Driving while diabetic.

For the last seven years of being with my husband I haven’t needed to drive.

He has been more than willing to assume that responsibility and that hasn’t bothered me much. I have never felt less independent with him being the main driver, and he has never seemed bothered by this dynamic either. I used to drive, a lot, actually. Before diabetes, before children in the back seat, and with out a care in the world. I drove, with or with out a license, a real rebel. Then something in me became afraid. That confident spark went out. Maybe it was after diagnosis, maybe it was after having my daughter, but something made me step back and make the conscious decision to not drive. It didn’t help that when I met my husband he raced around in a 1977 Corvette and then every other car after that was a manual, something I had not been interested in learning to drive, so it didn’t matter if I wanted to be behind the wheel or not.

Side note: This all boils down to the fact that for most of my “diabetic life” I have not driven. So I have not had to worry about checking my sugar before operating a big, hulking piece of machinery.

After years of being the passenger I became content with this situation. Then I noticed that our schedules were only getting busier and busier and I really needed to get over whatever it was stopping me and start driving again. So recently my husband started letting me take the car out and run errands with our daughter.

The experience had been pleasant, not one hiccup, nothing.

Until the other day..

I had spoken with other driving diabetics who all said they made sure to check their blood sugars before operating a vehicle. Made sense, I mean if you’re too high or too low your reaction time is going to be off. Thankfully I haven’t been running very high these days but the lows have been more than I’d like. I checked before taking off and though I was on the low side I popped a few glucose tablets and the family and I were on our way. Then halfway through I started to feel shaky, dizzy, and very overwhelmed. I nearly ran a red light, and more importantly I took a turn that nearly sent us flying into another vehicle. Instead of pushing on the brake I slammed my foot into the gas and then had to instantly correct. I frantically pulled over to the side and cried. When I checked my sugar at home I was in the 50’s. It was the number one most scariest moment in my life. I had my five year old in the car, my husband next to me..we could have been hurt. Others could have been hurt..

I’m tearing up as I type this. I have been driving off and on here for months now with everything going smoothly and then this happens. Now, I don’t know if I ever want to drive again. That low, I felt, came out of left field. What if it happens again? I have gone over the whole thing in my head, over and over and over again. My sugar was 60, I had eaten dinner, I checked again and I was in the 100’s. Popped a glucose tablet. The next thing I know my sugar is in the 50’s? My husband assures me it wasn’t my fault, stuff like this happens and though he was concerned something like this might take place one day he was proud of me for reacting correctly. I, on the other hand, am not so proud of myself.

That fear is back and I don’t know if it’ll ever go away this time.

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15 Comments

  1. No buneo! I’m so sorry you had to go through that. I’m also a diabetic driver and I drive with my family all the time. I’ve had a few occasions where I’ve had a hypo whilst driving, which is the worst thing ever. I always check my sugar before and keep the car supplied with goodies just in case. As soon as I have any symptoms I try to find somewhere safe to pull over and check my sugar and treat it accordingly.
    I totally get the loss of confidence thing though, the same thing happened to me after the peanut.I really don’t know why! I didn’t want to drive at all, but thank god my confidence returned and I was able to get behind the wheel again. I started off slowly, just taking it around the block with my husband and the peanut and then before I knew it I felt ok to be driving. Just give yourself some time. You can do it! Hypos are just one of those things we have to deal with in every situation. Don’t let this put you off driving completely. *hugs*

    • Thank you! It’s nice to know that I am not the only one who has felt a little like this. I know eventually I will want to be back behind the wheel I just have to get over the initial scare it gave me. I had never experienced anything like that and though everyone was alright I was afraid something worse could have happened. I guess it’s not a good thing to go through life hanging on to the “what if’s” I guess we’ll see what happens. I’m sure I’ll write about it. :) Thank you though for your comment on this. I appreciate knowing that others have felt this and have come out on top of it.

  2. (((hugs))) It is so hard when diabetes scares us while we are doing normal, every day things. Please don’t let this fear take away the independence of driving. You did everything right, sometimes D is just a giant jerk and throws us curveballs.

    Hang in there.

  3. Aww, glad you are OK! Thanks for sharing, I bet this was a hard post to write. And yeah, don’t give up-give yourself time and you will feel better behind the wheel before you know it!

  4. Oh man, what a scare! I’m sorry you had to experience that.

    Be patient with yourself. In reading what you described, I wouldn’t have done any different with my blood sugar – heck, I probably wouldn’t even have taken the glucose tabs.

    And remember – it’s not your fault! Your pancreas is broken!

  5. Wow… glad everything is okay. Just for another point of reference, I’ll tell you that I’ve been driving for 22 years with this disease, and (knock on wood) never had an incident. I’m the driver on all of the trips we take… I love to drive.

    It really sounds like you did all of the right things… I don’t think you could’ve done anything different. Just make sure you have stuff to treat a low in the car, and keep it within reach. And enjoy the trip!

    • I think that’s the biggest thing, I need to be better prepared for when a low does happen. All I had on me were glucose tablets and they were in the back seat. I guess I never thought my diabetes would be a very big issue when it came to driving. I was wrong but I wont let it get in the way again. Thanks. :)

  6. I’m so sorry you had to go through this. I can’t say I’ve been through the same, but I’ve come damn close. I was driving in a company vehicle through the streets of Center City Philadelphia and had absolutely no idea where I was going — just kept circling blocks. Eventually, I decided to let the new guy (who whom *I* was supposed to be showing the ropes) take over behind the wheel.

    When it comes to driving, I can’t say enough how valuable a CGM is. Seeing the trends and the contexts of the low (or high) BGs, and then being safely alerted to those excursions out-of-range is invaluable.

    But don’t give up driving. These kinds of things can rattle your confidence, but you can learn from it and only get stronger.

    • Thank you so much for your very thoughtful comment. I know that I need to keep moving forward and that’s what I plan to do. Just had to shake it off. I plan on getting a CGM one day. When they are a tad bit affordable. I love the idea of them and I hear they are very beneficial. All I can do id better equip myself so that nothing like this happens again.

  7. Oh so sorry for what happened to you. I’ve been Type 1 for 35 years, 2 healthy kids, and married to a wonderful man who has put up with this crazy disease and me for 20 years. It has happened to me to me once or twice where aIcould n’t remember how I got to where I was driving (crazy low’s) Hope you keep driving!

  8. Pingback: Driving with diabetes.. | Life or something like it..

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