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September 29 2013


Written by A.J. Angerstein

This is not written by a professional in the health industry, nor is it about anything political that is going on. It is written by the patient, who has lived with this disease for about forty or so years.

You are sitting at the computer, reading a book, or perhaps just enjoying a good movie. All of the sudden you automatically reach for one of the many pairs of reading glasses you bought at the dollar store. Then you open a bottle of flavored tablets or a bottle of liquid and pop a couple of drops of it, or a tablet in your mouth. It can happen any time, anywhere, while doing anything. You might begin to see stars, your tongue and lips become thick feeling, and the stars get bigger, until they are big blobs of bright light. You feel light headed, drunk, and if standing, you begin to wobble, or walk differently, giving the appearance of being drunk. Your vision blurs and then your head spins. If you are lucky, the drops or the tablets take affect rapidly, and the sensations begin to subside. If you are a minute too late, they don't and you end up on the floor, passed out. You might start to cry, your voice slurring as you try to speak. If you are luckier than a lot of people, you have a kit with a strip and a needle, and even luckier if there happens to be someone with you, someone who is cognizant of the symptoms you are experiencing. You are not drunk, you have a disease known as hypoglycemia. It is when your blood sugar, your glucose level has dropped below a certain number. I have this disease. I have lived with this disease for years, yet it is still hard for friends and family to comprehend. Unless they already know what to look for in someone who has this disease, they are completely baffled as to what is going on. Even then, sometimes I still get asked, “Why are you crying”? “Is something wrong?” “Are you depressed?” “Have you eaten?” “Why are you so agitated or mad?”

Hypoglycemia is the opposite of diabetes. And still to this day one doesn't hear about it in a commercial on television, nor is very little study going on as to why this happens. Hopefully, one day I will be able to say, “Hey, I retract that last statement, because I just heard the new commercial about hypoglycemia.” It baffles everyone, including endocrinologists, and primary care doctors, etc. It just happens. There is no cure and quite frankly, until recently eating was the only way to handle it. It is still the number one way to handle it. A correct balance, keeping the index level between two certain numbers, and eating anywhere from six to ten meals ( in my case a day) will usually pretty much do the trick.

The lowest number on the chart is seventy. The highest in my case is one hundred. In other words if I go below seventy, my level is low, above one hundred, it is high.

When I say eat, it is actually different for everyone, but pretty much stays in a certain range of carbs, fats, etc. My lowest drop, was down to twenty-one. That just about gave my PCP a coronary. If I eat just a sliver of pecan pie, I soar way above a hundred. That gives a “sugar rush” and then within just a few minutes what is known as a crash. A crash is when you drop very suddenly, way below seventy. Some people will pass out at fifty, others at thirty. Still others may pass out just below seventy. It depends on the person and on the severity of the hypoglycemia.

I was first diagnosed in my twenty's, about forty years ago. As with diabetes, it gets worse with age. I have had five different doctors diagnose me with this and yet I still here those words “WELL, IF YOU DO ACTUALLY HAVE THIS CONDITION." Then after they read your chart a little father down the screen on the computer and see how bad it actually is, then they say, “I am so sorry, I did not realize that disease was actually that bad. After all, to drop to twenty-one and NOT go into a coma and die, is very rare. I am completely baffled, and quite frankly just do not know exactly how to proceed, for you see, now it is no longer a "Condition", it is a disease." A fact you already knew.

That is when you look at the doctor or say to the voice on the other end of the phone, “Here is how we proceed. You send an email to my PCP, explaining the issues you are having. Then you suggest he find someone more experienced in this field to handle this. Oh, and please cancel the test that you have set up for next Tuesday. Unless it is an absolute necessity, I will not be fasting again, for any reason. Good bye and have a nice day.”

Then when someone says, “Well, maybe your attitude is what is behind this doctor not wanting to take you on as a patient”, you look at them and say, “My attitude is because of what this doctor said. Just because they have just graduated medical school within the past few years and know the latest in medical related procedures etc, does not mean they have the right to look at me and say or think “WELL, I am the professional here, you are the patient. They need to learn to listen to the patient, because that person knows how they feel, whether it is real or fantasy. By listening, by reading the charts and seeing what other doctors have to say, they might learn something also."
Perhaps if they had said, “Okay, since you have been living with this disease, and yes it is a disease not just a “CONDITION” for that long, then let's work together to see if we can control it a little better, instead of saying “IF”.

No, I am not a professional, however I have been living with this disease for avery long time, and quite frankly I can tell you what it does to you and how it makes you feel. IT does cause one to have an attitude, just as any other physical disease does. There is no such thing as it becoming life-threatening, it is life-threatening from the onset until the end.

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