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A Jacket, Just in Case

BEEP BEEP BEEP

2 am

Low alarm. Where am I?

Hotel.

Hotel room in Kansas City.

Damp. Damp with sweat. My long sleeve shirt stuck to the inside of my elbows, ironed by panic.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Kansas City. That’s where I am. Why am I beeping?

51 mg/dL. That red circle with the down arrow attached to it.

Asking to be calibrated.

Meter check. 32 mg/dL.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

No fucking way am I in the 30s. I start to come around a little bit, taking the six tabs left in my glucose tab jar and chewing them all at once, unhinging my jaw like a snake.

Prick finger again. Test strip.

31 mg/dL

Think fast. Unsure if I have enough tabs to correct this low blood sugar. Even if I do, unsure if they will hit fast enough.  Felt swimmy in the brain.  Can’t pass out in this room. No one will know for hours.

Quick decisions made. Pull on sneakers. Grab cell phone and room key.

Walk to the hotel room door. Open it.

Wait, if I pass out, I want to have a jacket on.

(WHY?)

Put my jacket over my pajamas. Sprint to hotel elevator, reasoning the adrenaline will help boost my number? Sweating like I’ve run a marathon instead of just down the damn hall.

Downstairs. Took 30 seconds. Felt like 3 hours.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

Walked to the hotel sundries shop near the check in desk. I saw juice and snacks when I checked in. Grab an orange juice. Drank it in one long pull while standing at the cooler. Grab another orange juice.

My face felt confused, like my mouth had slide down into my neck. Also completely lucid, despite plummeting blood sugar and migrating facial features.

Hotel concierge.

“Hi, how can I help you?”

I look drunk. Or lost. Or both.

Low, though.

Not sure what I said. I know I said diabetes and low blood sugar and I’m sorry fifteen times. I told him my full name, maybe more than once.  That I was embarrassed but was afraid I would pass out in my room so I thought I’d be safer in the lobby. “I put my jacket on just in case I passed out!” Laughed too loudly at my own not-a-joke.

He calmly sat me down on a couch in the lobby and unwrapped candies from the hotel’s leftover trick-or-treat stash, leaving them open-faced but still on the wrapper, lined up on the hotel bench like breadcrumbs to bring me back to myself.

BEEP BEEP BEEP

“Are you feeling better?”

I wasn’t sure. My hands were shaking a whole lot. But I could feel the hypo fog starting to lift and I knew it was going to be okay in a few minutes. His coworkers came over and lingered casually but carefully, standing over the lady in her pajamas with her jacket on, trick-or-treating a few days too late in the lobby.

Eventually, it was fine.  Embarrassing and humbling but fine.  I was grateful that someone was willing to sit with a stranger while her blood sugar tumbled, then climbed.

The hotel employee’s name is written on a post it note in my jacket pocket. With his manager’s email. And the contact information for their corporate office.

The gift basket I am sending this guy is going to be epic.

30 Comments Post a comment
  1. Martha #

    I’m tired today and so this is making me cry. A: because we’re so vulnerable and B: because of the lined up candies and the kindness of strangers.

    11/6/17; 4:33 pm
    • Lauren #

      Me too :'(

      11/6/17; 8:07 pm
      • Heather #

        Me too. I hope That this kindness would be shown to my daughter if she gets in this situation. I’m so happy you were taken care of both by the hotel employee and yourself. You’re all so brave.

        11/7/17; 4:07 pm
      • Michelle #

        Tears in my eyes too. I am in a hotel and woke up this morning, flashed my Libre and
        It just read ‘lo’. Couldn’t open the apple juice myself but luckily my husband is here… glad you found help Kerri.

        11/10/17; 7:48 am
    • Vera #

      Me too. Nothing to add to Martha’s comment.

      11/8/17; 4:30 am
  2. Damn, I’ve had those exact episodes… WoW!!!!!

    11/6/17; 4:47 pm
  3. Oh man, Kerri. So scary (but so relatable). I’m sorry you had to go through that. I’m glad you’re alright. Smart move, and what an amazing, helpful soul you found.

    11/6/17; 6:08 pm
    • At least I didn’t drop my phone down the elevator shaft. 🙂

      11/6/17; 7:41 pm
  4. Nick Argento #

    Quick thinking, Kerri! So glad you are all right! At least you did not have to fight with a coke machine that would not take your last dollar (I swear it is not counterfeit!!!) , the one that I wanted to exchange for, well, salvation, from that 2 am hypo demon that hunts us….

    And your story reaffirms my belief in the basic good will of the vast majority of my fellow humans…. we try to help each other when called on. And that experience enriches all parties involved….

    11/6/17; 9:33 pm
  5. Deborah Chandler #

    I’ve also learned to trust smart hotel staff through almost the exact same experience. I know I cannot thank them enough for their compassion and kindess.
    Your jacket rationale made me laugh because it’s so true. Glad you were surrounded by good people.

    11/6/17; 10:18 pm
  6. Yes, we KNOW those horrendous lows. Our son
    was diagnosed at age 14, and the stress ever
    after took its toll…..

    WHEN WILL THE ARTIFICIAL PANCREAS BE
    AVAILABLE? It has been approved and
    so many lives could be changed……

    Kerri, our hearts are with you; your honesty,
    your challenges, your transparency all serve
    to inspire others. You’re a winner!!! God bless..

    Shirley Alderman
    Ohio

    11/6/17; 10:45 pm
  7. GUSTAVO ESPINO #

    I fully empathize. My wife is a brittle T1D. It’s a constant battle.

    11/6/17; 11:14 pm
  8. Just when you think it’s tamed and you’ve got things under control…it turns around and bites you. And you are humbled.

    I’m glad that you had the kindness of a stranger to tide you through.

    11/6/17; 11:44 pm
  9. Having that kind of low in unfamiliar surroundings has to make episodes more harrowing.
    I’m sorry you went through that. Give that man a medal!

    11/7/17; 1:07 am
  10. Abbott Smith #

    I’m amazed you could operate the elevator during a severe hypo. I once got stuck sitting in an automated door of a grocery store trying to find the entrance to building. I managed to say “where’s the door?” “diabetic” and “need Coke” while the door kept opening. I just sat there on the concrete floor sucking on a Coke bottle with both hands while a grocery clerk patiently watched over me until my brain came back on line. People are amazing. Little candies all in a row is such a kind touch. Glad you’re OK.

    11/7/17; 6:26 am
  11. Beth K #

    This made me cry.

    You should sign the gift basket card, “From all of us in the DOC”! Seriously, I’ll help pay!

    11/7/17; 11:40 am
  12. Barb #

    I am a mama to a T1D. She is 7 now. Dx’d at 6 and we are 45 weeks post Dx’d. I am crying at this post. I have no clue to what a low feels like. I kniw that when she has them she always looks worse before she looks better. I appreciate youe blog as it gives me a little insight… I was litterally feeling panic reading this one.

    You are all brave warriors. Hugs to u all.

    11/7/17; 11:50 am
  13. John #

    Glad your ok, I know that exact feeling. There’s no friggin way I’m that low, bad strips or did something wrong and after about the third test it sort of oozes into the the brain in fuzzy letters saying. Yes Friggin Way! Gawd what am I supposed to do?? Oh yeah TABS! and
    lotsa tabs juice lotsa juice! Where the heck am I??
    Oh yeah been there, but you now have a small safe haven in Kansas and you met someone who helped you in a time of extreme need. I travel so seldom, but when I do my room always looks like the juice section in a supermarket and that I robbed a candy store

    11/7/17; 12:10 pm
  14. claire whitehead #

    Kerri I am so sorry you had to go through that- and THANK YOU! for writing about it. I’ve been there- so many times in various places. The panic, the amazing way our brains can still function – kind of! our will for survival. You did everything right- even the jacket 🙂 great post.

    11/7/17; 12:25 pm
  15. Heidi Plesz #

    Made me cry, too. This is exactly how it feels, you captured it very well. Panic, helplessness, PANIC. Because….well, you know. This could kill you. 🙁 It is really so very awful. Glad you are alright. And thank goodness for the kindness of strangers.

    11/7/17; 6:58 pm
  16. Ali Reingold #

    Yes. You’ve left me teary, Kerri. Because this type 1 thing – it takes a village and an army and family, friends, and sometimes strangers.

    11/8/17; 10:47 am
  17. Sandy Brooks #

    I’m so glad ur ok & the hotel guy is an AWESOME human being!!! So sorry u had to experience this but I’m so glad u r ok!! Unfortunately many of us can big time relate!!! And I’m sure u rocked the jacket!!!

    I agree w Dr Nick!! When I least expect it, some stranger’s kindness reaffirms in my belief that there r more kind people out there than a$$ hole$!!!

    Thanks for sharing ur experience w us!! HUGS!!!

    11/8/17; 3:48 pm
  18. Sandy Brooks #

    I’m so glad ur ok & the hotel guy is an AWESOME human being!!! So sorry u had to experience this but I’m so glad u r ok!! Unfortunately many of us can big time relate!!! And I’m sure u rocked the jacket!!!

    I agree w Dr Nick!! When I least expect it, some stranger’s kindness reaffirms in my belief that there r more kind people out there than a$$ hole$!!!

    Thanks for sharing ur experience w us!! HUGS!!!

    11/8/17; 3:48 pm
  19. Angela #

    ❤️❤️❤️

    11/8/17; 9:41 pm
  20. I have had nights like that. I am glad you are doing well. But I hope my wife does not read this. We would start the you cant travel alone thing again. I hate the you cant travel alone thing.

    11/8/17; 9:43 pm
  21. Emily Scott #

    I understand low bfs. I have had type one for over sixty years, but I do not understand why you require so much glucose to correct a big low. I take just a one chunk of Sweethearts candy and a drink of water and a sit or lie down to correct any low. If I took in the huge amount of glucose you take, I would then go into sky high bg! I KNOW your insulin system is wrong. You will never get to better regulation while you have insulin infusing into your blood at the rate you have now. I choose to take those inconvenient shots just because I know the pump way is not right. I use H before meals and if get too high and I take a small dose of Levemir in am and pm. Yes, the shots are given publicly and do require discipline and stopping a moment, but the control is so much smoother and predictable and adjustable. No pump, or tubing for me!!

    11/10/17; 2:35 pm
    • Thanks for your comments, Emily. I took shots for 17 years and the lows were much worse then than I’ve had in the last 14 or so since pumping. YDMV!! But I’m really glad you’re finding success with shots.

      11/12/17; 5:04 am
  22. Emily Scott #

    I do not like or accept the medical term “brittle”. It just shows lack of understanding of the different types of bodies diabetics have and thus their responses. It is supposed to put you into a category. The body itself, as we do not understand , is responsible for such reactions. The continuous infusion of insulin by pump system causes even more lows. Matching insulin infusion with eating and all other body functions is still primitive. A healthy pancreas is so sensitive!! Our present pumps and systems are far from being sensitive enough. I wish pancreas transplant could be done better. A working pancreas is so valuable! I hate to see unaware people mistreating their pancreases with heavy, dense, rich foods, alcohol, denatured starches, candy, soda. We are stupid to buy these commercial junk “foods”.

    11/10/17; 2:47 pm
  23. Emily Scott #

    last thing: every time you or any of us use sugar products, even oj, we make those things a part of our body. They are bad for our bones and even influence getting cancers. Such intake of sugars is like taking slow poisons. Oj is acidic. Used often, over and over, it causes liver and kidney problems. …that’s enough for now, so long

    11/10/17; 2:51 pm
  24. Ria #

    So sorry , Kerri
    Do we have to start wearing labeled logo clothing that says ” if I’m acting odd, sit me down and give me some juice or I might die”
    This disease sucks…..
    Glad you’re ok

    11/10/17; 6:56 pm

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