Over time I've noticed a big change in peoples reaction to my low blood sugars. In the beginning people kinda panicked and made sure all was well before they left me alone. Now it feels a little like as long as I'm breathing and talking I'm going to be fine in their eyes so they don't even ask if I'm okay or if I need anything. I get it I've never blacked out or anything but when you're in a low and you're seeing spots and feeling like you could die it's scary as hell even though it's happened a million times before.Just wondering how others feel about the subject.
I always try to take care of things myself and hopefully not raise any alarm. I don’t like being the object of a medical emergency. And things are made worse by my inability to articulate what I need or want. It’s hard when people are asking me questions that I can’t answer. I hate that feeling of incompetence.
I live alone so I don’t often have lows with close family present. It usually happens when I’m alone or with aquaintances or strangers. I can catch most lows but every once in a while I get surprised. It’s all part of the game, but it can have some emotional hangover.
I'm only a few years into this, but I think I know what you mean. My husband doesn't panic at all now and sometimes I wish he would be a bit more concerned because you're right, it can be very scary to be going through it. On the other hand, I also try to hide them when I can. We were with friends for Thanksgiving and I started to crash right after the meal began and I'd already bolused for what I was going to eat. I managed to inhale cranberry sauce to correct the downward trend without anyone noticing. I was in an internal panic, sweating, unable to really converse, but acted as normal as possible. I told my husband on the way home what had happened and he had no idea.
I understand. For the most part I'm alone and if I am around others I try & just get through them without anyone noticing. I don't crave attention but there are those rare times when I get scared.
For the most part I prefer to be left alone when I'm low. It's funny I'll be low & eating stuff and all my dogs are staring at me waiting to see what I'll give them.I just laugh & think even they don't care. I guess when it happens so much we can't expect others to know when we need a little help. There are also those times where we snap peoples heads off when we're low which makes them steer clear.
I think diabetes is tough on those close to us, too. They just can't know what you're feeling. Sometimes we want to be left alone and sometimes we want more support. Especially when you feel really threatened.
Maybe you could develop a secret signal to help your husband distinguish between the two. Men are not always the best at reading body language. And the body language when we're low may be vague, confusing, and subtle to others.
I think it's our responsibility to describe in detail what we really want from close family and friends when bad lows hit. Perhaps describing seeing the spots and the total confusion you feel might help make it more real to him.
I had a convo with my father about this not long ago. I had mentioned to him that I wasn't able to talk- I was low and didn't feel well, he was annoyed or something to that effect which in turn annoyed me which I let him know. So later, after he apologized, I explained to him how frightening some lows are and that all I can concentrate on is to get my bg back up and deal with the symptoms and hope I don't pass out or worse. I do think family members especially need to be sensitive to this, of course they can't understand the symptoms of low or what it feels like but they can empathize and be there for us when needed even if it is just to go away or to say, do you need help, some juice/glucose tabs etc. Those words mean so much when you are dealing with a bad low and help to make it not seem so bad.
Mild lows are ok, 1-2 glucose tabs etc. will take care of it and I usually recover quickly but fast dropping non responding lows are a whole other ball game. I have let my family know when I'm really in trouble and I may need help and they have been there for me, but of course they still can't understand how scary it is since they don't experience it. One of my cats is really there for me during lows and I'm beginning to wonder if he senses when I'm low because he sometimes comes to be near me before it happens. I wish I could train him, he is part siamese. Either way there have been many times he has helped me through difficult lows. He is the best!
When I'm having a low, especially the hard-charging bad ones, my service dog rests his head on my lap with a decidedly firm pressure. It's comforting to me and makes me think that he just knows that I'm under a threat. Animals are amazing!
That is so great Terry- my kitty wizard helps me to stay calm when I'm panicking too. Animals are the best! I would love a dog too, but not sure if I qualify for it or if I'm ready for the committment and my kitties prolly wouldn't like it unless it is a little doggie :-)
Awwwww....There was a 2 hour telethon for dogs on tv last night and they barely grazed over the topic of service dogs which was unfortunate imho.
I've met Terry's dog and he's great! I don't recall him doing much during our visit but he was really cool the whole time, very well mannered.
I usually just tell people I'm whacked out of my gourd. I usually blame it on working out which is sometimes the case but it will usually make people go "oh..." while I'm going "munch munch..."
Well, if my mom used the internet, she'd say I was a royal pain. That's cause I hover over her like a mother hen when she has a low. It's just my nature I guess. Her parents took care of me before I was able to start school, and during the summers while I was out of school.
So, with two senior diabetics, they trained me pretty good on how to handle their "lows" and "highs". When Mom was diagnosed, I was able to help her before she was even realizing the problem. Now, she just says I'm a Ms. Busybody. But, she's really scared me a couple of times--way worse than her parents ever did, to the point of calling 911. But the EMTs said I was on the right track with getting her BGs up--I was still scared.
Now, with me being a diabetic--it's different. She's the one hovering. I've been hypoglycemia for a long time, so now when my BGs drop, I don't realize it. The only reason she knows it is because I'm grumpy, sleeping too much, or sweating 'buckets'.
Once we are adequately recovered, I am gleeful and actively work to be sure they leave us alone.
If it scared us, if it terrified us, in my experience those are not just conversations for just "anybody". Those conversations belong to those whom we trust with those demons. Their experience, their desire to understand and comfort us is not a job for just some minor acquaintance(s).
These "Ghosts" are not usually friendly for others to witness. I am not pleased when loved ones resuscitate such events, whether very modern ones, or those events quite ancient.
Cannot change the past ever, please quit chaining us to that time, recalling those bad memories. It does not help any that a loved one(s) are afraid. Their fears and memories of such events do not help us.
In my humble opinion
With enough experience, many things are not worth much in terms of "panic" mode. Broken bones, low blood sugar, the list is a long one. Once you've had the experience, and are able to react to them, whatever the problem(s)...
Have enough of them (or anything else) and you will take whatever steps are necessary, and all but the most observant will literally never notice there was a problem, whatever it might have been.
What are you doing about the fear you spoke of? What are/do you do with that?
Thanks for all the responses! I wasn't complaining so much as I wanted to know or feel I wasn't alone. I totally get that no one can understand how I'm feeling especially a non diabetic person. I thought surely someone gets what I felt at the time here. I don't want anyone to hover I'm not at all a person who needs or likes hovering but on occasion it can be scary.I'm not normally fearful but when a bad one hits it can get scary.
Reading this has made me question myself on how when needed that I try to help my grown daughter and my husband. My daughter deals with more lows than my husband, so with her when she feels she needs a little extra help she will ask. I have tried over the yrs not to show that I feel anxious inside for her when she is low because I feel all that does it put more stress on her.. so if I can act calm (not perfect on that one :) but if I can try and act as if this is ok and we are going to fix this now that I am somehow making this a normal situation .. Diabetes is far reaching inside a family. Someone you love has it and diabetes suddenly has them in its grip too. It's the way it should be - We all need to lean on each other sometimes in this walk through life... I am going to ask them both some questions on ways that I can help-when to come in closer and when to back off . I am going to tell them that I hope how much I care and love them shows during these lows and if not ,I am sorry and will step it up :) take care _Now see what ya done gone and made me do, Think ! :)ha !
No one really reacts to my lows at all either, but that is because I have always treated them myself and because I don't show ANY signs of being low.
I could be at 20 and still happily be carrying on a conversation with no one being the wiser. Though now and again when I get a low that I DO feel, it puts me on my can in a hurry. Sweating droplets, shaking, cold, semi blindness, inability to think properly... all the classic symptoms. I agree completely that it can be an incredibly scary feeling but I don't blame anyone around me for not noticing.
I will say that on the occasions that they do notice, they are immediately helpful and don't make a huge deal about it.
The worst one for me was when I was younger and my bedroom was upstairs from my parents. I knew I needed juice and I knew I was beyond low but I realized that I was in my boxers, so of course I could not just go down to the kitchen. It didn't matter that it was 3am. So I tried to get up and fell on the floor next to my bed, managed to get myself seated and was trying to figure out how to tie my shoes. I ended up just sitting there crying because I could not remember how to tie them.
My father had heard me fall out of my bed and came up holding a glass of juice for me and said he was glad he heard it and that he came as quickly as he did.
I never did end up getting my pants on.
Just remember, they might not make a big deal of it, but if they know you are in need, family and friends will always be there to help.
I didn't see you as complaining at all and I totally get it. There is nothing wrong with wanting/needing help with a low(it's not that hard to get someone juice or to say don't worry etc. or wait till they come back up is it?), nor with not wanting to deal with other people's complaints or whatever when you're trying to raise your bg and manage all of it. I'm sure you have given your husband support many, many times and there will be many more times. Maybe talk to him about your feelings and describe what you go through with a bad low. As far as the fear goes everyone is different in their reaction- the fear is also part of the physical reaction of a low. What I do is tell myself out loud it's going to be ok, don't panic, you'll just take these glucose tabs and glucose drinks if needed and maybe you'll go high and so on.I remember once having a low while eating out with a friend and I don't think I said much of anything, I just ended up sharing half of his dessert and that got me out of it.
I used to have many, many severe lows, some down into the 30's. Many times where my wife had to help me.
So she got over the panic part pretty quickly, on the surface anyway.
It used to be so frequent tat she's gotten to the point of resigned irritation nowadays - Yes dear, I'm joking! :-)
If I'm able to walk and not talking like a crazy man (if I'm able to talk at all) or stripping off my clothes, she's basically drumming her fingers on the table waiting for me to treat it or fall flopping on the ground like a fish out of water.
So far most of the rest of the family has been spared, but there have been a few looks of absolute terror the few times someone happens to be around.
I went to visit my sister out of state a few months ago and had to brief her on the Glucagon Emergency Kit. She's a nurse, so took it all in stride, but I caught her watching for signs the whole time we were there. :-) I hated putting that 'responsibility' on her, but we talked about it beforehand and she's pretty levelheaded and as I mentioned, she's a nurse.
Some of my most severe lows have been truly terrifying for me, so I generally avoid sharing my internal experiences with family, or even my wife for fear of how it might effect them. It's bad enough that I have to experience it, not sure I want to expose them to it as well.
I've documented a couple of my Hypos here in other threads, as a form of therapy. And I have created some sanitized, Little House on the Prairie, versions for family in the past.