Let’s not talk about it – Rachel’s Story

4 Jun

So let’s go back to January when I did what I normally do on a Friday. I come home from work, do my housework and then meet a friend for a coffee and cake at hers which was a short drive away from my house.

Last thing I remember is 2pm as I’d treated my low and had sat down and eaten my lunch taking a bit less insulin as I was low. Normal procedure for me on a Friday as normally my blood sugars zoom up and I end up swearing as too high for cake.

Some 2 hours later my son found me at the other end of my house, collapsed, face down in sick. I was barely breathing and non-responsive. My jaw was seized shut and I was inhaling vomit. He put me in the recovery position first and rang 999. He had even said ‘Bye Mum@ as he thought there was no way I was coming round. He did manage to open my jaw which was apparently very hard and remove some of the vomit.

Next thing I heard was from a Dr saying ‘lay still, we are the paramedics you’ve had a nasty collapse but you are fine’

In my house were the air ambulance ground crew and they were looking to land a helicopter nearby as they were concerned as all my vital signs and signals were not looking good. I had an emergency response crew. These arrived within 5 mins carrying defibs not just 1 but 2! I then had an ambulance crew.

For over half an hour they put a line into my vein and pushed through 500mls of glucose. Finally I came up to 38mmls but dropped again to 4mmls. They asked me questions as to my name – I got that bit correct, the day – after thinking I achieved that one and then they asked for the year – this took a little bit longer, I mean it was January.

So once they had stabilised me, changed me, I walked feeling very sick to the ambulance and went off to the hospital.

However on the way to hospital my bloods started to drop again, by this point I was feeling so sick and shivering like mad as my body couldn’t warm up. The paramedic said I needed to eat 4 Jelly Babies, she counted them out as they had nothing to give me and told the driver if I couldn’t physically eat them then could we go sirens on full pelt to the hospital. To this day, it was the slowest eating of Jelly Babies and keeping them down she had probably ever witnessed, but I did it.

At hospital they gave me an injection to stop me from being physically sick and hooked me up to a saline drip. My bloods at this point were still not rising too well. I was popped into a cubicle and the lovely doctor had a super bedside manner and asked me what had been happening. Thankfully he realised I was human and was capable of talking. I had a chest x-ray as I’d inhaled vomit and after several hours as no beds were available and my family were around me I was allowed to go home. Once home and several hours later I went to bed with a cracking blood sugar of 38mmols feeling downright awful.

The following Monday I had a long chat with my DSN at 8.00am (thought I’d get in before they did and leave a message on the answer phone) but they were awaiting my call. As I had, had a seizure I could not drive. My hypo awareness was non-existent they listened, never blamed and reassured me that everything would be fine and I just needed time. They also said the length I have had diabetes can play a huge part in having no awareness and that it is nothing I have done.

3 months later my hypo awareness has started to come back albeit very strange, either get splitting headaches, tiredness or a cold right foot! The hospital cut my insulin back by over 20% and found out that I was in fact highly sensitive to insulin. This means if I exert myself in any way it can have profound effect on my blood sugars.

Hypos are now treated at 6 and they have said it’s ok to go over 14 after eating its very normal. But by listening and doing what they advise its working and I am hoping in the next 2 months to be able to drive again.

Lessons learnt – we see all this crap online about post prandial being not more than 7 after a meal and to maintain levels at 4-6 but for me this led me to no hypo awareness, as I was told at a psychologist app this isn’t even normal for a non-diabetic let alone a diabetic person so why do we feel we need to adhere to this as it just not normal.

Ask anyone if they have hypo awareness and I guarantee they will all say yes, but recently I have learnt that 1 in 4 don’t. If you don’t please speak to your team there is help out there and 9 times out of 10 it does come back.

Just don’t be scared of telling them, these are complications that can occur whether you’ve kept to the correct levels or not.

My advice go talk as I am extremely lucky to be here today talking about this.

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3 Responses to “Let’s not talk about it – Rachel’s Story”

  1. endocrinegremlin June 4, 2018 at 10:09 pm #

    Scary to read this. Grump! Glad to hear your awareness is coming back. Yes, I find the tight reigns very disturbing for the reasons you described. It is as if they want us to appear as if we are non-diabetic! I tend to find my HCPs more understanding than the online community though; that is why I took such a long break from interacting on the diabetic front. My nurse still craves less of a peak post meal but she also nags when she doesn’t see enough carbs on my diary so I appreciate that. 😛

  2. Tamra K. Garcia June 6, 2018 at 5:13 pm #

    After my heart surgery I became totally hypo unaware and had several severe lows (and one actual seizure caused by a low) over the first year. After that I started to be aware of my lows again but to this day (five years after surgery) it’s nearly 50/50 as to whether or not I’ll feel my low before it becomes dangerous.

  3. Rick Phillips June 10, 2018 at 2:50 am #

    I have been hypo unaware and recovered some of that as my numbers have been improving. The good news is that it is flexible.

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