The Nypo

The other night I had a nypo.

For those of you who don’t know, nypo = nighttime hypo (i.e. low bloodsugar).  I didn’t make up this catchy little term, and I don’t know who did, so I can’t give credit where credit is due.  If I could, I would.  It’s a great word.

For some reason, a nypo is so much worse than a daytime hypo.  I actually handle daytime hypos quite well, for the most part – but a nypo turns me into a shaky, frantic, carb-inhaling lunatic. 

I hadn’t had a nypo in a while.  I’ve actually been having more trouble with nighttime highs than lows for a while now (I still don’t have it totally figured out, but it’s improving), so this one was a surprise. 

I woke up with my heart racing and the familiar weak/shaky/hungry feeling.  My first inclination was to just go back to sleep and let someone else take care of it. 

Mmm….I’m sure it’ll go away on its own if I can just close my eyes for a bit longer…. 

Thankfully I don’t fall back asleep well during a nypo, so  I dragged my ass out of bed and into the bathroom (so as not to wake my sleeping husband, baby, or dog) to test.  I was shaking and seeing spots and the frantic hunger was kicking in already. 

2.6 mmol/l (47 mg/dl).

Popping a couple of glucose tabs, I stumbled downstairs to the kitchen, opened the pantry and flicked on the light.  I’m sure I heard angels singing at the sight of all that food.

Normally I eat fairly low-carb.  As a result, I don’t take a ton of insulin.  And as a result of that, it doesn’t take much to bring my bloodsugar back up from a hypo (or a nypo, as the case may be). 

But during a nypo every cell in my body is saying “FEED ME!”, and I want to ingest everything in sight!  I am completely incapable of putting on the brakes until I feel better.  And during a nypo it takes a while before I feel better.  So I typically end up eating a lot more than I should.

Thankfully, even in my nypo stupor I’ve learned to trick my sugar-starved self by switching to low- or no-carb snacks part way through the ravenous rampage.  It sounds pointless and kind of stupid – and it is, really – but hey, whatever works, right?

So, leaving a trail of honey, cracker crumbs, and cheese, I climbed back into bed and thought, “I should probably bolus for that….” just before I nodded off.

When I woke up the next morning, that last thought came back to me and I pulled out the meter again. 

14.4 mmol/l (260 mg/dl).  Damn. 

I guess it could have been worse if I hadn’t made the switch to cheese at about 2:41 am, but still…a bolus definitely would have come in handy.

So, once again the nypo won – making a feasting fool out of a perfectly rational and well-managed person with diabetes….


5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by noelle on May 20, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    i love your drifting thought… maybe it’ll go away… i usually wake up again so cold and sweaty in a puddle in my bed… just move to a dry spot on the bed closer to my husband for warmth… and yes, why don’t you feel better quicker? i hear you about the ravenous eating. i’m going to have to try that next time, switch to almonds halfway through…

    i love your blog, B. ttys. oh yeah, and happy b-day bebe F!!!


  2. Posted by Sylvie on May 29, 2010 at 12:52 pm

    Love the term “nypo”….hate the reality of it…

    I am glad you wrote of this experience Bethany. I believe pretty well all people with insulin dependant diabetes have been there, and many feel guilty about it. I think your expression of what it is like, helps to understand the experience a little better. I also like your “trick” of switching to low or no carb eating in the middle of the craziness….good idea!!!


  3. I can TOTALLY relate to this. Nypo’s (love that term – we need to figure out where it started!) are the all-time hardest for me to treat rationally.


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