This story requires parental guidance and steel nerves. Some graphic descriptions require viewer discretion.
Below are 3 examples in my life of driving with dangerous lows. Bottom line is even if i have raisins in my hand or my lap while sleeping or driving, the task to bring them to my mouth is a bridge too far once my glucose is below 40 to 45. Sometimes the behavior is total incoherence and laughing, loud noises, and a scene from movie Scar Face with Al Pacino
Potential Consequences as Type 1 Diabetic with Hypoglycemic Unawareness with No Warning Signs blood Sugar is very Low
I was diagnosed in 1977 as a type 1 diabetic and developed hypoglycemic unawareness in Dec 1983. To the best of my knowledge, I cannot recall any Dr or medical professional I saw since then (except one time in 2015) who brought up the risks of having hypoglycemic unawareness and driving and the possibility of losing one’s driver’s license. In my mind I certainly came away thinking it was up to the individual with diabetes to figure that out and manage it by using good judgement. As for the laws in the book during the last 40+ years regarding hypos and driving, they are certainly not as numerous, strict or enforced as they are in Canada - UK - Europe. No one ever said that desperadoes and smart sensible laws would be required to pair up and ride along, side by side.
In retrospect, I see how risky and unwise that aura of overcoming whatever demise, challenge or limitation one may face. It is much like a matador daring a bull 50 feet away, going to work with a 102 fever, or tempting fate by using just a bar to walk across a tight rope. We may think we’ve done it many times before flawlessly and without incident, but it only takes one miscalculation or an unexpected event to cause an accident and possibly put other innocent victims in harm’s way
I know of three times I was driving or just got out of the car where I can thank the man or (woman) upstairs that I did not harm myself or others. On March 27th 1985 after driving 15 miles from work to my parking spot below my condo, as soon as I got out of car and walked 10 feet I went down on pavement where cars pass by to enter and exit complex. Paramedics arrived in 10 min when someone called (no cell phones then) and I was revived and taken to ER. At that time I took only NPH not fast acting or even Regular.
The second time was August 2003 and as I was leaving my Dr office on foot, I dropped in hospital/Dr parking lot but was still conscious. What seemed like sleep walking, I stumbled and with the world spinning, I found my car 100 feet away and managed to drive home 7 miles on surface streets. Thank God there were no accidents.
Due to the pancreas transplant I had in 2004 to become insulin independent, I didn’t have another low below 75 for 11 years until June 10 2015 when I required insulin again.
On Nov 15 2017, I was driving home from work 25 miles away and while it always took 50 min to an hour & 10 min to get home, my blood sugar was 100 when I left work with 2 units insulin on board (in my system) from an injection 2 hours previously. This commute though took 2 hours and while I did have 5 boxes of raisins 2 feet away on the seat with my iphone on my lap, I made it within 4 miles from my home before I pulled off freeway and into a parking lot on a busy intersection at night.
With increasing impairment already set in and profusely sweating, I called my spouse, but I didn’t make any sense or give her any helpful info, then I hung up and went into a grand mal seizure. The next thing I remember, fire dept & paramedics had treated me as my shirt was torn, my neck was strained, and I had begun to become aware of what had happened and how close I was in following my 23 yr old cat who just passed away a week earlier. I was told later that while the fire truck was trying to locate me & my Iphone signal in a sea of cars at night, one fireman saw a car and its windshield fogged up in a maze of other cars nearby with dry windshields and that’s how they located me. The perspiration from my body fogged my car window or else my ghost writer would be sharing this post with you today. Since that day last November, I no longer drive with any on-board humalog insulin in my body. I hope this message & its reflection makes a positive difference so others can avoid tempting fate.