Part of being human is having fears. Fear of the dark. Fear of spiders. Fear of heights. Fear of the number thirteen. It's normal, but I've wondered for a long time what I was afraid of because I never really could think of anything. Until recently.
A couple of weeks ago, I woke up in the middle of the night. It was dark and it was quiet, but I didn't know what time it was because I don't have a clock in my room other than my cellphone and laptop. I wasn't sure why I woke up other than something was...wrong. I couldn't say what exactly. I just didn't feel right and I really couldn't think. My head was foggy and it seemed more than just grogginess from waking up after a couple hours of sleep. The feeling was very frustrating as I lay in bed. Why did I feel strange? Why was I having trouble thinking? Something was very wrong, but I couldn't figure out what.
After a few minutes of this, I had the vague notion in the back of my head that I needed to eat something. There was no rational thought that went into this. It was just a feeling. I reached out for things on my desk and dresser and finally grabbed something which I proceeded to attempt to eat. As I attempted to stuff this thing in my mouth, I kept thinking, "What is wrong with me? Why isn't this working? Why can't I think? Why does this taste funny? What's wrong?" After several valiant attempts to consume the object, I got the sense that it wasn't going to work and I set it down. I realized in a hazy way that it was my Newton's Cradle which was now a tangled mess.
I still had the sense that I needed to eat something, but that I wasn't going to find anything in my room. That meant the kitchen. My bedroom is in the basement, so I began making my way upstairs. In addition to being unable to think, I was feeling quite clumsy. The stairs nearly proved my undoing as I stumbled and almost fell down. Twice. But I managed to make it to the kitchen where I opened the fridge and the cupboard next to it and began stuffing my face with whatever I could grab. Thankfully it turned out to be food items. After furiously stuffing myself with crackers, leftover pasta, chocolate, and some milk, some semblance of thought began slowly returning to my brain and I realized what had happened.
Your brain needs glucose to function and mine wasn't getting enough so it wasn't functioning properly. This is not the first time I've been hypoglycemic, but it was undoubtedly the worst. Based on previous lows I've had, my guess is that it was probably less than 32. Anything below 70 isn't good. The biggest problem with severe lows is that I am incapable of recognizing what is going on. I can't think clearly or call for help. I can't think, "Gee, I think my sugar is low. I'll check it and eat some glucose tablets." I just have this terrible feeling that something is wrong and that I can't think well enough to figure it out. No doubt it's scary for anyone who has been in the situation (protip: don't get type 1 diabetes), but it's especially fearful for me. If there is one thing I take pride in, it's my mental acuity. If the universe sees fit to bestow further diseases on me, I don't care what they are so long as they leave my brain alone. The fear I felt lying in bed, trying to eat an inanimate object, and unable to think was about the worst feeling in the world. There is no physical thing I think I fear as much as that.