Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Seeing lows from other side

I recently stumbled upon a video on YouTube that shows a man in the throes of a low blood sugar whose wife and daughter are trying to help him come back up ... it was interesting to say the least.  You can see it here:

My husband Tony (who has type 1) and I watched this together, and to be honest it was difficult to watch someone else going through something so personal ... and something so familiar.  Tony watched quietly and then he had some really interesting, and I think important, feedback.

In the video you can see the man sitting on the floor trying to work himself back into a normal state.  He is refusing help, which of course just makes everyone want to help him more.  According to Tony, the very best thing that we loved ones can do in that situation is to give our PWD space and some time to adjust.

He shared that when he is having a low like that, his brain slows down and takes five times as long to process even the simplest commands.  And not only that, but when someone interjects repeatedly ("drink the juice"... "drink the juice"), it forces him to have to START OVER and reboot the process with every interjection ... so whatever progress he has made towards stabilizing (whether that means being focused enough to take the juice, or to tell me what he needs), the interjection causes him to have to start from zero again and work himself back up....every single time.

So instead of helping him, any continual prompts are merely prolonging the process, and possibly making the low worse.  This was a huge "ah-ha" for me.  And we've been dealing with this for 16 years!

He said that the best thing I can do during a low like that is to give him space and quiet.  To leave the juice with him, accessible, and then leave him be.  Stay nearby (obviously), but give him the time and quiet that his brain needs to put two and two together and try and treat his low by himself.  He assures me that this will greatly shorten the process.

This isn't as easy as it sounds!  My knee-jerk response to a significant low episode is to get involved, but I've learned over the years that my anxiety doesn't help anything.  Obviously if Tony were incapable of drinking the juice or needed a more significant degree of assistance, I would intervene as needed.  But this little bit of recent insight helps me, so that perhaps the low wouldn't progress to that.

Can any of you relate to that?

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Love How This Girl is Taking On The TSA!

I stumbled upon this video this morning of a 16-year old girl who is taking on the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) about their lack of knowledge of how insulin pumps are affected by the full-body scanners at the airport:

I am SO happy to see this getting some press.  The truth is that YES, insulin pumps are not just affected by the full-body scanners, but they can in fact malfunction in dangerous ways (i.e., start bolusing out insulin without being asked to - not good when you're at 35,000 feet).  I have heard this from multiple PWDs who have experienced malfunctions after going through the scanners, ranging from mild to severe.

I travel a lot for work, and recently I asked one of the TSA agents if they had heard about insulin pumps being damaged by the scanners, and he said no, he hadn't heard that.  Then he proceeded to tell me that it was 100% safe to go through the scanner with your pump ... which I wasn't going to argue with at that point (especially since I was travelling alone, without my husband with type 1).

Now, we are about to take off for a 3-week trip to Spain and Italy in a few weeks, and this video was just another good reminder to make sure that we take some information with us to ensure that if we run into TSA agents at airport security who are not aware of the problem with the scanners and Tony's insulin pump (which I am guessing there are many), that we have documentation to back us up.  We will ALWAYS request a pat-down from this point on, to ensure that nothing interferes with the pump's ability to do it's job.

Even after 17 years of living with my husband's type 1, I am amazed at the lack of knowledge and understanding that people have around diabetes.  Even people who should know!  Like TSA agents for pete's sake!