Monday, March 14, 2011
"Sickness comes on horseback but departs on foot."
When I woke up the next morning, I had a hangover, but not as intense as I thought it would be. I stumbled to the kitchen for water, and made a pot of coffee. I ended up in the living room in front of the TV. I double-fisted my water and coffee, and I was starting to feel better. Time for food. The thought of eating one of the left over sandwiches didn't sound good. So I opted for a yogurt. I ate about half, and didn't think it was sitting well, so I stopped. A little while later, off to the bathroom I ran. Back to the couch with my water. Drinking, drinking, drinking. And kept needing to run to the bathroom. I was in contact with my mother all day, and as I would start to feel better, I would try to eat. Nothing worked. When our friend woke up and was getting ready to leave, I was able to stay on the couch. I didn't want him to think I was that hungover, since I've never vomited as part of a hangover.
As the day went on, I knew that this was not a hangover. This was something else. Especially since I didn't start vomiting until after I ate (which was quite a few hours after I woke up). I was in constant contact with my mother, and around 9PM when I was vomiting bile, and possibly blood, she asked me to go to the ER. I live less than two miles from a hospital and that is where my roommate brought me. I couldn't even stand up to give the check in lady all my information. As soon as she had it, I asked where the bathroom was. I hung out in there until the nurse called my name to evaluate me. I was so weak at that point that it took all of my energy to hang over the toilet seat, and not lay down on the floor. I had my roommate come with me everywhere (she stayed right outside the bathroom), and was there as I was talking to the nurses. The nurse tested my BG, and I don't remember what it was, but I do remember that it was high. *I had been testing my BGs all day. They were high, and I was taking insulin, and testing my ketones, but I didn't have any all day until right before I went to the ER.
When I woke up the next morning, an endocrinologist came to see me, and told me what my A1C was. In the event of full disclosure, here we go. 11.1% and DKA. No wonder why I was sick. My guess is that she's a nice person if you fit exactly within how she views taking care of diabetes should happen, but clearly I wasn't doing that. She asked me why I didn't come in as soon as I tested positive for ketones. When I told her that I did, she didn't like that I followed procedure and was still in the hospital. I was on an IV with Regular insulin (I believe). I slept a lot. My roommate called in sick from work (from lack of sleep), so she brought me clean clothes (underwear!), my phone charger, a magazine and other various trinkets to survive an unknown length hospital stay. My parents were there with me pretty early in the morning, but I don't know how long they stayed. I know that they stayed long enough to talk to the doctor. I'm not sure if they talked to the endocrinologist or not, but they did talk to the other doctor.
I slept most of that Monday (March 15), and then had a hard time falling asleep that night. But finally it happened. And then the nurse tried to wake me up to have me take a potassium pill at 3AM. First of all, I can't swallow pills (up until about a month ago). Second of all, if you're going to make me swallow a pill, don't wake me up to do it. My response: Can't I just have a banana? I'm not sure if the nurse laughed or not, but I was pretty proud of myself for knowing that. Needless to say, I didn't take the pill. But no one ever mentioned that on my chart.
Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day, and the day I was going to get to go home. My mom showed up around lunchtime, and was there for quite a while. On Wednesday I had a nurse I hadn't seen yet. If they had met under different circumstances, my mom & her would be best friends. Sometimes people walk into your lives and make an impression. This nurse was mine. Her husband is a T1. I told her the story of how I got there, and there was no "you should have done this or that." It was, wow, I'm so sorry. I hope you get better. Based on your charts, you're already getting there. She was knowledgeable, but also admitted to not knowing it all since she's an ICU nurse, not an endo nurse. At 3:15PM, I buzzed her. I've been watching the clock for hours knowing that they need to discharge me by 3PM so I can get back to my insulin schedule. I am freaking out at this point because I'm used to not being taken seriously by most of the nurses/doctors. In walks savior nurse, and after the coaching of my mother, I tell her straight-forward what has happened. At that instant, I was without any insulin because I got my lantus shot 24 hours ago, and I need another one, or I need to go back on my pump. This is not an exact quote, but pretty damn close: You've had diabetes for 20 years. You know better what you need than the doctors who don't have time for you. Get back on your pump if that's what you need. But can you wait 2 minutes so I can watch and tell my husband about it? Those two minutes didn't hurt, and I set everything up. Savior nurse and another nurse came in and I explained all about the pump. The type of site I use and basals & boluses. I changed my site for them to see, I got dressed, and the doctor came to give me my discharge papers. I came home, took a real shower, and my roommate, mother and I went out to dinner. There was no alcohol; there was no big celebration; there were laughs and good food. There was a commitment to get better, work harder, and lower the A1C. It took me a long time, nearly all summer. But I'm here, and working harder than I have - possibly ever.
"Trouble is a part of life, and if you don't share it you don't give the person who loves you a chance to love you enough." Dinah Shore