Welcome, one and all, to the dozenth edition of the Diabetic Partner Follies. Here we invite the loved ones and partners of people with diabetes (PWDs) everywhere to share their experiences. Almost all our recent stories seem to be about hypos (otherwise known as blood sugar lows). We welcome these and any other types of venting you all care to share. Today, a note from a wife in the UK who's at her wit's end. Hopefully just knowing we are out here "relating" can help...
I just happened to stumble across The Diabetic Partner Follies as I was searching for information about type 1 diabetes. I am so very glad I did. Such hearfelt, touching stories and wonderful humour. Thought I was going to fall off my chair laughing at the account of the armed police turned up to the poor chap who was trying to get his wife out of a hypo.
My partner has type 1 diabetes and we had become complacent. I did not have a clue about diabetes when we first met and wish he had informed me more about how to help if he ever became hypoglaecemic.
I woke up one night and he was drenched in sweat. I don't know what prompted me but I asked him to check his blood sugar. His sugar was too low at that point for him to respond properly and he just looked at me in a confused, dazed sort of way. I thought he might be drunk.
We had had a few drams to celebrate something that evening but not enough to reduce him to that seemingly paralytic state. I dialled 999 conscious that something was really amiss here and explained that he was diabetic. Confirmed that we was not in a coma. I was told to give him chocolate (editor's note: no! chocolate was the first bad advice) or something sweet to eat which I duly did but obviously not enough to get his blood sugar raised again.
I was given the number of the National Health Helpline who were worse than useless. I explained that he was slipping into inconsciousness and that I was afraid to give him more chocolate in case it would harm him. I really did not know at that point that more chocolate could have saved him (stupid me). They really ought to have advised me better.
He became aggressive which scared the living daylights out of me because he is a nice guy really.
This was one of the most terrifying nights of my life. Dialled 999 again and they said an ambulance was on its way. By this time my partner was behaving like a crazed animal, banging his head on a table and falling out of bed. A snowstorm had brewed outside and much as I love snow, I really hated it that night. Several more panic calls to emergency services. Their sattelite navigation was wrong and I lived in a cul-de-sac where the entrance was very easily missed.
Thankfully he recovered and despite several more scares in the following weeks I was more informed and aware of what do do should another hypo occur.
Two years passed and nothing major happened until last week. Strange grunting woke me up. Cold sweat. I knew what was happening but he was too far gone to drink the fruit juice I tried to entice him with. He was coughing and spluttering and seemed he was going to choke. I found a 'crunchie' chocolate bar. Probably the worst thing I could have given him but all I could find in my panicked state.
I was frantically searching the fridge for an orange plastic box containing an injection to bring him round and could not find it. Still kicking myself for my complacency in allowing the darned thing
to wedge itself behind cheese in the cheesebox :(
Paramedics were wonderful and arrived so quickly though it felt like hours. Bedroom was a total tip but they were unfazed by it. Just getting over that terror and trying not to paw him every two
hours during the night checking for tell tale signs of persiration when wham!
We were at the hospital this morning. I was due to have an operation and had seen the anaesthetist, had my painkillers in advance of the op and was just about to get dressed in a hospital gown when something was not right. It was that glazed look in his eyes. Perspiration beads on the forehead.
Nurses were fantastic and had a blood sugar monitor there. Blood sugar already as low as 1.2 (I don't understand the system you all use in the USA) and if you don't understand this one, trust me that it is low. Very low.
Operation is postponed until after the New Year now. There is no way I could have gone to surgery and left him after that.
I am furious that he came out of the house without his BG monitor. With no mobile phone and with no medication whatsoever on the assumption that he was only going to be gone for a short time.
What is annoying me is that he still seems largely unrepentant about the stress this causes me. He did not even want to go and see the doctor at our group practice because he is not the expert on diabetes at the clinic and the doctor who is was not working today.
He reluctanctly dragged along at my insistence and had to admit that the GP knew way more than he would have given a GP credit for before. It has put my mind at rest somewhat but I am frazzled. I've only had around 2 hours sleep and still full of adrenaline. Of course I shall be afraid to sleep soundly tonight incase of another hypo.
He has been quite uptight and angry today. I don't know if this is a result of the hypo or my nagging?
I have so many questions but have rambled on quite enough now.
Thanks for listening/reading.
-- Heather B.