I was settled contentedly on the carpet of my 12-year-old daughter’s room the other night in my fuzzy pink bathrobe, quizzing her for a big upcoming social studies exam, when it hit: that feeling.

“I feel weird. I need to go… check… now!” I heard myself saying, scrambling to my feet.

“What’s wrong?” Her eyebrows knitted.

“I think… I’m low. I need to check.”

“You can feel it?” she asked, for the umpteenth time (they always ask me that).


“What does it feel like?” She really wants to know.

“I’ll tell you later,” I mumbled, “I need to check now.”

“Do you have a headache? A stomach ache? Do you feel nauseous?” she asks, with genuine, heartfelt curiosity, as I stumble out the door.

“No, no, no…” And it hits me that none of those ‘ordinary’ sick symptoms apply. How difficult it is for others to understand this sensation, that I can barely describe myself!

“I feel weird,” I repeat, for lack of a better explanation. But of course, it’s a very familiar “weird,” so I add:

“It’s this feeling I like to call scratchy...”

“So you feel itchy?” she asks.

“No, no… the opposite of itchy!” I sort of shout, as I make my way down the hall to my bathroom, where the glucose tabs await. My hands are fumbling for the light switch, which for the life of me doesn’t seem to be where it belongs.

As those last words escape my mouth I think, ‘How bizarre! The ‘opposite of itchy’? What the -#@$- am I saying? But that IS how my brain feels, on not enough sugar… kind of like someone’s taken a spoon to where the ‘reason’ ought to be…

Later, when my reason was restored, of course I looked it up on the web and found that some have tried to describe the feeling — notably, Bill Woods of 1HappyDiabetic in this video (hunger + fear+ head rush).

How would YOU describe the sensation?