The “No’s” of Hypoglycemia

I woke up at 3:00 a.m. to the rustle of the plastic bag that Mike was trying to open.  “Are you okay?” I asked.

“Yes,” Mike said.  “My blood sugar is 44.  I’m dropping.  I’m going to eat these Chomps.”

“I have glucose tablets,” I said.  “Do you want one?”

“I want the Chomps,” Mike said, but he was still struggling to open the bag. 

“Want me to open it for you?”

“No,” Mike said.

“Are you sure?”

“Yes.”

I didn’t want to be annoying, but I offered my glucose tablets to Mike again.  He refused them. 

“Can I get you something else?  Food?”

“No,” Mike said.  Then he got the Chomps bag open and chewed four little candies.

I should know by now not to listen to the “no’s” of hypoglycemia.  I should not try to be respectful of Mike’s pride.  I should have stuck a glucose tablet in his mouth and told him to chew.  I should have grabbed the Chomps bag and opened it for him. 

“You okay?” I asked Mike.  I wanted to hear a “yes” and go back to sleep.

“Yes.”

Just as I drifted back into sleep, I heard the thumps of heavy, clumsy footsteps on the steep stairway.  Mike was stumbling to the kitchen for food.  His way down was dangerous and something I could have prevented if I’d been more aggressive about treating his hypoglycemia.  

The line between helping and offending is so fine. There is no set number to go by.  Sometimes a 45 comes up in no time.  Other times a 70 drops to 50 even after the glucose tablet.  And it’s always so much worse at night, trying to snap out of dreams and into the unpredictable reality of hypoglycemia.

Comments (4)

  1. Gail Miller at

    I have survived a healthy 63 years with diabetes and in the midst of hyoglycemia, I would refuse a glucose tablet any day.  When I’m that low, I want something delicious and gooey, or at least some peanut butter or honey, a cookie, whatever.  Just not glucose tablets!

  2. It really is such a fine line between helping and offending, especially when we’re low.

    For me, I’m always embarrassed that I’ve let my diabetes chaos spill outside of my ability to take care of it myself. It makes me ultra stubborn and sensitive. Not a great combination.

    God Bless you patient caregivers. :-)  

  3. What a helpful article. I have just shared it on our Belgian diabetesforum (translated into Dutch), for quite some members have partners that talk about these scary moments. Thank you for sharing.

  4. My take away from this is with a different perspective because Im still the parent and hearing the word “no” always triggers my “Im the parent you can’t say no to me” instinct. My youngest T1D has yet to argue with me in the middle of the night if I catch him low but that may be because he doesn’t wake up – he just drink the juice via the straw while sleeping. My daughter though – man of man can she get stubborn if I catch her with a low. First she doesn’t want to wake up. then she “HATES” juice so that will often get slapped out of my hands. Tabs – forget it she wont chew them in the middle of the night with a BS under 60. It comes down to a fruit roll-up most of the time. Sometimes after she is awake she will grab the roll-up Im opening and insist that she can open it which takes 4 times longer than it should but she refuses help. 
    Im never sure when touch love needs to happen or when calm patience is the answer. If BS is <40 touch love wins because I don’t know if she is still gonna go down. She never remembers any of it anyway. 
    I certainly hope my kids have patient yet tough others to help them when they truly can’t help themselves. 

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