Last night, as I was helping DH get supper ready, I was chatting with a friend on the phone. We haven't seen each other for about a week, so I asked her to join me for a soda after her girls went to bed. Once she was able to get away, we headed to McDonald's for some fries, caffeine, and girl talk (I forgot my cell phone at home....keep this in mind, as it will be important later). I dearly love when she and I are able to get our kids together, but I think I cherish even more the times when we can hang out, just the two of us.
So, after the fries were gone, we headed back to her place. I wanted to see how she had rearranged some furniture, so rather than drop her off, I invited myself in. (Gotta love the kind of friend who lets you do that :) As we were chatting with her husband, her cell phone rang. It was DH. I was surprised, since he wouldn't normally "track me down" unless it was important. She handed the phone over, and he informed me that my other best friend was desperately trying to track me down. Apparently, she had taken the wrong insulin (she's diabetic) and was in some trouble. I ran out the door, flew over past my house to grab my cell phone, and booked it to her house.
The problem was that she had taken 16 units of fast acting insulin instead of the slow acting insulin that she takes every night before bed. Now, that may not seem like a big deal, but what it amounts to is taking 5 times the necessary amount of insulin. People with diabetes must use insulin to control their blood sugar. Without the insulin, their blood sugar will be too high, which causes damage to vital organs over time. However, the more immediate danger for those with diabetes is their blood sugar getting too low. If one's blood sugar gets too low, he or she could go into a coma, or worse, die. So, having too much insulin, especially the amount that my friend took, was extremely dangerous.
On the way to her house, I toggled between praying that she would be ok and planning my strategy. She had called the patient advisory nurse and gotten some instructions. Take blood sugar levels at least every 20 minutes, drink sugared liquids, have a friend close by to help monitor the situation, and call 911 if her readings went too low. The nurse had predicted that it would take at least four hours for the insulin to work its way out of her system. If we could control her blood sugar at home, fine. If she ended up needing to go to the hospital, then we'd be in a world of hurt. She has four boys, all of whom are disabled. What would I do with the boys if she went to the hospital? I don't know who could watch them, and I felt like I needed to be with her. So, urgent prayers went heavenward...please help me help her control the unavoidable drop in blood sugar.
When I arrived, it was 9:30 p.m. She was chugging Sprite, admitting that she had made a stupid mistake. So, we got comfortable, knowing that it was going to be a long night. The nurse called to check in, as she continued to do throughout the night. The next day was the fifth anniversary of the September 11th terror attacks, so there were several programs on tv. We watched the documentaries and talked about all of those deep subjects that come up when you see people facing the unfathomable as the victims did that day. All between taking blood sugar levels, pouring more Sprite, and a quick run to the convenience store for 7 up for her, and Pepsi for me.
The evening wore on, and her sugar levels fell. However, God was at work, because her levels never got down to a dangerous point. As her levels began to slowly increase again, the stress began to lift. As we both realized that it was 2:00 a.m. and we would both need to get ready for work in a very short time, we got a little slap-happy. Everything was funny...especially the sloshy feeling in her stomach from drinking large amounts of soda, and the resultant trips to the restroom. Her new nickname is Pee-didy slosh....think rapper. OK, not that funny, but at 2:00 a.m., it was hilarious!
FInally at 2:45 a.m, I headed home for a precious 3 hours of sleep. That day of work was hell...every single things my students did got on my nerves. But, since I didn't have any students to see in the afternoon, and because my boss is incredibly understanding, I headed home for a nap that afternoon.
It has taken me a few days to get over the sleep deprivation, but that is what friends are for.