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Woman Enrages Her Diabetic Stepdaughter By Failing To Recognize Signs Of Her Low Blood Sugar

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It can be difficult to recognize the signs of low blood sugar and glycemic shock if you are non-diabetic, or have not lived your life around people who are diabetic.  It is a difficult path to navigate because low blood sugar also causes some major mental-health drawbacks, and not everybody knows how to take that.

Reddit user ThrowRa0281 found herself in that situation with her stepdaughter, with whom she’s always had a difficult time.

Unclear if she was in the wrong for not noticing the signs of low blood sugar, she went to the popular subReddit “Am I The A**hole?” or “AITA” for some perspective on her behavior.

She asked:

“AITA for not learning the signs of low sugars for my stepdaughter?”

Our original poster, or OP, set the stage of her and her stepdaughter’s strained relationship.

“I married my husband when Dani was 16 and she’s now 19.”

“We’ve unfortunately never gotten along mostly because she’s irritable and moody, I was hoping she’d grow out of it but she turns 20 in April and it doesn’t look likely.”

Dani has type 1 diabetes.

“Dani got diagnosed type 1 diabetic 2019. From what I understand she handles it brilliantly.”

“Dani came downstairs yesterday, moody as per usual and the only weird thing was that it was 7am rather than her usual 9am. I spoke to her and got ignored and that was it.”

“She stormed into my bedroom earlier and started going absolutely ballistic about how I didn’t recognize she was having a low blood sugar and how I never do etc.”

OP doesn’t know how she was supposed to know any of these symptoms without an explanation.

“Thing is; she’s an adult, if she needs help she can ask. She hasn’t had a seizure and neither her dad or brother recognise the symptoms either.”

“I told her she can ask for help or as an adult can handle them herself which I think is simple and it’s not as though I’ve ever filled a parental role towards her so why would I do this?”

“She isn’t talking to me although she had no argument for when I told her none of the other family know her symptoms (I don’t know if her mother recognizes them.) AITA?”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
  • NAH – No A**holes Here

Reddit can’t quite agree on this one.

“I’m diabetic, Had quite a few hypos never been moody just trembling and and feeling like im going to pass out but thats just how I present I guess.”

“Now the Issue is, if someone is moody all the time towards you then its no longer a symptom its a character trait.”

“You can’t spot that nor can you expect someone to spot it either. Moodiness is spotted because people recognise it as being different from how they usually are.”

“You cant fault a person for another’s hostility and it would be unfair to say OP is the AH.”

“I can see why ‘Dani’ is upset but there seems to be an issue that they need to resolve as if you need to depend on someone else for your health you had better make sure you’re on good grounds with that person.”~Outrageous_Fee_6920

“As a Type 1 diabetic, we don’t always recognize we’re low. In fact, a lot of us (me included) are really, really good at INSISTING we aren’t low when asked.”

“My husband will show me my continuous glucose monitor, it will say LOW and I’ll still insist that I’m fine.”

“YTA. You need to step up and figure this out. Being low can kill a diabetic. Do you have a glucagon in the house? Do you know how to use it? Be a decent person, please.”~Intelligent_Sundae_5

“I have been a diabetic since age 3 and I’m currently 28. If you were to ask any of my family or roommates(who are close friends) if they could recognize if I had low/high blood sugar, idk if they could.”

“Possibly low but only the more major symptoms like excessive sweating, going pale, and maybe mind fog.”

“Everyone is different and everyone could have different symptoms. Me personally when I go low I don’t have irritability but when I go high, I do have irritability.”

“Also the daughter should communicate how she’s feeling, my diabetes is decently controlled but I can feel when my sugar is too high or low if I don’t have my glucose tester nearby.”

“If she’s only had since 2019 then that means the family is still learning as well as her, so I would have to say NAH but maybe slightly leaning that the daughter is one for reacting this way instead of maturely talking about it.”~ajg412

“Slightly YTA. I’m an ER nurse and that is something you should know if you have a diabetic in the family.”

“She could become confused, delirious, or comatose from hypoglycemia. There might be times she can’t effectively treat herself.”

“I have seen diabetics die (and far too young) or become comatose because their blood sugar was too low and no one around them knew the signs to look out for or what to do.”

“You might not care for her much but you should still educate yourself on the signs and symptoms of hypo and hyperglycemia.”

“It really isn’t a disease to take lightly, especially Type 1. I said ‘slightly YTA’ because it seems you were speaking more from ignorance than malice.”~Jasel84

After all, when it comes to an illness, there needs to be room for compassion, but to what degree?  Nobody seems to have the answer for that.

“YTA. ‘We’ve unfortunately never gotten along mostly because she’s irritable and moody,'”

“Didn’t need to read further than that to decide. I read the rest anyway. She is in your life. At least pretend to care about her.”

“She has a serious illness and you can’t be bothered to recognize the signs of a potentially life threatening state? Are you really this cold?”

“And all of that because she is a pretty normal teenager? You are the adult. Of course teenagers are moody and irritable. You are the adult. And should be able to see past this.”

“But you can’t even see how you might be at fault for the bad relationship as well. It’s her being moody and irritable. So your behaviour has nothing to do with it?”

“You came into her life, she probably didn’t have a say about this and then you treat her like that?This is the reason stepmothers have such a bad rep.”~Zombie-Giraffe

“ESH – you need to learn the signs as a family coz its a serious medical issue and if none of you know it then your step daughter might not feel like it’s an issue that is being taken seriously.”

“You aren’t because if she is normally moody then how are you meant to know the difference between moody and low sugar?”

“It sounds like your step daughter is stressed and still learning how to cope – maybe sit down as a family and ask her what she’d like to happen?”

“E.g. checking with her, or keeping certain food on hand for low sugar episodes etc. She’ll likely get annoyed if you ask if she’s checked her sugar levels a lot.”~Background_Alps6164

“As the long-term partner of a Type 1 diabetic, I’m going to say NTA. I am incredibly supportive of my partner.”

“I help her with her injection sites in hard-to-reach areas. I always have emergency supplies. I know how to use glucagon. On top of that, I am a PROFESSIONAL medical first responder. I am experienced.”

“However, sometimes it is really difficult to tell if my partner is having a low blood sugar. And there’s low (4.0-3.0mmol/L), and then there’s low-low (in the 2s), and then DANGEROUSLY low (in the 1s and below).”

“Long-term T1D individuals are incredibly good at hiding their lows, and their symptoms don’t look much different than someone who is grumpy or hangry.”

“In the morning, I can’t tell if she’s grumpy from lack of sleep or because she’s having a low. Either is possible.”

“She is so experienced and so good at containing her emotions that the very minor irritability that she shows when she’s low can easily go over my head.”

“Sometime’s it’s a super casual, ‘hey can you get me a juice?’ We went on a hike yesterday and she stopped me at 2.5mmol/L and said that she needed juice and she felt like she was low.”

“She showed absolutely no textbook signs of a low blood sugar. And that’s a damn low blood sugar.”

“Your stepdaughter is being irrational. She cannot expect you to pick up on tiny nuances. You can do your part to recognize the severe signs, but I am on your side here.”~pickledshallots

“YTA. Do you know how many patients I’ve treated who went into diabetic shock, crashed their cars, or injured themselves in other ways because their sugar dropped so low so quickly that they themselves didn’t have the time or ability to grab some sugar or get someone’s attention?”

“Thousands. Some of them have died. And so you know, low blood sugar prevents the brain from working properly.”

“Cops are now being trained on hypoglycemia symptom identification and testing because diabetics with low blood sugar are often mistaken for being extremely drunk.”

“From the way you speak about Dani and given that her own father can’t be bothered to know anything about her life-threatening condition, I think I know why she is ‘moody’ and doesn’t want to interact much with you guys. You’re both awful parental figures.”~EllBell5348

And then there’s the added issue of her being a teenager, which makes it hard to tell the difference:

“NAH. She is a moody teenager. It is unfortunate that moodiness is a common symptom of diabetes, but from these comments you would think moodiness occurs five minutes before death.”

“You’ve never been a parental figure to her. She currently doesn’t have any interest in you in that way.”

“She is swinging between not liking you, and expecting you to be monitoring her vitals – because she is a hormonal teenager.”

“Also, she was 17/18 when diagnosed. She can manage the essentials of her illness herself. Of course if you actually saw signs of low blood sugar outside of her normal behaviour, you would say something.”~badpebble

“NTA, but education would help the situation. Let me add a few things as a parent of a diabetic…telling is hard.”

“Short of near drunken behavior, I have never been able to really tell. I am told that most diabetics can tell they are going low sugar, but not if it is a fast crash.”

“That mirrors our experience. If my daughter was crabby (which teenager isn’t sometimes) they will get very tired of being asked is your sugar good.”

“My daughter also has a safe word. If she uses it, it means she thinks her sugars are bad and needs help. When she has used it, she often waited too long. We are working on that.”

“The biggest thing that has helped my diabetic daughter is a Continuous Glucose Monitor. No painful finger sticks, just place the reader next to the sensor and you get a number.”

“Some readers have real time low/high sugar alarms. It has been a major help to my diabetic daughter. It costs $40 for them every 3 months. Worth every penny in terms of her quality of life.”

“My daughter uses a separate reader vs a cell phone since she cannot have her cellphone with her at all times.”~A_Lost_Desert_Rat

“NTA. You made the mistake of labeling a then teenage girl ‘moody and irritable’ in this sub so expect a bunch of pissed off commenters who match the description feeling personally attacked.”

“She is an adult, and was an adult when she was diagnosed. It would be nice of you to learn the extreme symptoms of hyper/hypoglycemia, for the worst case scenario, but that’s not your responsibility to manage her condition for her.”

“She wasn’t unconscious, nor was she delirious, no harm, no foul.”

“She’s responsible for the constant checking, and managing of her own blood sugar. She is responsible learning the symptoms of her own disorder.”

“She’s also responsible for educating anyone she wants to help her with her condition, if they feel like helping. She. Is. An. Adult.”~Eliryale

“YTA. Uhhhh actually she is still a child because she is NINETEEN. She’s moody because she has been a teenager the whole time you’ve known her, and you are apparently punishing her for that.”

“That’s what ‘never gotten along mostly because she’s irritable and moody’ means. Because you’re a full on adult and are upset that a teen has… emotions?”

“Welcome to being a parent and also human being.”

“Imagine being so callous about a teenager who is upset about their illness and saying well they haven’t had a seizure.”

“To say absolutely nothing about how humiliating it is for a child to ask their step parent – who clearly doesn’t give a sh*t about them! – for help. Yeah I wouldn’t be talking to you at all either, OP.”~finehamsabound

Overall sometimes, even Reddit doesn’t have a clear answer.  Objectivity in and of itself is subjective, because reacting to things like diabetes ranges the gamut even among the diabetic community.

It’s interesting how we can all read a situation so differently.

Written by Mike Walsh

Mike is a writer, dancer, actor, and singer who recently graduated with his MFA from Columbia University. Mike's daily ambitions are to meet new dogs and make new puns on a daily basis. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram @mikerowavables.