Blood Sugar Mind Games

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • There’s this funny psychological phenomenon that I experience on occasion.  I’m curious if this happens to anyone else with diabetes.   When I’m in a position where I’m separated from my glucose monitor, for even just a short time, I become convinced that my blood sugar is going low.  Not necessarily that I’m currently experiencing hypoglycemia, but that a low is lurking just around the corner. 

    Yesterday I ran to Costco on my lunch.  I ate just before heading in to shop and my blood sugar was stable.  My lunch was a cheeseburger wrapped in lettuce and natural French fries.  For some reason, I chose to leave my monitor and injection supplies in the car (I suppose to lighten the load in my purse since I didn’t plan to test or take insulin while in the store). 

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    As soon as I grabbed a cart and entered the store, I started thinking, “Is my blood sugar getting low?”  My logic included the following variables:  Shopping, in general, tends to drop my blood sugar.  My lunch had a fair amount of fat, relative to its carbohydrate content, so I questioned whether that would delay the post-prandial spike, therefore causing my meal bolus to be excessive.  Also, I’d run the evening before, which often can make insulin more effective, contributing to lower blood sugars for the next 24 hours.

    Costco had their famous sample booths setup all around the store.  So, I started looking for samples with carbohydrates.  I sample a little of this and that while pondering whether my blood sugar was indeed dropping.  Instead of actually consuming one of the many fruit leathers that are in my purse precisely to correct low blood sugar, I just sampled my way through the store. 

    Well, sure enough, when I got back to the car and tested my blood sugar was 203 mg/dl.  I hadn’t been low at all.  In hindsight, I would have saved a lot of mental anguish, not to mention calories, if I’d just gone back to the car and tested prior to starting my shopping.  (I realize that a CGMS is another efficient way of avoiding this situation).  

    I’m not often without my meter, but on the rare occasion that I am, this tends to happen to me.  I’ve even told my husband, “I know I’m not low, but since I can’t test right now I’m convinced that my blood sugar is dropping rapidly.”  There must be something about the ability to check my blood sugar being taken away that makes me feel insecure.  Does this happen to anyone else?  If so, have you discovered any mental tricks to avoid unnecessary corrections?

Published On: May 18, 2012