“The most serious complication of hypoglycemia is death.”
This under-stated yet profound truth can be found in the book “Pumping Insulin” by John Walsh and Ruth Roberts, under a section entitled “Avoid Death in Bed”. For me, death in bed was nearly my fate last night and being naturally pessimistic (realistic I’d argue) I can foresee death in bed as being the most likely contender for introducing me to the Grim Reaper. During last night’s hypo, I had just enough consciousness to feel the terror of knowing I was slipping way – fading in and out from a dazed state, knowing I needed help, but being unable to help myself. Alone, frightened, and helpless: that is the death which awaits me.
The circumstances which caused this episode of hypoglycemia are a mystery. Although I began insulin pump therapy last week, the only difference last night, as compared to the previous nine nights, was that I had eaten some popcorn before going to sleep, an act which conventional wisdom would lead one to believe should have resulted in me having elevated concentrations of blood glucose throughout the night, rather than to have experienced a prolonged hypoglycemia.
However, hypoglycemia is something for which I plan. My glucose meter, glucose tablets, and a gigantic bag of Skittles are always by my side while I sleep. Upon being awoken by the first signs of hypoglycemia, in my stupor, I managed to eat a handful of Skittles, before succumbing to unconsciousness. This process was repeated for about six hours throughout the night and early morning, as I would come around long enough to ingest some sugar, but never being able to reach a level of consciousness that provided me with enough awareness to test my blood sugar or take more radical action to help myself.
Therein lies the rub with treating severe episodes of hypoglycemia when one lives alone.