The Scariest Thing About Diabetes

Meagan Esler

| Jun 3, 2013

Of course there are a million things that scare me about diabetes, but the one that tops the charts is the idea of losing the battle against my diabetes in my sleep. An article about the overnight passing of a beautiful and healthy young woman with type 1 diabetes is buzzing on many of my friends' Facebook walls and the mood is unavoidably somber in the diabetes online community tonight.

We've lost one of our own in the most unfair way possible. We've seen these heartbreaking stories before and the thought is terrifying that it could be any of us. It reminds me of one of those horror movies where the message is usually something akin to whatever you do, don't go to sleep! We all have to sleep sometime. I accidentally fall asleep on the couch without testing and correcting until well after midnight more often than I'd like to admit. I think of my friends who are lucky enough to live without diabetes and want to say to them, "Imagine being afraid to go to sleep!"  Having diabetes really means a lot more than just shots and blood sugar tests.

The fear doesn't just affect me. The other night my son Jimmy knocked on my door after getting home late. I was already in bed but was still awake reading a magazine and waiting for him to get home. I asked what he needed and he said, "Nothing, can I come in?"  I said, "Sure, honey. Is everything okay?" He replied that everything was fine with him, but he wanted to know if I'd taken my nighttime insulin shot and tested yet.  He's 17 and checking on my insulin and blood sugars at bedtime. That night diabetes made me very sad.  

I thought surely my husband had asked him to check on me. I thought there was no way that he had worried about it on his own at 10:30 at night. He's supposed to be off texting high school buddies and eating everything in our kitchen at that time of night, not worrying about my diabetes and not worrying about something happening to me in my sleep. I never share the stories where people pass away in their sleep with him because I don't want him to worry about me. Yet here he was, worried anyway.  

My husband later told me he hadn't asked Jimmy about my diabetes that night. It hadn't come up at all in their conversation when he arrived home. I wish he didn't ever have to give a second thought to my diabetes. I love him for it and appreciate every caring thought, but I wish diabetes couldn't hurt or scare us. 

I know he probably thinks of it because of all the Glucagon training we've done. It is necessary for him to know how to use Glucagon because it could save my life in an emergency, but surely it scares him that he may someday need to.  

Tonight the diabetes community mourns the loss of a beautiful life taken way too soon. We try to ease each other's fears about bedtime lows but we all have them somewhere in the back of our mind. We push those fears further away into the corners of our minds while we huddle as a community a little bit closer tonight.  

Click Here To View Or Post Comments

Categories: , Blood Sugar, Diabetes, Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Magazine, Diabetic, Type 1 Issues

Take the Diabetes Health Pump Survey
See What's Inside
Read this FREE issue now
For healthcare professionals only

You can view the current or previous issues of Diabetes Health online, in their entirety, anytime you want.
Click Here To View

See if you qualify for our free healthcare professional magazines. Click here to start your application for Pre-Diabetes Health, Diabetes Health Pharmacist and Diabetes Health Professional.

Learn More About the Professional Subscription

Free Diabetes Health e-Newsletter

Top Rated
Print | Email | Share | Comments (6)

You May Also Be Interested In...


Posted by Anonymous on 4 June 2013

1.31 am I search the net for answers and stumble across this article

This is indeed also my biggest fear each night as my daughter sleeps. My husband and I wonder each night whether she will be with us in the morning.
They idid warn us that T1 will mess with our heads; I just didn't realise the extent .

I mourn this silent death and continue to search

Posted by Rick on 6 June 2013

diabetics who pass in their sleep is so common that there's a term for it, "dead in bed." I've told my endo that after almost 50 years of living with type 1 I refuse to die in my sleep. it's very simple. test before bed and if you're below 120 either drink some orange juice, turn your basal back and correct it in the morning. don't die in your sleep.

Posted by Anonymous on 11 June 2013

Thank you for voicing your fears about this issue.I have had T1 50 years and every night I have worried about the "dead in bed" syndrome. I keep my sugar higher at night than recommended by the health professionals and I test during the night. I have always told myself--high and alive.

Posted by rodinsc on 21 June 2013

I asked my endocrinologist about this in the past and he said it is extremely rare and not something to even be concerned about.

He has been right about so many other things he has told me that I don't doubt the correctness of this advice.

Posted by Anonymous on 15 July 2013

As a new diabetic Type II, it seems like the bad new things I keep on learning like "dead in bed" makes this a depressive disease. Just as I think I am doing something right, my body lets me know I have done it wrong. Hoping it gets smoother as I learn more. I never thought about food intake so much in my life...never any weight is too introverted being a diabetic.

Posted by Anonymous on 24 October 2014

I use a Diabetic Sentry which sounds a wake up alarm when it senses low blood sugar. This electronic wristband can detect skin temperature and clammy skin and sound an alarm. Any comments from other users of this technology

Add your comments about this article below. You can add comments as a registered user or anonymously. If you choose to post anonymously your comments will be sent to our moderator for approval before they appear on this page. If you choose to post as a registered user your comments will appear instantly.

When voicing your views via the comment feature, please respect the Diabetes Health community by refraining from comments that could be considered offensive to other people. Diabetes Health reserves the right to remove comments when necessary to maintain the cordial voice of the diabetes community.

For your privacy and protection, we ask that you do not include personal details such as address or telephone number in any comments posted.

Don't have your Diabetes Health Username? Register now and add your comments to all our content.

Have Your Say...

Username: Password:
©1991-2014 Diabetes Health | Home | Privacy | Press | Advertising | Help | Contact Us | Donate | Sitemap

Diabetes Health Medical Disclaimer

The information on this site is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. All content, including text, graphics, images, and information, contained on or available through this website is for general information purposes only. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of writers, contributors, and commentators, and are not necessarily those of Diabetes Health. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment because of something you have read on or accessed through this website.