February 9th, 2011 by Amy Gonsalves Leave a reply »

I have been thoroughly enjoying the books born of an Englishman’s blog about daily life on the job as an EMT in London.  I hope that some of my posts are as entertaining, real, and thought-provoking as his.

The other morning I was on my way to bootcamp and saw an ambulance at someone’s home before 6am.  And then a friend of mine needed an ambulance this weekend.

So ambulances and emergency medical services have been on my brain.

I wonder if I’ve ever written about my time in an ambulance.  I don’t think so.

Tom Reynolds (the author above) writes every now and then about treatment he rendered for a diabetic with low blood sugar.  It is very strange for me to see his perspective, and it reminds me that for most people, type one diabetes is a disease or medical condition.

For me, it’s simply a part of my life.

As I’ve gotten older I’ve recognized that I should maybe give worth to both sides, instead of scoffing at one.  I need to respect and acknowledge both those who see my diabetes as a serious medical condition, and those who do not.

Maybe I should re-work my memories of my own medical crisis 16 years ago, and maybe start to see it as something other than “my fault.”

Here is what I know: I was 17 and on my way to babysit a 4 year old boy and his 7 year old sister for the evening.  The parents were friends of a good friend of mine, so I knew them but I think it was the first or second time I babysat for them– but I knew the kids and had spent some time with them all.  It was early evening and on my way I decided to stop and get some candy from the grocery store because I was feeling low.

I can’t explain why I thought it would be good to get some hard butterscotch candy instead of juice or a sugar that was easier to eat in large quantities and could actually raise my blood sugar quickly, but butterscotches were what I got.

I was okay when doing the pre-babysitting walk-through with the parents, and I know I played with the kids some…

…and then I know I was on this strange couch and there was a man standing at my feet and another man crouched at my shoulders and I know I WOULD NOT let go of that man’s hand.

I was scared.

They asked me some questions, I guess I answered them appropriately, and they were happy.  (I think I lost about an hour in there somehow.)  I know I never let go of that guy’s hand.

They asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, and I said yes.  My parents had already arrived when they were loading me into the back of the ambulance, and I was okay by then but still scared.

At the Emergency Room, I was already better but I was still scared so I stayed where I was.  It felt like I was in charge of what happened at that point, but I was 17 so I’m not sure if my parents were calling the shots or not.

I just feel badly for the little girl who ran next door that evening and told her neighbor something was wrong with her babysitter.

I am grateful to the neighbor who took charge and called 911.

I am grateful to the EMT and ambulance service for making me feel not quite so scared, and for holding my hand the entire time from couch to hospital bed in the ER.

I am confused by the report that says I never lost consciousness.

I am angry at the doctor who later shrugged his shoulders when I told him and said “meh; so you lost a few brain cells.”  (That was my last interaction with that doctor.)

I’m not sure how much personal responsibility to lay on myself even now: with low blood sugar affecting cognition, I was doing my best when I bought the “wrong” low food for myself.  I was going about my business as a 17 year old and taking care of myself as best as I could.

And I still needed help.  And I got it from a load of folks I’ve never seen before or after.

I never saw my EMT guy again but rest assured I search every ambulance as it passes.

Be Sociable, Share!

1 comment

  1. Kerry Cracknell says:

    This is a great post, Amy. My T1 husband sees his diabetes just like you do, and while he does take it seriously and respects it, he refuses to be scared or controlled by it – he sees it as simply part of life. He is keen for us to bring 4yo Isabel up with the same view. We avoid negativity about diabetes, we don’t like to see people saying they hate diabetes, and we embrace it for all the blessings it has brought to our lives and how much we have learned from it.

    But occasionally things happen that scare me, then I read a blog just this evening about how it feels to be low. We should also try to give worth to both sides of the story, as you suggest. Thanks for sharing this!

    Now back to feeding them both sweets and cereal bars….it’s just gone 2am here and they are both running low…..

Leave a Reply