It happened again today. This makes the third time this week. However, it is always worse when it happens first thing in the morning. Whenever John sleeps later than I have, I know that something is wrong. We usually go about day to day without any problems with John’s diabetes. But, every once in a while we get a reminder of how serious diabetes can be.
John is always active, but he has been especially more so lately. He is running much these days and gearing up for basketball season.
I thought maybe he was just tired, so I let him sleep. Even after I got out of the shower he was still asleep. I then heard our six year old calling me from his room. “Mommy, why isn’t Daddy up yet?”, he asked (Jonathan is always up at 6 am and will keep John company during his morning work outs). Jonathan went into our bedroom and I could hear him talking to John. He came out to the kitchen and said, “Mommy, I need the thermometer, Daddy is not acting right”. I knew right then that it was his blood sugar. I felt guilty for not having tried to wake him up earlier. I walked into the bedroom and John looked at me with a glazed look and said “Wheww! Wheww!”. He sounded like a college boy who had just come in from drinking all night. I went to go get juice. Yes, you should check your blood glucose first to see what it is before you treat it. However, when John is hypoglycemic, this is almost impossible to do as he will often refuse. Because I did not get a response from him, I knew it was truly low. Right around this time our four year old daughter woke up ready to eat (as usual!). Jonathan took over and gave John a juice box. All the while, John is still in bed yelling, “Whew! Whew!”. Jonathan is quite confused but thinks it is funny. “Daddy says he doesn’t know who I am, I keep asking him and he won’t answer me”. I used this as a teaching moment for Jonathan and told him what to do if this happens when I am not around: “If he does not answer you, call 911. If he can still talk to you, give him some juice. If he won’t drink it, call 911.”
Diabetes makes me so angry sometimes. You cannot reason with John when his BG is low. I’m lucky if I can get him to drink juice, forget about getting him to eat something or take glucose tabs (by the way-4 glucose tabs is the best treatment for hypoglycemia). He will often spit out or spill what I give him. This makes me even more scared and angry because I know that if we don’t get any carb in his body that he will lose consciousness. I have even in the past had to forcibly squeeze glucose gel into his mouth. But it is nearly impossible to hold down someone who is 50 pounds heavier than you are and is fighting you because he does not understand what you are trying to do to him. We do keep Glucagon in the house (and this I recommend for all people with diabetes). However, the only way I could use this would be if he were totally passed out as I can’t imagine trying to give him an injection if he were fighting me. Fortunately, we have never had to use the Glucagon but we do keep it in the house and take it with us whenever we travel.
John eventually came around, got up and was able to make his own breakfast and get to work. I knew he did not feel well, though he would not admit to it. He always talks about how hypoglycemia is a horrible start to your day-similar to a hangover. He will usually have a headache all day.
The best thing for us to do is to try to prevent this from happening again. Hypoglycemia is one of the biggest risks of tight blood glucose control. Checking blood sugar prior to bedtime and having a bedtime snack of at least 1 protein and 1 carb if your blood sugar is under 100mg/dl before you go to bed is always a good idea if you have had an especially active day.