This past Friday I was busy working on reports at my desk. I had a healthy breakfast, an apple and two boiled eggs. My Dexcom G6 continuous glucose monitor was showing my blood sugar was in a fabulous range hovering between 80 and 90.
While I sat typing, I said goodbye to one of my colleagues who had to go out in to the field. Leaving me the only person in my department. There are others on the floor, but the cul de sac where my teams offices are located is somewhat removed. Typing feverishly working hard to get this report finished, I was in a world of my own. I didn’t realize it at the time, but my vision started to get blurry, and I was stopping to rub my eyes a lot. The next thing I know I was arguing with EMTs and strapped to a gurney staring at the ceiling of an ambulance. I woke up having no idea what day it was, where I was or what was going on. After saying my name, address and date of birth to the EMTs on request, I was informed that I had a low blood sugar attack. My shirt was open down to my naval, my sweater and bow tie were nowhere to be seen. The EMT told my reading was at 36, I laughed at that. I explained to them that I have been lower before and didn’t experience anything like this. I told them I don’t remember what happened and explained to them my GCM, my Afrezza inhalable insulin and my food choices for the day. They said they wanted to take me to the hospital, and I refused. I know after a low blood sugar, I need to eat a good meal to bring my sugar back up and steady it out. If I went to the hospital I would be stuck there for an undetermined amount of time and pay ridiculous fees for the EMT ride, er, blood work, etc etc. I told them I just needed to get my clothes back on and get food in me. The EMT then told me that I wouldn’t be allowed to go back in to my office until I have a doctors release to work. I asked if he was sure about that because I was already feeling better, but he insisted that they wouldn’t allow me to return to the office. So I reluctantly agreed.
We arrived at the emergency room, and I was taken to a private room where I was given my belonging and a turkey sandwich. I received a text while I was eating from my supervisor, she hoped that I was ok and got better soon. I texted her I was fine and will make sure to bring a note. She texted back that a note wasn’t necessary at all. I was pissed. Those bastard EMTs lied to me. If I get any sort of bill, I will hunt each of them down and break their legs. I finish eating the sandwich and a woman comes in and says grab your stuff and follow me. I got out of bed, carried my belongings, and IV and followed her down a few corridors to a large room that looked more like an er, nurses station in the middle surrounded by beds and a few curtains strung about. I was put in holding section c, with a tv playing CSI, and about 15 chairs holding 12 people. I sat there for an hour waiting for the test results, and when they all came back normal the nurse discharged me. Thank god. I did not want to spend all day on Friday at a hospital, especially since I shouldn’t have been there at all.
Going to the office on Monday I was scared at what I would find. The EMTs told me that a ton of coworkers were trying to give me sugar and soda and most of it ended on the ground in my office. When I walked in to my office I saw dried soda covering most of the ground sprinkled with sugar on the desk, file cabinets and the floor. Ugg. I cleaned up all of the mess, without much problem and started to get to work. The morning started off quiet enough, few people around, but then there was a knock at my door. It was Lilly. Lilly is a doctor whose office is just down the way from mine. She works for a different department, but was had become friendly with each other. She walked in and I stood up, she clung to me and would not let go. She hugged me for about 3 minutes, crying about how scared she was for me and how mad she was at me. I apologized to her a few hundred times and explained that I didn’t recall anything that happened. So she told me.
“On Friday, I heard a weird sort of cry coming from the direction of your office. I asked someone on my team if they heard it and they said that it was probably nothing. So I got up and came over and found you curled up in the fetal position on the ground crying and rocking back and forth. I was so worried that I went to the receptionist to have her call 9-1-1. When I came back there were a few more people who were hovering around your office, but not doing anything. The receptionist (Robyn) gave me a soda to give you to drink, and I tried getting you to sit up. You finally did and I tried pouring the soda down your throat, but you spit it out. I knew your blood sugar was low so I went to get sugar packets. When I came back there was a crowd of people standing around your office all offering suggestions and ideas. Everyone has a diabetic child, apparently. I pushed my way through and started to open the packets and fees them to you. Finally you swallowed some but spit some out too. A few more doctors were standing around and you finally stood up and hugged me. I was glad but I couldn’t feed you any more sugar. You then sat down in your chair and were thanking me for helping you, but your eyes were still glazed over. Finally the EMT arrived and they took you downstairs. I was so mad though because everyone came over and was saying different ways to treat diabetes, but nobody knew what to do. Most of them didn’t work in your department or even know your name. One person suggested we get your insulin and give you an injection. That’s when I told everyone to be quiet and go away. They could have killed you if they gave you a shot. Luckily the EMT had more authority over everyone and they finally dispersed.”
I stood up and gave her a hug again thanking her so much for helping me out. She was so upset at how everyone acted, she told me that most of the entire floor came by to see the show, it was disgusting. She then made me show to her and explain in detail how my Dexcom G6 CGM works, and what my insulin looks like. Then show her where I keep emergency sugar in my desk, bag and file cabinet. She told me the alarm on my phone was going off, so she now knows what it means. I always thought Lilly was a sweet and special person, but after the way she took care of me, I will always be forever in her debt.
Diabetes can play a lot of cruel tricks on people and unfortunately this was just one of those days. I have very high hopes that there will be a cure or at very least closed loop system in the next few years. Come on science, We’re rooting for you!