Cuddling on their living room couch, Mia Hoffman asked her 5-year-old daughter, Amelia, a question she already knew the answer to.
"Are you mommy's little hero?"
"Yes!" she beamed back proudly.
On Nov. 15, Mia was with Amelia at their home in Battle Creek, awaiting the return of her husband Travis from his first day of work at a new job. It was also the 16th anniversary of Mia's Type 1 diabetes diagnosis — or dia-versary — when her blood sugar levels dipped and she suffered a bout of hypoglycemia or "diabetic shock."
"When I start dropping, it's almost like being drunk, but not drunk," Mia explained. "Everything is really fuzzy. When I'm listening to people, it's like I've got my ears cupped. I get really tired, hot and sweaty."
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases where the body doesn't make enough insulin or sufficiently use the insulin it does make to move sugar from blood into cells to be used or stored for energy. Foods containing carbohydrates help regulate blood sugar levels. Although there is no cure for diabetes, but it can be controlled.
Mia had taken her insulin on Nov. 15, but said she forgot to eat after getting sidetracked making dinner along with the usual distractions that come from living with a 5-year-old. She wears a continuous glucose monitor (CGM) to keep track of her blood sugar levels, but said the device that alerts her can become easy to tune out amid a diabetic attack, which can cause a person to pass out, suffer seizures or fall into a diabetic coma.
"I wake up and the next thing I know is there is a living room full of people," Mia said. "We had talked to her before, 'If this ever happens you can go to the neighbor. If you see Miss Barb's car there, you can go knock on the door.' We never expected this to happen, so we didn't teach her to call 9-1-1."
"My dad did," Amelia responded.
Two days prior to the incident, Travis showed Amelia how to dial 9-1-1 for an emergency without having to use the passcode on her mother's cell phone.
"My mom's blood sugar was low. She was sweaty," Amelia recalled.
Sensing her mother's fatigue and change of character, Amelia gave her some water, climbed onto the kitchen counter and made her a Nutella sandwich and gave her some animal crackers before dialing 9-1-1.
"I was eating a sandwich when I got out of this," Mia said. "Unfortunately, she's seen my husband do it so many times. She was like, 'This is what I'm supposed to do.'"
There was some confusion as to the Hoffman's address, as Mia had inadvertently provided the incorrect number to the dispatcher amid her haze. But Amelia helped describe the color of their home and the vehicle in the driveway to help first responders locate the pair.
A Battle Creek Police K-9 unit was the first to arrive, comforting Amelia with a balloon and trading card as they awaited the arrival of the Battle Creek Fire Department, which gave Mia oral glucose to help her stabilize her blood sugar.
In addition to the incident occurring on Mia's 16-year diaversary, it also coincided with National Diabetes Awareness Month in November, and on the 100-year anniversary of the discovery of insulin by Sir Frederick G Banting.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and approximately one-in-three Americans have prediabetes. Diabetes is the No. 1 cause of kidney failure, lower-limb amputation and adult blindness.
"It's a very delicate balancing act," Mia said. "It wasn't until I wanted to have a baby that I really started taking care of myself and forced me to shift my perspective and do better. It was hard at first, now it's something I deal with, but that's not all of me, it's just a part of me."
The mother-daughter bond runs deep with Mia and Amelia both looking out for one another. The pair enjoy watching Harry Potter movies or painting inspirational messages on rocks and leaving them around Battle Creek as part of a kindness project.
Asked if she would like to become a first responder or an artist when she grows up, Amelia responded, "I'm going to be everything."
For more information on diabetes, contact the American Diabetes Association at 1-800-342-2383 or visit diabetes.org.
Contact reporter Nick Buckley at firstname.lastname@example.org or 269-966-0652. Follow him on Twitter:@NickJBuckley
This article originally appeared on Battle Creek Enquirer: 5-year-old Battle Creek girl rescues her mother during diabetic attack