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:   http://youtu.be/pC_0CI9jV6A

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?


14 comments:

  1. my goodness, yes, I'm still learning it at 21 years, it is so hard to deal with it, I am trying to make myself leave the area so that I'm not tempted to do or say anything, the drama is just now worth it and then I feel sick myself...

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  3. Thank you so much for your post. My husband is T1 since the age of 7. His low blood sugars are somtimes pretty bad and I am always trying to figure out the best way to help without making things worse, It is a constantly evolving thing and I feel like I am constantly learning from each episode. Usually I am really patient, but sometimes I am not and I have learned that I need to keep my emotions/mood in check and just deal with the situation at hand. It has taken me many years to realize that no matter how well my husband manages his disease, lows and highs are going to happen and we both just have to deal with them. When we first started dating, I mistakenly thought that we could learn from each episode in order to prevent it from happening again! That was an exercise in frustration!! :) Thanks for blogging and sharing your story and your journey! It is nice to find people who have experienced similar issues.

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  4. Ashley,

    This blog has made my whole night! I literally googled, "help, my spouse has diabetes". Found this blog and all of your posts(outside this chain).

    My wife was diagnosed at age 3. We've been married 14 yrs. 3 beautiful kids. We are happy 95% of the time....the other 5% is brutal. Living with type 1 is like living with Dr Jekyll and Mr(or Mrs) Hyde. I can relate to all the good, bad and ugly

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  5. Thank you for the idea of stepping back and not repeating the commands like "drink the juice." Sometimes I feel like a Drill Sargent , instead of a wife.
    We have also found that peanut butter and maple syrup is a good way to bring my husband's blood sugar back up with some protein to keep it stable. (His nephrologist doesn't like the phosphorus in the peanut butter, though.)
    So good to find this site and know that I'm not alone.

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  6. I experienced a traumatic episode with my husband last night - he had a massive hypo in the night where he started to be really aggressive towards me and I was really frightened. I'm used to helping him deal with his occasional hypo's well but this one was something different, it was like he had gone insane. I managed to get him some juice and left him with it in the room, I then hid in my son's bedroom until he came round a bit. Leaving him alone definitely is the best thing as I have found hounding him to "drink this" doesn't work. I absolutely love my husband who has managed his diabetes well since the age of 15. We have been together 15 years and I will be with him forever more - last night just shook me up a bit.

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  7. Thank you all for your comments. I can relate to and understand each one. To the last poster - I know how scary that experience is, when your loved one whom you know so intimately becomes someone that you don't know. When my husband is in the throes of a serious low and loses his "personality", that's when part of me just goes into auto-pilot and sees it as something to just get through ... to help him get to the other side however I can (sometimes leaving the room is the absolute right thing to do). There have been moments when the Tony I know has been completely absent (mentally), but then as his numbers rise he starts to show signs of himself again... comes to his senses... the relief I feel when that happens is intense. I love him dearly too, so I know what you mean. Those episodes are very scary, and since we know that we are committed to our spouses and staying the course, it is important to be kind to ourselves after they're over. Treat yourself to something good today... you deserve it! And know that you're not alone.

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  8. I'm really pleased to have found this community. I'm new to this. Less than a year new.

    I'm currently laying next to a man who is snoring. He's on his back, fully clothed, with his feet on the floor. I've just thrown away the candy wrappers from off his chest and I'm curled up with this phone in one hand and his monitor (telling me he's steady at 115), in the other.

    He'd left the monitor at home accidentally when he went out to the bar tonight. It was making those angry noises and just as soon as I'd sent the text, a sweaty version of himself was at the back door, unable to get the key up to the lock.

    At the moment, I'm dog-sick. Food poisoning. Have been all day. I've seen him drop like this before and worse, but I've always been able to jump up and help him. I can't even undo his boot laces or move him off the comforter right now.

    So, tonight in my helplessness, I wondered did I really know enough about his T1 as I am comfortable with? Not a bit. I think actually the thing I've been calling a monitor is a meter? I don't know. I need to read other peoples stories and ask questions outside of my relationship. So I think this place is a good start.

    His snores are a comfort to me on nights like this.

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    1. I hope he has since stopped drinking or the nightmare will continue!

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  9. Thanks for your share. I think we can understand like no others what you were experiencing that evening. It's exhausting to deal with lows (emotionally and physically) when you're WELL, let alone when you're ill. I hope you, and he, weathered the episode okay.

    Less than a year into loving someone with T1 is a delicate place to be. I think you're right, that getting educated on the disease is critical. Communicating with your partner is as well. I've said before on this blog that T1 is a team sport, and it truly is... but we can't assume we know what our partners want/need from us, unless we ask. Assuming we know is the best way to create conflict. Trust me, I speak from experience!

    Keep sharing your experiences - I know that there are people who read this blog that "get it". Ask questions and reach out. Everyone's experience is different, but there are these interesting commonalities that many of us seem to share. Let us know how we can help. And hang in there.

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  10. I saw a spell caster email address realhomeofspell@outlook.com on the internet when i was looking for help on how i will get my lover back. When i contacted him he agreed to help me and he cast all the spell for me after i gave him all the required stuff he ask for. To my greatest surprise my lover back to me within 48hours. i want to say a big thanks to him for taking his time to attend to me. You saved my life!

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  11. Breaks my heart watching my wife learn to live with t1. She didn't get it until she was 36. Part of some auto immune disease. She talks about just wanting to die a lot. This has and is by far the biggest struggle I have ever had to endure but I love her and don't want to just walk away. We have been together 6 years now. She has been t1 for 5 of them. Good luck to all of you. Thanks for this blog.

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  12. Hi Ashley,
    Just found your post. Been 15 years with my beloved Type 1 husband and that's exactly how it is. When its everyday things go well, when you do a Foam Fest in the mountain you deal with lows for 24-36 hours and the 'I'm not thirsty'......and even without the fest, it's a tricky thing to deal with lows. Highs are different, not pleasant are your spouse feels like crap but is all there. Saw the video about the low......might make my husband see it as maybe he would understand that when its bad, I feel bushed the next morning. BUT kudos to our Tyoe 1 diabetics!!!

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  13. I am another in the middle of the night spouse commenter who has just dealt with my husband's severe low and am feeling very alone and trapped. Thank you so much for being here. It helps to know other people are out there dealing with the same issues. Some of you are amazing with the issues you deal with and daily support you give your partners. I am not feeling so amazing tonight. After 20 years of marriage to my husband with type1, I am questioning how I can go on. His night lows seem to be getting more frequent and take longer to resolve once I can get something into him - tonight I tried orange juice concentrate, oranges and honey. He will often refuse what I feed him once he starts coming around.
    Now I've just had to leave him on the bedroom floor and remove myself to another room to give him some time to come around. I hear him up in the kitchen now so we made it... Unfortunately, we are not very close anymore, argue way too much, lack physical intimacy and I have started having anxiety for the first time in my life. It is so hard to figure out where the issues stem from. We have three beautiful boys. I worry about their chances for developing type 1. My work is stressful but I feel it is necessary so that we have a backup if anything should happen to his work. I feel like leaving, but besides our kids, how could I leave him to deal with this alone? So sorry, to go on like this. I am in a bad state of mind right now. Normally, we go about our days, full of work, kid activities and some of our own fun. We are so fortunate to have good health otherwise, make a decent living and don't have lots of other stressors. Hopefully after some sleep, I will be in a better place. Thanks for listening. "Anon in N"

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