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Location: Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States

Diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes in April of 1980. I recognize the incredible mental struggle of living with diabetes. I hope to share my struggles, my successes, and everything in between.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Silly Self Conscious Moment?

My family and I were recently at one of the YMCA's in the area.

My wife and I were walking around the track. It's up on the second level and goes around both the basketball gym on one half and then the kids recreation area on the other half. It's a good setup because at all times when we're up on the track we can see the exits of the kids recreation area and actually see the kids for half of the trip around the track.

The kids recreation area is pretty cool. It's a big room with some short basketball hoops and balls, then a big section of padded floor (what I picture gymnasts using?) and a bunch of big cushy gym mats. The floor is kind of springy, so the kids usually build a big pile of the gym mats, then back up and take off! They run and jump into the pile of mats. It's a blast!

They are doing a lot of construction at this YMCA (which, I guess, justifies why they keep raising the rates). Because of this construction they temporarily moved a group of stationary bikes into the kids rec room.

There was a guy riding one of these bikes when we were there. This guy was pretty intense. A late middle aged man. Thin, not an ounce of fat on him, and though his muscles were not big, they were just flippin' ripped. You know, where you can see the strands of muscles along his shoulders. He looked to be in great shape, and judging by the way he was attacking that poor stationary bike, he worked hard to get there and even harder to stay there.

Every time we went around that part of the track this dude was looking at us. It was quite uncomfortable. I kept joking with my wife that he was checking her out, and she kept joking with me that he was checking ME out... It was weird, either way.

After we had been walking for a while I started feeling funny. Sometimes when you are exercising it can be hard to tell if you are feeling funny from exercise, or if it is a low. I checked my blood sugar, and even though I reduced my breakfast bolus, I was low. And still had a boatload of insulin on board from breakfast. Doesn't it always seem like a boatload of insulin on board if you're low (and not enough when you're high)?

I didn't think that all of my breakfast had digested, but I couldn't just wait for it. I had to treat the low. I had a full tube of glucose tablets in my pocket, that is 40g of carbs. If you can believe it, according to how much insulin I had on board, that wouldn't cut it. It might have given whatever undigested breakfast time to catch up, but I also wasn't done exercising. I didn't want to risk being low again in a little bit. So I check my wallet. It was a great day - I had a five dollar bill and a ten dollar bill.

While my wife kept walking I went looking for the vending machines. I had my mind set on a nice cold bottle of OJ or apple juice. But because of the construction there was only one vending machine in the whole building, and it was a snack machine (not a drink machine). It also would not accept a fiver. I begged the ladies at the front desk for change, and got some one-dollar bills. Back to the vending machine for a bag of skittles. After I got my fix I started chowing down and went back to the entrance to the gym.

Those parents out there will understand that I didn't want to let the kiddos see me with a bag of candy when I didn't have any for them. So I stayed near the door to the gym while I ate my skittles and waited for my blood sugar to come up. A slight sweat on my head and a wet spot in the middle of my shirt. Breathing hard. I was tearing those skittles up. Cramming more into my mouth at one time than my teeth and tongue could manage. Damn low bg.

Out of the corner of my eye I see spinner dude, heading right for the door. The one I'm standing in. Great. The irrational part of my mind (read: majority) starts running wild.

I can only imagine what he's thinking. "Look at that fatass. He was just up there trying to work it off, and now he's here eating candy faster than his mouth can handle it. Pitiful."

I stepped to the side and avoided even looking in his direction as he passed by.

The moment stuck in my head. He didn't know I didn't have a choice. I had to do it.

As irrational as it may be, even with the health club fitness nut mentality that some people have, it doesn't mean he was thinking that.

Even if he was - who cares? It was literally all in my head. But that's how my head works sometimes. Especially when I'm low.

27 Comments:

Blogger Christine-Megan said...

I absolutely hate when a low forces me to eat in a totally inappropriate place to eat. Ugh.

1:13 AM  
Blogger Heidi said...

So true Scott - and haven't we all from time to time found ourselves in a situation/location where eating is or seem somewhat inappropriate, but we have to because of a low BG? Even if it is silly, and if those raising their eyebrows - if they really notice - would probably understand if we told them, what is was all about, our hypoglycemic brains cannot handle it and tend either make us act or think somewhat irrationally. I can think of several times where I have sucked on my glucose tabs - in stead of quickly chewing them as I usually would to get rid of the crabby low feeling as quick as possible - just because I was in a situation where I did not want to attract attention from whoever was around me :-)

Take care – and thank you for your comment on blog the other day!

7:27 AM  
Blogger Melissa said...

I call it my low paranoia. I feel like everyone is staring at me as if I am up on stage. Even if I am say alone in the car I feel this way. Nothing worse than a low in a public place.

7:47 AM  
OpenID islandinthenet.com said...

I've had to do something like this at lunch a few times when my insulin got ahead of my food. My coworkers were a little freaked out watching me swall 3-4 packets of sugar ( all I had available at the time ).

8:52 AM  
Blogger Donna said...

Scott,
Ditto to what Melissa said. Isn't it awful that we feel this way?

But I wouldn't worry too much about what the skinny muscle man thought. He sounded pretty stuck on himself plus he was quite rude for staring at you two in the first place. Some people....

8:59 AM  
Blogger Araby62 said...

Oh boy, I know how you feel. This happened to me at the gym recently too, and I swear the same spinner weirdo was also staring me down. Funny how people really have a hidden attitude about when, where and what other people should be eating...oh well. Hope the rest of the workout went OK!

9:02 AM  
Blogger Carol said...

Yep, can definitely relate! If diabetes has taught me one thing, it's not to judge people based on appearances. For example, if I see someone carring a lot of extra weight, I now wonder if they might have a medical problem or are dealing with an emotional struggle. Whereas pre D, I would have likely had thoughts centering more on judging their lifestyle or lack of willpower (ugly, but true).

Someone recently posted on a running related board about how silly it was for people to run with fuel/hydration belts for races shorter than a half marathon. Hmmmm....I run with a fuel belt almost all the time. Guess I'm just silly for wanting to want to carry the stuff needed to make sure I stay conscious!

9:53 AM  
Blogger George said...

I really like what melissa said. "Low Paranoia." I get that too if i am low in a public place.

Dude, I think he WAS checking you out! LOL

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Sara said...

I had the same feeling as I was drinking my juice box on the way out of the gym last night.

Oh, and I believe you had a grip of insulin onboard, not a boatload. :D

10:36 AM  
Blogger Anne said...

the spinner dude was probably staring at you because he was so $%&*( bored to be on that spin bike AGAIN. It is torture.

Kudos for getting the exercise in despite the low! It can be easier to throw in the towel at that point.

6:10 PM  
Blogger Kendra said...

Scott, I think we can all empathize with you on this one. It's not so much a weight issue with me as it is people not understanding the disease and how we have to treat it sometimes, but I was cringing for you all the way through this post. The superfit segment of society always, always intimidates me even though I know I'm being overly self-conscious. I feel like they look down on me in the first place for being weak enough to have diabetes (or some such hairbrained idea), and then when they see something that doesn't jive with their view of how the world should eat or behave or work out or whatever, I definitely feel judged.

I've been out to lunch with coworkers and ordered a regular soft drink or chowed down on a sugary dessert, and had to explain away the raised eyebrows at my "inappropriate" food choices. It was really fun the one time I had to bust out the Snickers bar I had in my purse when I realized I was low halfway through a salad. People think you're totally nuts!

8:29 AM  
Blogger Minnesota Nice said...

Been there. Done it. About 25 times.

6:05 PM  
Blogger ..M.. said...

I especially hate it when I have to break out the lollies at my friend's house, trying to hide them from her son, trying to hide them from her too because after all these years she still thinks I'm cheating if I eat lollies.

It's hard for me to think of hiding them from kids because I've got the mindset that it's medication for me, not sweets. Of course, children don't see it that way! I might start packing them up in old pill pots or something
Ohhh! That's a good idea! Would stop a lot of funny looks from a lot of people! Woot! I'd rather be the strange woman that chews on her 'pills' than the one that sneaks lollies when she obviously doesn't need any more calories sitting on her belly (yes, I think everyone is looking at me at judging me. *sigh*)

7:00 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

I am lucky that I don't get low paranoia but at the same time, those thoughts sometimes go through my head as well. Well, F 'em all! none of their damn business anyway!

keep up the good work scott

1:04 PM  
Blogger Jillian said...

I always feel like this when I eat candy to treat a low or something that under educated people know has added sugar in it. I just feel like they are staring going, "she's diabetic and can't have that". Paranoia.

9:52 PM  
Blogger Molly said...

I'm often a closet "low eater."
Same thing...I'm at the club and I feel weird about eating during a workout, because I'm sure everyone is thinking "gee, you could work out less if you didn't eat during it!"
Dam Diabetes!

8:53 AM  
Blogger k2 said...

Scott -
DO WHAT U GOTTA DO!

I blogged tagged u!
name 7 famous people you've met or 7 weird facts about yourself and them randomy choose 7 others blogs.

If you don't want to play no worries - I still dig your blog!

7:38 PM  
Blogger Brett said...

What a great friggin blog. I have a 5 1/2 year old with Type 1 who was diagnosed at 16 months of age. I'm living all these similar life events through her, and believe it or not I think it feels even more terrible when you have a kid you see trying to deal with situations like this. Sometimes you just want to punch a hole in the wall.

11:27 AM  
Blogger BetterCell said...

Good awareness on your part as to how you were perceiving everything around you despite your low bs.
Do you have Gastroparesis Scott as to why the "Breakfast Food" did not kick in?

5:25 PM  
Blogger Scott K. Johnson said...

Thanks everyone.

I don't believe I have gastroparisis, but I'm not certain.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Sugar said...

Cool blog you got here!

3:38 AM  
Blogger sayyes said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

7:23 AM  
Blogger Amylia said...

I get the same way while exercising. I feel like people will judge me as harshly as I judge myself.


This is never the case.

6:58 PM  
Blogger k2 said...

It's a roller Coaster ride anyway u look at it. What's up dude? Haven't heard from u in a while.

2:31 PM  
Blogger Lynnea said...

Just had this today...5 yo type1 son at the gym pool..you know where no food/drink is allowed...he had to have a juice box to keep from going low, and I was sure everyone was condemning me!!

12:40 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scott: I went on a field trip with my t1 son's class. He went low, naturally, and so we got a snack for him which he was quietly eating. The (unknowing) field trip supervisor noticed and announced loudly "did you bring enough for everyone?". I was stunned. My son's entire class started yelling "he has diabetes", and she backed down immediately. It was a moment where I simply had nothing to say (rare!). And I still tear up over it. Those kids were so protective - and the adult so unthinking. Yet how could she have known?

9:15 AM  
Blogger Chrish Tiyan said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:50 AM  

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