Sunday, November 04, 2007

What High Blood Sugar Feels Like

I should have learned by now: NEVER skip dinner before doing a drag show. For some reason, even though by skipping dinner I'm actually NOT eating food, my blood sugar invariably goes sky-high and simply refuses to come down afterwards.

I blame my liver ("Parker") for this, because chronically high blood sugar during a night is usually due to my liver secreting glucose, or whatever it secrets when it's upset (why can't it synthesize alcohol, or vitamin C?)

Since I am coming down off tonight's sugar high at this moment, now seems like a good time to describe what it actually feels like to have high blood sugar. It's a much more consistent feeling than a sugar low.
  • A difficulty with small-talk. This also happens with low blood sugar. I say things that are either obnoxious (see "short temper" below) or I open my mouth and...nothing comes out.
  • Thirsty, thirsty, thirsty! The first mouthful of liquid tastes great, but subsequent gulps feel funny, because of...
  • upset stomach. Actually, it's more like a stomach that's terminally clenched up.
  • Always having to pee because of all that liquid I'm drinking.
  • High body temperature accompanied by sweating, which makes your makeup slide off and defeats your deodorant.
  • A short temper. Grrr!
  • A tendency to complain and over-analyze, probably related to whatever makes my temper so short (and my makeup slough off).
  • Anhedonia; an inability to really feel emotionally good about anything. Hence the complaining. For instance, right now I want to burst into tears about the stuffed cat that I mistreated and then gave away tonight, but if my blood sugar were normal I'd be able to at least acknowledge the GOOD stuff.
Before you say "Muffy, why don't you just give yourself some insulin and bring your blood sugar down?" well, making a judgement about how much insulin I need is very much hit-or-miss in an unpredictable situation (like a drag show or a night at a bar), especially when Parker is involved. You can inject and inject all night long without any effect, and then suddenly all that insulin kicks in at once...and the only thing worse than having HIGH blood sugar in a public place is having insulin-related LOW blood sugar.

Am I complaining? Yes. Blame Parker.

Should I have eaten dinner? Yes. Blame me.


Anonymous said...

Why does the liver kick out the sugar at night? My doc said I was in starvation mode...but I am 40+ lbs overweight. How can I change this? And yes I often feel like you do.

Adam Thornton said...

Hi Anonymous,

Apparently there are two common reasons why you might wake up with high blood sugar: "Dawn Phenomenon" and "The Somogyi Effect":

If your doctor says it's from being in starvation mode, then chances it's the Somogyi effect: your blood sugar falls during the night (because you took too much NPH insulin or you didn't eat enough of a snack), and as an emergency measure your liver starts to kick out sugars to bring you back up...but it always raises you too high. When I was diagnosed they called this a "rebound."

So you aren't starving for FOOD, you're "starving" for sugar in your blood.

The above link tells you how to find out what's causing your morning highs, and how to fix it.

That said, I've never figured it out myself. I just do my best to keep it all under control and have a good night's sleep!