Category Archives: Hypoglycemia

YouTube

I fully intend on continuing to write here, I’m just a bit burnt out on it for now.

In the meantime I have been making videos on YouTube regarding all the same stuff I write about here. I have a total of three videos posted as of this post.

Check them out if you like.

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC3KOi-Y0gQioRcQpG17hwGw

I have the videos set to 18+, so you will probably have to log in and/or “verify” your age.

A Story About A Severe Low

A Severe low is nothing to take lightly. After all, not only is it frightening, it can kill you! A severe low is when there is too much insulin in the blood, resulting in an often sudden drop in blood sugar level.  This results in a whole host of symptoms which include confusion, slurred speech, slow reaction time, unconsciousness, and sometimes coma or death. Many times a diabetic suffering a low blood sugar will seem to be drunk or otherwise intoxicated.

Yesterday was a wonderful day.  We (my husband and I) began the day with a walk to downtown to enjoy the 21st annual Kingsburg Car Show. We only live a couple of blocks from downtown, so the walk there and back was short, but the walk while there was a good mile. diabetes

After the car show we decided to ruin our good workout by going out to lunch.  We enjoyed a Chinese buffet.  I bloused (taking fast acting insulin to cover the carb count in a meal) as best I could figure for what I intended to eat.  I actually estimated well because I didn’t spike over 140 all afternoon.

At home I spent the afternoon and evening doing some house cleaning broken up with breaks to rest my aching back and check my Facebook, email, blog site, and other sites I’m a member of. And spend a bit of time watching T.V. with my man and cat.  My blood sugar stayed well within the normal range all day, save for the slight spike post lunch.

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Hubby and Macie

It was about 9 P.M. when I realized I hadn’t eaten since lunch. I immediately made the dim-witted decision to eat some peanut M&M’s I had been eyeballing all day.  I sat on the couch and watched some television while popping the candy, one after another, until they were gone.  This was one of those large bags meant for groups of people to enjoy.

Oh, yeah, I bolused for it.

I took my blood sugar reading, calibrated my CGM, took my nightly basal insulin dose, took my nightly pills (which include Metformin for insulin resistance), and then hung out on my computer for a bit before deciding to go to bed.  I didn’t want to go to bed.  You see, I was exhausted after my long, productive, and active day, but I had just eaten a ton of candy and knew if I lay in bed it would only make me feel icky.

I went to bed.  I chatted with my husband for a bit.  Making sure to complain about how nauseous I felt.  My man replied more than once with comments on how I shouldn’t binge on candy.

My CGM went off with a warning.  I expected to see a high alert but was surprised to see a low alert, 52. I got up and checked my blood sugar, expecting to have to calibrate my CGM, but my blood sugar actually was low, 57.  I expected it to come up on its own.  I have gastroparisis which means my stomach tends to digest and empty slowly.  This can delay rises in blood sugar as well.

I lay in bed, feeling sick, waiting for my blood sugar to rise.  I chatted with my husband a bit more.  I wasn’t feeling low at all, but I was feeling sleepy.

The next thing I remember is my husband crouched down in front of me.  I was sitting on the edge of the bed.  He was talking to me, asking me questions. He was spooning honey Greek yogurt into my mouth. I asked what was going on.  Slowly realization of what was happening set in.  My lips and entire mouth were tingling with numbness. I was trying to ask questions but I couldn’t make the words work; I was thinking the correct questions but the words were all wrong.

My husband asked me what food he was handing me. I saw trail mix, but I thought colors.  I knew it was peanuts and M&M’s. But all I could think of for the words was red and blue.  I knew it was wrong.  I wanted to cry.   I have heard of people experiencing aphasia, but this was the first time I ever have (if that’s even what it was).  It was very unsettling. diabetes1

Within seconds things were becoming more clear.  I asked what time it was.  I asked what my blood sugar was.

“It’s low.”  He answered.  He showed me my CGM.  There was no number, it just said “LOW” in red letters.

I asked what my meter read.  You can’t rely on a CGM for exact blood sugar.  My husband said he had checked my blood and got an error.  I told him to bring it to me.  Either he had made a mistake in his panic, or my blood sugar was so low the meter couldn’t read it.

I checked my blood sugar and by this time it was up to 72.

I sat and talked to my husband about what had happened.  I told him everything I remembered.  He told me I had rolled over to go to sleep and then I started punching him. He asked me what was up and I just let out some weird grumble sigh.  He instinctively knew something was wrong and in just the few seconds it took him to sit up and nudge me, I was unconscious and unresponsive.

It took him minutes to wake me and get me to sit up on the edge of the bed.  He put glucose tablets in my mouth and pretty much had to dissolve them to get me to swallow them.  He was so panicked that all his severe low training flew out the window.  He fed me yogurt.  And when I finally came around to moving, and mumbling, he tried to get me to eat trail mix and bread.

“Oh, my God, my blood sugar is going to go through the roof.”

An entire bag of peanut M&M’s that was still sitting in my stomach, and now all of this.  I felt so over stuffed.

I also felt incredibly sleepy.

I went to sleep knowing full well I was going to wake with a skyrocketed blood sugar.  And I did.  I woke a bit later to my CGM warning me I was getting high.  I was scared to take insulin and go back to sleep.

So I just went back to sleep.

Several hours later I awoke to a blood sugar of 394.

I hate roller-coasters.

How Many Doctors Does it Take to Fix a Toe?

For those of you who would like to know how I injured my toe, you can read my previous post, The Most Evil Roller-coaster Ever.  This post is about my doctor visit today to find out exactly how bad I actually injured my poor toe.  This all started on Sunday.  Yesterday (Wednesday) I decided I better see a doctor since it is becoming more and more difficult and painful to walk.

I’m glad I called and made a next-day appointment instead of opting to go as a walk-in.  When we arrived at the office it was kind of busy, I’m assuming because of the nasty bug that’s been whoring around. I didn’t have to wait long to get called in.  They weighed me (gained three pounds, damn it!). They took my blood pressure, 131/68.  They checked my blood sugar, 95.

I waited a short time before the doctor came in.  She is a student doctor and asked if I was OK with her examining me before her attending.  I’m almost always more than happy to let a noob get some practice with me.  I think it is good because I have so many health issues that it gives them a lot to think about, take into consideration, etc. So I told her it was fine.

I explained to her that I am type 1 diabetic and had a hypoglycemic episode on Sunday and when I came to I had somehow injured my foot.  And ever since Sunday it has been getting more painful and difficult to walk.  And since I am diabetic with many complications, I thought it safest to have it looked at.  She agreed with me and examined my foot.  Poking, pressing, prodding.  I let her know where the pain was the worst, I told her I couldn’t move my second toe.  I explained that the torn toe nail and scratches happened at the same time as the other injury.  She noted the redness and swelling.

She told me she suspected the toe is broken and if it is, there really is nothing they do about it but recommend splinting and staying off of it until it heals. She asked me to wait and have her attending look at it.  So I waited several more minutes.

Finally the not so noob doctor came in and examined my foot. More poking, prodding, pressing.  She noted all the same things the noob did but added in the heat emanating from the injured toe.  She thought there might be the beginnings of an infection and told me to hold tight until she brought in her attending.

Yay…

After another short wait the third doctor came in.  This doctor I have seen before and she recognized me and my husband. I guess that could either be a good thing or a bad thing, being recognized by a doctor you saw once months ago.  In any case, she examined my now famous toe and foot and decided I needed x-rays to confirm the suspected fracture in my second toe.  On top of that, she wants me to see the diabetes educator because this all happened as the result of a hypoglycemic episode.  Every ounce of strength I have had to be put in to restraining myself from exploding with:

“WTF?!  I’VE BEEN TYPE 1 FOR 27 YEARS, I THINK I KNOW ALL I NEED TO KNOW ABOUT DIABETES AND TAKING CARE OF MYSELF!  THIS WAS AN ISOLATED INCIDENT!  I DON’T NEED TO BE EDUCATED ON MY OWN LIFE!”  I really hate when doctors treat me like the newly diagnosed…

But of course I just smiled and said “OK, thank you.”

I was given an x-ray order and they splinted my toe after administering disinfectant on the scrapes.  I was told to return to see my primary in a week to get the x-ray results and have a recheck.

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ONE WEEK?! For the x-ray results?!  What if the fracture is a serious one that needs immediate attention?  I know that’s not likely…but what if?

After the office visit, we headed next door to the hospital to have the x-ray done.  My foot was hurting bad now from the exam and all the walking around.

At the hospital you have to wait in the emergency waiting room which is shared with radiology.  I felt just peachy mingling with the flu infected…

The ER was packed with the ill.  We were able to pass the time by chatting with a friend of ours who was also waiting to be seen.  He was there for super painful kidney stones.  He was happy to be able to pass the time and take his mind off the pain by talking with us.

I finally got called in and the x-rays (3 positions) only took a few minutes.  The radiologist who took them was nice but none too gentle.  Ouch.

Now I get to wait a week to verify that I broke a toe.

The Most Evil Roller-coaster Ever

There is a vicious cycle many, if not all, diabetics have gotten stuck in probably many times throughout their diabetic life.  This horrible cycle is commonly called the blood sugar roller-coaster.  It is evil, frustrating, bad for both immediate and long term health, and potentially deadly.

What is the blood sugar roller-coaster?  That is when a diabetics blood sugar continually rises and drops and, for a number of reasons depending on the individual, refuses to normalize. It is generally accepted that an ideal blood sugar should stay between 80 and 120 mg/dL.  What happens on the roller-coaster is that something may cause the blood sugar to drop, so the diabetic eats to bring it up.  Maybe they eat too much and now their blood sugar has gone too high, so they take some insulin to bring it down to normal.  Maybe they take too much insulin, or they are more active than they thought they would be…for whatever reason, it has now dropped too low again.  And so on and so forth.  The roller-coaster.

Yesterday, Super Bowl Sunday, I woke up with a terrifically high blood sugar.  It was so high my meter couldn’t give me a number, it just read “Hi”.  I was shocked but not too surprised because I had eaten a lot the evening before.  But when I was getting ready for bed I had checked my blood and bolused.  So I was shocked because I woke up hella higher than when I had gone to bed.  In any case, I took my morning dose plus a bolus I estimated should bring me down quite a bit.

I waited one hour, then tested again.  Again the meter read “Hi”.  I was worried now.  Why was my blood sugar so high?  And why wasn’t my insulin bringing it down?  Did I inject into scar tissue? Was my insulin bad?  In any case, I bolused again but this time with less because I knew I still had (or SHOULD have) active insulin in my system.

I waited another hour and then tested again. I was relieved to see a number this time, 317. It was obviously coming down, but I was worried it may need more help.  This was my first big mistake of the day.  Instead of waiting to see what the insulin already in my body did, I bolused again.  A small dose just to ease my mind.  You see, I still had it in my head that maybe my insulin wasn’t working properly for whatever reason, and I didn’t want to stay high any longer.

I decided to check again in one hour.  And I would have, except for the fact that I fell asleep.  Several hours later I woke up.  It was a slow and confused, and panicked waking.  I was on the floor for some reason…and blocked in by something.  I didn’t know where I was, I didn’t know what was going on.  I called out to my mom.

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The corner of my room where I first woke up and felt trapped.

“I can’t help you.  I’m dead.  You need to find someone else now.”

I began to cry and struggle to get up, but something was wrong.  I couldn’t move right, and was still blocked in by something.  I think I fell asleep again for a bit.  When I came to again I was in a different position, not blocked in anymore. I couldn’t get up.  I was still confused about where I was.  And I was still stuck on the belief that my mother was dead. I called out through my sobs for my husband.

“Lee!”

“Lee!!”

“Lee!!”

No one came.  Where am I?!  “Lee!” I cried out one last time.  He wasn’t coming.  I had to get up myself.  I struggled and continued to cry.  My mind kept bouncing from one thought to the next, never completing a full thought. I made it to my feet.  My cat was on the bed pacing and crying at me.

I went to the door and opened it.  My husband came running when he heard my crying.

“Oh, my God! What’s wrong? Is your blood sugar too low? I thought it was high?  What’s going on?!”

I sobbed, “I don’t know! Dead! It hurts so bad! I don’t know where I am! On the floor!” I was totally incoherent.

“What do you need? What should I do?”  He asked

“I don’t even know where I am! Need to check my blood.”  I was still sobbing loudly.

My husband and cat lead me to the kitchen. I was crying, soaked with sweat, and in pain.  I brokenly told my husband what had happened.

“I need to call my mom, I need to know if she’s OK!”

My blood sugar was 32. My husband gave me chocolate and I ate it as I cried.

“My shoulder hurts bad.”

“You probably fell on it when you fell out of the bed.”

“I need to call my mom!”  I was still stuck on her being dead.

“OK, OK, I’m calling her now.”

My legs felt like rubber so I hobbled over to the couch and sat down.  My husband gave me a cookie and I ate it while waiting for my mom to pick up.  It went to voice mail.

I knew she was having a Super Bowl party, and I knew mostly who was there. “Call Glenn.”

My husband dialed my brother’s number.  Voice mail.

“Call Trisha.”

My husband dialed my cousin’s number. Voice mail.

“Call Joel.”

My husband dialed my brother’s number. He picked up. My brother is also a type 1 diabetic so when my husband explained the situation to him he understood completely and before handing the phone over to my mom, he asked if I was getting enough sugar.  My husband assured him I was OK now.

As soon as my mom got on the line, I burst into fresh tears.  “Mom! I hallucinated or dreamed or something that you died!”

“Oh, Tiki, I’m OK. Are you OK?”

“I’m fine now.  My shoulder hurts real bad, but I’m OK.”

“OK, call me back when you’re blood sugar is up enough.  I know how weepy you get when you’re low.  Call me back when you feel right.”

“OK.”

“I love you.”

“I love you, too. Bye.”

I felt better now that I knew she was OK and that my blood sugar was normalizing. The more my blood sugar normalized, though, the more my shoulder hurt. I have been suffering a frozen shoulder for a little over a year now and it has been getting better.  Until today I have not had hardly any pain.  Now all of a sudden I am in near agony.  The pain was in the joint of my shoulder and radiated down my entire arm and into my fingers.  Everything from my neck to my shoulder-blade, to my shoulder  and all the way down into my fingers was stiff and pained and weak.

“Do we need to go to emergency?”  My husband asked.

“I don’t know.  We’ll wait a bit and see.”

My husband decided to make dinner and get some real food in me. I checked my blood sugar, it was up to 128. I took my pre dinner insulin dosed according to what I was going to eat. Then I called my mom back.

I told her everything that had happened that day and about my current pain.  She though it was a good idea to go to ER, I might have torn something when I fell.

“I hope you didn’t have a seizure.”

“Maybe, I don’t know.”  No one witnessed what had happened in the bedroom while I was in the hypoglycemic episode.

I decided to eat dinner and see how I felt after a bit.

I finished dinner and by this time my entire arm still hurt and was still stiff, but it was a little bit better.  I was thinking about whether or not I should go to the ER when I noticed my left great toe and the toe next to it.

“Why is there blood all over my toes?”  I wasn’t wearing my glasses so couldn’t see clear enough to tell.

My husband looked. “Oh, wow, you tore off your toenail.”

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Torn nail on great toe, and small scrapes on second toe.

I asked him to go get the alcohol and disinfect it for me.  He went and when he returned be brought with him the large chunk of toenail he had found near the bed next to a big smudge of blood.

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Missing toenail next to smudge of blood.

My husband cleaned my toes first with alcohol which obviously stung real bad, and then with a clean wet wash cloth.

Eventually I decided not to go to the ER and instead opted to take some hydrocodone and see how I felt in the morning. If I was still in a lot of pain then I could at least see my primary doctor instead of bugging the ER.

So here I am today, still in a bit of pain but not nearly as much as I was yesterday.  What a terrifying, and painful, adventure.

Well, Now That Was Embarrassing

This was originally posted to my old blog on September 22, 2014

I woke up this morning and my blood-sugar was fine.  127, a good number.  I ate a quick breakfast and headed out the door to my eye appointment.  I hitched a ride to the doctor with my husband.  He dropped me off on his way to work.  I arrived early, that was fine, I checked in and sat in one of the comfortable chairs in the waiting room.

It didn’t take long to be called in to the pre-exam.  I confirmed the medications I’m taking, did the vision test, got my eye pressure taken and then went over to the smaller waiting room to wait for the actual exam.

That’s the last thing I remember.

Well, not exactly.  I vaguely remember talking with other patients in the waiting room.  But it’s all like a foggy dream.

When my memory returns is when my doctor was calling to a nurse to “Get her vitals.  Check her sugar.”

“I’m OK.”  I said as I popped a glucose tablet into my mouth.  But I wasn’t.

My blood-sugar read at 35.

Apparently I was not responding to the doctor’s questions and just not acting myself.  He knows me well enough to tell if I’m not right, I’ve been seeing him nearly weekly for over six months.

The doctor had the nurse check my blood-sugar several times while he went and saw other patients.  He wouldn’t let the nurse leave my room until my BG was 70 and trending up.  Then he went ahead with the eye exam.

I felt so odd with all the seriousness and worry.  I guess I’m just so used to low BG’s that I’m like, “What’s the big deal, just feed me and let’s move on.”

On top of everything, the location where the nurse pricked my finger wouldn’t stop bleeding…a lot.  I’m on Plavix (blood-thinner) so I have to be careful how deep I prick myself or else I bleed forever!

The exam was good.  My eye is healing up well from my latest surgery which was a lens replacement for a cataract as well as to clean out a hyphema (collection of blood) in the front of my eye, and  a couple other small issues with my eye.

We discussed my issue with low blood-sugars which was odd to discuss with my Ophthalmologist.  He is an MD but endocrinology is not his specialty.  But he is a doctor in the end and has the mindset of wanting to help and solve medical problems.

I apologized for worrying everyone and wasting their time.  They were all understanding and told me it was OK and they just want to make sure I’m OK.

I return in a month for another follow-up on my eye.

I Felt That

This was originally posted to my old blog on August 26, 2014

I think I found a new primary doctor that I will enjoy working with.  My old primary just up and left without letting her patients know.  I made an appointment with her replacement and went in to see her today.  Once I checked in I was informed that this new doctor was not coming in today and I would be seeing someone else.  This office is not earning my respect at this moment, but all I need is a referral to an endocrinologist, so I don’t care who I see today.

I finally get called back to see this new, replacement of the replacement doctor.  You know those times when everything is annoying you and then suddenly it all falls into place and all is right and well with your life?  This was that moment for me.  First, I found that I’ve lost seven pounds (yay!), then my blood-sugar was checked and it was 62…I didn’t even feel slightly low, made a note to keep an eye on that.  Then the doctor came in and we talked, and I like him, he’s good, he listens, he made a point to tell me he is available at any time I might need him, and he’s not bad to look at, either (wink).  At this moment I am glad for the hiccups and that it resulted in meeting this doctor (I shall make him my new primary).  I got my referral to an endocrinologist, and the doctor examined the lesion on my leg that has not healed even after two months.  He prescribed more antibiotics and told me to follow up with him in two weeks.

“You are type I and have heart problems, we need to keep a close eye on things like this on your leg that aren’t healing quickly enough.”  He tells me, and I like that he obviously takes everything into consideration.

I leave the office after making a follow-up appointment and while walking through the parking lot I text my ride.

No reply.

I try calling my ride.

No answer.

I text my husband and let him know I will be walking home.  And so the walk begins.

The walk home is 2.5 miles.  I am aware that my BG was 62 not even 30 minutes earlier so I get in my purse and get out my glucose tabs and pop one in my mouth, and then another.

The walk is slow but steady, I have very poor circulation in my legs which results in a lot of pain when walking, especially when continually walking.  The pain doesn’t start until I get almost a mile into my walk, but I have to get home so I make use of my great tolerance of pain and just keep walking.

Along the way I encounter a couple of loose dogs that decide to let me know who’s territory I am invading.  They run right up to me barking and yipping.  I just keep walking and return their greeting.

“Hey, hey, hey!  Grrr.”

At about a mile and a half I start to feel a bit low.  I am actually glad to feel this because until very recently I have been unable to recognize when I am low.  I can feel the slightly shaky feeling that is normal when your BG drops.  I consider ingesting another glucose tab but decide to wait to see if I can make it home to check my BG.  Just because you feel low doesn’t mean you are low.  If the symptoms progress a bit more, then I’ll eat a tab.  Good plan…

A couple more blocks of walking and I begin to feel those symptoms progressing.  I feel a numb like tingling slowly making it’s way down my back and to my legs and my lips as well.  I feel slightly weak and tired.  OK, I pop two more tabs.  Still walking.

Things are OK for a couple more blocks.  I pass by a house who’s owner is in their garage with the door up, blasting Sweet Child O’ Mine.  I hum along for the entire half a block that I can hear it.

I’m tired, my legs are hurting more and more, it’s hot, my BG is low, my fat thighs are chafing…I just keep walking.

I come up to NorthHill road and my heart skips a beat; not in a bad, you have heart disease and are doing a ton more exercise than you are used to, kind of way, but in a “yay, just a few more blocks and I’m home!” kind of way.

As I turn on to NorthHill, my BG takes a turn for the worse.  I slow down my pace, not willingly, but because I suddenly am so very tired, sleepy, and feel so weak.

“Just keep walking, just keep moving.” I tell myself.

I think about the two glucose tabs I still have in my purse but for some reason I don’t take the action to eat them.

“Just keep going.”

Just a few more blocks…wait, where am I?…What was I supposed to do?…What am I doing?…Go home, so tired.  Something is wrong…need…what did I do?…I did something bad…I’m wrong…stop crying, don’t cry in public…Where am I going?…what’s going on? …I need help, where’s mom?…where’s Lee?… Stop crying!…I’ve got to be somewhere….I don’t…Police car, ask for help…no police man, just car, no police…never around when you need them…What street is this?..can’t read the sign, too blurry.  Stop crying! No crying in public!…need help, call Lee…NO!  Don’t call LEe, he’ll be mad…Just keep walking, need to go home…so weak.

Suddenly, the glucose tabs decide to take effect and I feel much clearer.  I turn the corner onto my street and in moments I am home.  After a bowl of Cheerios with a bit of sugar added, I am good again.

Low Blood Sugar…From The Victims Point of View

I have been a type I diabetic for twenty-six years or so now, and have several family members who are also type I’s, as well as some type 2’s, so I have seen from both sides of the fence what it looks and feels like to have a “low blood sugar”, an “insulin reaction”, a “diabetic episode”, or you may prefer the clinical term, “hypoglycemia”.

Note: I am not a medical professional, I am simply someone who has many, many years hands on experience in this area.  If you, or someone you know, are experiencing a medical issue, I highly suggest seeing a doctor.

Hypoglycemia occurs when the body experiences a severe drop in sugar levels.  Basically there is  too little sugar in the blood.  Anyone can experience hypoglycemia, it is not reserved just to torture diabetics.  Think about it, have you ever been at work or school and been so busy that you forgot, or didn’t have time, to stop and eat?  After awhile you may start to feel hungry, then a tired and weak and shaky feeling sets in, and maybe eventually you start to feel sick, sweaty, and even your heart-rate speeds up.  Then you decide to eat and eventually feel just fine, maybe with a headache, though.  That is usually what it feels like for a “normal” person to have a low blood sugar.  And those are just the mild symptoms.

A healthy person should maintain a blood-sugar level between 70mg/dl and 120mg/dl.  The preferred healthy levels may vary depending on what your doctor says, but generally 70-120 is the accepted range.  Anything lower than 70 will result in hypoglycemia.

Here is a rundown of the usual symptoms of a low blood-sugar starting with mild and ending with severe:

Mild: Hunger, nausea, increased heart-rate, sweaty/clammy feeling, cold, weak and/or shaky feeling, moodiness

Moderate: Blurry vision, numbness or tingling (especially around the mouth), more moodiness, difficulty concentrating, twitching, lethargy

Severe: Drunk behavior (stumbling, confusion, slurred speech, etc.)  loss of consciousness, seizure, DEATH.

A mild hypoglycemic episode can be easily treated by eating something that has a decent carbohydrate content, like fruit or juice, crackers,  a sandwich, or candy.  Diabetics should be careful not to overdo it and end up with a high glucose level! An excellent way to be sure and not over treat is to use glucose tablets instead of food or drinks.

A moderate hypoglycemic episode should be taken seriously.  If you are having a moderate episode you may be able to treat it yourself, eat or drink something with a good amount of carbohydrate, or glucose tablets.  If it is on the more severe side of moderate, you may need help from someone.  They may need to give you glucose gel (preferred to lessen risk of choking) and coax you to do what needs to be done and make sure you don’t choke.

A severe hypoglycemic episode should be treated by professionals.  If the patient is conscious, they may become violent, emotional, or otherwise difficult to treat.  If they lose consciousness or begin to seizure, you most definitely need to get emergency medical help.  Never feed a severe hypoglycemic episode, the patient can easily choke.  Instead, if you must get sugar in them (while waiting for an ambulance, for instance), the preferred treatment is to inject them with glucagon. If a glucagon emergency kit is not available then you can put sugar or a glucose tablet or gel on the patients tongue and let it dissolve there, although, at this point it may do little help, they probably need IV glucose at this point (very fast acting).  I can not stress enough how important it is to get the patient to the hospital for proper treatment.

OK, so you are probably wondering what a low blood-sugar is like from the point of view of the person having it.  I can, and will, give you a detailed account of what it is typically like for me, but I have to let you know that a low blood-sugar is unique to the person experiencing it.  In other words, it is different for everyone, not everyone experiences the same symptoms in the same severity at the same times as everyone else.

For me, when my blood-sugar first begins to get too low I usually feel weak and tired.  A shaky, unstable feeling sets in that is usually accompanied by a “panic” feeling.  I often think of this as my body’s (instinct) way of telling me “Something is wrong and you need to take care of it”.  If this stage happens at night while I am asleep, I usually wake up (more of the body’s instinct).

If, for some reason I ignore,  don’t experience, or for some reason cannot address, the above symptoms, I will then move into the moderate stage.  I begin to notice an even weaker and more sleepy feeling accompanied by numbness or tingling feeling, usually of the lips, hands, feet, and patches on my back.  Really, the numbness can occur anywhere. My vision blurs, darkens, and I can’t focus my eyes.  I become rather lethargic, and although I may know I need to address this low blood-sugar, I may simply just not care, or feel too tired to do anything.  Most times, I get my husband to help me.  In a very weak and mumbling way I tell him “my bloos-sugar is low” and he will hurry off and bring me something to eat and sit with me (monitoring closely to be sure I come out of the low) until I am better.  My husband says that I mumble a lot, don’t respond to his questions quickly, and act groggy during this stage.

On the rare occasion that I don’t get help for a moderate low, then I will move into a severe low.  In this stage, I can not tell you my point of view because I always experience memory loss and don’t remember much, if any, of what happened.  I can tell you from my husband’s point of view, since he is the one who has been there, by my side, the whole time.  Usually I begin to make weird vocal sounds, like mumbling, groaning, grunting, and very slurred speech. I do not respond to questions or commands, or if I do, it is very slow and confused.  I twitch, usually my fingers and legs.  I may burst into tears and cry uncontrollably and in a panicked manner.  I can not eat or drink on my own, my husband usually has to hand feed me and remind me to close my mouth and chew/swallow*.   When I begin to come out of the low, my vision clears up (as if I’ve had my eyes closed the whole time), I regain my mental and physical faculties and usually it feels like I am coming out of a drunken state, but much faster.  I usually feel very sleepy when I come out of the low.  I may also feel very cold and be shivering and find it difficult to get warm.

My husband will check my blood-sugar often during the treatment of a severe low to make sure it is coming up.

*Remember to never feed a person who is having a severe low.  My husband and I are aware that this behavior/action is risky. He usually treats me with glucose tablets, honey, and/or granulated sugar which can dissolve easily on the tongue.