Monday, June 6, 2011

Diabetic Attacks-In My Own Words

Within hours of being diagnosed with diabetes the nurses told me to "Beware of low blood sugar."

What they should have said was, "Watch out for those diabetic attacks, if you think you've kissed death while your sugar is too high, just wait until it gets too low."

Of course they couldn't say it just like that, but since I'm not in the medical field--I can! So here it goes, "Watch out for those diabetic attacks, if you think you've kissed death while your sugar is too high, just wait until it gets too low."

Here are some textbook symptoms  of  low blood sugar: 
shakes, confusion, hunger, blurred vision,
sweats, convulsions, pounding heart, 
clammy skin, and irritability. 


Here are my top thee real-life symptoms: (I am describing the diabetic attacks that occur during the night while I was sleeping, so I woke up in the midst of the following)

#1 The Shakes--It feels like your body's natural vibrations have drank Red Bull, so they are in OVERDRIVE. It's subtle, but present and gaining strength as if a convulsion is on the brink.

#2 Sweating--Imagine sitting inside a home in South Florida or the Caribbean, with no air condition or fans. It's about 3pm (not high noon sun, but it's still bright and shining) and it's time to start cooking, so the oven and stove are turned on.  It's the type of sweat that washes your entire body.  You realize that parts of your body are sweating that you didn't even know existed.

#3 A Beating Heart--Your heart is beating so hard that you feel like it just joined The Marching 100.

When I'm violently awaken from my sleep with these symptoms, I am in a state of fear so intense that it's almost measurable. I can smell the plants in the Valley of the Shadow of Death.  When my glucose was high, I felt like I was oozing, slipping, creeping into a coma.  But, during a diabetic attack, I feel like I'm running, dashing, sprinting into the open arms of death. I 'm in the small space between fighting for my life or reflecting on my life and letting go. So, I fight for my life.  And what do I have to fight with...

SUGAR!  

The very thing that diabetics have to avoid most days is the life-saving nectar that we need during an attack. Orange juice is my sword of choice, but I also carry glucose tablets on my keychain (just in case I have an attack during my awake time).

What the textbooks don't address is the level of anxiety diabetic attacks cause.  I haven't sleep the same  since my diagnosis.  After experiencing two attacks back to back while taking a much needed nap, I have stopped taking insulin.  Apparently, I was having frequent attacks because my dosage was too high. (Thanks again to my mom who, as a nurse who worked at a diabetic clinic, told me that the sliding scale I was put on was too low for me and that I needed to stop the insulin).  

Since I am no longer on insulin I have not had a diabetic attack, but the residue (fear of waking up in the middle of an attack) is still present.

7 comments:

  1. Hi! You won the Give-away on my blog. :) There was no way to contact you on your blog, so if you visit mine, my e-mail address is listed on the right side of the page. E-mail me your contact info and I'll get your Stick Me Design bag in the mail in a few days. Congrats!

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  2. Saw your blog on another blog! I know low symptoms can vary, but those 3 you mentioned are my big ones, too. Gotta love when your back is dripping with sweat! I have definitely dealt with anxiety as well. What you don't learn when you're newly diagnosed is how much diabetes can affect your emotions. Hang in there--and nice to "meet" you. :)

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  3. Thanks Cara for the news.

    Valerie, I', so glad that you stopped by. It's a pleasure to meet you too! I need all the support I can handle. :-)

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  4. hi - im so glad to find your blog and look forward to following along. im a parent of a type 1, he was diagnosed at 8 months old, having been diabetic one full year now. the insight you give is vivid, as to how my young son must be feeling.

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  5. Hi Jules,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. Come back often.

    Being a parent of a baby diabetic has to be extremely difficult. I'm glad that you're finding a supportive community.

    p.s. I'm now following in your blog and I love that you're the CEO of a very demanding organization-your family.

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  6. Hey DR.P
    just wanted to say hi and welcome you to the DOC, we are a unique online community of diabetics, am sure you have realized this by now and hopefully you have had a chance to meet some of us. Truth be told, there not many type 2 diabetic bloggers aside from Bob Fenton (he introduced your blog to me), Chrystal(sexy diabetic)and Myself(aka the poor diabetic) just to name a few but we are all diabetic's type 1 or type 2 fighting the good fight. I so look forward to meeting you and sharing our struggles as well as joys in this diabetes life.

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  7. Thanks for welcoming me, I look forward to meeting you as well as fitting right in at my "new home."

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