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Help with dealing with nighttime lows...

Discussion in 'Spouses and Significant Others' started by mrs_JY, May 14, 2010.

  1. mrs_JY

    mrs_JY New Member

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    Hi everyone,

    I am the wife of a Type 1 Diabetic. We'll have been married for two years next weekend! :) Let me preface this by bragging on my husband for a bit. We're both 24 and he was diagnosed at age 7 so he's been dealing with this for over 15 years. He is such an amazing person and an inspiration to me with how well he deals with the challenges of his disease. I couldn't ask for a better husband and wouldn't trade him for anything!

    However, I was looking for a place where I could find support. As you all know, it can get very overwhelming caring for a person with Type 1. I don't know of any other wives of diabetics in my area, so I have on one to talk to about it.

    Lately, we have been dealing with some scary lows at night. My hubs has been using the pump for years and it usually works out well for him. His A1Cs have been between 6-7 ever since I've known him as well (which is for the past 4 years), so I'd say he maintains pretty good control. However, as you all know, D can be so unpredicable.

    For the past 2 weeks, if he's been high at bedtime, and tries to take the proper amount of insulin, within 2 hours, he'll drop very low (like in the 30-50 range). This has happened 3 times in the past 2 weeks. When he goes low at night like that, I usually categorize his behavior in 2 ways: Combative or Confused. If he's confused, he will usually drink from a juice box (which is what we usually treat his lows with) with my help. However, if he is Combative, he will usually refuse to do so and it becomes a battle. It's hard for me to do anything, like get him the sugar he needs or to test. He is also larger and stronger than me, so if he rolls over or something like that, it's really hard for me to get anything into him. He'll bite the straw or generally resist any way he can. It's like the thing that will help him most is the last thing he wants!

    I was wondering if any of you spouses out there had any tips for me on dealing with these nighttime lows? Maybe something besides juice that would be easy for me to use to treat his lows? I am trying to avoid using glucagon if I can or having to call the paramedics, which I have had to do once in our marriage so far.

    Thank you!
     
  2. Lee

    Lee Approved members

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    He needs to adjust his sensitivity (Correction Factor). My daughter needs a different setting at night.

    Also, maybe he can set an alarm and wake up and test before he goes low.

    This part of the board is pretty inactive, so feel free to ask any questions on the parent board - it gets a ton of traffic.

    My ex-stepdad is T1 and he had many, many, many violent episodes at night when he went low. My mom would just pour coke down his throat or sugar packets. She had many black eyes in the course of their marriage becuase of this.
     
  3. MHoskins2179

    MHoskins2179 Approved members

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    Several possibilities

    Sounds like it could be correction bolus related, but that may not necessarily be the case - I've tweaked mine in those situations and have still had the Lows. Sometimes, it can depend on so many life happenings. Some things to think about would be: A.) Yes, the correction bolus being adjusted; B.) The basal rate might need changing; C.) Is it related to some specific kind of meal or snack? D.) Stress or activity related?

    My wife and I had that happen a few times, and once of those three it was correction-related. That time, I cut it in half and trial and errored it. I have a habit of getting up at 2-3a and testing, especially when I got to bed Higher and must correct. Though, mine usually happen in the early morning hours when I'm trying to accomodate for dawn phenom.

    Always good to coordinate with the Endo, too...

    Anyhow, good luck!
     
  4. Ronin1966

    Ronin1966 Approved members

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    Combative has a couple easy approaches to explore. First talk with him directly see if he has any suggestion(s), or a way he wants you to handle it! It is your choice whether to follow that request or not.

    Combative as in physically combative when he crashes? I presume you mean mentally combative, but need to be sure. Babe you're low.... NOOOOOOO, sweetie... hon you are low lets get some juice.... NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

    Lows happen despite our very best efforts. Too low and the ability to be coherent is gone. PRETTY KITTY.... YELLOW......WARM... SOOOOOOOOFT... KITTY.... Lows that have a pattern demand we reduce our tight control so we stop getting taken out by that too tight control. Hard paradox to choke on.
    ===================

    We need to feel in control, to whatever degree it is possible because we need to believe we have some and we must have hope

    When you get "combative" its a primal reflex. Nope I am not low, the heck I am not..., grass has higher BG than I do at that point. No this is NOT happening (again). No, Im not going to let you see me low... NO I'll take care of this myself and NO, I can prevent this, I've been diabetic for years, I control it, not it control me...

    Our single syllable "combative" response is not what it appears IMO. The combative is not denial (typically), its inability to act knowing full well we are low. We cannot connect the words in our brain with our body, they just will not interact at that point. I believe we are saying, NO that I will take care of this... not that I am not low.

    Combative solutions:

    ICING, the large tubes.
    Stuck between my cheek and gum and squeeze it period. Empty the (large) tube after couple squeezes. I can resist all I want, it dissolves, and I cannot stop it. In my mouth and even seizing, or unconscious, it still dissolves. I cannot interfere in any way :D

    Single code word trigger that you have worked out in advance. kangaroo, Frisbee, take your pick. Using it means emergency low sweetheart. Ill get the soda, and we talk about it later... now soda period! There is NO debate period.

    Words are useless we literally cannot communicate. Soda opened given to us.
    DRINK from it, say it tates funny to you.... what do "I" think? Remember you are outsmarting the mind of 4 year old at this point. How hard is it to outsmart us normally I ask, right? We are being petulant, childish literally. How do you get a kid to drink/eat something?


    I always like SEDUCTION to get the result. Whisper in his ear "...Baby, you drink that and I'll ___________ " Wanna watch him eat the can :D

    I am the diabetic, not a spouse of one, I ask your forgiveness for offering my experience/perspective, given the forum's header.
     
  5. Omo2three

    Omo2three Approved members

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    No apologies necessary...I like your style..lol. Kinda gives it perspective. I imagine waking up in the night checking the bg and wow its low...honey taste my soda its funny tasting..you think it will work?

    I like the idea of the frosting, haven't tried that.
     
  6. Ronin1966

    Ronin1966 Approved members

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    Hello Omo2three:

    Thank you, you are very kind!

    <<...honey taste my soda its funny tasting..you think it will work?

    Can't hurt one little bit! :D

    Prefer when the "Mrs." whispers an ~intimate promise~ in my ear if I drink/eat "X" but its all about outsmarting us. We have the mind of a three year old child, in the middle of a "temper tantrum". Not too hard to outsmart us with a little forethought, you know?


    <<I like the idea of the frosting, haven't tried that.

    Old school... they are indestructable, easy to carry, and some even float (ie can get wet). Try a tube out, you'll need to see whether the brand you get has that little plastic seal on it or if it does not.

    If it does you want to puncture that seal, and recap it.

    Glad I can be helpful...
     
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2010
  7. Gracie'sMom

    Gracie'sMom Approved members

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    After 10 pm we generally only give 50-60% of the recommended correction or we see those lows also.
     
  8. Jacob'sDad

    Jacob'sDad Approved members

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    Any chance he could get a CGM? Then you would be able to head off lows earlier before he gets combative. I also agree that less correction at night is likely needed.
     
  9. Carrie333

    Carrie333 Approved members

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    your situation is exactly what I have been dealing with for 30 years. my T1 husband was diagnosed at the age of 12 & he is now 52. yes whispering sweet things has worked, but not always. sometimes just talking about going out & doing something he likes to do will encourage him but, not always. sometimes just threatening to call the paramedics has worked but, again, not always. i have called them more times than i care to count. after they bring him "back" we sign a wavier & he does not take a trip to the hospital. after the whole ordeal he is usually cold & very hungry so i wrap him up & make a meal. some of our best conversations are held at this point. it makes for a long day or night but in the end we have each other. our children know what to do also. out of 3 children 1 has become a T1. saying we your family need you has worked too but, yes, again, not always. if he is not in a biting mood you can put honey under his tongue. i prefer the frosting treatment and/or juice treatment personally. my husbands reactions have changed over the years but i have been blessed with being able to just look at him & know he is low or at night just reaching over & touching him i know. check out this site: www.faustmanlab.org it might give you & your husband some hope.
    wife & mother of T1's
    carrie
     
  10. hope17

    hope17 New Member

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    Treating Lows of a Spouse in the Night

    Hello
    I can definitely relate to the earlier post re: combative or confused...

    Some of the things I have tried and been successful with are:
    - chocolate syrup (i.e. the kind you use for chocolate milk). I've had my husband hit this out of my hand, landing on our curtains. The humour side is that I think about what drycleaning places might think when I take them in
    - honey on spoon..even dripping this on my husbands lips or mouth usually makes him lick it, even if he doesn't want it
    - the drinking box is a great one..depending on what state he is in, I can sometimes squirt it in his mouth without him realizing it and sometimes he keeps his eyes closed and drinks without resistance
    - the emergency needles are also good, but difficult if your spouse decides to hide under covers or roll different directions
    -I've also said things, mentioned paramedics, mentioned our children's names and this has worked at times too, not always though

    i'm going to try the icing next - thanks for the tip!

    Some drug stores also sell a mouth spray which I'm going to try next..again, I figure even if I can spray in the general area..it will start to work on him to hopefully a point where he is able to realize that he needs sugar.

    The post about the black eyes scare me...my husband just had a very bad low (mixed up his insulin's by accident) and he was the most combative and aggressive I've seen him) Thankfully, nothing more than yelling and anger, but it was the first time I was worried about my safety and our children's.

    I have nothing but admiration for my spouse who has to live with this disease daily, but I can definitely appreciate how a spouse feels living with it too.

    All the best to all of your families.
     
  11. Ronin1966

    Ronin1966 Approved members

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    Hello Hope:

    Been both the participant and the voyeur at various times. There is no winning... its all bad stuff.

    Wanted to follow-up, be sure I understood a few of your "solutions" correctly? Chocolate syrup???? The fat in that syrup would seriously prevent the breakdown of the sugars meaningfully, I would think, no? Or were you talking about like a chocolate whipped cream in a spray can?
    Spoons with anything will get bitten, jammed into my gums and or far worse in these situations, spilled. Like the little honeybear squeeze bottles, less steps, no wooden parts.

    <<I was worried about my safety and our children's.

    It is cold and dispassionate but at the absolute worst case, low enough we become unconscious, and literally unable to resist whatever anyone chooses to do to us.
    You could put lip stick on us, or put little pink ribbons in my hair and I would not be capable of resisting any of it. Scary, but it may be necessary to wait us (the diabetic) out. Emotionally terrifying stuff.

    Worst case, IME let us crash and then make us into a jelly doughnut!

    Now that being said, avoiding a diabetic who is being physically violent when low is critical. Couple of steps to keep in mind.

    Stay to the side of their body. The weight and mass is geared for forward movement, sideways not so much.

    Stay out of my range. I can only reach so far. Outside of that circle, I cannot touch you at all.

    Keep your feet wide apart, knees bent over your toes, and your weight lowered to the ground. (ie "squat", back straight). You can withstand an incredible amount of weight if turned sideways to someone trying to push us around, or move us.

    Keep your arms up. Better to have them whacked, touched than your skull. Please note I'm not advocating escalating physical violence as a response in any way. I merely offer simple physical steps which anyone can take to prevent being harmed by their diabetic partner who has gone into a primal, "neanderthal" mode. :eek:

    How did you handle your insanely drunk roomate in college? Physically, mentally the diabetic is in that kind of disabled state. Easier, better to outsmart us than confront us. Forced to intervene, best to prevent injury of yourself first. We will end up in your arms at some point, regardless...
     

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