Conclusion Post for LADA Week

This is the hard part of the story. Picking up where I left off yesterday. And again, the reason I want to tell this is so it’s never repeated again. Not my story, but what actually happened, I don’t want others to have to go through this.

So I’m diabetic, at least we’ve figured that out at the doctor’s office. And I don’t know anything, cause I trust everyone, and when the doc says do this, I do it. When he says take this pill (for Type 2 diabetes) I take it. I don’t know anything about insulin, because I didn’t need to, or so I thought.

Time goes on, and because of my ridiculously strict diet, and exercise regimin, my blood glucose levels are OK, but I really wasn’t checking all that much, again, because I didn’t know I was supposed to. I didn’t know what a diabetic educator was. I didn’t know what “bolus” meant. My doc didn’t, and he never told me to see someone who knew more than him.

Lack of checking, lack of knowledge, no one to tell me otherwise. Things got worse. I’m a thin, fit guy to begin with. 150 pounds at almost six feet tall. Yeah, thin. Well, over time, I went down to 123 pounds. I was sick and looked sick. I’m glad I don’t have pictures of me from that time, cause I remember looking at myself in the mirror and it was scary. Scary because I looked like a skeleton. And I felt like utter ■■■■. (Sorry for language) I looked and felt like someone rolled over me with a dump truck and then kicked me around a bit to make sure I knew what was happening.

Still, I was trusting my doc, and we’re trying this and that, and he’s prescribing me different pills, and I’m spending money I don’t have on drugs that aren’t doing anything for. Yeah, the medical system is ■■■■■■ up, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.

Finally, I made the decision to see someone else. To make this part of the long story short, I take my first shot of insulin ever, that day in the office, and that night was my first night of sleep in 6 months. That’s no joke. I tossed and turned and my hair was coming out. I slept like a log. I put on 36 pounds in a MONTH. ONE MONTH, I put on 36 pounds. Is this making any sense people? I was dehydrated and should have been dead a long time ago. And I was happy I was getting fat. I’ve since gotten to my current fighting weight of 145, but it was just nice to sleep.

Next chapter. Things got better, but they got worse. I was only taking Lantus, or long-acting insulin. I was not taking any bolus, or short acting, insulin. I still was not seeing a CDE. The new doc new slightly a bit more than the old one. I should’ve known something was up, when the old doc recommended someone else in the company. Same company. Stupid me!

Anyway, so I’m only taking Lantus, and to me, things are getting better. I’m sleeping and putting on weight and feel good. I’m exercising for the first time, in what feels like my life. Oh, things are good.

But here’s the important part, still no education on my part. I didn’t have a clue what was going on with me. No one ever suggested that I learn something, and here I am again, trusting people.

So I go on a camping trip to my favorite mt bike spot in Colorado. I’m camping and mt. biking and life is good. I do a really big ride on Saturday, with the plans to leave Sunday morning. Like I do a massive ride on Saturday, 8 hours, about 60 miles. I’m loving life.

I take my Lantus, things are good. Didn’t check. Why? I didn’t know. Get up in the morning, have coffee, and hit the road. What I didn’t know was my BG was dropping rapidly, still from the Lantus, and still from that big ride the day before. I had no idea there was a lag like that.

Oh, here’s the other part I didn’t mention before. I figured low BG was better than high BG right. Cause that’s the goal of being a diabetic, to have a low blood glucose, cause diabetes makes your BG high. I had developed the condition of hypo-unawareness, or not knowing when your BG gets too low. Like too low to stand up and be conscious. This goes back to the lack of diabetes education.

So, during my drive, my BG bottoms out, and because I didn’t feel it happening, I get to a point where it’s so low that I black out. I’m driving. Not a good situation.

I wasn’t really sure where I was, or what happened, I only knew where I woke up. Strapped to a hospital bed, with a lot of bright lights, and a lot of serious looking faces looking at me. The first faces I saw weren’t the doctors and nurses, it was the police and firefighters. Having been trained as an EMT and worked in ERs before, I instantly knew, even in my HIGHLY medicated state, that something very serious had happened.

I was way drugged up, but man did I feel pain. I felt massive pain, like the worst pain I’ve ever felt in my life. But it was nothing compared to the pain I learned all about in the next few hours.

I finally came to, I’m not sure when, but in a different room, not the ER. The doc comes in, and I somehow manage to ask what happened. Very systematically, robotic like, she told me I was in a car accident, and another person was killed. She gave me very brief details and walked out. I was alone, with the knowledge that someone had died because of ME. It was my fault. I was driving, I went across the center line and collided head on, with another car. It was instant for him, but not me. The paramedics who came on scene, later told me I was within inches of my life.

I’ve since learned many parts of the story. I learned that the police and firefighters thought I was a drunk driver, because of the way I presented to them on scene. As we all know now, when T1s are super low, they appear to be drunk to those who don’t know any better. I can’t blame the police, I get pissed too when drunk drivers get in the car. They wanted to kill me, cause I was drunk and someone had died.

I learned all about hypo-unawareness and how long the lag is, and why we need to be in super tight control, because literally, going too low, too fast, will kill us.

I learned more about the accident. I went to the site, I saw my car. It was not pretty. My car, a little Subaru, looked like it had been run over by a tank. It was bad. I saw the other car, a huge old Lincoln Continental, built like a tank, was in bad shape. Really bad.

And I learned, or saw, some really scary things. I was in intensive care for four days. Two of which were totally by myself, before my parents were able to get there. I was broken, in many places. I was on a LOT of morphine. I had dreams, nightmares really. I saw bad, evil things. The worst part of it was, I was thinking all these horrible thoughts, as if they were a representation of me. It was me I was projecting to myself, because I was an evil person who killed someone, or that’s the way my brain was thinking, in my drugged out haze.

I learned what that black hole was all about. It’s dark, and it’s scary. I don’t want anyone to go there. I was in a nether land. There was no up or down, or way out. I was in an abyss, I couldn’t breathe, or think, or feel, only hate. Hate myself for what I had done. It is a very, very dark place. I could not even imagine a worse fate.

I don’t have any more words to try and describe it. I’ve since learned and grown and come to forgive myself. I had nightmares and still do. I’ve prayed, I’ve begged, I’ve beat myself up and I’ve come to this conclusion.

It was a horrible accident Dan, that’s it. You have to move on, and try to help others, so it doesn’t happen again. A part of this whole story will be with you for the rest of your life, and you can’t change that, so don’t try. Instead focus on helping and teaching and learning and giving back. Focus on the good in life, and not tragedies.

I’m getting there. That was five years ago. Amazing. It seems so long ago, but also like it was yesterday. I can see it, painfully, very vividly. I can see those pissed off cop faces, staring down at me. I see my X-rays. I see my shattered wrist. I see scary things still.

But I also see kids faces. I see kids (and parents) who don’t know where to turn. I see kids mt. biking, and rock climbing, and skiing, and cooking healthy food, and laughing with their classmates. I see kids checking their blood sugar. I see kids taking insulin shots.

And then I see a cure. A cure that ends all this madness. I see a brilliant medical student, who got into medicine for the right reasons, discovering the missing link. I see him rejoicing when he realizes that he has cured diabetes. Oh, that’s a really good sight. Yes it is!

Thanks, it means a lot to me that you took the time to read. Any way I can help, I want to do it. And that means sharing some painful memories, so maybe those lessons won’t be repeated.

Daniel - thank you for your story. I’ve only been diabetic for 2.5 months, and fortunately I haven’t encountered the same doctor issues that you have. The thought of having a low while driving is one of the scariest things I can think of. The accident scenario you described is absolutely awful, but sharing it helps those like me keep a healthy fear of the risks of driving with low blood sugar.

My wife and I are about to drive cross country, and I’ve been thinking about this issue a lot lately. I’m considering installing a lane departure warning system on my car, but I’m not sure what good the loud beeping noise and warning lights would do if my sugar is really that low. However, it’s probably better than nothing.

Daniel: I am SO SO sorry. Thank you for sharing your story, if that is not a wakeup call I don’t know what is. There are so many lessons in there for all of us.

Melitta & Dan, thanks for reading. Dan, talk to a CDE, and if you don’t have one, DO IT NOW. Find a good one, one who wants to work with you. I can’t even bear the thought of something like my story happening to someone else. But I drive all the time now, and so do a bunch of other T1s, just make sure you’re feeling those lows. Feel free to call me if you want, check out my websites, my number is on both. Let me know if or how I can help.
Thanks so much for reading guys, it really means something to me. Lets spread the good word together.

Daniel, thanks for sharing your story. I can imagine it must have been quite painful to share with us, but it’s appreciated.

thanks daniel,for sharing your story with us,that is my fear too.i got stop by a policeman once,said that i was speeding,i didn’t know my bs was so low at the time,he saw my diabetic band and asked me if i was diabetic and ask me to check my bs and it was 27,he gave me a candy bar,and stayed with me until my bs got to 66 and follow me home,that was my daniel thank you again for you story.

Odessa, wow, you were blessed with an angel that day, lucky you. I feel bad for cops sometimes, they get picked on from so many different angles, but I bet 99% of them got into for the right reasons, to help people and do the right thing.
I’m glad you got home that day. Thanks so much for reading my story, please spread the word.

Kim, thanks so much for reading. It is tough to go through the whole thing again, I’ll never be quite over it. But if someone can learn, or I can help someone, then it’s all worth it.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I can only imagine your range of emotions . You have really given a voice to how we can deal with this in the best way. I have had diabetes for fifty years, and am fifty five. My share of lows could fill a room. Not knowing that your low is one of the worst parts of this disease. For me, it really was not until I was pregnant with my first child twenty years ago, that I was instilled with testing every single time before I get behind the wheel. My endo told me to, but I think he also told me some horror stories to drive home the point. Your story is something I identify with. I have been unbelievably lucky in the driving department.
The one time I woke up with EMT’s staring at me, thank god, I was in bed, with a bg of 27, right after I had given birth, and the hormones wreak havoc as they change and interact with insulin. The most terrifying feeling in the world to be woken with them in your face. I can only imagine what you felt as to the rest of the event.

Thanks Melinda, it helps knowing others read and learn and appreciate.