Your Strangest or Most Dangerous Hypo

When I was 18, I was a freshman in college and I was working at a supermarket to earn money to pay my tuition.One Saturday night it was my turn to stay after hours at the supermarket, to help with the mopping detail. Every aisle had to be clean and bright before we went home. Being so tired from the day's work made the mopping very difficult for me. On my way home that evening I thought my strange feelings were due to my fatigue, but while making a right hand turn at the first intersection, I collapsed at the wheel. The next thing I knew my parents were standing over me and a crowd of men were behind them. Several cops were there too. My wheels were not straightened during that right hand turn due to my hypo, and my car went off the road and down a steep embankment into a creek bed.

My car had passed between two vertical posts that were supporting a huge bill board. Some people were measuring the distance between the posts and the width of my car, and they said the opening was about two inches more than the width of the car. My car had passed between the posts, but did not touch either one of them. I was not hurt and the car did not have a scratch on it. The guys standing in back were from a bar across the road. They had seen my car leave the road and they found my parent's phone number in my wallet.

Everyone but my parents thought I was drunk. There had never been any alcohol in my life at any time. My parents told the cops about my diabetes. I don't think anyone there believed their explanation. There was no ticket though and a big wrecker pulled my car up the embankment later that night, or on Sunday. It was like the whole thing was just a bad dream. There were many hypos during my early years during my sleep, or after a lot of exertion. There was no way for me to test my blood sugar before starting home that night.

Glucose monitors were not available until many years after that. My feelings and urine testing were my only clues to possible oncoming hypos. My parents thought that God had protected me, and that was why I was not hurt. It was wonderful that my car was in good shape, and I was able to attend classes Monday morning.

[b]OK, friends, it is YOUR turn. What was your strangest hypo???[/b]

You might remember reading about one of my worst hypos Richard but I'm throwing out again so here it goes. It happened when I was sleepig and I don't even know exactly how low it was. It was close to 5 in the morning and the guy I seeing at the time happened to wake up so he looked over at me and saw me convulsing. After repeating my name with no response he went and grabbed coke then sat me up and attempted to get me to drink it. I had no idea that any of this happened until I finally heard him talking to me.Of I course acted like he was nuts because of the qestions he was asking me. When I checked my bg it was 115 but I imagine it was 20 or below. That was when I was still taking NPH. I had other hypos that were more scary but the fact that I may not have woke up and didn't know it is a WOW moment.

Hi Traicy! I know what it is like to come out of a very bad hypo and then find out someone helped me and I had been unconscious for awhile. That is such a helpless feeling.

Oh yes, and the hypos when you find out some of the ways you acted and the things you said!! Many of my responses afterwards were "No I didn't" and the others say "YES YOU DID". lol

Well I haven't had too may strange hypos but I have been around my husband when he's had quite a few.  I guess for me the worst one was recently.  The past few weeks I have been working in NYC so I've been commuting by taking the train and walking.  It has affected my blood sugar readings quite a bit.  The first week I had just gotten on the train and I started to read my book.  I felt a little tired but I figured that it was just because I had been working all day.  A few minutes later I started to feel dizzy and then before I knew it I started to black out.  Somehow I managed to hold myself together enough to grab my glucose tabs out of my purse.  My sugar was in the 40s.  I just remember the entire time just telling myself "Please don't pass out on the train."

Now for my husband.  I've been with him for over 9 years and when we first started dating he wasn't on the pump, he was on injections and would get quite a few lows where I had to pull him up and force feed him juice.  Since being on the pump these lows have decreased considerably.  However, a few months ago I got home from work around 10pm after working a 13 hour day.  When I went in the house I noticed my husband was in bed which I thought was a little weird because he usually stays up late.  I put all my stuff down and then noticed that his cell phone was in the living room (he always keeps his cell phone by him).  So I rushed into the bedroom and found him in bed totally unconscious.  I tried to pull him up into a sitting postion and force feed him juice but he kept spitting it out.  I checked our glucagon kit but it was expired and so I kept trying to force feed him the juice.  I had seen him with bad lows before but usually I could get him to drink the juice.  This time he was completely unresponsive and was choking on the juice.  I was getting really worried and was about to call 911 one when I decided one last time to try the jucie.  He finally started getting some of it down and after about an hour or so he came out of it.  He said all he could remember was coming home and laying down around 7pm.  When he told me that I got pretty upset  because I realized that he had been passed out for over 3 hours.  I'm just glad that I got home in time to help him.  I think that if I had gotten home much later he would've been in really really bad shape.

Once every year, just before Christmas, several male friends I've had forever get together for an extended lunch in NYC that can only be described as bacchanalian.  It's a celebration not to be missed.

  A few years ago I got dressed the morning of the lunch and donned a brandy new holiday tie that was colorful and, I must admit, real good-looking.  I got to the restaurant where we were to meet, a fairly well known steak house with a top notch cigar bar in an adjoining room, around 1:00 p.m. and proceeded to find a few of the boys at the bar enjoying their first libation of the day.  The bartender asked, "What'll you have" and before I could answer added, "That's a good looking tie".  My friends at the bar then took a closer look and each seconded his comment, "Nice tie", "Where'd you get that, it's a gem", etc., etc.  Similar statements were passed as each new companion arrived and I sensed the tie quickly becoming a common thread for the day.  After a few cocktails we sat down to lunch.

  The waiter started taking our steak orders and bottles of their finest red wine were placed.  After he took my order, completely oblivious to the comments that had already been made, he also commented about my tie instigating another round of laughter from the boys.  Lunch was great with lots of laughs, tales of bravado on the ski slopes, long bike ride descriptions, whose football team was playing up to expectations and whose was failing miserably, the usual male camaraderie and ball-breaking.  And, oh, the bottles of wine just kept showing up.

  After 2-3 hours at the lunch table we all repaired to the cigar bar for some after dinner drinks and a fine cigar.  By this time the majority of us were a little shaky on our feet.  As we sidled up to the bar and placed our orders the bartender in there looked at me and said, "Wow, that's some tie!", emitting an explosion of laughter from the crowd.  Another hour or so passed and I decided it was time for me to head to Grand Central and catch the Metro North home to the Bronx.

  I jumped in a cab and, realizing I was pushing the time, asked the driver to get me there ASAP.  At the terminal I jumped out of the cab, started running toward the right track, and got there just in time to see the train disappear into the tunnel.  The train’s taillights were the last thing I saw.

  The next thing I know I'm flat on my back, I can tell by the ceiling I'm looking at that I'm lying in the center of Grand Central with a crowd surrounding me and with a few EMS guys working on me.  Before I can say anything the first thing I hear is one of the EMS guys say to another, "Boy, that guy has some good looking tie on doesn't he?"

  And OK, granted, maybe it wasn't all that strange a hypo, but it's been a source of laughter with me and my friends ever since. 

  Luckily I've been pumping now for a little over a year and my low incidents have decreased immensely.  I'm much more stable now.  By the by, I'm a T1 now for 43 years and have many stories about lows showing up when they were least expected or appreciated. 

Amy, I sure would not want to pass out on that train or anywhere in NY City. You may have lost all your possessions. Am I being too harsh on judging what migh have happened?

Your husband is so lucky to have you. My wife has helped me many times in situations like that. Has he ever had to feed you sugar like that?

I have heard that the liver will eventually help by giving us a supply of glucose in situations like that. I don't think it necessarily works every time though. I wonder what circumstances have to exist for the liver to do that?

gtarpey, thanks for your story! Most unusual. I thought you were going to tell us the whole thing was a dream you had during a hypo. Lol! Do you still have that tie? I am amazed you received help like that and did not get mugged while you were unconscious.

I am pleased to hear you have a pump now.  I have pumped for 3 years and have not needed help with a low. sice July, 2007. Pumps are certainly wonderful.

LOVE the tie story!! (:

My worst hypos where I actually blacked out were all in the 80's when I was on NPH (knock on wood!). The worst was I was getting ready for school one morning (maybe 4th or 5th grade). I got out of the shower, and I remember sitting in front of my dresser feeling very confused about what clothes I should put on. Then, my Mom found me passed out. Next thing I knew, I was lying in an ambulance feeling disoriented and TOTALLY naked. Apparently, I never managed to find an outfit...


  Yes the tie is still out and about during the holiday season, it kicks off a lot of memories when it's worn.

  I have to tell you about the NYC subway system and the experiences I've had when a hypo reared its ugly head while I was traveling on it.  I admit that as a lifelong New Yorker I carry around a fairly large amount of prejudice concerning the Apple but, there has not been one time, in all the situations I've found myself in, when the people riding the subway or waiting on the station didn't respond in a helpful or heroic manner.

  I’ve had people jump up from their seats so I could sit down, people recognizing what was happening and offering life savers or other candies, and people going out of their way to flag down one of NYC's Finest so they could make a call for an ambulance.  I've had police, after learning of what was happening; spend their own money to buy me a soft drink or orange juice.  And then stand protectively beside me while I drank it and waited for EMS to arrive.

  I'll agree there's a certain tough, don't bother me, attitude most NYers cart around with them but when the vast majority see someone needing a hand - there's no one I'd rather have by my side. 


Jerry, it is very refreshing to hear that about NY City folks. I live only a couple of hours north of the city, but have not been there for more than 20 years.

Sarah, they did cover you with a towel or sheet, didn't they? I also had many bad hypos while using NPH insulin.

My favorite hypo story happened in Cusco, Peru.

I suddenly felt dangerously low while I was exploring the ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, so I told my brother I needed something to raise my blood sugar ASAP.  He was a medical student (he's an MD now) so he understood the problem fully.

We weren't allowed to bring any beverages in, and we had already eaten all of our snacks from the hike up.  So, he ran out of the area to go to the food area just outside the ruins.  He bought a soda, and as he was bringing it in he was stopped by a guard.

Guard:  "You can't bring that in here, we don't have any waste containers so in order to avoid litter in the ruins it's our policy to have you finish that drink before entering."

My brother:  "I'm sorry, but my little brother is diabetic and he's in there, alone, and he desperately needs some sugar or he's going to either start having a seizure or die."

Guard:  "But, diabetics can't have sugar.  The sugar is what gave them the disease."

My brother:  "No, you don't understand!  When their sugar drops too low they have to eat sugar to avoid a medical emergency!"

Luckily, another man overheard the argument and stepped in with...

"excuse me, Mr. guard, I am a doctor.  You need to let this man in because everything he is saying is true."

He was able to pass everyone in line, give me the soda I desperately needed, and have a great story to tell the rest of his medical student friends when he returned home.

[quote user="gtarpey"]



Wow, that must be SOME TIE!

Hahahahahahaha.  How about a picture?

I want to see the tie too!

My scariest low was the one that got me arrested. I typed the story up, you can find it if you search the forums. 

I have also gotten out of the shower and stared at my dresser, totally confused about which clothes to put on. I decided I was too hungry to get dressed (not even thinking about being low) and walked in a towel to the kitchen where I ate pretty much everything in the fridge. When I realized I was raiding the fridge, I went back upstairs and tested and saw 42. 

The scariest lows that I remember are all related to running. During thanksgiving, i was one of about twelve students left on my college campus. I went for a mile and a half run around the loop of our campus, and at about a mile, I couldn't run anymore - i could barely walk. I didn't have any snacks on me bacause it was such a short run and short runs usually spike my sugar, not drop it (but i hadn't eaten all day, so i'd pretty efficiently used up my glycogen stores), and I didn't have my cell phone to call anyone. I literally crawled back to my house, tested at 58, and chugged some stolen chai concentrate. 

I got off a treadmill feeling great and tested at 32 one time. That was scary because I really had no idea I was low. 


I have had a horrible experience with a super low (not sure how low it got), which left me in this horrible state where things repeat over and over, and I was left feeling helpless as I was stuck in a repetitive state watching as it happens.  In the last experience like this, I was going into the bathroom over and over from the bed.  I was talking with myself and something else in my mind that was trying to convince me that there was no reality or existence, and if I moved or changed anything in what I was seeing, it would further entrap me or was part of this process that was to trap me in a cyclic situation with no escape.  One voice would tell me that I better pray there is a god, because only he could get me out of this, and another voice was telling me that there is no god to assure me I would be trapped.  I finally had to make a decision to do something, so I grabbed something sweet from my nightstand even though the bad voice was telling me that that would seal the deal and keep me trapped before I went back toward the bathroom and got it down quickly and prayed that there was a god and hoped that the sugar would get me back to a sense of reality.  In the back of my mind I wondered if my decision was what ultimately created god, or did it affirm his existence?  I finally changed course and went downstairs to get something to eat and recovered. This is some freaky stuff.  I suspect coming out of a sleep/dream state kind of compounds the weirdness of this experience.

Another time it was same cyclic trap, but I made it downstairs from the bedroom to get to the kitchen.  To my horror, the tv was on, and the news was showing the end of the world.  Everything was happening at once.  There was a war, some natural disasters, fire, meteor, death.  It was all happening at once.  It scared me a lot, but I rushed to the kitchen and got sweet stuff in me and began to recover.  To this day, I do not know how I was able to create all the things I was seeing on tv.  The detail was perfect. 

After a hard day of painting a house, I agreed to meet my parents at a restaurant.  I do not remember the drive to the restaurant, but I do remember hearing whisperings, and then I saw writing and pictures carved into a restaurant table.  I concentrated on a word on the table, trying to pull myself back.  I then looked up and saw the bar with people sitting at it.  It was kind of a slow motion pan of the bar that stretched out and blurred past the furtherest person.  I remember getting this horrible sensation that if I looked behind me (there was a window there), I would see that nothing was there and know the truth that I was creating the world around me.  I looked up and saw a mug of beer or something in front of me.  I took it and guzzled it down in desperation, hoping it would help me.  I eventually clicked back to reality again in a cold sweat.  What amazed me was that nobody seemed to know I was in that state. 

My hypothesis is that the body out of defense shuts down things and directs your energy to just the basic things to keep you alive.  Things like hearing, sight, smell, sense, etc. go first.  The weird sense of reality I get recovering from a low is in part a result of the senses turning on one by one as the sugar level restores--in that, the ears pick up things slowly again, the eyes click on, smell returns, etc.



  I find the subject matter you describe experiencing during these hypos simply amazing in that those BIG ticket items, i.e., the end of the world, God and his/her existence, the whole concept of reality and truth and what we understand about them, are basically the same things I recollect dealing with during several low episodes.  I wonder how many others have experienced that type of low blood sugar?

  Quite often those episodes contained some sort of revelations that I'm positive will help solve most of the world's problems once I have the chance to share them.  The fact that everything I'm seeing is so vivid, clear, and understandable is another part of these incredible experiences.  And, of course, if someone is with me, realizes my elevator is going down rather quickly, and attempts to help, too often they are met with such strong denials and a refusal or inability to understand that it becomes a battle of body and mind before I start to administer the needed sucrose.  My poor wife can write some incredibly harrowing stories of the things I've put her through before moving to the pump.

  Thanks for sharing - all this time I thought I was the only one wth a direct link to the answer, God, or the other side.  If I had known you were there too, I would've said hi.



Your comment about your girlfriend and what she experienced reminded me again of another time.  It was the one where I was staying at my brother's apartment in Boston and woke up with something sticky all over my hands.  Apparently, in the night I had tried to go to the kitchen to help myself, but because it was a strange, new environment, I could not find what I needed to help myself.  I started moaning loudly in frustration in his kitchen.  He came in and tried to help me, which I think involved trying to grab or hold me.  I pushed him away and kicked his kitchen table across the kitchen.  He somehow got me on the ground and his girlfriend was instructed to get honey, which they poured into my mouth (thus the sticky stuff on my hands in the morning).  Honey is easier to get in instead of juice because it is not something you can spit out easily, and its consistency kind of forces a swallow.  Pouring sugar by the way is absolutely the worse!  It is like pouring sand in somebody's mouth.

P.S. I pray there will be no next time, but I seriously doubt I have had the last of these.  Next time, I will create you and have you say hello to me.


Our family (my husband being the diabetic) experiences lows all the time; all scary, and all DIFFERENT each time. Our worst ever was February 2006. Everyone had been pressing me about how I don't spend any time on myself between my husband, type one diabetic, and my two girls. I had finally given in and on a day both my husband and I had off- scheduled a hair appointment for myself. We had planned to have my husband drop me off (our minivan was in the shop) and take the girls two blocks over to his Dad's house to have lunch together. They were suppose to pick me up when I called to let them know my pampering session was done. I had made sure everyone had a big breakfast and was well fed, checked Joey's blood before they dropped me off, covered all the basics. TWO HOURS later, I could not get in touch with any of them to pick me up- starting to panic I started to call all of our friends in the area thinking, maybe he stopped by to see them with the kids. Our good friend, who heard my panic and knew exactly what I was thinking offered to pick me up and go looking for them. We drove all the way home, to my father in laws (where they were suppose to be) to the bank (where he was stopping to get cash for the car) to the shop where the car was getting repaired, and back to the hair salon. I actually called 911 and explained to them that my husband is a diabetic and he dropped me off and had taken our two daughters for lunch- I am afraid he may have had an accident or went off the road, and asked if anything had been reported. The lady on the other line had told me basically, to call friends and family and that I had to wait to hear from him.... CRAZY!  4 HOURS after they had dropped me off and 2 HOURS of searching for them- the Detective called my cell phone. Get on the road and drive to Nassau Medical- I have your husband, and your girls and don't take Sunrise Hwy, he said. Right after that phone call, a friend of my husbands called my cell phone and told me (thinking I didn't know yet) that it was all over the news.  The detective had let me talk to my older daughter due to my hysteria, so I knew they were okay (at least alive) but could not give me any information about anything else. In the end- it ended up, shortly after leaving me at the salon- Joe had started to go into a low. He told my older daughter while they were at the ATM machine (drive up) he was going to stop at 7-11 to get a drink. He got back on the road, and before he could make sense of his direction - his low had gotten so bad, he could not make any decisions. He continued to drive straight for 6.5 miles - but as time went on, he was veering into nearby cars. Side swiping 4 cars and rear ending, 2 others. People on the road, who saw the kids in the backseat started to follow them trying to help. Of course more and more damage was being done- he would pass out and as soon as he hit something- he would wake suddenly but just keep driving having no idea what was going on. My older daughter who was 9 at the time- had hit her face/head the second car he rear ended and had been knocked unconscious. My younger daughter age 4, in a 5 point harness car seat - watched in terror the whole time, not being able to move. Eventually Joe had passed out completely and went through a red light at a major intersection. I will NEVER  know exactly what happen with the 3 of them that day- Joe has no recollection of the day at all. My oldest has a very hard time talking about it- and said he knew he needed a drink but she saw he could not think clearly to get his body to follow the direction. My youngest, who knows the most about the whole thing- says Alyssa was dead (4 yr old perception) and Daddy was sleeping. Scary thought. Joe had extensive damage- head trauma, broken ribs, leg, hands, etc.,.. Alyssa had facial fractures and damage to her knee, and Deanna ended up with a broken collar bone from the harness on the last impact. The driver of the car in the intersection, was killed instantly. We have never walked away from that experience. It goes with us everyday. There were absolutely no signs that Joe was low or had reason to go low.  Joe suffers from hypoglycemic unawareness. The story ran Newsday 3 days, people had all sorts of things to say about Diabetics and that there was not reason why he could not fix himself or get help. Trust me in saying- Joe would never intentionally put his daughters or someone else in danger if he could have helped it. It was one of the most horrid times in our life and if he could change it, he would have.....  


Very sad for everybody.  I hope your kids have adjusted as best they can to the tragedy.  The lesson is to make sure you are not low/high before you drive.  It's unfortunate he could not think clearly enough to fix himself. Thanks for sharing the story.