2:34 PM

    I woke up low one night several years ago and we didn’t have any juice or milk, and instead of going for my tabs (of which I had plenty), I decided that it was necessary to crack open one of the frozen juice concentrates and “make” some juice. Looking back, it would have probably done just as well to have eaten a tablespoon or so of the concentrate instead of going through the whole process of dissolving it, but no, when I’m low I have to do things the hard way.

  3. July 30, 2008 2:54 PM

    I’ve never done sugar in milk, but I have slammed a TB of sugar in a short glass of hot tap water. Which, come to think of it, is the most boring way to treat a low I can imagine.

  4. July 30, 2008 3:09 PM

    Mel: I’ve had to do one of those lifesavers treatments as well! They’re not as much fun when you have to go chomp-chomp-chomp on them!

    Amber: That is too funny!

    Andrew: Ewww. Sugar in hot tap water?! That’s even worse than the sugar in milk. I think you might win this round!

  5. Sara permalink
    July 30, 2008 3:34 PM

    You know mine. Half a box of Easter See’s candies. Ripped off the wrapping paper and went to town. Not my fault my mom wouldn’t help me in my non-working mental state.

  6. July 30, 2008 4:38 PM

    This is the perfect post because I had milk at home and like you said, I didn’t think it would work fast enough, so I had BBQ sauce that was extremely high in sugar…. well I made myself think it was just chocolate syrup I was mixing in with the milk, but it was good ole’ BBQ sauce, and I drank about a glass and a half of BBQ milk!

    Sugar levels came back up, but I have a mental issue with milk and bbq sauce now!

  7. NicoleP permalink
    July 30, 2008 4:47 PM

    Cream soda or sprite or any kind of fizzy (not dark brown) diet soda plus sugar is a great treatment for a low for me.

    Funny, milk makes me spike WITHOUT anything in it…

    I’ve also made a quick cookie dough – brown sugar, flour water, a bit of butter – to treat a low. Yummy in a way… And I’ve used powdered sugar right out of the box. Cool whip, if it’s around – plus cereal is another odd (but yummy) treatment I’ve used.

  8. July 30, 2008 4:58 PM

    That makes me frown just thinking about it… but really though, I drink the milk left in the bowl from sugary cereal, so what’s the difference right?

    I’ve done maple syrup right from the container. You know, pull up the plug on top of Aunt J’s head and start-a-sucking!

    Or, spoon fulls of jelly… that was about as weird.

  9. July 30, 2008 5:01 PM

    When I was a camp counselor (at a diabetes camp), I used to smear the red cherry glucose gel on graham crackers and eat those when really low at night. The gel helped the dry cracker go down without needing to find something to drink.

    I’ve had the occasional peanut butter and peep sandwich to remedy a low…

  10. July 30, 2008 6:12 PM

    One time when I was at my cousins staying the night I had a 2 am low and i got red lemonade…for some reason it had NO effect so i just got a tablespoon of sugar and gulped it. Eck. It worked though.

  11. July 30, 2008 6:53 PM

    Actually sugar and milk sound good!
    I’ve done the OJ and sugar mixture and I’m a huge fan of Peanut butter and Jelly on a spoon – low blood or not! Hey, u get the protein and carb action!

    The grossest was one of those ” diabetic friendly,” name brand bars that I was given way to many samples of at a Diabetes conference. My sugar dropped in the middle of the night, we had dorm housing, and we were in “out in the sticks,” so to speak.
    I reached for the “healthy shake” in the freezer & for the first time in the history of the mini fridge, it actually worked! The shake was frozen solid inside the can.
    So I went for the meal replacement bar. – It was disgusting. So was the grape flavored gel they gave away.
    k2

  12. Lili permalink
    July 30, 2008 7:21 PM

    The worst thing was straight jam, but I don’t know if anyone else finds that as gross. It tasted even worse than those Glucoshots.

  13. July 30, 2008 7:54 PM

    Milk with sugar? Ugh!!!

    Milk works fine for me, a roll of smarties, a handful of M&Ms, or in a panic, two packets of sugar ( no liquid ).

  14. July 31, 2008 12:52 AM

    When I was in australia I had a bad low and actually passed out, but came to fast enough to eat something. The EMT that was there gave me some nasty thick drink. It wasn’t gel, but an actual thick drink. It was gaggerific, but did the job.

    And I think many people have done the whole go-to-the-vending-machine-and-press-the-diet-button-out-of-habit maneuver.

  15. July 31, 2008 2:44 PM

    My husband just has dr pepper in bottles everywhere (car, fridge, bedroom, etc). Whenever he’s low, he takes a few sips. But he always has glucose tablets in his pocket too. Great blog.

  16. July 31, 2008 3:05 PM

    Wow, great stories, everyone! I can’t comment to each of you but I think Chris is hands down the winner for the grossest treatment ever. Milk and BBQ sauce. Oh, I’m gagging as I type…

  17. August 6, 2008 8:49 PM

    I definitely drank some pre-sweetened CoffeeMate creamer shots once. Sickeningly sweet, but with a pleasant French Vanilla aftertaste! 🙂

  18. Trudy permalink
    August 7, 2008 7:12 AM

    The worst I’ve ever had–though not weird–is glucose from a tube, squirted into my mouth by the emt’s who were taking me to the er. Of course, in that wonderful way that diabetics who are low behave, I kept telling them I didn’t need it!

  19. August 12, 2008 4:33 PM

    Never done anything abnormal when trying to get my sugar up – at least in terms of food usage. But I do remember one pretty severe low when I was watching Contact, the Jodie Foster flick, on TNT. It was a couple of years after Kirby Puckett had impaired vision for no real known reason; he started to see double and was forced to retire from baseball. So, as I began to see two of Jodie’s heads talking to me, obviously I thought that I was getting Kirby Puckett syndrome. My parents starting asking me why I was acting weird – as in squinting at the TV, moving my body so that it was up-side down so I could see better, and obviously refusing to test my blood sugar. I said nothing, and tried to fight them when they told me to eat a Snickers and test my sugar.

    Sure enough I was 35, and five minutes after the delicious chocolate and peanuty treat I could see again.

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