mom's diabetes seems to be worsening

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Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 3/13/2008 7:16 AM (GMT -7)   
Hi everyone,

I've never ventured into the diabetes forum before; I'm usually in the colitis or depression groups but I felt like maybe you all could offer some advice or reassurance.

My mom has had insulin-dependant diabetes since she was young. She gives herself a shot every morning, or maybe more but that's the only time I see her do it. If she misses so much as one meal or snack, she gets really sick. She also had to have laser eye surgery about a year ago to repair some bleeding vessels due to her diabetes that they said would have caused her to go blind otherwise.
I only ever remember a few incidents of her going into diabetic shock when I was young. One time that my dad got under control, and one time that we had to call the paramedics. Maybe there was more that I don't remember, but it was still a rare occurrence. But in the last year, it's been getting more and more frequent, and now my dad has had to call the paramedics three times in the last two days and they're on their way to the hospital with her right now.
I just don't understand what's going on. I'm in Iowa and they're in Florida so I'm just sick with worry right now because no one can talk on their phone and tell me what's happening. The paramedics were just at the house a few hours ago and now she's sick again. I'm sure most of you know how it goes, but she starts acting strange, you can just look at her and tell when she's getting sick, although she always denies it. Then she goes unresponsive, clammy... One day I woke up to find her lying on the couch and the dogs were barking at her. She was supposed to be at work so I didn't know how long she had been out. I couldn't even get her to look at me. I tried putting the glucose gel in her mouth and it wasn't working. We called 911 and when they checked her blood sugar levels, they were in the single digits. Last night, my sister said it was at 33. I don't know what normal levels are but I imagine this isn't good.

Sorry, I'm rambeling now. What I'm wondering is... What does this mean? Why is her routine that always did so well suddenly not working at all? Why does she keep going into diabetic shock?
Female, 22, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in hip & lumbar region of spine from long term prednisone use

Current Meds:
10mg Lexapro (for depression/social anxiety)
125mg Azathioprine
4800mg Asacol (Four 400mg tablets, three times a day)
10meq Potassium

Regular Member

Date Joined Aug 2006
Total Posts : 477
   Posted 3/13/2008 8:44 AM (GMT -7)   
I am a type 2 and don't experience lows, so I can't speak to your mother's situation. It sounds like she may be using too much insulin - maybe her body is changing with age and handles the insulin differently - is she in menopause or perimenopause? Changing hormone levels can do a real number, even on healthy folks.
I recently went through the same agonizing situation with my mother becoming more and more ill and me living 3 states away, so I can speak to that.  Be sure that your dad (or mom if she's able) authorizes the hospital to disclose information to you- that can mean doctors, nurses, admitting information etc. My parents had to sign a paper and have it notarized- at least you can get information and won't have to worry so much.
I will keep you and your family in my thoughts and prayers.
I just want to live happily ever after-every now and then. Jimmy Buffett

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2007
Total Posts : 1366
   Posted 3/13/2008 11:11 AM (GMT -7)   
I just got a call from my sister... She said my mom apparently has pnuemonia. They're keeping her in the hospital for awhile, I don't know how long, my dad should be calling soon. I'm still worried because I know pnuemonia can be pretty serious, but she's not really seeming sick so maybe it's not that bad? I'm just hoping they caught it early enough and she'll be okay..
Female, 22, Ulcerative colitis (pancolitis) since 1999; GERD; gastritis; osteopenia in hip & lumbar region of spine from long term prednisone use

Current Meds:
10mg Lexapro (for depression/social anxiety)
125mg Azathioprine
4800mg Asacol (Four 400mg tablets, three times a day)
10meq Potassium

Lanie G
Forum Moderator

Date Joined Nov 2006
Total Posts : 6025
   Posted 3/14/2008 9:08 AM (GMT -7)   
I hope your mom is ok.  Being sick in any way can wreak havoc with blood sugar so I'm glad she's under doctors' care now.  Sometimes our routines with meds and lifestyle have to change when we need more effective means to monitor/control these diseases.  This is why it's so important to know what our blood sugar is during the day, even more so for type 1 diabetes.  Let us know how your mom is doing.

forum moderator - diabetes
diabetes controlled so far by low/no carb diet and exercise; no meds

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2004
Total Posts : 6056
   Posted 3/16/2008 6:40 PM (GMT -7)   
You could call the floor nurse at her hospital and let her know that mom's having low blood sugar problems. Ask if she will get the doctor to do a reevaluation of her insulin dosage while they have her in the safe confines of the hospital. At least you can get her to bring it up at report and that way the nurses will be able to maybe do some patient teaching on mom and bring her up to speed. Good luck with this.
~ Jeannie, Forum Moderator/Diabetes & Fibromyalgia
I know God will not give me anything I can't handle. I just wish that He didn't trust me so much. ~Mother Teresa

"People are like stained glass windows: They sparkle and shine when the sun's out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light within."- Elizabeth Kubler-Ross

Veteran Member

Date Joined May 2006
Total Posts : 547
   Posted 3/17/2008 1:59 PM (GMT -7)   
Sorry to hear about your Mom's diabetes situation. I know it can be quite frustrating when you feel like your hands are tied and can't do anything yourself to improve the situation. Hang in there. Your Mom is in the best place possible at the moment.

The blood sugar numbers you mention are way too low. What does this mean? Probably that there is too much insulin in her system. Why is her once-great routine not working so well? Because Diabetes is progressive. It's always changing, just like the outside of our bodies do. Sometimes the changes are gradual (think weight loss/gain) and some are more immediate (think sleep loss: dark circles & bags) but, we are ever changing. So, it makes sense that what works for a while needs tweaking & adapting once in a while.

Sounds like your Mom needs a review of her insulin regimen (what type(s) of insulin, how much to inject, when to inject, etc.). It might be difficult to get a routine going right away until the pneumonia gets under control but, those lows are way too low. Hopefully the docs take a serious look at her insulin regimen while she's in the hospital. Something needs to change. Good luck
- Phishbowl (Type 1 since Jan'05 - Levemir, NovoRapid)
"What's Not Measured Is Not Managed"

"It is impossible for a man to learn what he thinks he already knows"-Epictetus

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