First (and hopefully only) Blackout

I use to black out a lot when I was first diagnosed in the days of NPH and regular insulin usage. Paramedics were my friends and one morning my MD was in my living room sitting next to me on the couch, as I believe my parents were losing it, not sure, but think that now. I ended up in the ER on many occasions and probably would not have come to on my own, had my parents not fed me OJ. The last time I passed out was about 30 years ago and ended up in the hospital and have not been there since. I mostly wake up from my lows and have nearly passed out about two times, but some how got juice down me. The thing that works well for me now are those orange candy slices, way better than glucose tabs for me. I am glad you came to, but sorry you hit your head. I too suffer from hypoglycemic unawareness and not sure why I can continue to wake up when going low in the middle of the night. I am so bad I have nothing by my bedside and continue to trek down the stairs testing my bloodsugar and slamming food down me in the middle of the night.

I have a few hypo stories such as yours Brian, some involving a Call to the EMT and some not. I find that I will wake up from a low at night, but not in the day time. I have never had a "pass-out"low in the middle of the night, while sleeping. I am generally able to wake myself up and treat. Had a scary 22 "blackout" low the day before Thanksgiving a few weeks ago.. I was getting ready to go to a noon-day church service, about an hour ahead of time, short distance to travel; had laid out my hat and coat and pre-bolussed for lunch... I never made it to the service. I woke up on the floor looking at a paramedic. It was such a blessing that a former roomate and close friend still has a key and had stopped by. When I did not answer the doorbell, she came in, found me on the floor and was not able to arouse me. She called the paramedics. I had not been awakened by the alarm from the MM CGMS. The paramedics said I was 22 when they checked me.

I will admit I assumed that my BG was at the reported level of 118, what I saw on the
CGMS, before my pre-bolus. I did not test with the glucometer. No more assumptions on that one for me. I will follow the meter, and not the CGMs as much. I did notice, before I sat down on the sofa that day of my 22, that I was trending double arrow down. That was all I saw until 4 hours later when I was awakened by the EMTs.

Brian, I suggest you do not try to correct with a lot of short acting insulin before bed. I keep a tube of glucose tabs on my night stand, but of course I was in the living room when I passed out.

I know what happened to you was scary, but usually can be avoided with careful planning and finger stick testing frequently. I also know how easy it is to want to overcorrect and keep the tightest of all control, but we really have to watch it.

Ggod Bless,


type 1 43 years

Wow, Brunetta, scary! Thank goodness your friend stopped by! You truly had something to be thankful for this Thanksgiving! I think we all learn from these experiences. My serious low came before I really understood about insulin dosing, but has given me a healthy respect for insulin. That and living alone make me ride that balance between good control and risk of serious lows. I hope we can all learn from each other’s lessons as well and not have to go through so many scary things on our own. I’m so glad you’re ok!

d Idea Zoe! I tried keeping my number's super tight and well.............Let's just say the ER seen me ALOT for super lows. Another suggestion here that I was told by a paramedic.................Keep some cake icing (the kind in a tube) and as long as you are able to swollow and kinda know what your doing put it in your mouth and let it dissove then swollow.

Cake icing is almost 100% sugar and it will being you back kinda fast. Me? I keep it in the drawer beside my bed in the kitchen silverware drawer and in each room of my house so I can get to it at anytime! It has also saved me a few times when I'm at home alone and one of those blessed lows hit. No warning just check my bs and see I need something FAST b/f I go totally out!

Having Hypounawareness means you never can tell when you’re having and low…that’s why we pass out. The body has lost the signals for lows, so to speak but it can be regained if you’re able to not have lows for 2 weeks.

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I used to be a 911 dispatcher for about 15 years and I can't tell you how many times I took a call in the middle of the night for this very thing. Ofcourse, this was pre-diabetic for me so I didn't relate. When I was diagnosed, that was the first thing that came to my mind.. Those blackout/hypo's in the middle of the night. They scared the bejesus out of me.
In fact, I have just recently began adding a second dose of long acting insulin at night, which has helped my dawn phenom quite a bit, but I still never, ever correct if I'm on the high side before going to bed. I'm too scared. In fact, the other night about an hour before going to bed I tested at 114... I was scared to go to bed (still very new to insulin and such) so I ate a popsicle.. just in case.

So glad you're okay- and starting to feel better.

I still don’t really like to run up overnight either though as to me, that’s an opportunity to ‘bank’ a good 8 hours of stable, flat numbers? If you do that for a year, and can get your nighttime say < 100, instead of at 120, it seems like it will help you in the long run? I don’t actually have any proof of that, of course, but if I’m higher, I’d prefer to fix it but include some small food, 10-15G of carbs in the fixins’, so to speak, to smooth things out? Sometimes it’s not totally convenient to hang out for an hour waiting to see the BG go down (at which point I’ll actually eat the food for which I bolused an hour previously…) but, when I do that, it seems to maintain a nice overnight result without problems running really low.

So glad to hear that you are here to tell the tale. What a scary thing to happen. That hung-over-hit-by-a-truck feeling is unpleasant to say the least. I keep glucose tabs on my bedside table these days. It took me a long time to get smart to that. I am sometimes a slow learner (or stubborn learner when you fold in the denial). I am sorry that you had to experience the whole thing.

You probably won't repeat this again. This kind of experience sticks with you. Dropping a hundred points in 35 minutes can happen. I've got a CGM and that helps. Though, I tend to go low and hang there for a while before the CGM gets hip to the idea. If I'm high before bed, I will bolus a bit and wait. I'm on a pump so I will give a bolus and then up my basal rate for a couple of hours. If it's any consolation, you are among some terrific company. :)

It doesn’t necessarily take hypounawarenss to pass out…several of my episodes I sort of knew what was going on but was distracted by other stuff but, being always sort of paranoid about complications, felt like it was really important not to eat just yet? I pretty much always have some kind of carbs around but, if there’s a bacon cheeseburger on the horizon and the winds blow the wrong way, it will trump the glucose tablets?

I made it 25 years without ever passing out then I really started having problems and was passing out a lot. The one morning, I came to and was sitting on the couch in the living room. I had blood all over my shirt – I had managed to give myself a bloody nose and also ended up with a black eye. Another morning, I remembered waking up and seeing that my BS was in the 30s. Next thing I know, it was 3 hours later and I was sitting on the living room floor. I would always come downstairs and walk into the kitchen & put my meter on the table, take the dog out and when I brought him in, open the blinds in the living room, turn on CNN and then make my coffee. That morning, I apparently did all that stuff including making the coffee – I had a cup poured, but don’t remember even coming downstairs.

I started using a CGMS and that has really helped with the passing out factor, except last summer right after I started using my pump, I had two really bad lows. Friday night, I got together with a bunch of people where I live and we ordered pizza about 11 PM. I woke up with the Dexcom beeping at me about 4 AM that I was high & I over corrected (I did not think about the fact that I had my basals increased at 3 AM to help with DP and needed less of a correction). About 10, I came to laying on the bedroom floor. At first I thought I had a stroke because I could not move or even scream. It took me awhile to get turned over on my side. My feet were closest to the nightstand where my phone was. I don’t know how long it took me to get to the nightstand, but I know 20 minutes went past in between my first and second attempts at getting the phone. I got the phone but I pulled it out of the wall in the process. I finally managed to crawl over to the window and get that opened to scream for help. Someone heard me and they went to get the manager here to get in. My neighbor 2 doors down came around back when the girls that heard my screams came up the hill and she yelled that they were getting the manager to come in so I told her to call 911.

Two days after that, I have no clue what happened, but I woke up laying on my bedroom floor with EMTs over me. That was the only time I ever had EMTs there when I woke up. That was pretty freaky because I had no clue who they were and these people were saying my name. It took me awhile to answer them until I after I heard them say something about my BS. Apparently I was screaming and banging on the walls about 3 AM and my neighbors called the police (I live in a townhouse). By the time the cop got there, I had stopped screaming. When he knocked on my door, I didn’t answer because I was unconscious. He was actually going to leave and gave my neighbor his card and told them if it started up again, to call him. Fortunately my neighbor convinced him to get the manager and come in.

My dog goes under the bed when the Dex starts going off - it is like he knows there is trouble ahead!

OK, here is one of mine, which occurred last year and the only time it involved the rescue squad. Keep in mind I’m 55 at the time, a computer nerd, almost always calm, relaxed and haven’t been in a fight since high school.

You are allowed to laugh since it is over now.

My wife and I were watching a DVD, I had been sick, like not eating, fever etc for a couple of days. This was the first time I had been sick since going on the pump 4 years before. I didn’t decrease my dose to cover for hardly any food the doc tells me I should increase when ill, but hold on for the rest of the story.

I remember looking at the movie and one of the ladies all of a sudden had a big green head, a knife and said I want your blood. It was like a Hallmark movie so this was wrong.

All of a sudden I looked at my wife and she had a big green head, the knife and wanted my blood. That is about all I remember until I woke up an hour later with 3 rescue squad men, 1 lady and two police officers in our small bedroom.

I was on my back, spread eagle on the bed with one man on each arm, one sitting on my chest and the lady entering data in their computer. The two cops were standing there watching. They dosed me with the glucose in a tube which I had never had, yuck.

I slowly came to and realized I was in trouble. My nose itched and asked if I could scratch my nose, the guy on my chest said, “he’s coming around now” and got one of the guys off my arm. I scratched and put my arm back and told him to climb back on, I told them I saw the police with guns (in holsters) as I opened my eyes and didn’t want anyone to get the wrong idea. They laughed and slowly started to peel away.

From my wife, the rest of the story goes like this. Before the squad came I (on the Animas Ping then) was running around the house with the pump out swinging it around my head…I guess I thought I was a cowboy. My wife told me if I didn’t eat something she would call the rescue people. I said something similar to, “Go ahead bring 'em on”.

She did and they came. It turned out I kicked the guy on my chest across the room the first time he got me. Picked the other two up by their collars and slammed they heads together and tossed them across the room (I do remember a bunch of green-headed people being there).

Therefore, the cops. But by the time they got there the rescue guys had already gotten some glucose into me and I was calming down.

I apologized profusely, felt totally stupid, wanted to shrink away into invisibility and now every time my wife thinks my BG is low (which she is excellent at) she says, “Do you see any green heads?”

The head rescue guy, think chest position, said he really had enough with diabetics for a while, I was his third that week, we all act nuts; but I was the most lively. My BG was less than 20 according to his meter.

By-the-way, just to boost my ego, the two guys who I picked up, smashed their heads together and tossed where in their late 20s and both weight lifters…“bring it on” – NOT.

Of course, they probably didn’t want to beat the crap out of some old guy and be in the paper, yeah, I write technology columns for the local paper, which the lady said she enjoyed reading, I’m sure they all put my picture at the center of their dart board now.

Alcohol does lower BS so the whiskey works well. I do prefer Jamesons over Bushmills and i go with the water whiskey mix. yum yum.

rick phillips

They didn’t want to beat the crap out of some old guy because then they have to do more paperwork!

That is absolutely the funniest “blackout” story I’ve ever heard. I would love to have seen the cowboy scene!

Hey Brian. Glad you are here, too.

When your blood sugar gets low enough, certain brain functions stop such as memory and speech. Then things like walking. Blackouts can also occur when you have a seizure. My guess is you probably had a low blood sugar seizure. The bruise and the knot make me think that. Also, the only time I feel hung over is when I have had a seizure. Just getting down to 30 or so would make me tired for a day, but not feeling hung over. I keep glucose tabs on my night stand, but I also like to keep juice or candy so that way if I am too out of it to count how many glucose tabs I have consumed, I at least have some idea of how many carbs I have eaten.

I am so glad to hear that you’re okay. I have blacked out due to low blood sugars. I have actually had two big seizures in the middle of the night as a result of severe lows. This was when I was in middle school and high school. Fortunately, my mom woke up to me making weird noises and checked on me, where she saw me flailing around in bed. After that incident, we used a baby monitor in my room (even while I was in high school) to make sure that my parents could hear me if I started to make strange noises or flail around in bed aggressively. I’ll admit, to this day, I’m terrified of giving insulin before bedtime. If my blood sugar is running high at night, I’ll give myself the minimum amount of insulin. I’ll also set my alarm for two hours later to wake up and test my blood sugar.

I’m really glad you’re okay!

Yeah, it’s funny in retrospect, but I feel sorry for your wife having had to experience it!!!

Hi Brian
Gald to here your ok and got out of it. I have not blacked out myself but have come close , did you dosed up and go to bed
without eating? Try a quicker acting carb drink than juice get you out of it a bit quicker . When i get bad lows I feel very tired after them as well so dont worry about that , it happens we are all still here so thats good

We’ve been married for 35 years and she can put up with all my other idiosyncrasies so she handled it pretty well. She is a school teacher so knows how not to panic under fire.