You’re out running one day and stumble, trip, you fall over. It’s not a bad sprain and you’ll live but your pride’s a bit dented and your ankle a bit achey. A few kind souls on the cycle path rush over to ask if you need help. You smile, say you’re fine, but thanks anyway. A gentleman helps you up despite your protestations and to a nearby wall for you to recover while the pain passes. Within five minutes everyone is on their way and after a rest, you hobble home.
The next day, while walking shopping, your ankle niggles a bit and for some reason you crumple a bit in your roots and you almost stumble in the vegetable aisle. The shop assistant and nearby shoppers again rush to your aid, settle you down and check if everything is OK before carrying on with their day.
This week while running my blood sugars dropped to low levels, and stubbornly and dangerously refused to rise. I was already 2.5k from the house, with nothing but a sports gel, a packet of Mentos, my monitor and my mobile phone. I had no money for a taxi. My sugar did nothing to bring my bloods sugars back up. My husband was on the phone. I suddenly felt vulnerable and panicky. Eventually I called my Mum and she virtually ‘walked’ me home, worrying no doubt for the duration of the 15 minutes it took me to walk home, empty on energy and hypoglycemic the whole way.
Earlier in my diagnosis (20 months ago now), it became such a regular occurrence for me to have hypos in supermarkets late afternoon, often with a two year old in tow, that my family now joke about my going shopping. It wasn’t so funny when I was so poorly and ran out of sugar that I had to call my husband to come and pick me up one afternoon. It took an hour for the adrenaline to stop and the shaking to abate.
These are just examples; there are others, as I am sure every Type One diabetic will tell you, hypoglycaemia can be sudden and debilitating. Often it is sorted alone, quietly, without making a fuss. Yet each and every time, I’ve been really struggling, no-one has ever asked me if I needed help.
The problem is, unlike the running fall, or the trip in the shops, these complications with Type One diabetes are an invisible stumble, a quiet fall but occasionally a dangerous one. And it simply comes down to the fact that non-diabetics, don’t know what to look for.
So if you’re out and about, and you see someone with several packets of little blue test strips, a monitor of some sort, struggling with a packet of jelly babies, dextrose tablets and looking a bit pasty, ask them if they’re OK, or if they need help. They’ll probably not take it, but there are times where they might actually need it, where they’d maybe appreciate it, and you never know you might just save a life.
It would also make Type One diabetes a little less invisible.
Treating a hypo http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Hypoglycaemia/Pages/Treatment.aspx