“George we are going to help you up, do you think you can stand?”
“yeah, I think so.” I looked at this strangers face and noticed there were 4 other people in my room. Radios kept coming on which made me believe these must be paramedics.
“Okay, we are just going to walk you outside okay?”
“okay.” Nothing hurts. I can walk okay? Did I have a stroke? Did I have a heart attack? Is this a dream? This has to be a dream.
“Watch your step down and can you sit on the gurney?”
“yeah.” The red lights flickered all around my front door and at that moment I saw my children standing beyond the doorway looking out at me. They looked scared, tired, worried, helpless. This has to be a dream.
“Just swing your legs up and slide to the middle”
“Where is my wife?” As soon as I said it I heard her familiar voice.
“I’m here, I’m right here.”
“What happened?” As soon as I said it I could not wait for an answer. I couldn’t hold anything back. My sobbing drowned out what she said.
When I was in the back of the ambulance I heard my wife talking to the driver so I knew she was upfront. The paramedic in the back started asking me my name, my birthday, and how long I had diabetes.
For fear of a stroke or to prove to myself I was awake I spouted off every single fact I could pull out of my head. “George Scott Simmons. Born on March 23rd 1973 in Hollywood California. It was Friday. I have had type 1 diabetes for 23 years. I was diagnosed on October 2nd 1990. It was a Monday.”
They must have thought I was crazy.
“So why are your toenails blue?”
This was when I was sure I was awake. Like a totem from the movie Inception, those blue toenails were nothing I would ever dream up so I knew for sure this was real life.
“My nieces were painting their toenails over the weekend and I thought, what the heck. Go for it!”
That was when the paramedic started to tell me that I had a really bad low blood sugar that I could not come back from. That was when I noticed I had an IV in my arm and 3 Band-Aid’s on different fingers.
When we got to the hospital my wife started to explain the entire situation piece by piece to the doctor. It turns out she knew I was having a lot because I threw all of the covers off of myself and started to moan. She woke up and saw my sweating profusely. She came to my side of the bed, grabbed my machine, and had me sit up. She put a strip in my Verio meter and grabbed my hand to prick my finger. When she did blood streamed down my hand on a river of sweat.
She grabbed a hand towel and dried my hand and arm off. She squeezed the same finger and as soon as a drop of blood appeared it found a new river of sweat to travel down. She has never seen me sweat so bad and neither have I.
Finally she was able to check my bg. It was 37.
She grabbed a Level glucose gel and tore it open. She put it in my mouth and started to squeeze the gel into my mouth. She said I bit the end in my mouth and wouldn’t let any gel in. Not in a argumentative way but rather like I had no idea what I was doing.
She flicked my mouth and I opened up. She squeezed the whole thing in and when to get my daughter up to help. I swallowed the gel and lied back down.
My wife got my daughter up and asked her to make some waffles for me to eat. It was 4 in the morning and we usually add some waffles for some more carbs to last me through the morning. She popped in a couple of Eggo’s and my wife came back to check on me.
I was still sweating and out of it. She opened up another Level and squirted it into my mouth. She said I did not swallow it. I just left it in my mouth so she had to keep telling me to swallow it. Finally I did and just then my daughter came in with the waffles.
My wife put a piece of waffle on a fork and stuffed it into my mouth. She said I just sat there with the waffle in my mouth. Not chewing or reacting at all. Like I forgot what to do.
She grabbed another Level, took the waffle out, and squirted it in. Apparently I started leaning forward as if I was going to fall over. My wife got scared and told my daughter to wake my son up to help.
A ramekin full of regular syrup and about 8oz of regular soda were brought in by my son and daughter. My daughter put a straw in the soda to make it easier to drink. My wife said I looked at the straw, took it out of the glass, and stuck it on my finger to try and get blood out for another bg test. She said I kept squeezing my finger to try and get blood out even though she kept reassuring me she already got the drop she needed.
I drank the soda and swallowed down the syrup.
Still I was completely out of it. I could not talk and my family could tell I was not “there.” My wife grabbed the Glucagon shot and instantly was overwhelmed by the instructions. My son stood right in front of my wife’s face and said, “we need to call 911 mom.”
When the ambulance got there they came into my room, put an IV in my arm and checked my blood sugar.
The machine read 34. This was 40 minutes after this all started.
My son remembers them putting a bag of fluid in me via the IV and when it was done they started to stand me up. This marked the very beginning of my memory.
That is what scares me most. I remember nothing before when I started this post. Not a glimpse or flash of the story I heard my wife tell the ER doctor. None of it.
I kept waiting for a fog to lift like a night of too much alcohol. As soon as you hear the story flashes of memories start to trickle in. But this was and is so different.
I have nothing.
So we stayed in the ER until about noon on Sunday after my bg was stable. The nurse asked me why my toenails were painted blue. I told her the paramedics must have done it on the drive over.
My kids had followed the ambulance in my car and they stayed with me all morning. When we all got home we all passed out on the couch. Exhausted and drained we slept until 5pm.
I have never in my 23 years of diabetes had a low like that. I have had bad lows that take forever to come up. I have had some where I couldn’t walk or talk but I remember them. Even though they felt like a dream I remember what happened. But this was crazy.
Have you ever had a low like this? I cannot understand what made it so different. I have seen 34 on a machine before and been totally aware of what was going on.
More than anything I feel so bad for putting my family through all of this. It is not fair.
I pray I will never have another low like that ever again.