Monday, April 13, 2009

Diabetes Redux

So, it appears that I am a diabetic – again.

If you remember the last time I went to the hospital, I was diagnosed as a diabetic then as well, but I didn’t take the matter too seriously. I did limit the amount of sugar in my diet, but I didn’t test myself or shoot insulin. If you’re wondering why I failed to heed the advice of the medical professionals, consider the steps used to diagnose and treat my diabetes the last time:

  • Went to ER. Was found to have an infection not related to diabetes. Blood sugar was high (over 300), although the doc confirmed the infection was driving it up. “We need to watch that,” he said.
  • Between first and second surgeries, “we need to watch that” changed to “you have a life-threatening case of diabetes and you will die without four shots of insulin per day.” Note – blood sugar dropped about 100 points before insulin began.
  • A steady stream of diabetes experts (far more than the number of doctors treating my actual illness) flooded my room and tried to sell various diabetes-related products. Diet was briefly mentioned (I received a pamphlet) once; exercise not at all.
  • Put on the diabetic menu, which included fruit juices, sugar for my coffee and cereal, and desserts like sugar cookies and cake. More insulin given to lower my blood sugar.
  • Upon release, was told to check blood sugar “constantly” – any time day or night. Told readings should always be between 100 and 125 regardless of illness or meals. Below 100 – take a glucose tab or drink a sugary soda. Over 125 – shoot insulin.
  • During the next month of outpatient treatment, blood sugar level continued to drop (last reading = 145). Med techs insisted I needed to shoot more insulin, unaware I wasn’t doing any. Note - these were the same people who insisted that antibiotics cannot upset one’s stomach.
  • Final note – a lot of insulin and blood testing are required to survive. If blood glucose drops due to diet and exercise, don’t change your insulin regimen. That’s fixed for life.

I planned to get retested once I got well, but instead I had compounding illnesses which kept me mostly bedridden for the next several months. I developed open wounds on my heels, then one leg got infected. I went to a different hospital (try to guess why) and experienced:

  • Went to ER. Was found to have an infection directly related to the wounds caused by high blood sugar. Glucose monitored again.
  • Blood sugar did not drop after treatment. Insulin slowly introduced as a remedy while doctors continued to monitor.
  • Two diabetes experts spoke about my condition and future treatment options. Recommended we start slow and increase until diabetes is under control. Diet and exercise stressed. No attempt to hawk products made.
  • Put on the diabetic menu, which did not include sugary treats. Insulin used sparingly to regulate continued high blood sugar.
  • Upon release, was told to check blood sugar “regularly” and given specific times. Readings should be between 70 and 140, although illness and meals could affect it. Insulin not needed unless blood sugar exceeds 170.
  • Final notes – continuing to monitor. Adjustments made to medications and diet based on personal needs.
  • Also – was warned antibiotics could upset stomach. Sugar-free yogurt recommended.

And so that’s where I am now – blowing out my intestines with antibiotics and sticking needles into myself in an attempt to not die. W00t! Further fun-filled bulletins as events warrant.

12 comments:

SSC~ The Domestic Diva said...

I have a great cookbook for diabetes. I feel your pain. When I was pregnant with Choo I had gestational diabetes and if I don't watch it I can get it again in 10 years.

It was always fun shooting up my insulin and watching others thinking I was a junkie as a pregnant person. Yes I am a very twisted person!

Please take care and lay off the sweets, unless they are bunnies of coarse.

Hit 40 said...

Several of my students are diabetic. They check with a pin prick to the thumb. I would guess this is what you are doing. My experience with the ER is to find an actual doctor after leaving that is recommended by others. The ER never found my problem. A doctor that specialized in vertigo did.

Avitable said...

That's an illness I am hoping to avoid.

Jay said...

That's definitely something you need to get under control. I refuse to have my blood sugar tested cause I know it will probably be bad. That's probably the wrong attitude huh?

Sam said...

I'm glad you're at least lucid and getting better care than before, I was quite worried. I want to say that I'm shallow and form easy attachments but its more like -- being as sick as I am, my only opportunity to form any attachments is through the blogs I read and the people I get to know through them, I consider you as much a friend as if I knew you in the flesh.

I had a best friend when I was in my early 20s, he had serious diabetes and it was what took him at the age of 23, he'd spent more of his life in the hospital than out. The ICU nurses called me whenever he took real sick because his parents wouldn't come even though they only lived across town, he'd start crying in a fit of delusion and calling for me. A nurse only asked once who I was to him as only family is allowed in ICU and he said "She is my sister, please get her here now, I'm scared" and then he slipped unconscious again.

From that day forward, those ICU nurses who knew my Tim so well, they shared amongst themselves that I was his sister for all intents and even though they knew better, I was there even when he didn't ask for me, they'd call me as soon as he was brought in.

I know, I went into la-la memory land, just... diabetes scares the holy flying shit out of me, please take care of yourself.

Crys said...

...you've been through so much. at least you're convinced now what it is, and can do something about it.

be well, Grantichrist.

Captain Dumbass said...

Did you get any hot nurses?

Kerry said...

I don't know much about Diabetes... so this is all new to me. I am shocked that they pump so much sugar into you though... Now that I think about it i do remember a student at Chaos College being severe diabetic and us grabbing candy bars for her.

Sweets are bad... I thought... hmmm take care of yourself!!!

April said...

It's amazing how incompetent some hospitals are, UVA being one of them. If you don't be careful, you'll end up with one leg like me! I was the only person scheduled for an amputation that week who wasn't getting it whacked off due to diabetes. Not trying to scare you or anything, just being honest.

I really hope you feel better soon and heal properly. And as one of your other commenters said, go see a regular doctor to keep your shit under control. Family Practice or Internal Medicine should work fine if you didn't already know.

GreenJello said...

Diabetes. Ugh. My hubby is pre-diabetic, and we've made some radical dietary changes to try to keep his blood sugar in check. It's working so far, so no insulin on the horizon.

Best advice: lay off as much white sugar, honey, and white flour as you can.

Grant said...

ssc - fortunately, I don't even really like sweets so I don't have to make an adjustment.

hit 40 - my work insurance doesn't begin until May, so I'm waiting until then to find a regular doctor, although I was impressed with my ER doc. I'll have to see if she's available.

avitable - I'm sure you'll be okay as long as you maintain your svelte figure and healthy eating habits.

jay - that's the way to handle it. You haven't got it if the doctor hasn't diagnosed you.

sam - sick or otherwise, I've never been lucid.

crys - I'm working on it.

cda - several, including an Asian blood tech and my pharmacist. Vampire Bunny and Drug Bunny! Note - they have trouble drawing blood if you wrap your arms around them and lay your head on their chest.

kerry - keep snorfing the candy bars and you can join my elite diabetic club.

Ricardo said...

Oh lordy. I have a feeling it's a wrong diagnosis. I would look into anything else that causes insulin levels to get messed up on the Internet. Like hypoglycemia or something.

I thought maybe the panic attacks I was waving was a diabetic pr hypoglycemic reaction but I had a physical and they did blood work and stuff and it all came back normal.

Good luck with this. Right now you are their patient and lab rat. They don't know what the hell is wrong.