Friday, March 10, 2006

I had quite an experience last night. What happened literally scared the shit out of me and made me feel like the biggest fool on the planet. I still cannot believe it happened.

It started off as any other evening. I went to the gym and spent about 1 hr and 10 minutes on the arc trainer. As I was leaving, I noticed that I didn't feel quite right...but I kind of just shrugged it off. Yes, I realized I probably was running a little low, but no big deal, I would just drive home and take care of it then. Sounds simple enough, right? Well, not exactly.

I proceeded to drive home. As I was on my way, I kept feeling uneasy and uncomfortable. I felt almost like jumping out of my skin and my head felt like it was unsteady and unsupported on my neck and shoulders. Strange, I know. But I continued on my way.

I managed to get off my exit and pulled up the road to the area where my apartment is situated. All of a sudden I realized that I was going WAY too fast and I almost felt like I had lost control of the car. Before I knew it, I had driven past my apartment. I thought that was really weird, but I turned around and drove back. It happened again...not only once, but two more times. The last time I did this, I had driven way past where I was supposed to be and then found that I had turned off onto some roads I wasn't familiar with.

Again, I found that I was driving too fast and, not only that, but I was having difficulty seeing. I really couldn't see where I was or where I was going. All of a sudden I heard a THUNK. I knew I hit something off to the side of the road. I tried to keep driving, but my car didn't seem quite right. It felt a little funny and it was making a strange rumbling noise.

All I could keep thinking was "Oh shit!" And "whatthefuck!"

I knew I was panicking and I knew that I was in trouble. I was lost, I had done something to my car, and my blood sugar was dropping...RAPIDLY. Out of sheer panic, I called my parents on the phone. Well, they aren't exactly near to where I live anymore...they live in White Plains (about 45 mins away), but I didn't know what to do. I needed someone to tell me, b/c my brain just was not functioning.

I could hear the worry in my Mom's voice, but there wasn't a lot she could do from where she was. She suggested I call the police, especially since I said I had hit something and also b/c of the fact that she knew my sugar was dropping.

She was right and I knew it. I had to do something, so I made the call. The officer on the phone was very nice. He asked me what happened and where I was. That was a very good question and I was wondering the same. I was honest. I told him I wasn't quite sure. I could barely make anything out on the road, but I managed to squint and read the street sign. He told me he would send someone out shortly and to pull off to the side of the road.

I turned my hazard lights on and attempted to move over. A couple of nice people came by and asked if I was ok. But once they heard I was just lost, they took off. One guy in particular really went above and beyond. He walked around my car. He said that it looked ok, but that I had a flat on the right front tire. As I was talking to him about it, the cop showed up.

Both of them helped me out greatly. They really were good Samaritans. Not only did they make sure I was ok, but they changed my tire and put the spare on. After changing the tire, the officer asked if I was ok to drive. I let him know that I didn't know. I told him I was Diabetic and knew that my blood sugar was falling. I was apprehensive about admitting this, I knew that Diabetics tend to get a bad wrap as bad drivers and also b/c I knew I could get into a lot of trouble. But my state of mind at the time told me that I had to fess up.

The cop was pretty understanding, but he did tell me that I should not be driving if my blood sugar was that low. He called another of his cop buddies and his buddy drove me home, while he followed. They made sure I got in ok and made me drink some Coke to bring my sugar up. I tested my sugar and after drinking a good deal of regular soda, my blood sugar had risen, BUT it only risen to 56-eek! It must have been really low to start with.

Needless to say, I felt like such an IDIOT for letting this happen. I mean, I was really close to where I live and I couldn't find my way home. I was so confused, disoriented, and LOST. When that was going on, I felt like I wasn't going to ever get home and that was really scary, b/c that's where I wanted to be more than anything. I just wanted to be safe and secure in the comfort of my apartment and I wasn't sure I was ever going to find my way.

Now that this scary incident is over, it really makes me question myself. It makes me question myself and how much I truly accept my condition. I really should know better and yet I let this happen. I guess I am wondering why. In a way, it makes me wonder about whether I have fully come to grips with my disease. I know there are times where I want to be able to do what I want and not worry about any consequences. But with this disease, I don't think that's possible. You always have to be aware of what's going on with your body and any abnormal change going on.

I think I've learned my lesson, at least I hope I have. Yeah, I guess I had to learn it the hard way, but I guess that's what it takes. Hopefully, that will not happen again any time soon. It was truly horrible, but I know it could have been so much worse. I could have really damaged my car, I could have passed out, or, probably worst case scenario, I could have hurt someone driving. I am so thankful that that didn't happen. Maybe there is a guardian angel watching over me afterall


Blogger Shannon said...

Wow. Thank goodness you made it out alright.

Sometimes it takes an episode like that to realize that we're not invincible and that things won't always be OK.

I'm sure you'll be more careful next time.

I don't think I need to whip you with a wet noodle for not checking yourself before you left the gym after a long workout :)

7:51 AM  
Blogger Lyrehca said...

Do you carry Lifesavers or glucose tablets with you? They're super portable (I always have a pack of Lifesavers in my meter case with me) and they can save you the trouble of stopping to buy some juice or whatever.

I'm glad you're OK.

One thing I've learned is that if I feel funny, it won't ever go away if I ignore it and that I always need to test and treat a reaction as soon as I feel it. Lying in bed, driving, at the gym. The treatment has to come first.

9:41 AM  
Blogger Johnboy said...

Andrea, that is quite a scary story.

An endo once told me to always check before getting behind the wheel because he had a patient who actually died from low bg while dirving. Scared the sh^t out of me, I'll tell ya.

Almost to an incident, any time I have delayed treating myself when I felt a little funny, I regretted it afterwards.

Sometimes it takes a close call to wake us up!

Please take care. :)

10:28 AM  
Blogger Kelsey said...

Wow, very scary!

Testing before driving is always a good idea. I find myself putting off testing my blood sometimes (usually just due to laziness or not wanting to waste a strip, when I'm "pretty sure" I'm fine, or low or high.) it's never a good idea.

This is a good reminder for everyone Andrea. Thanks for sharing this story.

4:08 PM  
Anonymous cin said...

Wow Andrea. Totally scary stuff. I always make sure to test before driving. Just makes me feel safer knowing that I will be capable of watching out for the true "idiots" out there.
And no, you are not an idiot. It just sometimes takes a scary episode to remind us.
Take care and be careful.

7:45 PM  
Blogger Andrea said...

I think this was definitely a WAKE UP call for me, and a very much needed one. Though part of me knows, logically, that I have this disease, I think part of me doesn't want to accept it.

However, this scenario has changed things. I know I HAVE to be more careful, not just b/c I could hurt myself, but especially b/c I could have hurt someone else.

It's funny, b/c a girl I know from work, gave me a 5 lb bag of Jolly Ranchers and, stupidly, I did not have them with me. I basically had nothing, but diet soda...and that wasn't goingt to do the trick. Needless to say, I now have a shopping bag full of them in my glove compartment of my car-lol. I guess it's true that you can NEVER be too prepared.

Yesterday, I ventured back to the gym. I was a little nervous about going back after what happened, but I knew that I can't just run away from my fears or let it stop me from doing what I want to do, especially regarding something that can be prevented. So I did my usual workout and made sure to test right after the gym. I made it home w/o a problem.

I guess there's always good things to come out of this. taught me a good lesson about this disease, testing, driving, and being safe. Two...was an unintentional thing...I think it made my Mom more aware of the seriousness of my condition. If you don't know this, my Mom and myself have had problems with discussing my Disease. Basically, I feel like she takes it too lightly. But since this happened, it seems like she realizes that this condition is not easy to deal with and is not to be taken lightly.

As always, I know this response has gone on forever, but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciate the responses and words of support. I don't know where I'd be w/o you all :)

9:49 AM  
Blogger julia said...

Wow, scary stuff! I'm glad you were ok and had enough presence of mind to call your mother and the cops.

Someone once suggested carrying Pixie Stix as a low treatment - those would be great in the glove box. They don't take up any space, really, and they wouldn't be affected by temperature. I keep Skittles and Smarties in the car for Olivia - although she doesn't know it, otherwise she'd be bugging for them all the time. ;-)

11:08 AM  
Blogger Johnboy said...

I have Smarties and Ocean Sray Cranberry juick in my glove box. Glad to hear about the unintentional impact on you mom. As you know, I can relate!

11:27 AM  
Blogger Erica said...

Wow that is scary! I'm glad you stocked up your car... LOL I feel like a squirrel because I have stuff stashed EVERYWHERE, my car, dh's car, my purse, my backpack, at work, the diaper bag...

But it's stories like yours and other OC'ers that led me to do it. I don't want to find myself in a similar situation - I just might not be as lucky, ya know?

8:53 AM  
Blogger Shannon said...

Andrea, I thinks it's great that you returned to the gym and used that scary episode as a learning experience rather than a deterrent.

And unfortunate for the reason, but it's good to see your mom face the seriousness of diabetes. I hope this is the hallmark of a better relationship between you and her where your condition is concerned.

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Tiffany said...

I have only one thing to say:

Hottie rating for the cops???


All kidding aside...oh wait, I'm not kidding. I'm as serious as a grave -- are we talking eye candy here? C'mon in suits deserve some detail!!

I think that you handled this situation admirably, Andrea. You recognized that you needed help, and you took the steps to get it. Can't do much better than that under the circumstances!!

So this blogger is giving you a BIG pat on the back!

Oh, and might I make a small suggestion:

Should you (or any one of us who pump) find yourself/ourselves in a situation similar to this one - hypo, no food - SUSPEND YOUR PUMP. No, this doesn't guarantee that your BG is going to come back up, but chances are, if you cut off your insulin supply, you'll stop dropping completely (by giving your liver the chance to catch up) or you'll decrease the severity of the low.

Now, back to the hot or not question...

11:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I keep a 12 fluid ounce bottle of Gatorade in the center console of my car. I don't put the key into the ignition until the Gatorade is there. I have to remember to bring the Gatorade inside during the winter so it doesn't freeze.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Jen said...

That is scary!
I'm glad it turned out OK. I use fruit snacks for my lows, and i actually keep a whole box in my glove compartment. I don't have much else in there, so it's not taking up too much room. They get a little crunchy when they are frozen, but they don't expire quickly, they don't freeze, and i'm not tempted to eat them at other times.

11:37 PM  
Blogger Sandra Miller said...


I am so glad you're all right. I can only imagine how frightened you must have been sitting alone in that car.

But you did get the help you needed. And, came away from the experience with some real positives-- better preparedness for future lows, and a more understanding mom.

And Andrea, I think it's phenomenal that you didn't allow this experience to keep you out of the gym.

Yes, you're making accomodations for diabetes, but you're not letting the condition determine those activities you can and cannot do.

Bottom line: Scary post.

But inspiring, too.


10:22 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

10:55 AM  
Blogger Andrea said...

You guys and gals always impress me with your words of advice, understanding, and support... I can honestly say that you make dealing with such a difficult disease a little easier- Thank-you from the bottom of my heart :) :) :)

Thanks for all the suggestions on things to treat my lows. I have a BAG full of JRs in my car now, if I should come across another low, I'll be prepared. I like the idea of Pixie Sticks and Juice, though. I think sometimes juice raises my blood sugar faster than some other things. The good thing about the JRs is that they don't appeal to me that much, so I won't find other reasons to eat them. With the pixie sticks, or fruit snacks, I don't know... I might find myself needing a little snack, lol. But I think the juice would be good, since I don't really like it that much and my CDE recommended the same.

NO, I haven't let this stop me from going to the gym... I refuse to let that happen. I'm still a faithfull gym go-er, bordering on being a little obsessive about it. I have had a few lows following my workouts, but I have made sure to test first and treat before driving. I have to admit I was nervous about going back, but I know I can't let what happened prevent me from living my life.

Tiff, that's a good suggestion about suspending the pump. I always forget to do that... Plus, at the time, my brain was having trouble functioning. I was such a mess, but now I'll be sure to do that should I have something like this happen (hopefullyy NOT
:o( ). As for the hottie level of the cops, lol :), one of them was married with 2 kids, I think, and a little too old for me, so I didn't really take notice of whether he was cute or not. The other cop was younger. He also is diabetic, surprisingly. Actually, I don't really know if he was a hottie either. I guess my state of mind wasn't really focusing on that. OH well :( ...

I guess there is one more good thing to add to my list about this happening... If it inspires others to think twice about their Diabetes, testing, driving, lows, other factors, or any combination of the ones mentioned, that is absolutely a good thing. I hope that my experience helps prevent this type of thing from happening to someone else. I know I learned a lesson. :)

Thanks again, EVERYBODY :)

10:55 AM

10:57 AM  

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