Path of the Brittle Type 1: Gran Mal SeizuresYou may or may not know that seizures can happen when your sugars are close to rock bottom. Symptoms of low sugars have changed for me over the years, but when I was young, and on a volatile insulin combination by necessity, they were harder to recognize and act on. Add to this different little classroom or social etiquette issues about just grabbing food when one is out. I've been through over 33 seizures in my lifetime. Some involved hospitalization afterwards, some I refused ambulatory transport. Fortunately for me, we were living in Ontario just before the major physician shortage for the majority of these, so cost of care didn't bankrupt the family, and I was also seen to in a timely manner for the most part.
Going into them has always been both scary and infuriating. Scary because I would often not come out unscathed, and infuriating because it was the physical realization that I screwed something up in what I ate, didn't eat, or when.
Each time I went into one, there would be risk of neural loss. The health workers always drilled me on basic things when I came too and fortunately I could answer right away most of the time. I know I've lost capacity through it all, but I was also fortunate enough to have a great capacity anyways. Also, because they were the more violent, Gran Mal type, I would inevitably have some sort of minor injury from the flailing before anyone could administer treatment. Sometimes it was just a bruise, others scrapes from pavement, sometimes cuts from plastic things, once my tongue fell in the wrong place and I clinched hard enough on it to injure the side, and once I required dental surgery to move one of my teeth back into position, after being pressed below the rest of them.
The shakes were the most tell-tale of the start of what was about to happen, but sometimes before that I could spot irritability in my attitude or getting cold and sweaty at the same time. The cusp of going down was always the worst, very dark time...
Over time I learned how to better spot the signs before it was too late, and had in place certain controls that enabled me to fix it all whenever it came about. The seizures were rare by the time I was leaving high school. I changed insulin types on a suggestion from a new specialist, and though my body refused to use one of the types when I was 4, it worked then.
Now I haven't gone into one for over 6 years. I still go into hypoglycemia every now and then. My system has come to the point that it will wake me in the middle of the night if my sugars are going too low, at which point I can go get food. I'm glad for that defense - I never want to experience this portion of my past again.