Editor’s note: This is a guest blog post written by my loving husband and biggest supporter, Jaim. We just celebrated our four year wedding anniversary in December.
45… is that bad?
This was my response as my date pricked her finger and pressed it against an electrical device she had pulled from her purse.
We were walking back from a restaurant where we’d had a nice meal and stayed a while to listen to the music. I didn’t realize when we left I was about receive a sobering lesson on the effects of dinner & a beer on someone who’s pancreas doesn’t function like it’s supposed to. First there’s a rush of carb to the system requiring an extra dose of insulin to keep the blood sugar in check. Then after a while the body starts using its sugar reserves to process the alcohol – sending the body’s blood sugar level crashing. The insulin required up-front with the extra energy required to process the alcohol can be a dangerous combination – especially when you’re taking a moon light stroll. From the panicked expression on my date’s face I was starting to understand how serious the situation was. “I have a low blood sugar, I need to stop.” “Are you able to make it to your place?” “No.” “What do we do?” “I need sugar. Juice, pop… anything.”
This was my first real introduction to diabetes.
We were at least a mile, in either direction, away from the the restaurant and her place. The only building near was a storage facility, and it was locked. I quickly scanned inside the gate to see if there was a pop machine. If I saw one, I was climbing the fence – and probably setting myself up for arrest. It was a chance I was ready to take. I looked around the perimeter of the chain-linked fence but found nothing. We’d have to think of something else. The options were a 2+ mile sprint to her place to bring back juice or calling an ambulance. Neither were good. We looked at each other for a while when the most unexpected thing happened. The kind of the thing that might happen in a movie after a suitably dramatic build up. A taxi appeared about a hundred feet ahead. A taxi… Really?
I don’t have too many experiences in my life that could be described as a miracle. God’s influence in my life has generally been more of a soft nudge in the right direction that happens when I actually shut up and take the time to listen. But this is one of those, full-on, no-doubt, miracles. There’s really no reason to be on this road unless you’re going to the apartment complex at the end of it. But this cab had pulled off the freeway and was making a U-turn right in front of us. The cab driver was off duty and just puttering around – giving us just enough time to react. I ran up to flag him down and negotiated a ride to her apartment. We got to her place, she went to her couch and I fetched the supplies that have now become familiar – a glass of orange juice and a bag of chocolate chips used to get her blood sugar up to normal levels.
One of the first things you learn living with someone with diabetes is how quickly things can turn bad and how quickly the person you love can be taken from you. It demands respect. This lesson is not something you pick up with a more casual relationship. People with diabetes live lives that appear (almost) normal. This is a testament to the many medical advances and the strength of those who live with this disease every day. Living with diabetes also requires constant adaptation. My date has since forsaken the cute little purse and now carries a backpack loaded with orange juice and fruit strips whenever we head out walking.
“45… is that bad?” Looking back I sometimes chuckle at how oblivious I was – anyone who lives with diabetes knows exactly what a blood sugar of 45 mg/dL means – but then it was just a number on a screen to me. I had no frame of reference to know how serious the situation was. Since then I’ve had a lot of lessons, and gained enormous respect for the constant balancing act living with diabetes requires. My date that evening kept that apartment for almost a year after that incident – until we were married and she moved in with me. I never saw another taxi on that road.
Thanks to my dear husband Jaim for sharing his first “Type 3 report” with Diabetes Light. I can tell you that since this event, I have never taken a walk without some form of sugar/carb on me no matter how short the walk. This event was way too scary and you just never know. Stay tuned for future storytelling of my husband’s experiences being married to me (Type I style). : )
Does anyone else have a scary diabetes story while dating? What is your favorite method of treatment for lows? I LOVE 4 ounces of orange juice with a handful (if I’m lucky) of chocolate chips! Nothing like the good ol’ taste of chocolate and orange together – I crave it when I’m low!
Blessings, light and love,
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