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Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Night of the Missing Glucagon

I’m a worrier.  As a worrier, I have a lengthy list of fears.  Spiders – check!  Zombies – check! Probable lack of hygiene among fast food workers – check!  But there is one fear, one that is definitely at the top of my list.  It’s directly above getting my hand stuck in a feminine product vending machine again.  Yep, been there, wasn’t pretty.  What can I say?  The machine ate my quarter. 
I digress.  I try like hell to stay on top of my blood sugars, but as any diabetic can tell you – sometimes stuff goes awry.  My biggest fear is having a low blood sugar episode in my sleep.  I generally run my sugars a little higher at night because of this fear, though, I know full well that this is not necessarily a good tactic either.  Here's the thing, I sleep alone more often than not.  The comfy king size is my favorite place to fall into at the end of the day, while hubby gets cozy  on the couch.  I like a quiet and dark sleeping environment.  He prefers video games, television and lights, not to mention – snoring Pomeranians.  Come to think of it, I have no idea how the man gets any sleep down there, but, I digress again.
I say goodnight as I head upstairs and tell him if my sugars have been lower than usual “Hey check on me in the morning okay?” “Uh” he’ll grunt as his avatar gets shot on Xbox and interesting language ensues.  “Um, I don’t feel like dying tonight so check on me!” I whine a bit, hoping the word “dying” will command some sense of urgency.  “I will Baby” he says without taking his eyes off the game.  Usually he does.  A majority of time he even throws in a nice backrub, sometimes a bonus foot rub.  Once in a great while he forgets.  I’m not blaming him for forgetting.  In the thirteen years we’ve been together, he’s never actually witnessed a hypoglycemic episode where I lost consciousness.  Life can be unpredictable and occasionally he finds himself in the midst of a chaotic morning with emergency work calls and Pomeranians with wonky stomachs.  Checking for a seizing, sweating, shaking wife can slip a dude’s mind. 
I know why I’m so afraid.  In all the years I’ve been diabetic there was one time that I lost consciousness during a low blood sugar episode.  It was while I was fast asleep, almost 15 years ago. I was living with a boyfriend who woke to a bed soaked in sweat and me shaking, seizing, and unresponsive.  We had no glucagon in the house.  My boyfriend tried putting syrup in my cheeks, sugar-free syrup unfortunately.  He soon surrendered and called 911.  The paramedics and the fire chief stood in my bedroom as I bit my tongue repeatedly and became, in their words – “combative”.  They transported me to the emergency room where I woke up vomiting from the glucagon.  I am truly thankful for life experiences that teach me lessons, but it was one hell of a lesson, one that seems unfair for anyone to have to learn.  Thanks to that night, I’ll forever remember to eat before going to bed and I own a vast supply of cute pajamas – just in case. 
I now sleep with a glucagon kit on my nightstand as well as a tube of frosting – my security blankets so to speak.  Once in a while I check the expiration dates on them and each time I do, I feel blessed.  Neither has ever been opened, and I hope never to need them.  The fears associated with my diabetes makes all my others pale in comparison.  Give me a questionably prepared fast food cheeseburger served by a zombie with a spider on his shoulder over diabetes any day.  
I know I can’t let fear consume me.  My family has had a few training sessions on how to administer glucagon, and we review every so often.  Visit to view a video showing how to recognize and treat severe low blood sugar.  It's important to be prepared.  Lately, my husband’s car keys have been winding up in our room at bedtime, so he simply cannot forget to check.  If I ever need him to respond, I know he’ll be able to handle it.      


  1. I know what you mean about having your "security blankets". I have two children with a rare type of diabetes called Neonatal Diabetes. While I do still have to check blood sugars, it's not near as complicated as T1 because they take pills instead of insulin.

    I have only had to administer glucagon to my son once in his life when he was 6 months old (2 months after dx) and that was when he was still on insulin (the doctors thought he was T1 in the beginning). Even so, I still keep glucagon, "just in case". I even pulled it out of the cabinet just a couple of months ago when he had a very rare, extreme low and I couldn't seem to get him up with sugar. Luckily I ended up not needing it, but I will forever keep it because you just never know.

    I hope you never have to use your security blanket again, but it's always good to be prepared. Kudos to you for your long life with D :)

    Christy of My 2 Sweet Babies

  2. You're not alone here. I make my husband check on me every morning before he leaves for work (at 5 am!). He usually will just lean over and gently kiss me awake to say goodbye and tell me he loves me, but I know that's his way of checking on me to make sure I'm alive and with it. :)