Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Grocery Store Lows Explained

I had my second grocery store low in the last few days. Unlike my last grocery store low, I remembered I had candy in my purse. I ate my candy and expected my blood sugar to rise. I didn't count on going even lower.

When my blood sugar hit 55, I considered getting juice, but the juice was in aisle 17 and I was by aisle one. I was right next to the bakery section, so I headed over there. In the window, I saw a red velvet cupcake with a mountain of white frosting. Of course, I couldn't read the sign, or remember how to talk. So, I just pointed at it and grunted.

The lady behind the counter carefully boxed up my cupcake in a cardboard box. I brought the white box to the kiosk and paid for it. Then I headed for a table. As soon as I sat down, my mind went blank. Well, not entirely. I knew I had a cupcake. And I knew that if I ate it, the shaking, sweating, insides trembling, numb face, frightened, wow I am so low, this sucks, feeling would go away. I picked up the cardboard box and could not figure out how to open it. I turned it around several times on the table. There weren't any flaps. How does this box work? What needed was right in front of me, but I couldn't get at it.

A table away from me was a police officer. Do I ask him to open the box for me? Will he think I am insane? I felt ridiculous. Part of my brain knew asking for help was absurd. The rest of my brain was screaming, "Must Eat Sugar NOW!!!!"

The cop got up to leave.

OK, it's now or never. I said, "Excuse me, can you help me?"
He said, "What do you need?"
"My blood sugar is 42. I need to eat, but I can't open the box."
The cop did not laugh at me, or look at me like I was crazy. His eyes got really wide. The officer snatched my cupcake box and opened it in a half a second. He handed me my cupcake. "Do you need a ride to the hospital?"
"No, I just need to eat this."
He looked worried. He asked again if I needed a ride. I assured him I would be OK. He left.

I crammed frosting in my mouth with my hands. I didn't have a fork or a napkin. I just sat there shoveling frosting in my mouth like a toddler. A store staff person came running then. Apparently the officer told someone on staff that I was having low blood sugar and if I needed to go to the hospital, he would take me.

This is not good.
People are staring at me.

I told her all I needed to do was eat my cupcake and I'd be fine. She brought me a spoon. I ate the cupcake and my blood sugar boosted all the way up to 50. What The Fructose? An hour later my blood sugar rose all the way up to 61. I just ate a cupcake with approximately 88,234.03 grams of carbs. Why am I still low? This isn't working right. I expected to be approaching orbit. What is going on?

A blood sugar of 61 is still low, but I can think with a BG of 61. So, as I brushed crumbs off my face, I wondered, why do I go low in the grocery store? Then I realized something. Walking on a treadmill or outside is called exercise. Walking in a grocery store is called shopping. Only, my body doesn't know the difference between a walk outside, or in a store. I don't just walk in grocery stores. I lift heavy things like bags of dog food and cat litter, and I push a heavy cart up and down aisles. Grocery shopping is exercise. Exercise lowers blood sugar.

Depending on how much shopping I do, I can walk for 45 minutes while pushing a heavy cart. Usually I worry about MG giving me trouble in the store, but now I realize all that exercise makes me exquisitely sensitive to insulin. I'm sensitive to insulin as it is; however, adding exercise turbo charges insulin and then I go low in the store.


Next time I go shopping, I'm turning down my basal rate on my pump. Maybe that will prevent the next epic low in public. How embarrassing. I'm glad I was OK, but that totally sucked.

To the Wheaton, IL cop who helped me, thank you. Ditto to the staff at Mariano's. You all rock.


  1. Glad it all turned out okay in the end. Way to think it through. Don't ever be embarrassed about asking for help when you need it. I know, easy to say, tough to do. Hope next time goes easier

  2. Oh boy, don't I know it! I say this about myself, and not about you, but when I experience walking around a store being enough to make my blood sugar plummet, I realize just how much more activity that is versus my "normal" routine, and it makes me feel lousy about how little exercise I ordinarily get.

    Or maybe it's just the reality of shopping and having diabetes. Glad to hear it all worked out for you.

  3. All of this sounds so familiar. So grateful that both of us benefited from a momentarily bit of rationality to do what we need to for help.

  4. I am so so so glad you asked the police man for help. And please don't feel embarrassed - you absolutely have nothing to be embarrassed about. Big hugs to you!



I am not a doctor. I do not have a medical degree. Nothing on this site qualifies as medical advice. These are lessons I'm learning at the University of Catastrophe. What I find to be correct answers in my classes may not be the right answers for you.

If you are enrolled with your own major at the University of Catastrophe, please consult your doctor, therapist, attorney, auto mechanic, veterinarian, plumber, dietician, arborist, acupuncturist, manicurist, mother, local dairy council, shoe shine boy, or other equally qualified professional, for advice and assistance.

If you email me your personal information will not be shared without your permission and your email address will not be sold. I hate spam. Even with eggs.

Search Joy Benchmarks

  © Blogger template Webnolia by 2009

Back to TOP