Monday 30 January 2012

Friday the 13th

I am not a superstitious person. I own two black cats, have walked under countless ladders, I don't wink/wave or clap at magpies and seeing only one doesn't move me in the slightest. I often walk under scaffolding and I never throw salt over my shoulder, that is just plain messy. Dates in the calendar - particularly superstitious ones - mean nothing to me

But on Friday 13th January, I had an extremely unlucky day. After attending the funeral of my grandmother (you could argue that was worse for her than me but nevertheless, it was tough) I found myself having driven for 5 hours and in need of some quick fix food in the evening.

I tested my BGs en route to the shops to buy myself a Pizza and was a comfortable 8.8 mmol (that's pretty good - 4-10mmol is acceptable). I picked out my pizza and knowing how much pizza normally makes my stroppy little condition fly off the handle, injected what I would need for the Pizza nice and early, to give the insulin a chance to work before I bombarded my system with garlic bread and pizza dough.

This was all a good plan and in normal circumstances would probably have been the right way to go. However, after bolusing (delivering insulin through the pump) the amount I needed, I started to complain of how very tired I was from all the driving and asked Jamie, my husband, to take over for me.

It wasn't long before I was sat tucking into my pizza but also being very aware that the overwhelming feelings of tiredness I had been experiencing were actually a nasty hypo which had snuck up behind me without much warning. There was no shaking, nervousness, sweating, nothing. Not until this point, anyway. As my cognitive function began to slow down, leaving me with the last image I had looked at, no matter where I looked, the feelings of panic began to set in. But this wasn't like my usual panic. I usually just worry about where my glucose treatment is, but know that I can cope with it. I downed a huge glass OJ and hoped I would recover quickly.

But this time was different.

I began to convulse (something which I thought was impossible while still awake) and within moments was screaming because my mind could no longer understand what was happening around me. Jamie at this point had managed to lead me to the kitchen to wash my hands for a blood test, but that was the last time I would make any sense. Hearing the TV in the background, my mind had begun to convince me that people were in the flat. I knew for sure they were behind Jamie but he wouldn't turn around. WHY DIDN'T HE TURN AROUND?? I was screaming at him and panicking so much that he stood no hope of getting the Glucagon into me. I could barely see for shaky vision at this point, and the next thing I knew, Jamie was stood above me with the ambulance people on the phone, them asking if I was being violent (what with all the shouting and screaming).

The last thing I remembered was being collapsed on the kitchen floor, screaming and crying because there were people touching me and I couldn't see them (these were the convulsions, only my brain didn't have enough glucose in it to understand that).

As quickly as I slipped into that hypo, I was out again. Two ambulance men arrived within minutes - 3 to be exact, according to Jamie. At this point I was able to talk again, had stopped screaming and the large glass of OJ was taking full effect. As quick as that it was over. It took a while for my glucose levels to return to normal, but even after 2 glasses of orange juice I was still only 2.7mmol (anything below 3 is a serious hypo).

I can only imagine that the 8.8 I had seen only an hour before was on the way down at a drastic rate and that by the time I had taken my insulin for the Pizza I was fueling an already nasty hypo.

I have always been lucky in that hypos come and go for me with never a great deal of excitement. I haven't needed assistance for the last 10 years and expect it will be another 10 before it happens again. But it goes to show that even those diabetics who walk a reasonably stable glucose path can be struck by the odd stealthy hypo.

It also goes to show why even people with 'good' control would benefit from CGM. At the rate that one hit me, I would never have seen it coming even if I hadn't been tired, even if I hadn't eaten the Pizza.

It also goes to show that not everyone gets hypo symptoms all the time. Mine normally hit me like a freight train. This one didn't. This one went all ninja on me!


  1. So sorry to hear about your nasty hypo Anna, glad to hear that you're much better now. Really hope you never have to experience it again! x

  2. Thanks Emma that is really thoughtful. It has certainly given me more of an insight into how they can be.

    Seem to have recovered since and no more severe ones to speak of ao far

    Hope you are well


  3. So sad, Hope for the upcoming best, its not under self control if so maintain please.