Life of a Diabetic’s Wife

I had an exciting morning the other day and I’m not talking fun exciting.  I’m talking scary exciting.  My husband Frank is diabetic.  I know I have mentioned this at least once in my blog before.  He is a type 1 diabetic, which means his pancreas does not make insulin.  This is something he has lived with for 14 years.  Or should I say, something WE have lived with for 14 years.  Because I have been by his side through this whole adventure, from the day he was diagnosed to now.  For the most part, our lives are as normal as most couples.

Frank has an insulin pump and he maintains his blood sugar levels daily.  But on occasion, life throws you a curve ball.  That’s what happened the other morning, a curve ball was thrown our way when I wasn’t looking.  My alarm woke me up at 10 til seven, which meant that Frank was running late.  Because he is normally leaving for work around that time.  So I started talking to him and nudging him.  But he wouldn’t wake up.

After a few more attempts of waking him in the dark, I turned on the lights.  His face was a dead give away, his blood sugar was too low.  How did he look?  He had his eyes wide open and his pupils were as small as could be, but he was not there.  You know the expression, ‘The lights are on, but no one’s home.’?  Well, that is the best way to explain what he looked like.

After trying to wake him one more time, I went to search for his blood glucose meter.  I needed to check his blood sugar to confirm it was too low, because his blood sugar could also be too high.  Yet, that is normally not the case during the night.  Thankfully, Frank let me prick his finger and retrieve a drop of blood from it, so I could use it in his blood glucose meter.  The number that came up was 42!  This is NOT GOOD.  A safe blood sugar level is between 70-100 first thing in the morning.

Okay, so now that I knew he his blood sugar was too low, I had to get some sugar into his system.  I tried to get him to drink a glass of juice, but he would not sit up and drink it.  Next, I tried to get him to chew or suck on a glucose sugar pill.  A glucose sugar pill is like a big horse pill that is made of flavored sugar.  I’m talking a disc the size of a quarter that is a few inches thick.  If I could get him to eat one of these pills, it would be the equivalent of eating 15 grams of carbohydrates.  That could be enough to get his sugar up to a safer level.  However, Frank just let the pill sit between his teeth.  He wouldn’t chew it or even suck on it.  I thought if I could dip the pill in the OJ and then place it in his mouth, it might dissolve faster.  However, Frank closed up his lips tight and was not going to let me try that plan.

I stuck a straw in the glass of OJ and tried getting him to drink it one more time.  Nope, his lips were sealed.  So I had one more thing to try.  If it didn’t work, I’d be calling 911 for an ambulance.  I went for the emergency glucagon shot that we keep in the medicine cabinet.  It’s a little red kit that can be carried around with you.  If a diabetic’s blood sugar gets to low and passes out, another person can use it to shot them with a sugar mixture that will bring them back to the living.  That is what I had to do.

Thankfully for me, there are little diagrams in the kit that shows you what to do.  You have to take the syringe and the vial out of the kit.  Remove the caps and insert the syringe into the vial and inject the clear liquid from the syringe into the vial of white powder.  You remove the syringe from the vial and shake the vial up.  This mixes the liquid and powder together.  Then you insert the syringe back into the vial and withdraw the liquid mixture back into the syringe.  The last step is the hardest.  You have to give the diabetic person a shot with the syringe.  This can be shot anywhere in the leg or butt.

So I grabbed Frank’s leg and shot him in his thigh.  That made Frank wake up enough to say a few cuss words.  Unfortunately, Frank also started to move his leg around with the syringe still in it.  I got the syringe out and prayed that this would bring him back to life.  He laid there for a bit, not moving.  I continued to talk to him and waited for the sugar to kick in.

Frank let me check his blood sugar again and it was 49.  That wasn’t much improvement, but it was getting higher.  So while I gave the shot a few minutes to work, I called his boss and told him that he was not able to come to work at the moment.  I told his boss that I would have him call as soon as he was able to.

Thankfully, by the time I got off of the phone, Frank was conscious and talking.  He was shaky, but was able to drink the OJ.  After lying down for a bit, he got out of bed and was able to call his boss.  Although he was going to have a headache and a leg ache all day long, he still went into work.  Because he knew his workplace would be short-handed without him.  (I think it’s because he didn’t want to be home with the kids. LOL )

It might sound strange to some people, but I love my husband enough to shoot him…with a glucagon shot that is.  🙂  Unfortunately, if you are a wife of a diabetic, it is something you have to be ready to do.  Thankfully, someone created the emergency glucagon kit to use in times like this.  Otherwise, we would have had an ambulance visiting our house the other morning.  I’m just glad that Frank is okay now.

Here's a Sugar Pill and the Syringe I was referring to.

Here’s a Sugar Pill and the Syringe I was referring to.

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