Monday, January 10, 2011

The Good, Bad, and Evil of Sugar

You didn't know sugar had three sides to it did you?

The Good -- I saw the good last night of what sugar can do for a person that needs it.  I hear every Sunday about being prepared, having knowledge, having faith, and believing in miracles.  Last night, I saw all of them come together in a matter of minutes when my friend went into diabetic shock.

The Bad --Everything has sugar.  There are good and bad sugars and we need to educate ourselves on them, how they affect us, and what to do for others when they are in trouble.

The Evil -- Addiction.  Sugar gets the bad rap because it is an addictive legal drug.  I know, you are not addicted to sugar right? If you can pass up that piece of cake or candy you really want for a week then I can probably side with you. But if all you are thinking about right now is the piece of cake you want, then I would be re-evaluating the whole sugar addiction thing.

What happened?

For those who know me or have been reading my blog, you probably know I love Family History.  It's just part of who I am.  I was looking forward to last night because I would get to see my friend from the FHC (Family History Center).  Last Thursday we got into a discussion about soda and her blood sugar levels, and part of me felt a bit guilty.  I knew she was a big girl and I decided it was not my "right" to come down on her.  That changed last night. As her friend, I am glad I called her out on when I saw a change in her last week.

As we were sitting in our FHC meeting last night, I noticed she tilted her head back.  She then moved it back down, and a few seconds later she tilted it back again.  The first thought that came to me, was "something is not right."  I had seen her before sitting at a computer before and tilting her head back to read the monitor, but this was a large screen.  The third time she tilted back, her friend next to her leaned over to talk to her.  Her friend gave me the "something is wrong" look and I looked over to my other friend Karen.  Let' me just say I am so grateful these two ladies were there last night.  To make a long story short, our friend went into a Diabetic Shock.  I had no idea what to do!!

I knew about the Glucose tablets and we gave her one, but it was not working.  We learned later, we needed to put it under her tongue. So I am curious, if you were in my situation last night, would you have known what to do?  Have you ever been there before?

A few things we learned:
We learned how to give a glucose tablet. Just putting in the mouth does not work you need to get it UNDER the tongue.

Call 911

Luckily our church building was packed with people and in the midst of all these people were a doctor and a nurse.  A miracle they were there!  My friend's bishop (like a pastor) had her information for the paramedics and EMT's. He knew how to contact her husband. I saw some incredible and knowledgeable people at work last night.

We were asked, do you have sugar packets? Do you have any Orange Juice? We had none.  They gave her an IV of sugar and water.  This saved my friend. 

Here are things I now KNOW from last night:

  1. Orange Juice – A Diabetic's friend.  Make sure you have a small can on hand (with a straw). It acts fast into the blood stream. If you are diabetic, do you carry one in your purse or in the car with you?  If you are in an office, do you have a can or two on hand for emergency purposes?
  2. Stress-- Stress can cause blood sugars to rise and nose dive.  Rep. Giffords who was shot in Tuscon over the weekend, is my friend's cousin. I am sure part of the reason for her diabetic shock was her worry for her cousin.
  3. Behavior Change – Are they agitated? Have a glazed look? Unresponsive or short answers such as “yeahh” “ noooo”. Something could be wrong. Keep asking questions to keep them alert and get as much information as you can. Remember it is always better to be safe than sorry.
  4. Prepare – Ask your diabetic friends what you need to do in order to help them should the time arise. Do they wear a glucose pump? Do you have emergency contact numbers? Do you know how to give them a glucose tablet? Do they carry tablets with them?
If you think this is not your problem, you are wrong.  We need to be there for each other, even when some of us think we can do it on our own.  I have many friends who are diabetic, and I never really thought of any of this before. I need to know how to be there for them if this happens and I am there. Ask your friends what you need to know and do, if this should happen to them. If they tell you not to worry, make them humor you!!! Be persistence!! Not mean, but persistence and then share this story!!!  My friend wears a pump, I have no clue how to work the pump, but tomorrow we are getting together so I can learn how.  Last night it was the EMT's who knew to turn it off.

Sugar is a big part of our lives, both for the good and the bad. We need to be educated on it and what are the affects it has on us. Not only what the signs are for us, but what they are for someone going into shock and what can we do till they get their sugar level back up.  As much as I think sugar is not my friend, last night I realized it was.

I know we all need some kind of sugar for our bodies.  There are different kinds we can get and my whole purpose of this blog is to just help us do the best we can with the sugar and soda in our lives.  There is alot of natural sugar in fruits.  I often see where bananas are not a "dieter's friend" due to the high level of carbs and sugars.  But at the same time, it is a better alternative for me than sitting down with a bag of M&M's (and yes I can eat the whole bag!) We all need to educate ourselves on our limits, and what sugar and soda do for us.  I saw the good of sugar last night, and maybe there is some good in soda as well.

In the beginning stages of my blog Bev shared her story as a mother of diabetic children.  I feel it needs to be shared again.  This is her story of being a Mom with diabetic children.

Bev's Story

Again, thank you Bev for shsaring your story!  By the way, I am looking for Guest Bloggers!!!  If anyone has ideas and would like to be a Guest Blogger please email me. I know you all have some great ideas!!!


  1. Thanks for sharing that with everyone Laura. I wish everyone would know what to do if they were confronted with that situation. When a diabetic is in shock, alot of time you have to be forceful to get them to open their mouth. You have to be stern with them. They aren't going to remember a thing about it, so don't worry that they will be mad at you. My daughter would even spit the juice, sugar, etc out. What we found worked the best for her are the little squeeze gel cake icing. They are easy to carry in your purse and she didn't mind the taste. Some of the glucose gel and tablets don't taste very good.
    It is important to remember that it might take up to an hour for them to completely come around. Just keep forcing sugar until proper help arrives. Next time you are in the grocery store, buy one of the small tubes of gel icing and carry it in your purse. It could just save a life!

  2. Thank you friend who is a Nurse and about ready to get her RN license told me this same thing last night about the gel frosting. I am so much more prepared now than what I was. As we all learned Sunday night, you never know the life you may save.

  3. Thank you Laura and Bev for sharing your experiences and knowledge. I feel better informed and will carry some gel frosting. You never know when someone might need it.

  4. Good for you Kathy!!! It is on my list next time I go to the store too! I am glad this is helping others. It was so scary Sunday night. But now we are all a little bit more prepared.

  5. That's a great idea, Bev! Never thought of using gel frosting. That must have been a scary experience, Laura; but it sounds like you & your friends did an amazing job. Thank goodness the doctor & nurse were there, too. I have family members who are diabetic, so I think I'll pick up some gel frosting to have on hand. Thankfully, they are very well controlled & haven't had any major problems.... but, like you said, it's good to be prepared. Thanks for sharing your stories, Bev & Laura!