Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Bad Hypo On The Job

In the early 1980's I was teaching a class in basic Statistics at a community college. All students in the nursing program at the college were required to take the Statistics course. I was the only teacher there with a degree in Statistics so I taught most of the Statistics classes at that time. I taught many nurses through the years. In the summer of 198? I had about 25 students in a Statistics class, and 10 of them were nurses. It was an evening class. I left my office and started my walk to reach my class, and I had very blurred vision  I was very dizzy. It seemed to hit me so suddenly. I reached for my container of sugar in my pocket. It was not there. I recognized one of my students in the hall, and asked him to go to the classroom and tell my students I would be late. I fumbled in my pocket for change to use in the candy machine. No change. I had no one dollar bills to use in the machine. I should have gone to my class and asked for help, but I was not thinking clearly. I went outside to my car. The parking lot was rather dark, and my vision was so bad that I had great difficulty finding my car. I finally found the car and unlocked the door. I knew I had a roll of quarters I used for tolls. I grabbed the roll and headed back to the candy machine. It was not in the same building as my class. My hands were shaking, and I dropped several coins. My vision was so bad that I had to feel for the coin slot. I managed to get several coins in the slot. I could not read the letters and numbers so I just pushed buttons, and pulled knobs, until something dropped. I felt something, but did not know what it was. I wanted candy, but I had a big cookie with some sticky stuff between layers. I gobbled it down, and headed to the other building to meet my class. I was about 15 minutes late. I explained what had happened. The nurses were all over me for not asking them to help. A couple of them were perhaps in their late 30's, and had been nurses in a local hospital for several years. They were at my desk takiing my pulse, and asking me questions. The class started late, but I have always bounced back from these hypos very well. The class was about 2 1/2 hours long but it was ok that evening.

Two days later I had a terrible hypo during the night, and my wife could not get me to eat anything. I was convulsing and she called an ambulance. They were there promptly and gave me a much needed glucagon injection. I was hospitalized for two days. One of the nurses from my class waited on me there. Another nurse from my class kept dropping in even though she was on duty in another part of the hospital. That was a weekend, and I was back in class Monday evening. Everyone knew what had happened by the time I got to class. Those nurses took good care of me both in class and at the hospital. That was the only time in my many years of teaching that I had such help, or need of help, from my students.

I want to mention that this incident took place several years before I had my first meter for testing blood sugar. I did use Test-Tape for testing urine during those years. That was something I did at home, but on campus I relied primarily on my feelings. On the evening mentioned my hypo occurred very fast, and caught me totally unprepared. My diabetes did not really interfere very much with my job as a college teacher, but that evening with an awful hypo, teaching so long while recovering, and then spending two days in a hospital later that week is something I will never forget. That was the only time during my 71 years of Type 1 that I was hospitalized with a hypo.

Now I can test my blood sugar and use a CGM to keep this kind of hypo from ever happening again. That hypo and hospital stay was more that 30 years ago. Those nurses were so cool!!

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