The other night I had my favourite type of job, the type of job that meant I wasn't upset to be late leaving work.
People who are diabetic sometimes have very low blood sugar – this makes them confused, agitated and sleepy, this can lead to unconsciousness and even death. Their blood sugar can become low for any number of reasons, most often they have done more exercise than normal, and not eaten enough to raise their blood sugar.
The treatment for this condition is to either give them sugar, or an injection that 'frees up' some sugar that is stored as fat in their body.
Our patient last night normally controls her diabetes very well; so much so that her family had never seen her with a dangerously low blood sugar (the medical term for this is hypoglycemia). They called us because she was acting confused, and was unable to speak properly or stand upright. We arrived, and found out she was a diabetic, checking her blood sugar we got a reading of 1.6mmols (the normal range for a diabetic is around 4.5-12.0mmols), this is very low and explained why she was slipping out of consciousness.
The family were understandably upset, as they had never seen this before, they saw her slipping into a coma in front of our eyes – so we explained what was going on as I prepared the injection that would raise her blood sugar. I gave the injection (this injection is called Glucagon) and waited for it to take effect, all the time reassuring the relatives.
Within 10 minutes she was up and talking, we then gave her some sugar jelly which raises the blood sugar some more. Soon she had made a full recovery, with her blood sugar reading 5.6mmols. We gave her some carbohydrates (for 'slow-burn' energy) and left her in the care of her exceptionally happy family.
The reason why this is such an enjoyable type of job is that we are actually saving a life (for a change) with the treatment that we can give, and that the recovery is normally rapid, and always impressive. From unconsciousness to 100% fitness in the space of about 15 minutes really impresses onlookers, and it does our ego good to be praised every so often.