The Hypoglycaemic Superhero – by Daisy Shaw


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Okie dokie, so this is my first post as a Diabetes UK blogger! I’m really looking forward to sharing some of my experiences as a teen type 1 and learning from others through the Diabetic Online Community.

Thought I’d start off with a matter that I’ve thought of numerous times since I’ve had diabetes – what do I look like when I’m having a hypo? I don’t mean that in the sense of ‘how do I act when I’m low?’, because I’m aware of my behaviour (I’m drowsy, unresponsive, uncooperative etc.) The question I’m really asking is: if someone was watching me having a hypo and didn’t know I was diabetic, what on earth would they think?!

I pondered this question the other day, after I suffered a low blood sugar during the night. I had awoken several times already, aware that I was hypo, but feeling too weak and tired to drag myself out of bed. However, eventually survival instincts must have ignited in my body and all of a sudden I felt a surge of energy! I kicked back my duvet and jumped out of bed as if a wasp had stung me. I need sugar…

As I approached the landing and contemplated how to get down the stairs, I decided that the safest thing to do in this situation would probably to bump down on my bum, one step at a time. So that’s what I did. Bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump, bump. Reverting back to my former question, at this point, a person who could see me but didn’t know I was diabetic would probably have thought that I had developed a mental health disorder. Regression to an infantile state.

Next, I rushed into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of Lucozade. I attempted to pour it into a glass but instead poured more onto the kitchen surface and floor. Gulped it down. Then there was the Kit Kat and the fromage frais, only I didn’t really eat them because they weren’t even in my mouth long enough for me to taste them. Thinking back now, I don’t know if I even chewed. By this point, the person would be thinking: binge eater.

Finally, I decided to make myself a bowl of porridge whilst in a hypo. This is never a good idea. After being in the microwave for 2 minutes on full power, I removed the bowl without any recognition that my fingers were about to be burned. Well, I don’t know whether it was the adrenaline running through my veins or the fact that my reactions were significantly impaired by the hypo, but I must have been holding the bowl for at least 5 seconds before I began to feel any pain. Only then did I drop it.

I suspect that, if such a person had been able to see this line of consecutive events, they would most definitely be ringing some sort of medical professional. Probably a psychiatrist.

Anyway, as it turned out, there wasn’t anyone watching and when I tested my blood glucose level after my ‘episode’ it had risen to 5.6mmol. Still, if there was one thing I learned from this experience it was that I need glucose tabs by my bed. With some sore fingertips and indigestion, I won’t be attempting to be my own Hypoglycaemic Superhero again anytime soon!

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I know EXACTLY how you feel! I was only diagnosed two months ago – I’m sure you can imagine how many times I’ve had to do something pretty similar!

Loved this post Daisy! It’s so well written, I felt like I was hypo right along with you!!! Loved the comparisons too, bystanders would surely wonder what is going on in our heads when we are low. I keep a tube of frosting (sealed) by my bedside and a juice box generally so I don’t have to slide down the stairs on my behind. Look forward to reading more from you on here!!! :)

hello to one and all have been getting the ballance mag a few years now but have just got a computer (not that im sure what im doing mind) and fount this site,iv,e been diabetic some years now but with other illneses it wont stableise and dont no when a hypo is happening till 2.3 around abouts and passing out in the shower and comeing round some time later any ideas iv,e tried boosting sugars to 10-12 but still happens on the odd ocassion .tried my team but they laughed so i dont use them very often .thanks to all and keep smilling…….forgive the spelling

ok just a quick note thought id put my 2 pence in :)
i am not a diabetes sufferer but do have family members who are and to answer your question in most cases when my mother in law has a big hypo she appears to the casual observer to be drunk :)
many a time has been accused of it over the years
anyway loved the blog and i look forward to reading more.
take care
xxx

Hi guys ‘n’ gals, thanks a lot for all the positive feedback! :)

It’s really interesting to read what you all have to say and to learn a little bit more about your experiences with diabetes. Seems to be that we have a lot in common (I can see that a lot of you have ‘bumping down the stairs’ hypo’s too!)

Thank you for taking the time to read my post. Keep leaving comments too – I do read them all! :)

I too have been in the having to bump down the stairs scenario and most often find that chewing in general is a task its self, so generally stick to Gels (Hypogel/Lucozade sport gel) If I dont have them I stock up on small Jellys to which no spoon gets used as I try to get it down me as fast as poss ( which must look real nice) But as awkward as we may feel in these cases I think what we look like should be the least of our worries but doesnt seem to stop the thoughts. I work in a large production plant and have been sitting on the shop floor having a hypo and it does make me wonder what people are thinking especially when I have been walked past or round where nothing has been said just a Why the hell are you sitting on the floor look.

Hi Daisy, that made me laugh especially as I also used the bump, bump down the stairs technique only last night during a hypo!! I look forward to reading more of your blogs soon xxxxxx

Thank you for this blog Daisy, I’m mum to a 6yr old T1 and I often try to understand how she is feeling but she has trouble trying to put her experiences into words, this is facinating stuff and I wish there was more out there to help non-diabetic parents of diabetics understand as much as they can … your post certainly explains a few things … out of interest whats it like to be high, my daughter was at the park the other day and felt it was a good idea to act like a tiger (acting like a wild animal is quite comon for her when she’s high) and lick the metal chains on the swings!

I understand every thing you are saying it is a scarey feeling to wake up this way. Have had diabeties for 47 years type 1 have experience all lot of things. At 18 years of age came home after the birth of a beautiful baby girl losing weight so fast and 2 weeks later had to leave my baby and go back in hospital for over a week.that little baby is what keep me going. Today I am on the pump and have so much better control do not have lows at night very much any more. I keep a coke, cake icing in a tude and Aglucagon injectiom shot on my night stand have had times when I don’t think I could have made it to the kitchen.

Hi daisy I’ve had type one for 21 years and having ms I sometimes think the same as you, diabetes is really established these days but still people don’t realise what’s happening, approx 2 years ago whilst entering a car park in Cardiff there was a girl on the floor sweating and taking gibberish, some young boys were laughing and my mothering instinct took over, I looked straight at her friend asking was she diabetic?! The reply…yeah but she won’t eat these, showing me some dexrotol tabs I thought about how dippy the friend was afterwards an ambulance was called and she managed to take in a bit of hypo gel not alot though, I always check if someone’s slumped on the floor but more often than not their drunk, I think the point is always carry something in case of a hypo and to let people know your medical needs, does it really matter what people think we’ve all got an illness really we shouldn’t care.

July 28, 2011 at 12:15 pm
I understand every thing you are saying it is a scarey feeling to wake up this way. Have had diabeties for 47 years type 1 have experience all lot of things. At 18 years of age came home after the birth of a beautiful baby girl losing weight so fast and 2 weeks later had to leave my baby and go back in hospital for over a week.that little baby is what keep me going. Today I am on the pump and have so much better control do not have lows at night very much any more. I keep a coke, cake icing in a tude and Aglucagon injectiom shot on my night stand have had times when I don’t think I could have made it to the kitchen. corrected my spelling in this post. Good luck and God Bless.

I think all type 1’s do similar things in unprepared for hypo situations! It’s best to be prepared! If people don’t know you are a diabetic I think it really important to wear a clear ID band. I have had police confuse me for being drunk on a train and that delayed treatment. Waking up in a British Transport Police cell is not an experience I wish to repeat!