I'm a newly-diagnosed Type1. Yesterday I suddenly measured 54 BG, while I was at work. I fixed it, but then I thought - what if I hadn't caught it? What if I would pass out or whatever... Nobody at work has received any emergency instructions from me. In fact -- I'm ashamed to say -- I don't even know what those instructions should be! Actually, now that I think of it, even my husband at this point doesn't know what emergency situation to be aware of, and what to do 'in case'.
Usually, when I've passed out, someone will call the paramedics. I always am pretty open about it in the office/ cubicle environment I work in so people would know. I'm a bit apprehensive as I have a new boss recently with whom it hasn't come up but, OTOH, if she *did* know it'd mean they'd talk to me? There's a chance that if they had some glucagon and knew how to use it or read the directions they could revive you but, if you are passed out, they'd probably call EMT's who'd bring their own and, if they found you passed out, would probably give you more glucagon, depending on what your BG is. A sugary liquid might revive you a bit. MrsAcidRock and junior have gotten stuff for me when I've gotten pretty deeply into it a couple of times. At work once, I got stuck on the phone and gave my buddy $.55 to get me a Mt. Dew, although, after I chucked it, I tossed the can at him.
If you feel comfortable with sharing information with your boss or fellow employees Lilly has a CD that explains when and how to administer a glucagon injection and Lilly also has a Mobile app called Glucagon...very through.
If you are unconscious, your coworkers should call the paramedics. Do you carry Glucagon? If not, you should. At the very least, your husband should know how to administer it, in case you're ever in a situation where an ambulance cannot get to you fast enough. Your husband should also know how to check your BG in case you cannot.
If you are low in that you're not making sense but are conscious, whoever is with you should try to give you something with fast-acting sugar in it (glucotabs, cakemate, sports gels, etc). I think we all have somewhat varied symptoms when we're low and you should let the people around you know what those symptoms are. For example, when I start going low, I get really quiet and have trouble talking coherently. I don't always get sweaty and shaky right away. I may get grouchy, but usually I'm just really quiet.
You should also wear something that lets people know you are a Type 1 diabetic. At the very least, if you were to go unconscious, the paramedics would see this and know what to do.
Finally, you obviously want to do everything you can to prevent this from happening. This means you need to test, test, test. I've caught many BGs in the 50s and 40s while at work only because I am diligent about testing. As time passes, it will not be uncommon for you to have lows that you don't feel.
Also please remember to tell your coworkers that if you are unconscious they are not to try to put even juice down your throat because that makes it dangerous you could choke. Whether you train them on a glucogon kit or just tell them to call emergency that is what they should do if you are unconscious and your husband would probably want to train on glucagon though the problem with glucagon is it's expensive and needs replacing when it expires. I don't know if you can get it on your medical plan there.
But don't let all this talk of passing out and emergencies scare you. Most of us have lows that we can easily manage ourselves by taking glucose tablets (I've managed down to 28 and the one time I was unconscious which was before I knew how to use insulin and did something stupid, my liver kicked in and brought me around so I could treat). MBP has the motto: test, test, test!
The procedure for treating you is the identical same as it it for someone choking, having seizures, or otherwise in some way "unable" to care for themselves. Its not mystical stuff...
1) Assume you are low. While in theory its possible you're "high", that is not going to cause you unconsciousness, disorientation with the suddenness which lows can/will/do. Assume you are low, and start from there.
2) Treat lows with relatively small quantities of FAST carbs; tubes of cake icing, Glutose tubes, SODA. Something that is idiot proof, simple and easy enough a child can treat you and won't balk doing so. Nothing chocolate, nothing fatty. Straight sugar that will breakdown easily. Not ice cream, not milk, not tiny hard candies. One thing, only one thing you don't have to count or make any choices about, your ability to do so is literally vanishing. The can will hold your attention, the color of the wrapper, their clever jingle on the commercial, not what should hold your attention, getting it down.
Worst possible case, absolutely end of the known world scenarios, you get an ambulance ride. There is nothing special about these events. The trick is keeping them to the absolute minimum possible.
Where you or someone with more experience will differ, is the first time situation(s). If you catch it quickly enough, no problem. If you don't then things get interesting. Your symptoms, might be drunken confusion, giddiness, they might be sleepy exhaustion, singing gibberish. All kinds of different stuff is possible.
For the sugar to get into your system and stop the "free fall" could take as long as 20-30 minutes before you feel human, totally normal again. You might get lucky and have no problem whatever the reading eventually determines.
Treat first, treat conservatively and you avoid other problems after the fact if like most of us you overdue it a little with too much "treating"...
Let me see if I can dig up a description thread "what a low feels like" I wrote a long time ago.
I wrote this back in late March 2008. The account describes what a video camera might record when I got low once... I thought it was pretty good, if a little embarrassing:
~...why isn't the test workkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkking.... I spillllllled the stripy things...... better put them back in the bottle..... how many do I have left... better count them..... ONE, TWOOOOOO THREE... I LIKE THREE.....hey, putting them in wrong.... better redo it.... again... wouldn't want em facing up, HI STRIPY THINGS......they should face down go "night-night"..........
Oh yeah, what was I doing....... hi kitty...... nice kitty..... no don't play with my stripys thingys.... BADD KITTTY..... you feel warm... I love you kitty...... HEY give them back..... Oh yeah..... I remember now....STRIP... tests..... ummmngh, am I low... LET'S SEE..........I stuck the stripy thing in, bled..... ooopsy pulled the stripy thing out by accident... better do that again.....
That's hilarious Stuart!
I would get a glucagon pen for home and office at a minimum (you will need a prescription in the USA). At the office, there should be at least one person who has been instructed on where the pen is and how to give it to you.
Next, carry a tube of glucose tablets with you ate all times. Keep a bottle of 50 in your desk drawer. Keep a spare tester, batteries, etc there too.
If you are not doing this already, do the following:
1 - Test often
2 - Test before/after stressful situations
3 - Get a feeling for what lows feel like for you - sweating, confused thinking, etc.
4 - When in doubt, take 2 - 3 glucose tabs and test ASAP.
Over time, you will learn how to cope a bit better. This is a new situation for you - you have to walk before you can run.
BTW, how did you "fix" your 54 bg reading?
i took 1 1/2 glucose tabs (4 grams each, and its supposed to be x6 for my weight, which would bring me up to 90.) so far so good. Then I happened upon some potato salad, so I ate it :). (I never go near potatoes anymore..). i was very shaken up.
I always have my glucometer with me, a few glucose tabs (I guess I should have more) and i do test a lot. eat very low carb. i'll work on getting those emergency kits. thanks
For me, the biggest peace of mind comes with being prepared. At work, I keep on my bookshelf at eye level in plain sight small bottles of coke - my "emergency stash". Having it right there prevents me from having to get up from my desk to find sugar in a severe event or if I'm falling fast.
I keep my glucose monitor and sweetarts on my desk within reach and always carry a roll of sweetarts in my pocket so I have it on me at all times. I test often or if I feel tired, hungry, woozy or just "off". I also wear a med alert bracelet with emergency information.
I'm really open about my diabetes at work because I'm comfortable there and have worked there for a long time but I've never "trained" any of my coworkers. I've told them that if I ever pass out (I never have in 25 years), call 911.