Man, I thought I’d finally gotten the hang of this pump and that my days of severe lows were over, only to end up getting brought into the ER department at the hospital at which I work with a blood sugar of 21. When I finally realized I was in an ER and that I had been really low, I started crying and asking for a bunch of people–my mom, my boss, my friends, Tom Brady, Hope Solo. A doctor who I just started working with earlier today took down my mom’s phone number and called her, and finally got her on the phone with me. She stayed with me for several hours, talking, comforting me, calling my friends, and really just acting like she’d been friends with me for years. Another doctor that I’d just met earlier today and a third doctor and friend of mine also showed up to wish me the best and make sure I was okay. This experience made me realize just how incredibly blessed I am–to be surrounded by people who will spend an entire evening with me just to make sure I don’t get lonely or scared, to work with people who are willing to treat me as a close friend even though they’d just met me a few hours earlier, and to be treated by doctors and nurses who really are at the top of their profession. But at the same time, I can’t help but be scared. This is the fourth severe low I’ve had this year, and third one requiring an ER visit or call to 911. I’ve been so blessed to always be around someone who recognized what was going on and who was willing to help me, but I live alone, what happens when I go low and nobody’s around to notice something’s off? While sitting in the observation unit, I’m trying to focus on how blessed I truly am and to give thanks for these small miracles, but man, there’s definitely a lot of fear in the background!
I just wanted to share that with people who might understand. No response is really necessary, I just had a ton running through my head and round it really helpful to put it into words. I hope you all have a great night and that you all have guardian angels watching over you like I’ve had this year. Thanks for reading!
I’m glad you are ok, Jackie. I don’t have any major advice to give; I’m sure you know to try and see what caused the low or what causes the severe lows you’ve been having so that it can become a learning experience and you can work with your doctor towards preventing further experiences like that.
I had a low where I went unconscious (I too live alone) and then my liver kicked in and I was able to test and treat (with difficulty). But I’ve never had one where I was brought to the ER or had the paramedics. I can only imagine how scary that was! I’m just glad you are ok, and that you had good people to assist you and support you.
I am glad you were able to identify the problem so you can take action in the future. I am glad these lows are not just random lows that occur for no reason. That should help soothe your fears of lows… just be very careful with your carb counts, very accurate. And testing two hours postprandially, checking how much insulin you have on board and “covering” excess insulin with a few carbs works. If you have 3 units on board, BS is 100 and each unit brings you down 50 points you might need something in the range of 15 grams free ExCarbs (assuming your carb ratio is 1 to 10). You could try 10 grams to be conservative, test in another hour and see if that worked or if you need the 15. As long as there is a cause for the lows and you know the cause, you will be okay. Sorry this has been happening and you have some wonderful coworkers.
Youare very Blessed, VERY blessed, Jackie.I too live alone and am sometimes too aggressive with the bilussing…got to stop that,But SO glad and grateful to God that you are Ok. He has surrounded you with angels!!!
It sounds, Jackie, like you have some excellent insight both about what causes the lows and what is happening for you emotionally (being conditioned to fear highs). After my experience I described I became somewhat fearful of lows and overly conservative with insulin. But it’s now 2 1/2 years ago and I like to think I’ve settled into a happy medium. I bolus sufficiently and correct highs but I don’t overbolus and am cautious especially at night. Last night for example I woke up during the night and I was 250 which is very high for me. My ISF is 1:45 and my pump wizard suggested around 3 units which would take me to 115. But since I was going back to sleep I only bolused 2. I woke up at a nice 116 so it all worked out.
Like I said, you seem to know what you need to do (yeah, I know sometimes knowing and doing have a gap between them!), but my suggestion is to really hone in your parameters such as I:C ratio, basal rates, ISF and duration. Also, to get an online or printed carb list so you can be more accurate in counting and measure things more patiently to be more accurate than eyeballing. Then when you need to bolus or correct you can be confident in the numbers programmed into your pump and pay attention to IOB so you don’t stack and overbolus. Yes, it definitely can be a balancing act. I don’t ignore high numbers but I figure I have more leeway to deal there than I do if I have a catastrophic low, especially living alone. (My cat loves me to death, but I haven’t been able to train her to detect lows or dial the phone yet…lol)
Hi Jackie and although something nasty happened many other things came back to order. Thanks so much for your honesty and a beautiful letter that gives us a window into your terrible struggle(s). This February I will celebrate two anniversaries. I will be fifty years old, and thirty eight years insulin dependant and I am doing very well. The only complication (and it really isn’t) that has made itself known, is a small degree of impotence and I wear that like a badge of honour. My eyes were checked recently and the Opthamologist said “If you didn’t tell me you were diabetic I would never have known”.
I tell you this because I want everyone to know that having tight control is a lot of work that stops even more work via complications later on, and of course you are still dealing with diabetes. You are definitely worth the work, we are ALL worth the work!!! This is also a great teaching moment that helps us all understand that what we are dealing with is NOT an exact science. The variables are numerous and many key ones are still yet unknown.
Due to all of the above we must all have different coping strategies at different times. When the rules change or we make an error it is difficult but not inpossible to win. I have done very well because I have worked very hard, been very lucky (ie right people at the right time(s) and have had a tremendous ammount of support. People will generally help you is they see you are trying. I would not be alive if not for my mom and some of the most awesome EMT’s on the planet. When anyone says “Wow no eye damage after that many years” I tell them about the fact that NONE of us an do this alone. The fact of the matter is what happened to you is possible every day, and most days you win. You sleep and diabetes doe not. For this and many other reasosns I am very proud of you.
We are not alone (thanks Manny) and must remember the tighter our control, the more important it is to be surrounded by the right tools in our diabetes kit a.k.a. “third arm”, and if you can, sleep with anyone who will wake up when you can’t and an intercom by your bedside never hurts either. These are exciting times because fashions in treatment are always changing, allowing us to better control blood sugars and complications as well.
The monster is on the run and we cannot and will not rest on our laurels until we manage this beast until it is talked about only in a history lesson. The cornerstone of medicine has always been harm reduction through compassionate means and tudiabetes is an excellent example of such. Once again thanks for your letter and I am very proud of you and none of us asked for this. I did not have a glucometer in 1974, but we do now. Enough said?
The Anonymous Diabetic.
P.S. If your a beekeeper sooner or later your going to get stung (ha ha).
AND THANK YOU IN RETURN!!! Yes I remember very well. I believe it was a pill with 12 drops of water with 3 drops of urine hoping it was more blue than orange (ha ha). We all know if there is sugar in your urine that is not where you want to be. Your Olympic gold medal analogy is excellent and regardless of the level of success, none of us can do this alone. Just do your very best without driving yourself or others crazy.
We just have to remind everyone that this is not a contest but rather an extremely serious and difficult task. I don’t care how people do it, just as long as they can safely monitor and regulate thier sugars as well as possible. Pills, pumps, injections, diet, I don’t care, as long as everyone is safe and happy. We are going to beat this thing no doubt about it!!! On some levels, we already have.
The Anonymous Diabetic
Wayne (if anyone cares ha ha).