spouse of type 1

By ladylynda0712 Latest Reply 2014-05-16 13:48:11 -0500
Started 2014-05-10 22:12:32 -0500

Do diabetics know what they are saying when in a reaction, a low sugar episode? I understand the disease—i have 24 years experience. I understand the symptoms, confusion. More than once I have saved his life.

I am very upset now…once again, sugar was 54 and for over an hour he was combative and yelling he hates me. I was able to get him to take bites of food, only to hear "I'm fat because you keep doing this shit!". He over estimates how many units to take even though repeatedly advised from his internist and diatician. I've had juice thrown at me. He has hit me. I've run the gamut from helping him myself (most always) to calling 911 and his whole demeanor changes and he is cooperative with them.

Saying he hates me is the worst. I've devoted 24 years and sometimes know better than he does what he needs. He has had car accidents with the children so I took over doing the driving. Countless nights in the ER but still at work by 7 am. I get frustrated as he will take insulin and go mow the lawn. Numerous times I have had to inject glucagon. He thinks it won't "hit him that fast."

I just spent over an hour—tomorrow is Mothers Day. Hearing he hates me hurts a lot. And he remembers what he says. Then apologizes and goes on like nothing occured…except now I have a migraine, my blood pressure is 200/120 and he's watching tv. :( Frustrated to the max that he sabotages himself and after the 500th time still does what he does. I understand the ramifications of high sugar but man, all these daily lows can't be good either.

7 replies

Judy38 2014-05-16 13:48:11 -0500 Report

Hi Lady Lynda,
I'm the Mom of a child with Type 1 and I just want to let you know that when a person with Type 1 goes low, they can say all manner of things that they don't mean and would not even think… if they were in a rational state of mind.
Glucose is essential for the brain to be in gear but when a person with diabetes is low, they do not have sufficient glucose to think straight.
He isn't responsible for what he says when he is low as you are talking to the "diabetes" and not the person. He will not remember what has happened afterwards because at that time, he is literally switched off.
In addition to saying random angry things, some people with Type 1 struggle to avoid help when they are low.
One of my family members is a scientist and says it is very strange with this particular condition but while other unwell people are usually keen for medical aid, some of those with Type 1 can resist the help they need to sustain their lives, depending on how the low glucose affects them.
Anyway, I just wanted you to know that there are other people with diabetes whose hypoglycaemic episodes are just like your husband's and he can't help it so if you can, just ignore whatever is said and remember he hasn't a notion what he is saying.
Well done to you for looking after him. He is lucky to have such a strong lady in his life.

GabbyPA 2014-05-12 11:07:34 -0500 Report

The biblical truth of this matter is that a prophet has no honor in his own home. And that seems to be what is happening. He doesn't honor what you are saying because there is too much familiarity. I don't know why this happens, but it's very true. Specially when you say the paramedics get the respect you don't.

He is a danger to himself and perhaps there are some self destructive tenancies he is acting on right now? It certainly sounds like it. I can get similar responses from my husband when he is in one of his spastic episodes. I have not been physically assaulted, but he can get verbally ugly. I also think there is some fear in there." He's the man, he should be caring for you" mentality can really make esteem low and that can lead to dark places if he feels he cannot do that.

Guys are different when it comes to apologizing. They do it, move on. Women on the other hand need to work through it. Perhaps it's time to meet in the middle of that? He needs to know how much what he says hurts. What he does and how to avoid it. There could maybe be some protocol set up now that he is not low...and talk about what to do in calm times. I am not saying just let him go dangerously low, but perhaps he needs to control more of what is happening to his recovery instead of you taking control of it every time. Maybe let him fail or come to a point where he allows you to take over? I don't know...it just sounds like he needs to address more issues than just his diabetes.

wraithmb 2014-05-12 09:35:39 -0500 Report

This is a tough thing to advise on. I disagree somewhat with Joyce. You shouldn't put up with verbal and emotional abuse from anyone on a regular basis, however your husband may not be able to control how he acts when low. If my sugars are low enough (low 20s), I do get agitated and combative, however it usually isn't directed at anyone or anything at that point. So yeah, I believe his sugars could cause that.

I agree with Joyce that you shouldn't be frustrated with the low itself though. These things happen from time to time for all of us diabetics. However if it is happening regularly, something needs to change.

I don't claim to be the best person when it comes to giving personal advice, but does your husband understand how you feel about this? Make sure to stress that the problem isn't him, but the symptoms of his low blood sugars, and that because it happens so often, you have trouble coping with some of the things that get said. The thing with this, to be honest, is that your husband will be more likely to be accepting of this if you take responsibility for how you feel. Saying things like "when you say…" Will likely make him feel "accused". Like I put it above, "I have trouble dealing with some of the things that get said" sounds nicer than "I hate it when you're mean". Something like "if we can keep your blood sugar from getting that low so often, there wouldn't be so much for me to deal with, and I wouldn't worry about you so much." Does this sound like it might work for both of you? Of course, I am assuming that you are going to help him with this too. Fixing my blood sugars (high, not low) as of late would be impossible for me without the help of my wife and kids. I'm a little embarrassed to admit that even my four year old reminds me to take insulin when I eat. I'd be a mess without them. I'm sure deep down that your husband would feel the same way about you.

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-11 17:53:53 -0500 Report

Lady, please stop being frustrated. That is not good for your health at all. Don't take what he says to heart. Never let what people say to you in anger or in his situation bother you and don't get upset because he keeps having lows. He may or may not be aware of what he is saying. I would talk to his doctor with him. He may have other problems going on. I have only taken one person to the hospital with a low who was combative and abusive but along with hypoglycemia he also had a head injury from being hit in the head with a bottle. I have never had a person with hypoglycemia who was abusive or fighting. Like James (jayabee) I could not find information on that.

Contact the Joslin Diabetes Center they may be able to answer that question. Good luck to both of you and have a Happy Mothers Day.

jayabee52 2014-05-11 02:21:51 -0500 Report

Howdy Lynda
I pray you have a blessed mother's day!

I really don't know if someone in a hypoglycemic state know what they're saying. I would suspect that it may vary with the individual. I tried to find somewhere where the query "in a hypoglycemic state does a person know what they're saying?" but was unable to find a definitive answer. I did find this, which I thought signifigant from a site in the UK, however:
"Why do some people have severe hypos without any warnings?
Research suggests that people who keep their diabetes very tightly controlled may have problems in recognising hypo warnings, and that if they have one severe hypo without warning, they’re more likely to have repeated episodes. People who’ve had diabetes for a long time may also lose their hypo warnings signs; however, they can often regain them by adjusting their diabetes treatment. If you’re having problems, talk them through with your diabetes healthcare team."
and also this:
"Will hypos affect my quality of life?
Hypos should not be frequent or severe. If they are, contact your diabetes healthcare team. Try to build a picture of any hypos you have to see if there are any trends and patterns. If there is, you may need to alter your diabetes treatment with the help of your diabetes healthcare team."
source: ~ http://www.diabetes.org.uk/Guide-to-diabetes/...

There are unfortunately some people who just don't "get it". Perhaps it is time to get hubby a full medical and mental healthcheckup. . There could be things physical, emotional or mental health wise which could be in play here. Diabeetle suggested a thyroid problem which may be valid. Perhaps I might suggest hubby could have BiPolar disorder (manic/depressive) (I would expect you didn't want to hear that.) He seems to be in a manic state when he injects himself and goes to mow the lawn. I have friends who are Bipolar and I know that they are aware of what they say in either state but they may not be aware of the import of what they say till after they say it, and once it is out it cannot be erased.

I myself have ADHD and can say things impulsively when I am hyper and be unaware of the import what i said. (I may be aware of what I said but unaware of the importance to others of what I said.)

I said some things impulsively to my 2nd (now late) wife which hurt her. When I used my ADHD as a reason for this, she insisted I get tested for ADHD so she'd know if I really had it, or was just using that as an excuse. As it turned out from the testing, I had it, and she was OK with that.

So there's something more going on here, and for YOUR peace of mind you may wish to find out.

I pray success in your hunt for answers!

James Baker

diabeetle 2014-05-10 22:21:48 -0500 Report

I know the reaction of a low are different for everyone, however this seems to be a bit too extreme to me. A 54 sugar isn't too severe either, maybe there is something else going on? Possibly a thyroid problem? I wonder if there is just extremes of treating the highs and lows so they don't balance each other out( by himself I would assume, not by you). I hope it turns out well for you! Hope I could offer some help! Happy Mother's Day!!!

Just Joyce
Just Joyce 2014-05-11 17:46:12 -0500 Report

A 54 low can be severe for some diabetics. There are diabetics who have problems when they get a low of 60 or 70. I didn't have a problem until my low got to 45 and I ended up in a police car with lights and sirens all the way to the hospital.

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