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What is it like to pass out during a hypo

Discussion in 'Type 1 Diabetes' started by donnac1968, Aug 9, 2016.

  1. Robinredbreast

    Robinredbreast Type 1 · Oracle

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    The first one was in November 2000.( so diagnosed 11 years then) New baby, been in hospital weeks because of complications and my then partner woke up to our baby crying wanting her feed (breasting) and I didn't wake, so I awoke to people calling my name in my bedroom. Luckily my partner was there, but I had no indication of what was going to happen prior to going to bed.
     
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  2. Auckland Canary

    Auckland Canary Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Unfortunately I have had numerous episodes of these over the years. I went through ha particularly bad stage about 5 years ago when issues in my life were causing me to become very defensive about my diabetes and refusing help. I was actually self harming by using my blood sugars to stay at ridiculously low levels .I was honestly walking around for days at a time with levels around 2-3 mmol and sometimes in the 1's. Bizarrely I was still functioning (just about) although I would often get confused and irrational. I don't really want to go into details about what was going on but I was in a spectacularly bad head space at the time which thankfully I am away from now. I also was not that clued up about dosage and carb counting despite being T1 for over 30 years and I now realise that I was taking huge amounts more insulin than was required.

    However I find the hypo's fell into 2 categories. The first are the ones where you just slip into unconsciousness and aren't really aware of how it has happened. You just come round (sometimes helped or sometimes on your own) and it is just like being asleep. I have found myself walking down a street before and then just waking up somewhere else with no real memory of how I got there or sometimes where I was. I would just take glucose and carry on. In a way I am fortunate that I have had so many they just don't freak me out any more although they are not pleasant.

    The 2nd type are the worst ones. Generally I would get them while I was asleep and then my wife or paramedics would bring me round. I would describe them like "mental drowning". I would have very brief flashes of consciousness but everything was blurred and confused. I would realise that something was desperately desperately wrong but could not rationalise what it was. I would often be aware of horrible tastes or pain (usually gluogel in my mouth or glucagon injections in my leg and cannulas in my wrists) but could not figure them out. These for me were horrible and to me they are my version of being trapped in hell. They emotionally and physically exhaust you and left me with feelings of guilt and remorse.

    As I say I am quite an extreme case and I have come on a long way since I have been like that. My hypo awareness is very compromised nowadays but I do everything I can to keep my levels stable.
     
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  3. himtoo

    himtoo Type 1 · Well-Known Member
    Retired Moderator

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    @Auckland Canary
    I particularly "got" what you were saying with the second type of hypo.
    My nocturnal ones ( yes I have had the paramedics out a few times ) were particularly bad because ( so I am told by my wife)
    that my behaviour in some and my lack of response at all in others was particularly frightening for her.
    my memories are of coming round and seeing 2 paramedics stood there and me thinking OH Shizzola -- what have i done this time:eek:
     
  4. videoman

    videoman Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Hi there Yes I have passed out after giving the wrong dose of insulin,great fun when you wake up to the ambulance service sat on my chest to stop me from fighting them who were there to help me and you come out of them with ,in my case a stomping headache
     
  5. Auckland Canary

    Auckland Canary Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    @himtoo I also get strange flashes of light as well sometimes. It's like psychedelic swirls of orange and brown which is why I feel like I am "mentally drowning". They are really horrible and there is an underlying sense of fear and dread involved but none of it makes any sense. It is really hard to describe as it is so unlike any other feeling. Although I wouldn't wish it on anyone I wish that others could experience it so they could understand.
     
  6. donnac1968

    donnac1968 Type 1 · Well-Known Member

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    Thank you so much for all these responses. It has been really useful to know that even when sugars are running at a normal level it is still very rare to pass out. I had a bad hypo 27 years ago - it went on a lot longer and worse than any before - and that is what frightened me. I have had anxiety and panic attacks since then and my life has certainly been restricted. I run sugars above 10 constantly, I don't go abroad on holiday in case I have a hypo and no-one can understand what is going on or speak English. I never had children because I couldn't get a low enough HbA1c which in my late forties I am now regretting.
    I have seen many therapists but never really tackled the original incident before, so I have high hopes that this time it will help. And actually hearing of what happens if I did pass out is really useful.
    Basically I'm worrying about something that is highly unlikely to happen and that I wouldn't really know anything about anyway!!
    Thanks again, I will discuss it with the therapist and it's definitely something to work on.
    Best wishes
    Donna
     
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  7. Jaylee

    Jaylee Type 1 · Moderator
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    Hi,

    In 40 years of D I have never passed out. But came close to it whilst cycling as a 9/10 year old? Throwing weird fits in my legs I couldn't keep em on the pedals..
    Another interestingly bad one as a kid was on horseback.. If anyone knows horses? If the rider loses concentration, so does the horse. (Especially if the animal is young.)
    The experience was somewhat like getting a "piggy back" off Jar Jar Binks...
     
  8. fletchweb

    fletchweb Prefer not to say · Well-Known Member

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    I'm pretty well like most people in this forum. The last time I passed out was about 26 years ago when I was at University. One minute I was at the snack counter trying to get some food in to me and the next minute I was in a hospital bed with short term memory loss that eventually came back to me right to the moment I passed out.
    I haven't passed out in years since my University Days - I seem to be able to tolerate lower Blood Sugar Levels. Not sure why, if this is typical of someone living with Type 1 for a long time or not but it's good to know how low you can get before losing consciousness. The lowest I've been while still conscious and coherent was 1.8. And yes I thought I was going to pass out but I didn't.
     
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