Joe's Diabetes

My Account

Strange changes


Two weird things happened to me last week. One brilliant and expected, the other less so…

The first: one of my best and oldest friends became a father for the first time. Sure, other friends have become dads, and family members have young kids, but it’s not quite the same. We’d been at school together since we were 13, and even lived on the same road. I suppose it felt closer to home. The thought kept occurring: that could be me.

The second event was less gratifying. Apologies in advance for oversharing (!), but I got up in the middle of the night to have a pee. (It happens.) As I stood there, I became a bit woozy. And as I went on, it got worse. After I’d finished (thankfully), the dizziness got so bad I blacked out and collapsed.

My girlfriend called out since she’d heard me fall. No response. She was a bit freaked out – we’ve been going out for almost two years, and she’s never had to help me with my diabetes before. All these worries suddenly appeared in her mind – Did he hit his head? Is he lying in a safe position? Where’s the glucagon? How do you use it again?

As she entered the bathroom, I regained consciousness – groggily. She asked if I was OK, but I was so weak I could barely speak. My hands were shaking. I was ashen and covered in a film of sweat. Hypo, must be really badly hypo. She handed me my glucose meter, and with difficulty and I took a reading. As it counted down I was certain my glucose was going to be ‘LO’.


Oh. OK. What the hell was me collapsing about then?

After some frantic Googling and a confirmative trip to the doctor, it turns out to be something called syncope of micturition. Or ‘fainting after peeing’ to you and me. Most common in men aged between 30-45 (close enough for me, I’m afraid), and all to do with a sudden loss of blood pressure when you’re hot, and stand up too quickly (and stay standing) in the middle of the night. In other words, nothing to do with my diabetes.

It was quite a shock for both of us. And it got me thinking – sometimes in life there’s just nothing you can do. The unexpected, from the banal to the bizarre to the disastrous, will happen and there’s no way of stopping it.

But seeing the photo of my friend’s son put everything into perspective.

There’s the reason to keep on trying, to get those sugars down, to hit the gym more, to look after myself better. Because one day that might be me with a newborn in my arms, and I want to be able to look after it.

I guess step number one is to get up more slowly in the night from now on…