911 Lows

Dexcom lowSaturday, July 10th, slightly less than 2 weeks of starting my pump, I woke up lying on my bedroom floor.  I was lying on my back and I wasn’t able to move.  When I first tried screaming for help, the words were not coming out of my mouth.  After awhile, I was finally able to get turned to my side and I could see my bedskirt so I knew that I was in my bedroom (in the beginning, I was not sure where I even was).  At some point, I began thinking that I must have had a stroke because I was having so much trouble moving.

My feet were closest to the nightstand so I needed to get turned around somehow to try and get the phone.  When I finally made it to the nightstand, I was not able to reach the phone.  At that time, I saw that is was about 10:20.  I was supposed to be somewhere at 10, so I was actually worried about being late!  When I couldn’t reach the phone, I laid back down and my next attempt was about 20 minutes later.  At that point, I pulled the phone off of the nightstand.  I could also see my glucose tablets on the nightstand; I knew by that point that I needed them, but I would never be able to reach those.

It took me awhile before I tired to use the phone and it wasn’t working – I pulled the cord out when I tried to get it down.  I tried a couple times but could not get it plugged in.  I knew I needed help and no one seemed to hear my screams.  I later found out that my neighbors were not at home.  I live in a townhouse & my bedrooms are on the second floor – I knew that there was no way that I would make it downstairs.   I somehow managed to crawl around the bed to get to the window.  This time, I was able to pull myself up and lean on the window sill.  The window was locked so I first reached up to unlock the left side – that took me a couple tries to get it open.  When I reached for the right side, that one just popped right open – my Guardian Angel must have been looking out for me that morning.

Once I got the window opened, I started screaming.  I had no energy left and wanted to lay back down.  Right before I did, I saw two girls coming around the corner of the block below me.  I kept screaming when I laid down on the floor.  About then, I also remembered the pump.  My eyes were really blurry and I could not see well enough to suspend it so I just yanked it out – I knew I did not need more insulin going into me.  I could see my poor dog just sitting on the bed shaking.

It felt like forever but it was probably only a few minutes later when someone knocked on my door.  It was my neighbor two doors down.  She asked if I was OK and I said no, please call 911.  She said that they were also getting the manger to get in.  The manager also lives in the development.  She came in with my neighbor and they said that the ambulance was on its way.  My neighbor took my dog out and tried to feed him but he wanted no part of being downstairs.

When the EMTs got there, they checked my BS and it was 57.  They had me eat some glucose tablets and I got a lecture for not having orange juice or soda around.  They waited a bit and rechecked and I was in the 70s.  They still made me eat more glucose tablets.  They asked a million questions and because I was coherent, did not force me to go to the hospital.

Later, I downloaded my Dex to see what happened.  I remembered hearing the alarm about 4 AM that my BS was high.  I took some insulin & my pump confirmed that.  I am on a committee that raised money to build a playground for the kids and we got together late Friday night for some pizza.  I took a correction dose for the high not thinking about the fact that I now had a higher basal starting at 3 AM for DP so I should have taken a different correction dose.  Why I did not hear my Dex alarms, I have no idea.  My BS went below 70 about 5:30 and went below 40 about 6:00 AM.  My first phone attempt was about 10:20 and I am not sure how long I was laying there awake before I tried for the phone, but I probably was out of it for almost 4 hours.

Saturday, I did not do anything for the rest of the day.  Sunday, I tried to get some cleaning done.  My bedroom looked like a war zone.  Besides pulling stuff off the nightstand, I had managed to pull stuff from under the bed.  I also pulled down the blinds in the window and broke those when I tried to get the window opened.  I decided to take the blinds out of my spare bedroom until I could get to the store.  I needed to take the curtains down to get the blinds up so I figured I may as well wash those while they were down.

Before going to bed that night, I accidentally pulled the tube off the pump.  I called Animas to find out the correct procedure for what to do when that happens.

When I went upstairs to go to bed, I went over to the windows to close the blinds.  I needed help getting my curtains back up so the curtain rod was laying on the floor.  My first instinct was, that is not a good place for that, but then I thought I never get out of bed on that side so it won’t hurt anything being there.

I went to bed and the next thing I remember was hearing voices.  I heard the manager’s voice at one point, then I kept hearing, “Kelly, are you still with us.”  I am not sure if my eyes were really out of focus or I just didn’t open them the whole way, but at first, all I could see was a woman’s head & shoulder.  She had on a blue shirt with an emblem on the arm.  I did not respond to them right away because in my head, I was trying to figure out who they were and what did they want.

At one point, I heard them say something about blood sugar so the little wheels started turning & I figured I must have passed out.  As my eyes started getting a little more focused (or opened), I could see the quilt on my bed so figured I was in my bedroom.  Finally, at one point when I heard them say “Kelly, are you still with us,” I said yes.  Then they asked if I was OK.  I thought it was a trick question because at that point I still had no idea who they were or how they got there.  I just said “I don’t know.”

I asked them how they got there.  They said that I was screaming and pounding on the wall and my neighbors called 911.  Then I asked about my dog and they said Paulette (the manager) put him in the other room.  They checked my BS and it was over 200 – they said it was 37 before and would most likely drop back down again.  I was freezing cold & shaking and she asked me if I was cold.  Of course laying on the floor practically on top of the AC vent really did not help matters any!  She asked the other EMT for a blanket but she said it was downstairs. The phone started ringing and they asked me who would be calling me at that time of day – I didn’t even know what time it was and they said about 5 AM.  She started asking me the million questions about health problems and medicines that I take.

They wanted me to try and sit up and when I did, the IV popped out.  Now my bedroom really looks like a war zone with blood all over the wall & carpet.  I laid back down until she got that fixed.  My clothes were soaking wet from sweating because of the low so she asked me where I had some dry clothes.  There was a cop standing near the dresser and I was trying to think which drawer to tell them and I saw my laundry basket behind him – I had done laundry on Sunday and did not put stuff away so he grabbed a shirt out of there.

After I got a dry shirt on, she helped me move down towards the end of the bed where they had a chair – they said they would use that to get me downstairs.  The phone started ringing again so the one EMT picked it up – it was my sister trying to find out which hospital they were taking me to.  I later found out that the manager had called her because I have her name listed as an emergency contact.  When I scooted down to the chair, I asked about getting my shoes so the cop got those for me.

When we got downstairs, they had a stretcher in the living room to take me out on.  I asked if they could get my keys for me.  Even though they had asked about prescriptions that I take, she asked if I had a list.  I knew I did but words were not coming easily.  I could see my purse on the floor and knew it was in my wallet but I could not think of the word wallet or purse to tell them.  I now have that list on the fridge!  It drives me nuts when my nephew answers everything with “I don’t know” and that is what I was answering half of their questions with.

After we got outside, they said that the officer would make sure everything was locked up once they got their stuff out.  The manager stepped forward (she had apparently been waiting outside) and said she would make sure everything was locked up.

In the ambulance, the EMT asked about the curtain rod – the curtain rod that I figured would be OK where it was for the night!  I explained to her about breaking the blinds on Sat and taking the curtains down when I put the other ones up.  I have no idea what happened to that curtain rod, but after I got home, it was laying on the bed and pretty bent up.

When I got to the hospital, my BS was over 200 again.  It had dropped down to 134 in the ambulance.  I thought my pump had been suspended because it kept beeping.  When I was finally told that I could turn it back on, I discovered that the EMT had actually taken the tube off the pump and there was a message that it needed primed.  Luckily, the night before I had accidentally yanked the tube off and called Animas, so I knew what to do.

They wanted me to eat but I didn’t want to.  I was concerned that my pump was turned off and I wasn’t getting any basal insulin and my BS was over 200.  The nurse did not seem to understand that it is easy for pumpers to go into DKA when they are not getting basal insulin.  When the doctor finally came in, he said that I could turn the pump back on.  I felt naked without my meter because I didn’t know what my BS was or have the ability to watch it when I took insulin.

Blister on diabetic footAfter a couple hours, they said I could go home.  After I got home, I trued to get something to eat but was really sick in my stomach.  When I went to get a shower, I discovered a nice huge blister on the side of my foot – I have no idea how that happened, but now I get to make a few trips to Pittsburgh for that.

When I downloaded the Dex, it looks like I dropped really low about 1 AM.  My neighbors said it was about 3 AM that they heard me screaming.  It was about 4:30 when the manager called my sister.  I have been a lot lower than 37 before so I am not sure if it was because I was running so low for an extended period of time or my BS was actually on the way back up.  I really need to do something to amplify the alarms on the Dex, because I am obviously not hearing them at night.

The doctor that I see for my foot is actually a GP.  When I talked to him about what happened, he said that the reason I was having trouble moving & talking was because of the lack of glucose to my brain for so long.  I was really worried because I have passed from low BS before but never experienced not being able to move like that.

Hopefully, I never experience anything like that again in a long, long time!
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