Diabetes Health Type 1: You Can Have Your Cake and Go Low Too

Oh diabetes, this is not a good time! It’s never a good time for a diabetes tantrum, but when I’m at work, I don’t have time to play games. I have had diabetes for over 21 years, and it’s rarely ever kept me from being able to do my job. The other day, I had to throw in the towel and admit defeat.

I was working at the charity shop I manage and things were going fine. It was about midday, and we were having some chocolate cake to say farewell to a wonderful volunteer that had decorated our shop windows with the flair of a professional window dresser, for many years. I steer clear of really high carb treats most of the time, but I joined in for a piece of cake, taking my insulin to cover the estimated rich chocolate carbs. I found myself shaking and having difficulty focusing on anything a short time later. My blood sugars were low. I must have overestimated the amount of carbs in my cake and taken too much insulin. I decided to eat lunch with my assistant and one of our volunteers and figured that I’d be fine after some more carbs, but I was wrong.
I developed a low blood sugar headache that hung in there relentlessly. Though I don’t like taking pain relievers unless absolutely necessary, I popped two because the pain was so great. My assistant was scheduled to leave early that day, and I knew I only had a few more hours to go. I figured I’d take it a little easy and just muscle through to closing time.
I began having waves of nausea as my headache continued to pound. People kept asking questions and chatting, and I could barely respond I was feeling so crummy. I kept telling myself to hang in there, that I’d be fine. My blood sugar was 71 at this point, and I was surprised I wasn’t feeling better. I tried to snack a little to make sure it didn’t dip low again, but the food was a struggle to get down with the feelings of nausea.
Eventually, with only 1 hour and 20 minutes left to go, I apologized to my assistant and asked if she could stay and cover the shop until close. She immediately agreed and said for me to go home. I grabbed my purse and left. The drive home felt like forever. Once there I let my dogs out and flopped down in the dark and rested, my poor little dog licking my face wondering why I wasn’t playing with them like I normally do. I lay still for about two hours, unable to sleep, but happy with the quiet and darkness for my headache. I finally felt better!
I got up and tested and had a snack, feeling relieved that my headache had finally relented. I was still upset though. Diabetes usually doesn’t interfere with my work. I pride myself on not using diabetes as an excuse for missing work. In the nine years I’ve been with my current employer, diabetes hasn’t been a sole reason for keeping me from work, not even once.
Still, I know I have to give myself some slack. Anyone can have a bad headache and have to go home a little early. Just because mine was triggered by diabetes, doesn’t mean I’m a failure. Despite my high expectations of myself, I am not superhuman. Though I hate that I tarnished my own personal record, I need to stop beating myself up. I’m curious, do you beat yourself up for missing work because of diabetes?