I was on my way home yesterday and as I was in the airport I noticed a commotion going on. As you know, I’m not really a ‘gawker’, and there was surely enough first responders on the scene that any help I might have provided was not needed. But as I kept walking the ‘patient’s’ insulin pump caught my eye.
I slowly moved closer and watched as the paramedics were working frantically on the patient who visually had sweat dripping off his face. He was in his early twenties; not too unlike you both. My observations were that they were surely interested in getting him off the chair and onto a gurney; but little reaction dealing much with his diabetes. There was a young woman also on the scene who answered my questions about glucose numbers, pump suspension, glucagon, and treatment.
She informed me his blood glucose number was 24.
Barely conscious and clearly completely out-of-it; I asked why the glucagon kit was still sitting here. “The paramedics did not want to use it, he was not passed out; and they were unsure how much to give.”
Passed out is a very relative term.
They told the woman who was there, that she could meet them at the hospital. The plane would be missed, the next few hours would be a blur. Clearly as I watched her pick up his cell phone and tablet, all still turned on which means this young man was in the middle of what anyone would do while waiting for a plane when he was struck down where HE HAD NO CONTROL, she said in a quiet voice; “He always says he ‘has this’ and that there is nothing to worry about, I had no idea what to do.”
She gathered the belongings and I watched her walk down the hall.
I have not been able to stop thinking of this woman all night; and also thinking of both of you. Now clearly mom and I ARE versed enough to know what to do. But the young lady with this young man…..did not. THAT is what I cannot get out of my mind.
I know. I know everything you are thinking but when she said the words “he always says he ‘has this’…….well those were words I have heard many times.
But, my dear children, IT IS NOT enough that you ‘have this’ because you only have it until you no longer do. This young man dropped like a rock. Do the people around you ‘have it’ also? Do people with whom you interact know what to do when/if you go low; and surely as the sun rises……you will. The question is how low will it be on that day?
You are on your own. I get it. The ‘policing’ we do has surely diminished. But today, I got scared. Really, REALLY scared. I trust your judgment. I know you say you ‘got this’. I also saw a group of people who were working on a young man’s medical needs and as they left; the vial of insulin in his pump was no longer in the insulin pump and dangled from the gurney as he was pushed into a waiting ambulance—-this was how they turned off the pump.
This might have all been avoided. The woman with him, did not know.
Please tell me the people in your lives do. And if those who do not, they will soon.
I saw your faces today, and I got scared. Please assure me, and mean it, that you AND ALL those around you…..’got this’?
I love you,
I am a diabetes dad.
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0 thoughts on “An Airport Diabetes Disaster….I was Scared….DO They REALLY ‘Got This’?”
Lori Havens says:
I feel my “Type 3” PTSD symptoms acting up already…
Will send this one to my 21 y.o., who’s “got this,” and make sure he’s had that talk with his precious gal. Thanks, Tom. I feel this one deep, deep down in my core.
Mel D says:
As someone who’s T1 husband has constantly ‘re-assured’ me that ‘he’s got this’ and then promptly dropped like a stone on many an occassion in many different places this article could not have been any closer to home!!…To those with T1 please, please make sure those close to/around you/people you work with etc know what to do in an emergency and to those who live with/work with/socialise with someone with T1 please ask what you should do should an emergency happen….a bad situation can then potentially be saved from getting a lot, lot worse.
Tom, this shook me to the core…I am not in my twenties but I at 50, still think “I got this”…I think it is time to inform my loved ones about what to do in an emergency…I have told them about the glucagon, but I don’t think I have said enough…Thank you for waking me up!!!!!
never too soon….nor too late…..I was sure this young man knew he was good……until he wasn’t—-that was what was so incredibly hard to grasp. An eye opener for sure.
Thanks for writing——tom
Ugh… this one really got to me today and brought me to tears. My daughter is only 6-years old, but I can already see her saying these words when she’s older. And since she’s home today with the stomach flu and moderate ketones, it really strikes home. I hope the guy ended up ok. And I really hope the woman with him gets some training.
The woman can not get anything unless she knows what is needed. It falls on those who live with the disease when they are able. We, as parents, can only do so much—-after that—it will be up to them.
When I was looking after my Dad, I did have it …. I knew his meds how they worked, how much he took, how to administer them, anything that would interact to the point that one day at the hospital I had to stop a nurse from giving him a med I knew would not go over well, she eventually called security on me and they called the resident dr Who then told the nurse to go read ALL the files on ALL the patients and that if I had not stopped her that my father would have died …. there is NOTHING wrong with double checking I just wish some nurses and Dr’s would listen to the family’s and double check I HAD IT AND I KNEW WHAT TO DO … and it saved my fathers life … he lived another 5 years after that !!!
Good on you Bryna. It is surprising the number of doctors and nurses who don’t know the technicalities of type 1 diabetes. I have had similar problems and been a Type 1 for 27 years. Diagnosed at 40. Pleasing to see you cared enough to learn about your dad’s condition and were able to stop a catastrophe. I have found nurses in particular are not as schooled up on type 1 but seem to know more about type 2. Two totally different conditions, why do they have the same name???
Thank you for writing…..no matter what it is called—-it is up to us TO KNOW…..kudos for learning….and sharing. Thanks.