Sunday, April 1, 2012

Falling Asleep While Driving

I worked at a supermarket to earn enough to pay for my tuition and college expenses. During my first year of employment there, on a Saturday night, it was my turn to stay after hours to help with the mopping detail. Every aisle had to be clean and bright before we went home. Being so tired from the day's work made the mopping very difficult for me. On my way home that evening I thought my strange feelings were due to my fatigue, but while making a right hand turn at the first intersection, I collapsed at the wheel. The next thing I knew my parents were standing over me and a crowd of men were behind them. Several cops were there too. My wheels were not straightened during that right hand turn due to my hypo and my car went off the road and down a steep embankment into a creek bed.
My car had passed between two vertical posts that were supporting a huge bill board. Some people were measuring the distance between the posts and the width of my car, and they said the opening was about two inches more than the width of the car. My car had passed between the posts, but did not touch either one of them. I was not hurt and the car did not have a scratch on it. The guys standing in back were from a bar across the road. They had seen my car leave the road and they found my parent's phone number in my wallet.

Everyone but my parents thought I was drunk. There had never been any alcohol in my life at any time. My parents told the cops about my diabetes. I don't think anyone there believed their explanation. There was no ticket though and a big wrecker pulled my car up the embankment later that night, or on Sunday. It was like the whole thing was just a bad dream. There were many hypos during my early years during my sleep or after a lot of exertion. There was no way for me to test my blood sugar before starting home that night.

Glucose monitors were not available until many years after that. My feelings and urine testing were my only clues to possible oncoming hypos. My parents thought that God had protected me and that was why I was not hurt. It was wonderful that my car was in good shape. I was 18 and in my freshman year at the college. I felt very lucky to be able to attend classes Monday morning.

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