4/17/2006

Diabetes Will Not be Forgotten

Even during Easter Sunday worship diabetes rears its ugly head. In the Christian faith, Easter is a joyous time and I was in good spirits. My parents were in town and I had successfully guesstimated my carbs at dinner with them last night. No small feat given we ate a Mexican place, had appetizers in addition to the chips & salsa and I tried something new. Just as the sermon began there was a disruption as an older man was try8ing to carry his wife out of the church. She was collapsing & unable to stand. Many people rushed over to help, as people do in these situations. Even though she was on the floor in the aisle right next to the pew we were sitting in, I stayed put. That is until I heard the words low blood sugar and diabetes. I grabbed the juice box from my purse, ripped off the straw inserted it, and thrust the juice box it into the hands of a member of the congregation who was evidently a nurse. I heard “can’t swallow…and sugar packets” so I ran to get those. By this time the minister had stopped trying to preach, the EMS was on the way and everyone in the Sanctuary was trying to figure out what was happening. They were able to get maybe tow of the sugar packets in her mouth to dissolve and run down her throat when my brain clicked into gear & I grabbed my blood sugar machine, elbowed my way to a spot right next to her and did a blood sugar. She was 53; not great but not as low as I had thought it might be. She was having trouble keeping her eyes open and was not alert.

The Fire Squad, EMS, etc., poured in and took over. Her husband was apologetic for the disruption. He said that she must have taken too much insulin that morning. They gave her oxygen. In my head I was screaming, how about some sugar guys, she’s only 53? They took her out on a stretcher. The worship service continued. It was odd. There was a strange current rippling through the congregation. We were not used to this much excitement. It took a while for my heart beat to return to it’s normal rate. I thought I might be low but I was 263, just a bit shaken up.

After the service, people were saying things along the lines of me saving the day, or you really knew what to do or you went above and beyond. I heard low blood sugar and only did what is second nature for all of us who live with diabetes. As if I could just sit there with my juice box and blood sugar testing machine in my purse, with a woman barely conscious a few feet away from me and not jump into action. Mind boggling. This was not some great act or something to be applauded for. It was simply a human act.

I feel like there is some bigger message I am supposed to take away from this event since it happened during church on Easter Sunday but I can’t seem to figure it out. It reminded me of the importance to always be prepared with low supplies and that the ‘betes will not be forgotten. It will rear its ugly, Hypoglycemic head during the most inopportune times and you better be ready.

2 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Melissa, thankfully you were there to help! Even though those EMS crews get there, doesn't mean that they will know what to do in a timely manner.

I was in Florida with David and his family. We were out to dinner at a nice restaurant and a lady sitting at a table next to us got low. She was still concious but refusing to drink sugar water or juice. I went over to her husband and offered my glucose tabs, which he refused. The EMS crew got there a few minutes later and we left right after that so I don't know what happened. However, I was surprised that her husband was reacting the way he did- not sure of what to do.

I do believe that you should take something back from this- even if it is the knowledge of being more prepared or remembering that it's not going away. Those are big ones!

BetterCell said...

Those EMS personnel who came were idiots. Why did'nt someone in the whole congregation (maybe her own husband?) tell them or shout that she has Diabetes and is Hypoglycemic in need of something sweet like Glucagon or an IV Glucose solution that EMS personnel are suppose to handle? Because at this point she was having difficulty in swallowing, an IV Glucose solution or IV injection of Glucose would have been the awy to go. It is too bad that EMS Personnel are quick to bring out the O2 assuming that all emergencies are heart related.