A diabetic coma is when the blood sugar levels drop too low and a diabetic person becomes unconscious.
The lowest blood sugar reading I had before becoming unconscious was 1.8. I was shocked that I was still with it. In the 22 years that I have been diabetic I have been found unconcious on three separate occasions.
The first was when I was in about grade 8 or 9. I remember waking up to get ready for school and then I dont remember anything except for my mother and father being there when I woke up.
The second and third time both occured in my adult years when my partner found me comatose in the morning.
For me, my sugar levels need to be a little higher before I can go to bed safely or drops in the night can leave me in a terrible condition.
My most recent occurance was about a year and a half ago. I remember I had met some friends at the beach, I had three alchoholic drinks, and I went home with a bit of a buzz and barbequed some dinner. I went to bed and I didn't wake up. As I am told, my partner asked me if I could get a glass of water at some point and I mumbled that I would. I never did. After I didn't get up it became apparent that I was not very responsive. My partner tried repeatedly to wake me and it became VERY apparent that I needed medical attention when my eyes roled back in my head and the layer of cold clammy sweat that covered my lifeless body was noticed. After a call to 911 my partner tried a number of different things to wake me up with no success.
It was the most bizzare feeling I have ever experienced, and not a very pleasant one at that.
I remember hearing a beep for a long time - I was very groggy but I could hear a constant beep. Eventually I could hear talking, but it was a voice that I did not recognize. I realized that I could not move my body even a fraction of an inch and that made me scared. I remember that very clearly. My entire body was unresponsive to anything I tried to do. Wiggle a finger, a toe, turn my head. Nothing. I couldn't even open my eyes.
I dont know how long I lay there in a semi conscious state but it felt like an eternity.
Slowly I realized what the beeping was, and I began to feel a tingle in my arms and lets and eventually, I could feel my body and was able to role over onto my back. The paramedics continued to test my blood, and give me glucose intravenously.
My option was to go to the hospital or stay at home with care, once I came back to life. Literally, that is what if feels like. You are back to life. Mind you, there is a headache like you have never experienced, a feeling of weakness that requires rest, sleep and quiet, and of course the uncomfortable feeling of your blood sugar levels returning to their proper levels.
As I was waking up, I thought I was in a bedroom of an apartment that I had lived at the year before. I was afraid of the paramedics, and I was very emotional.
I also had a tremendous feeling of guilt surrounding what I had put my partner through. The image of me unconcious and unresponsive to verbal stimulation, physical stimulation, and having to hear about it after the fact with no recognition.
I have made some changes that have allowed me to avoid this from happening again - here they are:
1. Test blood glucose levels before bed
2. If necessary, have a snack before bed which includes some sort of protein. Protein carries your food longer and allows you to maintain a more constant release instead of a peak or drop.
3. Advise your partner what to do in case of an emergency
4. Advise your partner what the symptoms of an emergency are
5. Always have glucose packets on hand which can be squeezed under the tongue. This can aid in your own recovery.
6. Ensure that you are doing the proper amount of insulin in the evenings, at about the same time. Your body needs consistency.
7. Test blood glucose levels in the morning as well. If you are taking Lantus Insulin, they should be about the same as they were when you went to bed.
8. Teach those around you how to test your blood sugar and educate them as to what it should be at, and what to do if is not.
9. Always carry something "just in case", or know that there is something that is at a close proximity. Eg) Don't go out on a boat without being prepared.
10. Talk about it. If people do not know, they cannot help.
I consider myself very lucky to have escaped those episodes with no lasting health issues, and I can only thank my partner for being quick on the ball, and aware of what the problem was.