Favourite Job

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.

14 thoughts on “Favourite Job”

  1. Yeah…hypoG's are one of the most rewarding jobs around. Even better when you can give IV dextrose. Then you can (as we sometimes do) the old “Bringing out the Dead” thing with everyone praying – then bang…a massive recover in 30 seconds.

  2. Most of my diabetic friends, have testing device that could also be used by a care giver to verify blood sugar level. May it is too expensive to issue to the GP [ general publicke not the ?] just curious I be ? dungbeetle.

  3. Oh yes…We don't carry it on the ambulances, but it's something I used to do as a nurse. Ambulance brings in nearly dead patient, I'd do a BM, Cannulate, Give 50% Dex IV, wait for round of applause, then wander over to a doctor and tell them to sign for everything I'd just done.Great jobs.

  4. The testing device is about 15-25, you can buy them in Boots these days, but sometimes people forget to test, or are away from home, or have such well controlled diabeties they only test once a day, or even run out of the testing strips…Lots of things can go wrong

  5. Did you just mention an injection which “releases sugar stored as fat in the body”?What's the catch? I'd dearly love to turn my little beer baby into blood sugar 😉

  6. Hey Reynolds, apparently there was an RTA between one of them emergency response car things and a civilian car. On the Barking Rd, you know by the Afro-Carribean centre. Wondered if you'd heard anything about it? You didn't know the person involved did you?

  7. Doesn't quite work like that…But I think it's one of the drugs that athletes can 'abuse' along with insulin. Not 100% certain of that (and Internet time is a bit short at the moment so I can't look it up either)

  8. Yes I know him, he comes from my station… How do you know the A/C centre? You must live/work around there.More details when I have a chance to chat to him.

  9. Yeah I live in Plaistow.Uh… the thing from before, the tragic job? I don't wanna play guessing games but it was that kid on Katherine Road wasn't it. That was awful man.


  10. You are right about the nasty job. I don't think it is the sort of job I want to write about until after the police investigation has finished and things have settled down. At least in part to protect the people involved.

  11. Hello! I've been lurking & reading for a bit! You write a really fascinating log.I've always admired ambulance people, mainly due to the two times I've called them out for my diabetic boyfriend. He hs good control, but quite frequent night hypos. Most of the time I handle them fine, albeit with amusing incidents if we're out of hypostop & he starts hiding bananas under the pillows.

    Both times I've called 999 for him he's been very low and violent. Neither time did I actually use his testing meter, because once he had hit me, and the other time he squeezed my hands really hard when I tried to feed him. In those circumstances, when I've spent about an hour by myself with him, I'm not going to go poking him with a needle. I love him, and most of the time I cope, but if I get to the point where I've made no difference, and I feel that I'm in danger I call out the professionals.

    Both times they were helpful, caring, and treated him fine. The Rochdale crew arrived in about 5 minutes (at 5am) and the London (Hounslow) crew arrived in 20 at 2am. They were suprised how far they were sent, as they came over from Feltham. I got a bit het up after about 15 minutes, but I knew that basically they'd give him some Glucagon & he'd be OK; he wasn't in an RTA, or fully unconscious, so I didn't mind.

    Anyway, thanks for all the work that you do, it is appreciated!

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