I woke up from twisty-turny, labyrinthine dream to find my skin sticky and hot and my blankets on the floor. A quick blood sugar test confirmed that I was low. I chomped on some glucose tablets and was annoyed with my blood sugar for waking me up.
The last time (and first time) I went low in the middle of the night, I spent a cozy half hour reading Redwall as I nibbled on peanut butter crackers and waited for my sugar to come back up. As far as low blood sugar goes, it was nice. This time was different. I quickly decided that I was in no mood for reading, so I crawled out of bed to wash the pile of dishes by the sink in hopes that doing something with my hands would help me feel less nervous. Low blood sugar often makes me feel mildly paranoid, but in the daytime there’s usually enough of the rational me left to convince myself that no one is actually staring at me. At 4:30 am, when I’m generally a bit jumpy anyway, it’s a little harder.
I had washed most of the dishes and was about to check my sugar again when I thought I heard a voice. For approximately two seconds I attempted to convince myself that the deep voice I thought I heard was simply a radio alarm clock going off, ignoring the fact that my roommate doesn’t have a radio alarm clock and that very few people set alarms for 4:45 am.
It didn’t work. Hardly conscious of what I was doing,
The next few moments are a blur. I think I tried to wake up my roommate, who had already jumped out of bed convinced there was an intruder in the room. She grabbed my shoulders and started yelling at me–I think she yelled something like “Stop!” and “What’s wrong?” For several seconds, we held on to each other, each yelling at the other to calm down.
I calmed down as quickly as I had panicked. So as soon as my roommate stopped yelling, I asked with concern and a touch of embarrassment, “Are you ok?”
She looked at me puzzled. I had just woken her up with panicked screaming and I wanted to know if she was ok?
I proceeded explain with absurd calmness that my blood sugar was low, that I should probably check it again, it was nothing, it’s ok. Another blood sugar test came up with 68 mg/dl. Still low. So I ate a few more glucose tablets as my roommate and I mentally replayed the situation in an attempt to make sense of it. Then, the absurdity of the situation hit us both and we began to laugh. What had been terrifying the moment before was suddenly hilarious.
With too much adrenaline left in our systems to allow us to go back to sleep, we took a walk, watched the sun rise over campus, and maybe jumped a little when we passed another early morning walker.
Before going to bed that night, my roommate asked me, “Would turning on all of the lights have helped you feel less nervous?”
“Probably,” I said with a wry smile. “But I didn’t want to wake you up.”