Hypoglycaemia... we meet again


What’s a hypo you ask? Hypoglycaemia is when blood sugar levels drop below 4mmol/L.

My definition? The source of some pretty intense stories!

Hypos are funny little critters, they sneak up on you. Maybe you had too much insulin, maybe you didn’t eat enough carbs, maybe you spent a little too long on that exercise bike (hah who am I kidding, I barely exercise), or maybe just maybe for no reason at all, your levels drop. But then what happens?

DISCLAIMER: In all seriousness, hypo’s can cause death. I’m lucky enough to have some fantastic friends that have quite literally saved my life again and again. If you ever do see someone with these symptoms, offer them something sweet to drink like coke or sweetened fruit juice (only if they’re conscious) and seek medical attention.

Well, it varies for everyone, but for me, well I’m a ball of fun when my levels of circulating sugar drop and stop reaching my brain. Common symptoms include paleness, dizziness, fruity smelling breath, disorientation and incoherence. The lowest my blood sugar has reached was 1.2 mmol/L, in the middle of a crowded shopping centre (not the first time, apparently my blood sugars view shopping centres as the best place to dive). I was walking with one of my friends and stopped for a moment, my thoughts were getting a bit fuzzy and I didn’t really comprehend what she was saying. Checking my blood sugar I read out the result and burst into laughter as the colour drained from my friend’s face. She started pacing working out what to do and logically came to the conclusion that I needed coke and ran off to a McDonald’s as I giggled behind her ‘Hmmm, I should really be in a coma right about now!’ I sat myself down and was greeted with a stern look from a guy near me. Looking back on it, he probably thought I was drunk, but at the time that really didn’t bother me so I just smiled back, interested in the reflective pole to my left whilst wondering why I was spinning when my chair was in a fixed position. After waiting in line for a while (NOTE: You can queue jump here, just tell the server it’s a medical emergency and they’ll serve you straight away, hypos need to be treated FAST) she brought back my drink as I attempted to call my dad, muttering something about shopping centres, grumpy old men and coke. Long story short, after passing my phone onto my friend he came and picked me up. Slowly but surely I became myself again.

But my hypo stories make me wonder, why does no one do anything? I’ve been low in the middle of an inner city shopping complex, sitting on the floor and not one person stopped to ask if I was alright, preferring instead to make a concerted effort at avoiding acknowledging my existence. Yes I understand, the symptoms of a hypo can make someone appear drunk, but even if they were, if someone were sitting on a shopping centre floor, young, visibly pale and disoriented, is our society so standoffish that not one person helps?

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