Sugar and spice…

There are certain jobs that I enjoy, they are pretty much all jobs where someone is really ill and somewhere in one of my bags I have something which will make them better. Just recently I have had a nice little run of jobs like this.

The first one I’m going to tell you about is my diabetic emergency, well not mine but…. ahh, you know what I mean. Back in training school we were taught how to give an injection into someones muscle for various medical reasons (one of which is a hypoglycaemic emergency)- I have so far only ever given 1 injection and that was about 17 months ago… 

The thing with most diabetics I go to who are having a hypo (shortened version of hypoglycaemia) is that they are either awake enough to eat/drink something to raise their sugar levels or because I now work with a paramedic he can give glucose directly into their blood stream. My patient did not fall into either category

He was an older gentleman who had had diabetes for a long time, he controlled it with insulin and had never had any problems before. On this particular day his family had called because he was “acting strangely”. When we arrived he was awake and talking but not really lucid, he was moving around a lot in bed and the only way I could describe what I saw when writing my paperwork was “patient behaving strangely”. As he was diabetic we checked his sugar level first, although it wasn’t a typical presentation of a hypoglycaemic emergency, the result showed his sugar level was very low. Because he was awake we tried to encourage him to drink a sugary drink, but either he wasn’t able to understand or he just wasn’t thirsty. As he was moving so much my crewmate couldn’t get a needle in his arm (and my crewmate’s very good at it) which left us with 1 more option.

In our bag of goodies we have a drug called glucagon, without going into too much technical detail it releases sugar stores that are lurking in the liver. I’ve only ever seen it used once and then it didn’t work as the patient in question had no sugar stores because they hadn’t eaten for the best part of a week. On this day though the family told us that the gentleman had been eating and drinking normally. So while my crewmate held his arm still I gave the injection, and was amazed at the speed of the result! Within a couple of minutes he was worried that he had guests but didn’t have his teeth in! We found his teeth and gave him some jam sandwiches and a fizzy drink. As this had never happened to him before we popped him to hospital to make sure there wasn’t a serious reason why his sugar level had gone so low and by the time we arrived there he was back to normal!

This makes me happy because it’s something I’d never seen work before, he went from not well to normal in about 15 minutes, and all because of my magic bag. Plus he said he didn’t remember me giving the injection so I must have done it gently! It makes me all fuzzy inside when I actually do something and can see the result!

On another note, I haven’t had a video on here for a while so I will leave you with the Monty Python boys and their ideas on how to cut hospital waiting times – hope it brightens up your Monday morning!

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~ by Laura on October 15, 2007.

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