Living with severe diabetes is something that Elizabeth Gould is trying to get used to.
Gould, of Walbridge, had been diagnosed with diabetes when she was pregnant with her daughter, now 5. “But recently, it has been hitting me with a vengeance,” she said.
Because she has good days and some not-so-good days, Elizabeth has discussed her diabetes with her young daughter. “I told her about my diabetes, where I kept my medication and we also talked about how to call 9-1-1 if there would be an emergency,” she said.
Thankfully, Emma was listening.
On July 9, Elizabeth was having one of those not-so-good days.
“I was not feeling well on that day,” Elizabeth recalled. “I went to bed as normal but woke abruptly at about 3:30 a.m. I could not hear well, my vision was completely distorted, my heart was racing and I was soaked in sweat.”
She lay in bed crying for help. With her husband away at work, she decided to try to awaken Emma, who was sound asleep in her room.
“I made my way the 50 feet or so down the hallway on my hands and knees,” Elizabeth said. “I finally reached her door, but could not reach the door knob to open it.
“At this point I was holding onto life by a string,” she said, adding that she feared she would die on the floor in front of her daughter’s room.
Emma awoke to the sounds of her mom’s cries for help. “I told her, ‘Find the phone Emma. Call 9-1-1 Emma,’” Elizabeth said.
Half asleep and confused, Emma called 9-1-1, telling the dispatcher, “My mom has diabetes. She’s very sick.”
Emma stayed on the phone with the dispatch operator until Walbridge police arrived at the Gould home.
But when police got there, they found the door locked and Emma was hesitant to open the door.
“We’ve told her many times she’s not allowed to open the door for strangers,” Elizabeth said. “She didn’t want to get in trouble.
“Luckily the operator on the phone talked Emma into opening the door,” Elizabeth said. “When she unlocked it and let the female officer into our home, Emma just kept telling her she’s not allowed to open the door.
“The officer was wonderful,” Elizabeth said. “She talked me through the whole terrible event.”
When the EMS squad arrived, they determined that Elizabeth’s blood sugar had dropped to a dangerously low level. “They started an IV and delivered dextrose into my vein and my sugar level started to rise,” Elizabeth said.
She was then taken to Bay Park Community Hospital with her little “angel” riding along with her in the ambulance.
“Through all of this, she was worried she was in trouble for opening the door,” Elizabeth said.
“I’m so proud of Emma,” Elizabeth said. “She saved my life - doctors said that without her I would not be alive.”
Emma is taking her heroic efforts in stride. She recently received a certificate of recognition from the Walbridge police and was also honored by fellow members of St. John’s United Church of Christ in Genoa.
“I’m very lucky,” Elizabeth said. “I want to stress to other parents the importance of teaching your children about 9-1-1 and what it is for.
“Because with out Emma being so brave and remembering what she had been taught about 9-1-1 I would not be alive today.”