Mom suffered a dangerous low and now she is slowly recovering from a diabetic coma

Hi all -

I have been lurking but not posting much. 2015 has not been kind to my family to date. Rheumatoid arthritis is kicking my butt and adversely affecting my diabetes.

However, Mom has suffered the most this winter with her osteoarthritic hips. February 27th she told me she not stand or walk when I woke her up to drive her to dialysis. I called EMS and she was promptly taken to the hospital for evaluation. Every test under the sun (especially stroke) was done. Finally, the ER admitted her and came to the conclusion that she was have a severe arthritis flare (DUH!). I will admit that her BP was extremely high, but it was due to the pain she was suffering.

While in the hospital, she evaluated by many doctors who decided that she was not stable enough to do any type of hip replacement surgery, but they wanted her to be placed in a skilled nursing/rehabilitation facility to help her strengthen her leg muscles. She was transferred to the facility March 12th for a 20 day stay. Mom was determined to get back home quicker than the timeframe the doctors anticipated.

On Saturday, March 14th I receive a phone call at 4:30am from the facility saying Mom is unresponsive and suffering from low blood sugar. She said the meter only gave a reading of "LOW". The nurse told me to me the ambulance at the hospital. I beat the ambulance to the hospital.

The ER nurse told me that EMS said their meter registered 30 for her BG but that was after the nurse had given her glucagon. They gave her 2 5 Deps to get her to 79. Immediately the doctors assumed stroke, but I knew that her BGs had dropped drastically. She's been diabetic since 1983 and on insulin since 1989 and she's never been unconscious with me.

Her endocrinologist is determined to say it's a stroke, but the neurologist did a physical exam, checked her previous and current CAT scans and came to the conclusion that she went into hypoglycemic shock. The brain cannot function without sugar.

As the neurologist calls it, she's in a stupor. The incident happened Saturday and it is now Friday. She is slowly coming back, but she still sleeps a lot, her speech is slurred, she can move her hands, arms, legs, and feet, but she is weak. The neurologist says it will take time for her to come back and a lot of aggressive therapy(PT/OT/Speech).

She's got a temporary feeding tube in her nose, but eventually one will be placed in her stomach. They were originally giving her Nepro, but her sugars kept climbing so they switched it to Glucerna.

I am so hurt that I can't even be mad right now.

The doctors (admitting & endocrinologist) are saying she has brittle diabetes so her sugars dropped and she had the severe hypo that no one caught. But I still feel that the nursing facility messed up one of three ways---did not monitor her, give her a snack, or gave her too much insulin for supper.

Please add her to your prayer lists if you have them. She's the only immediate family I left.

Now my RA is flaring and my BGs are elevated because I've been living in her hospital room this week. I'm still trying to eat correctly, but I think the stress has just pushed me over the edge.


my prayers are with you & your mother

God bless you and your mother. There is a reason why she is still here.

I will be thinking of you and your Mom. Keep up your courage. You sound like such a good caregiver!

My thoughts are with you and your Mom. (((((Hugs)))))

Oh Kate - I am so sorry to be reading this. I had a coma (out for the count for 3 days) when I was a teen … but that was due to the opposite of your Mum - I Fd up my insulin dose, etc. It took me awhile to come back to normal - some brain probs - but being only 13 - I repaired that part of my noggin’. I also am brittle - so have to be very careful with how much insulin I use (I’ve gone down to 20 … and managed to get myself up). Hang in there … and hopefully your Mum will be back to being able to tell you off for not cleaning your room :wink:


My thoughts are with you Kate. I wouldn't be surprised if she was placed on a sliding scale and inadvertently given too much insulin. I would definitely ask for records and look into what happened.

I lost my own mother to a severe prolonged low which left her with zero brain activity and unable to breath on her own.

Hope you things start looking up for you both.


Thank you everyone for the wonderful, kind, and beautiful words. Mom's slowly recovering and making progress. She's able to speak a little, but her memory is fuzzy and her voice. Aggressive PT/OT to get her moving. Today the GI surgeon placed a PEG tube in her stomach (hopefully temporarily) until she's fully recovered.

Yes, Yeagen she has lots more to do on this Earth. Anna, it is so good to see her smile and recognize me. :-)

Buckley - you called it. Even in the hospital, night before last, the day nurse gave her too much insulin and thankfully the evening nurse caught it in time to give her Dextrose--she had dropped to 59. Not good for her recovery. A sliding scale format is too dangerous if a person is not technically or just good fashioned common sense skilled in knowing how to use it for the administration of insulin to a diabetic. And extremely dangerous for a diabetic with brittle diabetes. An overdose of insulin can be fatal.

The doctors are now saying, "well you know she's had an episode here in the hospital too." Yeah, but again, human error is the most plausible explanation. I have asked the doctors for the records for review. If things keep dragging, I will have to ask for legal advice. She has never had this experience with me and I was trained to give her insulin as a child. Also I watched my grandmother administer insulin to my grandfather. It's nothing to take lightly or rush through.

Yes, she's my little teenager and I pray to have many more years to spoil her--shopping for sales and sneakers (Nikes of course). :-)

you sound like such a wonderful daughter
hope your mom improves more & you enjoy each other for many more years

So sorry this happened to your mom, that is awful... I'm glad she is recovering and feeling a bit better now.. she is strong... take care of both of you... prayers and hugs for you both :-)

Sending LOTS of prayers and HUGS to u both!! I'm sorry u both had to go thru this. I would bet money this is from human error. Ur right in pursuing this especially if she has never done this under your care. Hang in there!!