It’s Time for “Hypo-Drills”: Where I Help My Spouse Save My Life

I have been using insulin for over 29 years, and during this time I have experienced too many lows to recall. My endocrinologist informed me that insulin users who have an A1c less than 7 percent typically require emergency assistance for hypoglycemia about every six to nine months.

This is the price paid for running blood sugars so close to goal.

The lows that are the biggest threat to my life are the ones that occur while I am sleeping. Hypoglycemia rarely, if ever, takes me out from a waking state. This cannot be said for the hypoglycemia I experience during the middle of the night.

I am blessed to have a “lifesaver” in bed with me. My spouse feels my back almost every night to see if I am sweating through another low blood sugar. There was a time that my husband would undoubtedly call 911 to save me, but now he feels confident that he knows what to do and when it is time to call for help.

I don’t know about you, but hearing the question, “Can you tell me your name?” means I have passed out and am in the company of emergency medical professionals. This question was being asked of far too often, at least in my opinion. I had come to realize that my beloved spouse did not know what to do in these situations and I wanted that to change.

I can’t help him save my life while I am unconscious, but I can help him work through the process when I am coherent. It is with this notion that I started to do “hypo-drills” with my spouse. It goes something like this:

During the night, I wake him up and say, “I’m out cold, go!” He then must complete the drill. He retrieves the glucagon kit from the fridge and runs through the process step by step. (This is a great use for those expired glucagon kits.) The gift of the process is having my experience to pull from, as I can help him help me. He is able to ask questions as well as work through complicating factors.

The end result has been decreased time between him realizing there is a problem and me getting the injection of glucagon. The first few run-throughs were challenging for him. He didn’t want to hurt me. He didn’t want to make a mistake. His concern and “hand-wringing” took up precious minutes.

These “hypo-drills” have made a huge difference in both of our lives. I know my loved one knows what to do in case of emergency. My dear spouse also has the peace of mind that he can save my life in the event of me becoming unconscious due to hypoglycemia. He also knows when to call for outside help.

I am willing to accept my chances of periodically needing help for hypoglycemia, in lieu of experiencing the complications of uncontrolled diabetes. I make this safer to do so by having “hypo-drills.”

Heather Jacobs
Santa Cruz, Calif.

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