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?”
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.
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.