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?