Monday, March 19, 2012

Sugar, Sucre, Azucar, Zucker..... GLUCOSE

The other day on Facebook I somehow managed to start a really long discussion about glucose tablets. I had written a status update about how I woke up with the zacklies (one of the very first posts I ever wrote) from a 2am low fixed with grape Dex tablets.

The thread of comments about glucose tabs got me to thinking. I'm not sure I've really written about fixing lows and the different preferences that people have.

Let me tell you my quack-assed thoughts on it.

I've gone through my phases over the  years. When I was on MDI's (injections for those not in the "know") I would have nasty lows all night every night. Before I went to bed I would literally swig honey, chocolate syrup, table syrup... etc. directly from the container. Eventually I would gag after drinking an entire bottle of honey in a week. Thank god for the pump!! For the longest time I avoided Dex (glucose tablets) like the plague. They just made me gag. Over the years, other things just became a hassle.

What I do now is mostly simple. Depending on the low of course. For this purpose it's a crashing low. Like, I need sugar now because a banana is going to take too long kind of low. I am a Dex user. *GASP*. I know it sounds weird right? A diabetic using glucose tabs to treat a low? I'm just joking but it sure seems like not a lot of people use them. Probably because they're disgusting. I don't blame them.

Well, I use glucose tablets. I usually have juice boxes at home or at my desk at work but I don't always use them or replace them when they're gone. I find glucose tablets work the best and are the fastest. They are totally transportable and nearly indestructible in all kinds of weather. Sometimes I'll do anything to avoid using the Dex but other times I just give in to the nasty chalk.  Keep in mind this is only for nasty lows. I try to use food like fruit wherever possible. Yeah, they taste like shit and too many of them make me gag but they are so easy and idiot proof. I learned recently that I should definitely not put 4 in my mouth at the same time. 1-good, 2-okay, 3-not really, 4-nearly puke.

So, I often use Dex tabs. Sometimes I use rockets. I used to carry those giant rockets in my travel dex case but I learned (again the difficult way) that rockets aren't the best. They crumble and I choke. When my mouth isn't working properly, the Dex will at least dissolve quickly. Like when I fall asleep with one in my mouth.

The best part? I rarely over-treat because I hate them so much. I pull out 4 tablets and tell myself, "you ONLY need to eat 4, c'mon, you can do it." I keep Dex beside my bed so I'm not crawling into the kitchen and inevitably leaving a sticky mess of juice on the counter, my clothes, in bed and inside my slippers. Yeah, I spilled juice one night inside my slippers. They are still stained. You would be surprised at how difficult it is to drink a juice box as an adult. In the dark. Hypoglycemic. Half asleep. It happens!

Anyway... flavours.....
The common flavours are Orange, Rasberry, Watermelon and Grape. For me, the Grape are my least hated. I won't touch Orange because it reminds me of the first couple years of diagnosis with those big square BD nasties. Rasberry seems to be one of the most hated among T1's. The watermelon is the second least hated with me. Someone on the thread mentioned that you can now get Sour Apple in the big container from Costco! This excited me very much.

When I'm in the states I usually pop into Walgreen's for a mixed container. They have coconut, sour apple and cherry in them. Those bottles don't last long though. I use them up fast.

It's interesting what we use, what we can tolerate and how we are all so different.

So the question is, what do YOU use for a bad low and what is your Dex flavour preference?


  1. I've never tried the Dex. Ever. Juice and giant rockets (thanks to your tip) when I'm crashing, fruit chews or fig newtons when I'm falling a little more slowly.

  2. I am a big fan of Gu. It's fast, portable (like Dex...but quicker-acting, I think, and generally more palatable), and the spike is less for me. I also find it carries me a bit longer....until I can find actual food. Like you, though, I preder "real food" when I'm a little hypo: fruit, bars, peanut butter crackers..

  3. You know...I can't find Dex where I live so I've always had to buy cvs and kroger grocery brand knock offs. I only had those orange BD's for the first couple of years from diagnosis so I too cannot handle them. I found a tropical mix at cvs drugstore that has coconut, papaya, and pineapple (I think those are the flavors) and it's a refreshing change for sure! I can't stand watermelon flavored anything...aaaaack. When I'm only a little low I do go for a swig of juice and leave it at that. I leave the glucose tabs for major emergencies only. Can they make some taste like gummy bears?

  4. Just like you Scully, if I have to use DEX tabs I'll definitely opt for the grape flavored ones. Raspberry & Orange in my opinion are the most disgusting DEX tab flavors available. Ick even just thinking about it makes me want to gag! Sour apple isn't terrible and of course the whole "you just have to eat 4, c'mon you can do it" is always running thru my head too.

  5. if i'm not to low i usually use sweettarts. like at work for instance. i can just munch on them (they are 1g of sugar/pc) and they usually do the trick. when i am crashing fast i grab a juice box if i have any (with little kids in the house it's iffy!), but i have been known on many occassions to eat sugar directly from the bowl! its messy but it works fast!
    i am not a fan of the Dex tabs. if i have to, grape is the best. i have used the Dex liquid once, and it's not too bad but i think i would need more than 1 and so it's only ok if i have food to go with it right away like the day i tried it.

  6. We use DEX most of the time, juice the rest of the time. Grape is the most tolerated here too, though every time we cross the border we grab 1/2 dozen bottles of mixed tropical DEX from Walgreens - sour apple and coconut are Dyl's favorites.

  7. I also use DEX for lows. I can not stand the Grape ones I prefer Orange and Watermelon.

    For bad lows I can not help but follow up with whatever else is around food wise.

  8. I've never tried to force glucose tabs on Bean. She isn't a 'candy' kid, so even trying sweettarts isn't a big option.
    We're apple juice box or squeezy applesauce kinda people...though I have to put the straw in and hold it for her in the middle of the night, so we're gonna have to transition to something else at some point!
    She also likes downing mini M&Ms (8g carb worth fits nicely into an empty strips container) and they do the trick for a 'little' boost.

  9. I still have nightmares of the lemon-flavoured Dextrosol of old; in fact, I'm betting that's where my utmost dislike for anything lemon comes from. While my friends all loved the "candies" I absolutely loathed them, but was forced to mow down on them. I shudder at the memory!
    On another note, went out and got me some sour apple Dex today :)

  10. I prefer the assorted tropical flavored Reli-On brand at Walmart for glucose tabs. But for bad lows, I prefer the glucose gel; the kind you drink right out of the bottle.


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