Editor’s note: Please know if you live with diabetes or parent a child with diabetes this poem may bring up difficult emotion for you. This past week, two young people with Type 1 diabetes perished. I was moved to write a poem after learning about their deaths that occurred just days apart from one other. My heart felt broken as I mourned for their lives lost. Putting these words onto paper was a way for me to express some of the grief I was feeling. Living with Type 1 diabetes, whether one knows the individual who passed away or not is irrelevant. When one is given an exit pass and leaves our shared community too soon, we all feel the ripples left in the pond.
Therefore, if the amount of glucose supplied by the blood falls, the brain is one of the first organs affected. In most people, subtle reduction of mental efficiency can be observed when the glucose falls below 65 mg/dl (3.6 mM). Impairment of action and judgment usually becomes obvious below 40 mg/dl (2.2 mM). Seizures may occur as the glucose falls further. As blood glucose levels fall below 10 mg/dl (0.55 mM), most neurons become electrically silent and nonfunctional, resulting in coma. These brain effects are collectively referred to as neuroglycopenia. (link to article).
‘Dead in bed’ syndrome refers to unexplained deaths in young people with Type 1 diabetes. Research shows little definitive evidence as to the cause of this very rare phenomenon. There is a small amount of published evidence looking at the condition. One possible theory has been a link to hypoglycaemia (hypo) during the night. It is suggested that this may compound an abnormal heart rhythm, which can cause death.” (link to article).
I had a scary experience last night. I was sleeping and everything was going fine… so I thought. Since experiencing significant stress from caring for my critically ill cat the last few weeks, I have been completely exhausted and had no problem quickly falling into a deep slumber.