In 2000 after my husband Marc had knee surgery, I experienced for the first time what severe hypoglycemia looks like. After being cooped up in the house with Marc for over a week, our son came for a visit and I decided to take the opportunity to visit a friend who lived a few houses from ours. When I left the house, both my husband and son were sitting on our family room sofa watching television.
I was gone for no more than an hour. When I came home, only our son was on the sofa. I asked him where his dad was and he said that Marc had gone upstairs. I went to check on Marc and found him face up, half on and half off the bed. He was drenched in sweat and his eyes were fixed and staring. I tried to speak to him and got no response. I had no idea of what was happening. I yelled for our son who came bounding up the stairs and was as shocked by what he saw as I was. I reached for the phone and hysterically called 911. I was told that the EMS was on their way and I should stay on the phone with the 911 operator. I can remember yelling at Marc not to die on me because I really thought that this was happening.
I know the EMS came quickly, but to me it seemed like forever. They took one look at Marc and said that he was having a very low blood sugar episode. They gave him an IV and within a few minutes, Marc started to come around. He didn’t remember one thing about what had happened…he didn’t even remember going upstairs to our bedroom. This is what can happen when blood sugar dips so low. The EMS said it was at 39 which is dangerously low.
Until that day I never even knew that there was such a thing as hypoglycemia. Marc’s sugars had pretty much been under control since he was diagnosed in 1996. He might have had a mild low here and there, but nothing that incapacitated him. I can only say that my scare level was at its highest peak during this episode.
Needless to say, this terrifying incident was only the beginning of a long, long journey into the world of being the spouse of someone with Type 1 Diabetes and hypoglycemia unawareness. Over the years since this first episode, we have gone through many times when my panic level rose above and beyond anything that I have could have ever imagined. Matter of fact, there have been many instances when this first episode paled in comparison to what was to come. That will be a blog post for a later date.