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My wife felt a little ill... hours later she had brain damage; Husband's plea to diabetics: Don't let this happen to you.

Byline: RICHARD DOWN

A HUSBAND whose wife suffered severe brain damage after slipping into a diabetic coma is appealing to other sufferers to be on their guard.

Pete Williams' wife Margaret, of Shotton, fell into a rare diabetic coma caused by hypoglycaemia - low blood sugar - on Christmas Day last year after being unable to eat properly for a few days.

Like many Pete was unaware his wife was at risk of falling into a diabetic coma as she has Type 2 diabetes that is treated with tablets, not Type 1 diabetes which is more commonly associated with hypoglycaemic attacks (hypos).

Margaret Williams During the coma, Margaret, 53, suffered severe brain damage and she spent five-and-a-half months in hospital recovering.

Pete, 50, also has Type 2 diabetes. He said: "Just before Christmas she was feeling a bit unwell and weak and she hadn't eaten properly for a few days.

"On Christmas Eve she was diagnosed with a urinary tract infection (UTI) and started taking antibiotics.

"That night we were up until 2am talking and she opened her first Christmas presents.

"We went to sleep and I got up at 8.30am to walk our dogs and I thought she was sleeping it off, as that's what she always did when she was ill."

But then the awful truth dawned and Pete phoned for an ambulance. After being rushed to hospital, Pete was told Margaret had brain damage.

Doctors placed Margaret on a ventilator and Pete was told to prepare for the worst.

He added: "They got me as ready as they could for her not to survive. I didn't think she would, but she did."

In the five-and-a-half months Margaret spent in hospital her condition slightly improved, although a recent CT scan showed there was still swelling on her brain.

Now living in a care home, Margaret is having physiotherapy and receiving aural and visual stimulation to aid her recovery.

Occasionally she has moments of lucidity. Pete said: "She isn't able to talk at the moment as she needs a tracheotomy, but she has tried to."

after illness Dai Williams, national director of Diabetes UK Cymru, said: "What happened to Margaret is tragic but it is, thankfully, a very rare complication of Type 2 diabetes treated with certain medications.

"It is an important reminder that people on certain medication for Type 2 diabetes can have hypos which, when identified early, can be treated quickly with a quick-acting carbohydrate as long as the person is conscious."

Signs of hypos include trembling or shakiness, sweating, difficulty concentrating and irrational behaviour.. FOR more information contact Diabetes Cymru UK 02920 668276.

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Margaret Williams after illness Margaret and Pete Williams on their 22nd wedding anniversary before she was taken ill
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Publication:Daily Post (Liverpool, England)
Date:Jul 13, 2010
Words:456
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