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Saturday, November 6, 2010

Low Sugar

I assume the tones went off. This was probably what woke me up. Or maybe it was the lights suddenly turning on. Either way, my body has the same reaction. Get up and head to the app bay. Jump into my bunker pants and hope by that time I've figured out if I can just go like that (in the case of a medical aid), toss on my turnout jacket (for a vehicle accident) or get "Scotted up" and ready to fight a fire.

This time, about 0130, it was for a medical aid. The engine company in the neighboring district was already on a call so we headed there. This meant a longer response time (my wife laughed at me when I mentioned this to her since our response time was just over 7 minutes....nothing compared to the response times of some more rural jurisdictions).

We were met at the door by the son of the patient. He led us upstairs to the master bedroom where his father lay on the floor, unconscious. He told me that his dad is a diabetic. The son had come home from work to find him laying on the floor. I inquired what his most recent blood sugar was and he had no clue. They hadn't tested it.

I grabbed the glucometer and prepped a finger for a stick. While I was applying the drop of blood to the test strip AMR showed up. The old man's blood sugar was in the low 20's. Now that the problem had been correctly determined it was time to solve it.

I started an IV in the mans right arm. He jerked slightly as I plunged in the needle. Once it was taped down the AMR medic, who had already fished out my glucose and set it up, pushed an amp of D50W. Within moments our patient was awake but confused. After about a minute you could see the internal light switch turn on. He knew what must have happened and why we were there.

We asked him if he wanted to go to the ER. He rather emphatically said no. It was the right decision. I discontinued the IV and had him sign the CYA paperwork. I talked to the son about making sure his father had something to eat before going back to sleep.

45 minutes after waking up in confusion I was back in bed, now unable to sleep. I pulled out the laptop and watched an episode of Deadwood. As I drifted off my last thought was that my alarm was going to go off way too soon.


d. laney said...

good story, I like how it takes half the call to finally sort of wake up, and then once it's over you can't even fall asleep.

Michael Morse said...

I always worry about leaving diabetics whose BG has dropped at home, but usually do anyway. I wrote a story about one I took last week and got hammered by the paragods out there. Oh well.

Good job!

Firefighter/Paramedic said...

d. laney- The irony is funny now, not in the middle of the night!

Michael- I was super comfortable this time because his son was there to take care of him. I know what you mean though. I've yet to go back for someone I AMA'd on a call like this. Hopefully it won't happen.

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