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Good Enough to Choke Down

One the most annoying things about having diabetes is suffering through the lows. And for me, one of the most annoying things about suffering through (and recovering from) those lows is eating the right thing(s).

I go through phases. Jelly Bellies are a longtime favorite, but they tend to send my blood sugar too high, and once that bag is open, they’re almost completely irresistible. And I’m a Jelly Belly purist, so even when my blood sugar is down around, say, 42, you’ll still catch me eating them one by one, prioritizing in order of favorite flavors, painstakingly picking out the licorice and root beer beans. That’s efficient.

Coke or Sprite is another standby, but I’m always struck with a HFCS hangover once the can is empty and my blood sugar’s back up to normal.

Juice boxes are a classic, but they don’t travel so well, and trying to free the straw from its cellophane wrapper while I’m in the grips of a sweaty, shaky low is beyond frustrating. I’ve been known to crush empty juice boxes on my forehead in a fit of post-treatment irritation.

I never really even considered using glucose tabs until I attended Friends for Life. Tabs were everywhere — the only sound more ubiquitous than the “beep-beep-boops” of Minimeds and Pings was the little snap those tab tubes made when the caps were plucked off and replaced. All the cool kids had glucose tabs, and they were eating them like, well, candy.

So, as I looted the Friends for Life exhibition hall, I couldn’t not stock up on free samples of glucose tabs. For the most part, they were all mouth-puckeringly, tooth-achingly revolting. I don’t know if it’s just because I associate the taste with one of my least favorite feelings, but I disdain glucose tabs. I can’t do it. Couldn’t do it. I mean, how hard can it be to make pure sugar palatable?

But then I got to the Glucolift samples. Orange Cream? Why not? I used the samples I had to treat a first-thing-in-the-morning low, fully expecting to get a mouthful of that chokey, powdery tang. But as I chomped, I realized: these actually tasted like Orange Cream. Sweet and citrus-y, but with a little mellowness to cut the sour taste. Bright notes of dextrose monohydrate, with a smooth magnesium stearate finish.

I ate another one, and another one after that. I was actually treating my low blood sugar with glucose tabs and I didn’t want to cut out my tongue!

Go ahead and try it, low blood sugar.

Inspired and hopeful, I sought out some Glucolift online (Not sold in stores!) and ordered three jars from Amazon.com. The labels say things like “Non-GMO,” “Created by a Diabetic” and “Gluten-Free.” That’s all appreciated, I guess, but I’m just thrilled to be part of the glucose tablet club. I’ve got a jar sitting on my desk, one by my bed, and another knocking around in my purse.

There’s a weird kind of confidence that comes with having so many glucose tabs at my disposal. They’re so official, so accurate, so darn fast-acting, and so easy to carry. I don’t have to worry about Swedish Fish melting all over the bottom of my purse or that I might go way overboard on the buttered popcorn Jelly Beans. Now, I’m a real Type 1 diabetic, with real glucose tabs to treat my all-too-real lows.

(In case you’re wondering, no one pays me to write about anything. Ever. I’m just excited to have a delicious new weapon in my war on wildly fluctuating blood sugars.)

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