The Great Mowing Mystery

Yay, more crazylife stories. (By which I mean, NOT yay.)

It’s a mystery no doctor yet has been able to explain. Nearly every time my husband mows the lawn, he has a severe insulin reaction.

He checks his blood-sugar carefully beforehand, and makes sure to eat some carbs to sustain him. He often dials down his insulin pump to try to compensate. It happens when it’s cool, when it’s hot, when it’s humid, when it’s not. We have a self-propelled mower, so he’s not exactly powerlifting, here.

Yes, his transplant meds make him more sensitive to the sun. But he can go for walks, picnic, go fishing, and usually all is fine. Indoors, he can vaccuum the whole house without issue.

A WTF Thing

One reason we bought this house, was the yard was small enough to mow in an hour. (We thought the huge, obstical-ridden yard at the old place might be the cause. And I can’t do it with my damaged wrists.) The smaller yard doesn’t seem to matter.

Lately, about 30 minutes into mowing, I hear the mower stop, and I go out to find him standing, dazed, doused in more sweat than his body should be able to produce, and mumbling that (gee, really?) his blood-sugar’s low.

We’ve asked and asked.  It’s just one of those WTF things the docs ignore because they really have no idea why.

Yesterday

We had a small window between rainy days, and my hubby wanted to get as much lawn mowed as he could. He checked his blood. He ate a snack. He walked the mower more slowly than usual, and mulched instead of having to dump the clippings in the barrel. He stopped midway to take a break. He was going to beat it this time.

After getting something light to eat, he decided to extend his break and run get more gas for the mower before starting the back yard.  He felt fine.

Five minutes later I got a call. My panic died when I heard him say he’d only brought one credit card with him, and that account was low. I grabbed our other type of card, hopped in the car, and met him at the gas station within five more minutes, so glad it was something easy to fix.  (Ahem.  Shut up, Murphy.)

Fun And Games At Kwik Trip

Between the time I spoke with him, and the time I arrived, he’d descended into full insulin reaction. He was soaked as if someone had dumped a bucket on him. He couldn’t focus, was swaying on his feet, stumbling over his words. His pupils were pinpoints.  He knew what was happening but without cash he couldn’t even buy a candy bar to fix it, or explain clearly to the clerk what was happening.

The clerk – they do know us there – had held my hubby’s purchases behind the counter – bread, bananas, and some donuts. Obviously when he’d started shopping, he’d known it was starting. It just descended so damned fast.

I paid for everything, including the gas for the mower, and my hubby trailed me out to his car, where we sat as I watched him laboriously eat a couple of donuts – wouldn’t have been my choice, but time was crucial and I wasn’t going to argue. After a while, his head stopped bobbing, and he remembered his insulin pump and checked it. Amazingly, he’d been aware enough at first that he’d suspended the insulin intake, otherwise things might have been even worse.

No Third Donut

We sat in that car for another fifteen or twenty minutes, talking quietly, his speech slo-o-o-wly becoming more normal and logical. Customers came and went around us. The clerks probably wondered why we were sitting there, both in his car (and my car sitting empty), doing nothing. He became aware of his surroundings. Of the chocolate on his shirt. Of the slight puddle of sweat on the armrest; even the backs of his hands were clammy with it.

He eyed the third donut. “If I eat that,” he said carefully, “I can finish the backyard.”

“Oh, no you won’t.”

“Really. I’m okay.”

“I don’t think so.  Your pupils are still this big.”

“No, I’m actually fine.  Just give me five more minutes, I think.”

I peered at his face.  He was getting there.  “Okay, if you want, when we get home, let’s fix you something better, maybe a bowl of cereal, and then you can decide.” (Something that’s not all lard and sugar, easier to calculate for insulin intake, and won’t burn off immediately.  Or make him sick … I mean, three gas station donuts?  Shudder.)

Finally we reached that moment when he felt he could drive again safely, AND I believed him. I got in my own car, and followed him home.

And … To Bed

In the end, he agreed he was done for the night. The after-effects of a bad reaction were hitting him: the chill, the aches, the exhaustion. I helped him put the mower away, and he went straight to bed, too tired to stay upright to shower.

I don’t think we’ll ever understand it – why mowing, of all things?

He did everything right. There’s no reason he should have bottomed out, and so quickly he didn’t have any warning. It really scares me sometimes.

I guess it’s just a crazylife mystery.

We’ve got plenty of those, after all.

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3 Comments

  1. That’s happened to me several times since being diagnosed with type II. I think maybe mowing in itself causes our blood sugars to drop dramatically. Maybe he should keep some glucose sticks on him in his pocket while he mows… anywhere around a moving blade would be a horrible place to fall out!!

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    • You’re the first person we’ve heard from who has the same issue! The glucose is a good idea. Fortunately, he’s always been aware enough to stop working before his coordination gets bad (at least I thing — hope so!). It’s just that it happens so fast, sometimes, it’s scary. Thanks for sharing your own experience.

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