Don't Blame Everything on Dementia

Community Member

I made a mistake with my insulin, a mistake not caused by my dementia.   It was evening and I was getting ready to go to bed.   At night, I use 75 units of long acting insulin which helps to hold my blood sugar level for 24 hours.   Instead, I took 75 units of Humalog, the fast acting insulin I normally take with meals.   I usually only use 20 units of that insulin, so this amount that I had just injected was almost 4x what I would normally have taken at a meal.

Immediately, I noticed my Lantus sitting on the counter and I realized my mistake.   But, I didn't stop there.   I knew I hadn't taken my Lantus, so I took 75 units of that, too.   And then I called my doctor's answering service that put me through immediately to my doctor.   Since I had taken so much short term insulin, he said I would be seeing a severe drop in my blood sugars.   He told me to eat some sugar and get to an emergency room before I went into a diabetic coma.   My husband took me immediately.

Once at the hospital, I had to tell my story several more times.   I stressed to them that it was not intentional, nor was it caused by my dementia.   I made a mistake.   My mind was on other things, and I was tired.   I had presence of mind enough to know what I had done and its seriousness.   I knew enough to call my doctor immediately.   Had the overdose been caused by my short term memory loss, I wouldn't have known to call my doctor.   I wouldn't have remembered the severe problems it could cause.

I must say that after nine hours in the emergency room, I have it well engrained in my head to check two and three times before taking any shots from now on.   I was well cared for in the emergency room and monitored closely.   They had to run an IV with "sugar water" (my term, not theirs).   They gave me a sandwich and juice.   They put a higher concentration of "sugar water" in my IV.   They gave me milk and cookies" and, finally, my blood sugar level stopped plummeting.   I suppose I am telling the world about my overdose because it is important not to point your finger at DEMENTIA each time you or your loved one makes a mistake.   It's important to look at the sequence of events to get the full picture.   Don't assume that the dementia is worsening every time there is a problem.