I Really Believe She Saved My Life

Larry Mariage was in a hurry to make his appointment to undergo an MRI at Passavant Area Hospital. In his rush, Mariage, 71, a Type 2 diabetic who had been fasting for nearly 10 hours in preparation for his test, forgot to check his blood sugar.

By the time he arrived in the Imaging department at Passavant, Larry “felt a little giddy,” he said, noting that people who are experiencing low blood sugar often do not realize they are unwell.

Making the situation even worse, Larry had misread his calendar – his appointment was scheduled for the next day. As he spoke with imaging services clerk Lisa Hoots about the misunderstanding, “he was just not acting right,” said Hoots, who at first believed Larry might simply be irritated by the situation. But “when I looked up at him, sweat was just pouring off of him,” she added.

Hoots understood irritability or confusion and unusual sweating to be signs of someone experiencing dangerously low blood sugar.

“I asked, ‘Are you diabetic?’ and he said he was,” said Hoots.

“She asked when was the last time I’d had anything to eat or drink,” said Mariage. “At one point, I raised my hand up to wipe [sweat from] my face and I just thought, ‘Wow!’”

Hoots had Mariage sit down while she made a quick trip to her department’s patient nourishment refrigerator, bringing back a can of orange juice to boost his blood sugar. Hoots sat with Mariage for a bit – he reminded her of her late father, who also had diabetes and who had passed away almost a year prior to this chance encounter with Mariage.

“This touched home for me,” said Hoots, “[but] I don’t feel like I did anything that anyone else here would not have done.”

The rest and the juice were enough to restore Mariage. “He thanked me for helping him and I walked him to his truck,” said Hoots. “He is such a sweet guy.”  He was able to safely drive the short distance home.

“When I got home, I tested my blood sugar. It was the lowest I’ve ever been,” said Mariage. “I really believe she saved my life.”

Mariage, retired owner and operator of JIC Professional Roofing, will celebrate his 58th wedding anniversary with his wife, Jeanne, in May, “and I’m glad I’m going to be around to celebrate it,” he said. Mariage praised the high level of clinical training across all departments at Passavant.

“I am so happy to know that Passavant trains its staff, not just nurses, but all its staff to recognize when someone might be in trouble,” he said, “and Passavant has got people working there who care. That’s the big difference right there.”