Worst Hypo Event Ever

This was the day, 28 October 2010, when I experienced the absolute worst hypo event since being diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 1992.

I woke at 6am with a heavy disorientated feeling and the need to go to the toilet. Walking down the shallow steps into the downstairs bathroom, I felt a familiar dizziness come over me and made it to the toilet in time. Strangely, I could only pass a small amount of urine, so I went back to my bedroom thinking no more about it. Usually at this time I would do a BGL test and have my regular shot of 10 units long-acting Lantus insulin. Falling onto the bed in a sweat, it occurred to me that I was heading for trouble when I realised I could not lift myself back up from the bed. I could barely move my arms to try and grab the side of the bed to give me some support to get up. My body was heavy and shaking and I was starting to feel very cold. Fortunately Geoff was still in bed and I woke him to help me.

The next thing I remember, he was grabbing my forearms and trying to pull me up, but my feet could not press hard enough on the floor to support me, and I fell off the bed and flat onto my back on the floor. I was in a lathering sweat by this stage and my heart was palpitating. There was Geoff trying to pull me up from this position, in a confined area between the bed and side chest of drawers, while I was trying to work out how I could get up. I now needed to empty my bladder. This collapse was low blood glucose in action, and why Geoff is my full-time Carer. He has saved my life on numerous occasions, particularly during the hypo attacks, or calling for an ambulance, but this was the worst hypo I had ever experienced.

Geoff then rushed for the BD Glucose Tablets (from Diabetes Australia), and gave me one. I could not crunch it, so it melted under my tongue and I was later able to chew it. With no recovery, I felt weak. I was having trouble holding my head up. He gave me a second tablet, and we waited. I must have looked pale because Geoff then ran for the lemonade in the kitchen, and I mean ran. I remember now that he had offered me the apple juice popper which was beside the bed, but that was too difficult for me to contemplate sucking on a straw, and then he appeared with the lemonade. This tasted like over-salted seawater, just dreadful. He then left in a hurry for a second glass of lemonade. I was now starting to wet my pants. This was going to be a slow recovery, because nothing was improving. I remember asking the time, 6.20am. Twenty minutes of our recovery plan did not work quickly enough this time, and I sensed panic coming over me, and my heart raced even faster. He gave me another lemonade. My vision was blurry and I could hardly hear or understand what Geoff was saying to follow his instructions. Much later, we deduced that my Blood Glucose Level (BGL) may have been under 1.0 BGL while he was helping me as another half hour later when I was able to do a test, it showed a BGL of 2.9 and this was after the two BD tablets and three glasses of real lemonade!

I felt that I could walk to the dining room and then I sat down at the table while Geoff quickly served stewed apple and yoghurt, which I ate ravenously. The emergency food is always available in the fridge. He then gave me a toasted muffin and I ate that quickly. I was starting to come round as I now sensed that I had stopped shaking and sweating. In fact, for me, this actually means that the 'Stage 1 Emergency Foods' ⬠BD tablets and lemonade, had worked, and I was now waiting for the solid carbohydrates to hit my system.

I had started to feel much better as the apple worked, and I moved over to the lounge chair to rest. Geoff made me a cup of green tea with honey and later I was feeling much brighter. Another scare event over, I survived the trauma that day, and am grateful I was in my own surroundings with a cupboard and fridge full of our emergency foods. Geoff and I had prepared the stewed apples just the previous afternoon, and we also had cooked a large potful of bean and lentil minestrone soup. I find these foods to have sufficient carbohydrate to help with my recovery. Here is a breakdown of the 125 grams of carbohydrate that I needed to survive this hypoglycaemic event -

Total grams of carbohydrate
2 BD tablets                 5 grams carbohydrate         10grams
200ml real lemonade     22.5 grams x 3                 67.5 grams
100gr stewed apple         11 grams                         11 grams
100gr plain yoghurt         8.6 grams                         8.6 grams
Muffin                             27 grams                         27 grams
Butter                             1 gram                             1 gram

The yoghurt I use is Lyttos Greek Style Natural Yoghurt from ALDI as it contains only 10.0 grams of fat, which is one third of the Recommended Daily Intake (RDI) and suitable for diabetics.

I refer to sweet lemonade as 'real' lemonade as 200ml contains 22.5 grams of carbohydrate sugars compared to a 'diet' lemonade which gives only 0.3 grams of carbohydrate sugars and again, this is suitable for diabetics (or anyone watching their figure!) I learned my lesson to be specific about the difference between these two lemonades when I was once experiencing a low blood glucose level at the movie theatre with my friend and on asking for a lemonade, I was given a diet lemonade. I now state either sweet or diet lemonade.

For future hypoglycaemic events I have a Glucagen-Hypokit Injection 1lu (Glucagon Hydrochloride) and Geoff will inject that when I am incoherent. Meanwhile I am still watching the carbohydrate intake and trying to make sure I do not overdose on insulin, especially the overnight Lantus.

I trust this carbohydrate information may be of assistance on your journey.

Ailsa E. Cooper

For more information on Hypoglycaemia go to these sites -


http:www.diabetesnet.com diabetes_control_tips/hypoglycaemia_unawareness


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