A young boy’s terrifying brush with death propelled him straight into the record books, and he’s lucky he’s alive to talk about it.
Michael Patrick Buonocore was just six years old when his blood sugar level spiked to 21 times the safe level, leaving him in serious danger.
The Raritan, New Jersey, USA, resident unintentionally broke the record for highest blood sugar level on 23 March 2008, when his level reached a whopping 2,656.
A blood sugar reading of 126 or below is considered normal. At 500, coma becomes a risk. Untreated, sky-high blood sugar kills.
Michael, now 21, was on vacation in Pennsylvania for Easter with his family when he first began feeling ill.
“At first we thought it was just a common cold, so we did not do much,” he recounted.
“There was no reason for concern.”
But after three days of symptoms and feeling progressively worse, Michael began losing the ability to walk on his own without support.
His parents quickly drove him to a nearby hospital where he fainted.
“I would not wake up until I was at Robert Wood Johnson in New Jersey,” said Michael.
“It was only then I was told that I was flown there in a helicopter and that I have something called type 1 diabetes.”
Michael was kept in hospital for two weeks, and the whole thing came as quite a shock to him and his family, who had no idea he had the condition in the first place.
The doctors not only saved my life but guided me and my parents into teaching us how to take care of my blood sugar to make sure it does not happen again,” said Michael.
“For the most part it was/is me and my parents that prevent it from rising anymore.”
Michael says he can feel when his blood sugar is on the rise, although it can be a bit tricky to stop it from doing so.
However, Michael says there are preventative steps he can take to maintain a normal blood sugar range.
Today, Michael must take insulin since his pancreas doesn’t create any on its own.
“When it gets fairly high it feels like my nerve endings are much more sensitive so walking and moving can feel achy or even a little painful sometimes,” described Michael.
“Since I have been diabetic for so long, I have sort of trained my mind so when I go high, I immediately think I need to give the proper amount of insulin to lower my levels to the appropriate amount.”
Michael wears an insulin pump which gives him a steady dose of insulin throughout the day so his levels do not spike and when he eats, he must manually enter the carb amount consumed.