(Not So Good) Vibrations

by Leighann on March 30, 2011

“I’m hungry, shaking, and vibrating and I’m not even cold.”

I checked Q’s blood sugar and she was 50. I gave her a juice box and all was well.

It thought it odd that she said “vibrating” because she’s never used that word to describe feeling low before. And it was kind of a sophisticated way for a six-year-old to describe what she was feeling.

I tweeted what she had said and that I think she must have meant shivering, but as several people pointed out, “vibrating” was the term that Q probably meant. In her Six Things video she said she sometimes feels like she’s going to flop over. She’s told me that her legs feel wobbly or “bendy.” She’s said that she’s shaky. But she’s never told me that she is vibrating.

Low Blood SugarWhen she is low, I try to ask her how she’s feeling so that I can make a mental note that at this number she usually feels this way or at that number she feels like that.

But when she had a 31 a while ago, she simply came to me, said she felt low, sucked down a juice box and was ready to get on with what she was doing. I had to force her to sit on the couch and wait 15 minutes to be checked again!

Getting responses from a few people on Twitter made me realize that:

  1. I should never quickly discount how Q feels because she, in all likelihood, knows exactly how she feels.
  2. Maybe more CWD’s and PWD’s feel like they are vibrating when low, but it’s not a term I have ever heard from anyone in the DOC or in any literature I have read.

The American Diabetes Association gives the following symptoms of hypoglycemia:

  • Shakiness
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Hunger
  • Headache
  • Pale skin color
  • Sudden moodiness or behavior changes, such as crying for no apparent reason
  • Clumsy or jerky movements
  • Seizure
  • Difficulty paying attention, or confusion
  • Tingling sensations around the mouth

Notice “vibrating” wasn’t among the symptoms.

I asked those on Twitter who I chatted with that day to expand.

Kat says:

My son has been diabetic for just a little over a year and when he goes low he describes it as a vibrate feeling that comes from inside. It’s as if you have a cell phone on vibrate in your chest. He is a teenager so I guess the cell phone analogy shows the vibrate in teen speak. As I learned today though, there seems to be “diabetic speech” that no matter what age, they all understand the language and those of us that do not have it do not know what it is like or how to speak this language, but they all seem to share it.

Renata says:

Both of my kids have used the term vibrating. When Kelsey use to tell me “vibrating,” I would assume she just mean shaking like her hands were shaking. But several years later when Marty said he felt like he was vibrating, I asked them to explain. The best explanation was “vibrating, it comes from the inside out. I can feel it on the inside of my body.”

Has your child ever use this term to describe how (s)he’s feeling when low? What terms does (s)he use?

Further Reading

You can follow Kat on Twitter, she’s @Katszr.

You can follow Renata on Twitter, she’s @DiabeticDuo, read her blog The Diabetic Duo, and learn more about her and her family when she was a featured D-Mom.

American Diabetes Association: Hypoglycemia (low blood glucose)

{ 6 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Julie March 30, 2011 at 10:19 am

My 7 year old uses the term “floppy” and has used that since the first low she ever had ( her d-day was Jan. 5, 2010). She’s almost always low when she says that.


2 Jen March 30, 2011 at 11:46 am

My son has been diabetic for 5 1/2 years and describes lows as a weak feeling in his legs (makes his knees want to buckle). He also feels lightheaded. Physically, he gets very pale and gets blackish circles under his eyes (like someone who is very tired). Once, when still on syringes, with a bg of 1.8 (32 in the USA) he was unable to move, as if frozen. Very scary.


3 Jer March 30, 2011 at 4:29 pm

Interesting…I’m at home early today w/ Ally as she had her PDRC appt today. We’re sitting on the couch and I asked her if she ever felt like she was vibrating when she was low and she looks at me, not blinking an eye (and I didn’t mention any of the blog post to her) and says, “Yah, it’s like having an enormous cell phone going off inside you. When I’m at school and I’m low, I feel it from my chair.” Odd (to me, anyway, obviously not to her!).


4 Susan Reed March 30, 2011 at 4:59 pm

My 9yr old son always says “I feel weak”


5 Renata March 31, 2011 at 12:24 am

Thank you for the shout out!! I think it’s awesome that both Kat and I said our kids “feel it from the inside”.


6 Katie July 10, 2012 at 10:56 am

Joey says he usually feels weak in the legs, like he can hardly stand at all. I notice that he is pale, I’m going to ask him when I get home tonight if he “vibrates” – that is a really interesting phenomena! 🙂


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