As I’ve stated in many of my stories, we have a full house here. My husband Errol and I, my daughter Sam and her boyfriend Mike, along with her three children, Aya, Aly, and Brookelynn, all live in a 4 bedroom raised ranch.
You can imagine the noise level in our home. There are days when Errol and I just need to go out and get some quiet time for the two of us. One evening, we decided to do just that, and go to a local bar/restaurant named Willy’s Ale Room. We had only been to Willy’s a couple of times in the past, and I had been wanting to try the steak and cheese calzone on their menu.
When we got there, we went all the way to the back where there were less people and noise. Again, we were looking for some quiet time together. The waitress came over and took our drink orders. I got a Vodka and cranberry. Errol got a Jack and diet Coke. Errol started looking over the menu and mentioned a chicken wrap. I jokingly replied, “Seriously? Are you going to test sample every chicken wrap in the county?” Errol seems to always order chicken wraps no matter where we go. He laughed, and continued to look at the menu.
The waitress came with our drinks, and asked if we were ready to order. Errol mumbled something like he was still deciding. The waitress said she’d come back. I asked Errol if he needed help with the menu. I knew he hadn’t brought his reading glasses, and the room was dimly lit, so I thought he might be having some trouble seeing the menu. He didn’t answer me. The waitress came back, and still Errol just stared at the menu, and didn’t respond. I asked again, “Is there a problem? What are you trying to decide?” Still, he didn’t answer me, just stared from the menu to me, and then back to the menu.
The waitress came back two more times, and still no response from Errol. Now I’m starting to get annoyed. For some reason, Errol is being a jerk, not responding to anything I say, and I’m getting mad. I pull a $20 bill out of my wallet to pay for the two drinks that we haven’t touched, and I tell him to give me the keys, we’re going home. He just stares. I go around to his side of the table, and I see that he looks like he’s trying to put his hand into his pants pocket, but keeps missing. Then I notice how bad he’s sweating, and it suddenly all makes sense. I’m no longer angry, I’m scared.
Low blood sugar
Errol was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes a few years ago, and has been taking insulin for a little more than a year. He has complained of feeling faint a couple of times when his sugar was low, but had never gotten to this extreme stage with no warning before. Deciding that I needed to get him to the hospital, I got his coat onto him (no easy feat), and found the keys in his coat pocket. When I tried to get him to stand up, and he wouldn’t, I knew I was going to need some help.
At the bar, I told my waitress that I thought his sugar was low. I asked for some orange juice for him, and if there was someone that could help me get him up and into the car. She immediately gave me the juice, and sent someone out back for Chris the manager. I got Errol to drink some of the juice, as Chris appeared with the biggest bouncer I have ever seen.
I told Chris what I thought was happening, and that I wanted to get him to the hospital. He told me to go get my car, and pull it around back to the door nearest us, and then they would help me get Errol to the car. As I was moving the car, the waitress realized that one of the other restaurant customers was a nurse, and asked her if she could help. When I got back to Errol the nurse, Roxanne, had him drinking a second orange juice with sugar in it. She told me that she really felt that he needed an ambulance at this point, so I had Chris call one.
We had gotten him to stand up when I thought I was taking him to the hospital. When we decided to call the ambulance, he wouldn’t sit down until I said, “Look Errol, I’m sitting so you sit.” Then he sat. Acton ambulance was there in minutes. The paramedic that came in said to Errol, “Hey buddy, do you know who I am?” I assumed he meant that he was a paramedic, but again, there was no response from Errol. He would just stare at whoever asked a question, like they were speaking a completely foreign language. He didn’t answer when Roxanne asked his name, but when she asked if I was his girlfriend his response was, “don’t have one”. I said, “well that’s good since I’m his wife.” She asked him my name, and he told her “Candy”, but that’s all he’d say.
The paramedic checked his blood sugar level and it was 41. His blood sugar should be around 100, so 41 was definitely too low. And that was even after two glasses of orange juice, and one of them with sugar in it! They let me know that they were going to take him out to the ambulance, get an I.V. going, and then transport him to the hospital. They brought in the stretcher, and tried to get Errol to stand, but again, he just stared. Touching his arm I said, “Come on babe, we’re going to stand up,” and he did. I got him to sit on the stretcher, and they strapped him in.
I followed the ambulance to the hospital, and waited as they brought him out. The paramedic said, “Do you know where you are Errol?” Finally, a reply, “I have no idea where the hell I am.” “Do you know this young lady?” “That’s Candy, does she know where we are?”
They brought him into an exam room and set about hanging his I.V.s and such, and all of a sudden, Errol looked at the paramedic and said, “Hey buddy! When did you get here?” The paramedic that had asked if Errol knew him when he first saw him, used to work at Shaws warehouse with Errol. He had finally become coherent enough to realize that the man that had been treating him for the last 30 minutes was someone he knew. To Errol, it was like he had just showed up. The paramedic told me that Errol was talking a bit in the ambulance, but only about me. “Where’s Candy?” “Did she get something to eat?” “Does she know where I am?” “She’s probably pissed.”
Now that he was able to answer some questions, we found out that he had taken his insulin before leaving for the restaurant, with a blood sugar level of 91. It was probably that low because he had had flu-like symptoms the day before, and was therefore dehydrated and depleted. Errol didn’t realize that he’s not to take the insulin if the level is already where it should be. He was under the impression that he should always take it before eating.
Errol’s blood sugar continued to rise to a healthy level, and he was released from the hospital after a few hours. Having no recollection of most of the evening, I explained to him what had happened. He told me that the joke I made about the chicken wrap was the last thing he remembered, until being brought out of the ambulance, and into the hospital. He doesn’t remember Chris, Roxanne, the bouncer, or being brought out on a stretcher.
So much for our quiet night out.
A few days later, we decided to go out for breakfast at one of our favorite places, the Third Alarm Diner. This part of the story will be told in Errol’s words.
“Candy and I are sitting in the diner, getting ready to order. Candy asked me something, and I was numbing it, like I do sometimes, and didn’t answer. I saw Candy’s hand curl into a fist. “You either answer me now, or I’m going to smack you upside your head.” I quickly answered her. ”
I want to again thank Chris, his staff at Willy’s, Roxanne the nurse, and the Acton Rescue Squad for all they did for Errol and myself. They made a tough situation a bit easier.