The kindness of Others
How many times in our diabetic life are we required to rely on others? For whatever reason in my diabetic life I often have to rely on others. Most notable of these is my wife, who has rescued me more than I could ever count or pay back. Once she found me bouncing around the bedroom in the middle of the night laughing without stop and sweating with the gusto of a coal miner.
This past Saturday while at a restaurant I had a low while waiting for a table. I was so hungry I would have eaten about anything. So when we got to our table I asked for a glass of lemonade. The lemonade arrived and I gulped it in one drink. The waitress looked at me in amazement and sheepishly asked why I was so thirsty. She was totally confused when I told her I was not. Sensing her confusion I asked for another. She returned with another and two wonderful oranges. Her rationale was that when her dad was ill he liked oranges. I assume she guessed I was a diabetic and was having a run of low blood sugar, but her words left me to wonder what illness her father had? For instance did he suffer from scurvy and if so did she think I was having a difficult time with my vitamin C intake? After all I was draining the lemonade pitcher at a high rate.
My worst time occurred many years ago when I was flying between Indianapolis and Orlando on a nonstop flight. Imagine my surprise when I woke up in Charlotte with a kind gentleman bent over and shaking me. He thought that after he used glucagon I should now be able to wake up and tell him my name. I eventually did, and carried on a nice conversation with the gentleman. He related that he and two others had carried me off the airplane. He was a kind gentleman and I have to say that when I got back to the gate and after several hours of waiting they let me back on a airplane and I arrived in Orlando several hours late.
I did notice a torn piece of paper in my pocket. According to the airline staff, the flight attendant found me in my seat, patiently tearing corners off the paper and laughing in a ‘mean way’. They related that the flight attendant was worried and that a fellow passenger informed her I looked like I was low. I think the torn paper came from me calling my own bingo game. When I got off the airplane I was 22. I mean 46, but I was 22 just the same. I also learned that my attire was somewhat ‘soggy’. It takes a lot I think for a flight attendant to notice ‘soggy’ attire. It however did not take me long to notice my attire once I regained consciousness. I suppose many of us have had that same sick feeling.
Today I see an awful lot of information about diabetic low blood sugars. Almost every time I turn on the television I see a new diabetic product that warns potential users that use of this product may cause, shaking, sweating and slurred speech.
I wonder if the flight attendant would say that my symptoms that day could be termed as mere sweating, shaking, or slurred speech? I suspect she might have described them as shaking enough to rattle the plane, sweating enough to fill a small pool and talking in such random fashion as to have them think I might have some difficult mental issues. I suspect that such benign sounding outcomes do not really reflect the goings on in that airplane that afternoon.
One outgrowth of these events is that I now possess a CGM. I was an ‘early adopter’ of the CGM technology. I was an early adopter in large part because my main helper, my wife, insisted that I find a way to get one. I suppose bouncing about the bedroom laughing in an ‘evil manner’ and sweating enough like a coal miner was more than enough to get her to suggest I obtain a CGM. In short order and after much twisting I was able to obtain one and now it is my least good friend. The beeping, vibrating and calls for attention remind me a new born. But I suspect it is all good in some way.
I suspect most of us who take insulin have at some point had a low blood sugar. I hope none of you have had such difficult lows as to precipitate the landing of an airplane. But most of us can somewhat relate to my experiences. After all when you wake up with four men in your bedroom and they are staring at you asking why you were laughing to meanly, or a wife has fought the good fight finally calmed you down, then you know helpers are good folks to have around. Even if you do complain some, which is certainly less than I complain I am sure. LOL