Thursday, August 18, 2011

Please Don't Notice.

Low blood sugars in the workplace are one of my least favorite things.

I had one yesterday - but not a run-of-the-mill, shaky sweaty kind of thing. Nope, this one walked right up and punched me in the face with one of those huge Incredible Hulk fists.

image credit
See, that's the worst part for me - that WHAM! feeling of helplessness, where I'm trapped at my desk and I'm just praying that no one who comes within a five foot radius of me decides to strike up a conversation, because every bit of my energy is focused on trying to appear normal. My mind is this scared, panicking child trapped in an adult body and that child is pleading with all its might that no one notices what's happening.

If only Jodie Foster would come rescue me.

(I might also hope that no one notices that I've had three snacks that morning already - none of which seem to be doing a darn thing, I'd like to point out.)

Rationally, I know that I just need to treat the low and sit tight for a bit. Rationally, I realize that people are generally kind and understanding, and that if I really needed to, I could go hang out in the break room and not be bothered.

But "rational" isn't the state I'm in when my blood sugar is in the same range as my age.

When I feel that way, I know I can't do my best work. (Actually, sometimes I can't even form thoughts or words very accurately - so work is pretty down low on the ol' totem pole.) I know I shouldn't try to do anything right then because my mind isn't operating at full speed, nor are my motor skills cooperating. And yet, I can't help but feel guilty if I do what I need to do - which would be sitting there and recovering for a few minutes. Because "sitting there and recovering" looks an awful lot like "slacking off and not working", and I'm not all about that.

Lows at work feel worse than any others, because not only am I dealing with the symptoms of that lack of glucose in my bloodstream, but I'm also trying to (over) compensate for myself. 

The hardest part is balancing the appearance of a "normal" outside with the temporary raging chaos inside.


  1. Thanks for sharing Kim! I'm still now sure WHY we feel so compelled to pretend that nothing is wrong when we're low. I'll check my BG and it will be low and I'll be like, "Meh, it's fine." Sometimes it is, sometimes it's not. We need a little desk sign or door sign that says, "I'm low. Be back to reality in 15 minutes."

  2. Sorry to hear you had a "Hulk" low. Those are awful! I especially hate when it happens in a meeting. I tend to act like a total nut and make super exaggerated arm movements. Good times.

    Love Martin's idea above about the "low" sign...if I every have my own company, I'm SO gonna have one of those! :)

  3. Rationality is the furthest thing from your mind when that happens. My position was being eliminated and the week I went into the hospital in dka was actually supposed to be my last week to work. I'm fortunate that my husband has a good job and we've decided that we will try to make it without me working. So that is one less thing I have to worry about.

  4. There must be some subconscious level of thinking that we can do it and it's "no big deal". Sometimes, when I'm at work and plugging away.... actually... hold on, I'm 62. Let me come back to this...

  5. I definitely know that feeling. When ever I'm low I always say I'm fine until its back up. I never want anyone to help me when I'm low either. I guess I just don't like being the "Damsel in Distress" ;)But it has gotten me into some trouble before. I always trying to bite off more than I can chew (figuratively and literally). I need to get better at waiting to do things (like driving), and asking for help when I need it when I'm low instead of saying "ahh I'm okay, I've been lower"

  6. Ok. All is well, but in the course of having this Low at Work, I managed to come across something pretty eerie. And so, I'm going to branch off with my own blog tomorrow. Giving you due credit, of course (not for the Low, but for... I don't know. Something good, I'm sure. Like being awesome). Anyhow, to the point: Yes, Work Lows suck. Sorry yours happened, but glad it turned out OK.

  7. Martin and Meagan: I, too, love the sign idea. Want!

    Mike: Gah! No credit needed. So glad you're feeling better now, and got an idea in the process. :)

    Rachel: You and me both, dude. I'm forever saying "I'm fine", when I'm actually not. Why do we DO that??

  8. How weird! I also had a low today at work. Ugh never fun.

  9. When my hubby worked, his lows were bad and he even had a car accident. I know it was hard for him (and me) when he wasn't in the comforts of his home during these times. Hang in there. We are all with u :)

  10. I am starting to think your next art project needs to be a "Low at Work" sign we can put at our desks :)

  11. lows at work are the absolute worst!! and after reading all the comments, i realize i am not the only one who says "i'm fine" even when it's clear i am not!!

  12. I totally understand all of you. I used to teach and I absolutely hated it when my blood sugar dropped while I was teaching. I had to interrupt the class and do an unscheduled break. Unfortunately, when you're a teacher you can't use that fabolous door sign - great idea, though!

  13. What a great post. Lows at work are horrible! We have a kitchen in the building where I work and my sugar has been at, say, 32 (yes I get down there). I go to the kitchen and start stuffing my face with granola bars and candy and whatever else has sugar in it because of how ravenous I feel (I know you can relate) and then I'll get a bottle of O.J. and drink it all down. If someone comes in while I'm stuffing my face and asks if I'm OK, I'm embarrassed and then try to explain my sugar is low (and in my own head I'm not making sense BECAUSE I'M LOW!!!) Of course an hour later my blood sugar is 300. I know, I know, 3 glucose tabs work so much better but doesn't curb the ravenousness!

    Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone.


  14. I still vividly recall having a major hypo at work but not saying anything but continuing on training a colleague on how to use our electronic banking software! How daft was I, I was in auto pilot with sweat soaking through my shirt and dripping down the sides of my face. Eventually she asked me if everything was ok and I burst into tears. She then thought it was something she had done wrong and became apologetic. I excused myself and she noticed then my shirt was soaking and then she realised I needed help. But why oh why had I not said something earlier and stopped the training and sorted myself out while my shirt was still dry and I was not a mess. I still can't explain my actions even to myself. :(

  15. I always knew that I;m not alone of this kind that react stupidly when in hypoglycemia, so Iém not surprised at all after reading the stories above; it just makes me feel more hatred for the ilness I live with for 13 years already. Hatred for a disease seems already irrational too, but how can I call better my frustration? Just feeling dependent of and relying too often on the good will of others makes me unhappy.


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