This morning, at around 5:55 am I woke up and my husband was having convulsions.
The back story:
D is an insulin dependant diabetic.
This weekend D and I escaped to Philadelphia just to get away.
We were in a hotel.
We had had a lovely time prior to this morning. Ending last evening with some excellent cheese-steak. We cuddled and talked and I fell asleep in my beloved's arms.
Fast forward to a little bit before 5:55. I hear D snoring. I do my normal, "sweetie you're snoring" which, believe or not, works quite a bit. Nothing happens, I start to become awake. It dawns on me that he is flailing around. Oh, he's having a nightmare. I touch his shoulder, my hand comes away wet. I come the rest of the way awake. I realize he isn't having a nightmare, I am.
"Honey," he is shaking and convulsing. He's making these truly awful noises that sound like snorts. They were gasping aspiraing sound and I hope never, ever to hear them again in my life.
"D! WAKE UP!"
"D!" I'm screaming now.
I grab the phone and dial 911. Nothing happens. I'm in a hotel and I have no idea how to get an outside line. I dial zero, it takes 2 rings for the person to answer. I hear this hysterical screaming voice answering him and it barely registers that this is me.
"My husband's having an insulin reaction I need an ambulance and I don't know the cross streets!"
"You have a medical emergency?" Didn't I just say that?
"YES, YES, Please help!"
"I'll get the paramedics" he says and hangs up.
At this time I have several brilliant ideas, all of which I later learned were the wrong thing to do. First brilliant idea was to somehow get him his glucose tablets. He's had insulin reactions before, he eats the tablets, he's okay. If I can get him to eat the tablets he'll be okay. He's face down on the bed convulsing, and I grab the glucose I always have in my purse and put it near his mouth. I couldn't get it in his mouth. Nothing happens.
My second brilliant idea was to turn him over on his stomach and pour regular soda down him. Sometimes we use that or orange juice. I can't turn him over, he's convulsing too hard and he's sweating so profusely that I could wring out the sheets.
Finally I pick up his cell phone and call 911 myself. Again this hysterical woman who I know is me is screaming HELP into the phone.
"Please help my husband's having convulsions. He's having an insulin reaction. Please help!"
She asks where I am, I tell her the name of the hotel and the town. She says that the police on on their way and she's sending paramedics.
"I don't know what to do! This has never happened before! I couldn't turn him over!"
The calm lady, who sounds like the voice of reason itself tells me that it's okay. She asks me if he's on his stomach or his back. I tell her that he's on his stomach and she says that that is good. She asks me if he's vomited. I have no idea, she said I'd smell it if he did. Then there's a knock on the door and someone from the hotel comes in telling me the police are on their way.
D is still convulsing and they seem to be getting worse. I touch his shoulder, they look so painful and in that moment something becomes clear that I hadn't let myself even think about before. I could lose him. The thought literally knocks me to my knees, and moments after I hit the floor, the convulsions stop.
"They stopped." I say. The hotel man takes D's wrist. It just hit me now, almost 14 hours after this that he was checking for a pulse, then it seemed to me like he cared...which he probably did. He came up and stayed with me.
The lady on the phone said we should leave him be but his eyes were fluttering.
"He's responding."The hotel man said.
"Heartmate?" I don't know where Miss Hysterical went, I heard my voice say "Honey, you're having a reaction. He sat up and I handed him the soda. He drank half of it.
"Glucose." He says, and I hand him 4 tablets. (usual dose). The cops came in at that moment. He picked the soda back up and drained it. The EMTs were seconds behind them. That's when D tests his blood.
It was 37. To give you some perspective. Normal is anywhere from 80-120. A bad insulin reaction is 60-55. Soda and glucose tablets, bring a person's blood sugar up almost instantly. D had had glucose and soda and he was still registering as 37. Had I tested him during the convulsions, it probably would not have registered.
Once the EMTs were there and I knew he was going to be okay, I excused myself, went to the bathroom and threw up. The hotel guy left before I had a chance to thank him. I got his name from the front desk later and plan to send a letter to the hotel.
The EMTs gave him glucose gell (which is supposed to be even more fast-acting.). They tested his pulse and blood pressure which were within normal range--which is fairly impressive for someone who has been convulsing for more than 5 minutes. He started being normal D. He didn't need to go to the hospital, so the EMTs and Police left. When his blood sugar hit the the magical number of 111, I broke down completely. I couldn't stop sobbing. I hadn't know what to do. D held me and all I could think of was how close it was. I didn't know how long he had been convulsing, what if I had slept through it? I then berated him for taking too much insulin. And he held me, and told me he loved me.
D's diabetes to me has been like the color of his eyes. He's always had it. He has never slept through an insulin reaction before. There is a glucose shot that he can take that we're going to get a prescription for. His control is usually excellent. I can't say how much this has scared me. I can't begin to say. I haven't been able to tolerate having him out of my sight or out of easy touch. When he fell asleep in the car going home and started to snore, I woke him up to make sure he was okay. We've talked about how to avoid a repeat of this, and what we will do to make sure it doesn't happen when Kerry comes. I'll talk about some of our discussions in another post. I need to hug my husband now.