Friday, June 6, 2014

Reacquainted With Hospital Staff

Friday night was the night when my life took a really, really weird turn.

John needed a little break and decided to do a little camping with his good friend.  Olivia made plans to spend a weekend with one of her really good friends. I, knowing I was going to be alone had picked out several Netflix movies and was kind of looking forward to some peaceful -er... peace and quiet.

So, with thoughts of movie watching and popcorn popping rolling around in my head I had settled down on the couch and put my feet up.  I was going to enjoy this time, alone and (pretty much) responsibility free...
Of course, as a type 1 diabetic, saying goodbye to all responsibility is (or should be) an impossible task.  I was soon going to be reminded of that very thing, although I had no idea as to what extent.

I had just pushed play on my new favorite show "Scandal" when my phone rang. It was John calling to say that he got settled and was just starting a fire.  He also wanted to see how I was doing and our conversation went well.  Towards the end of the conversation, though, I had begun to feel ------ "iffy" is the word that comes to mind.
I told John that I wasn't feeling the greatest and I wanted to hang up and check my blood sugar level.
We said our "I love you's" and our "goodbyes" and hung up.
When I checked it, it was a frightening and dangerous low  31.
Realizing the situation was serious, I texted John my news.
And that was it.
I passed out.
The rest of the night's events are from what little recollection I have (because I was in and out of consciousness) and from what John was able to surmise what was happening from over the phone...

While I was passed out - John had texted me about six times inside of an hour.  I didn't know it at the time, because I was passed out on the couch.  After he had sent these texts, he then had started to call.  Over and over again.
I am so happy he did.  One of those phone calls shook me out of my unconscious state.  I had missed his last one, so I immediately pushed the one button on my phone that leads to my number one I.C.E. (in case of emergency) contact, who happens to be John.
He answered, and I had started to scream at him.  (Apparently, screaming is something I do when my blood sugar is very low.  And I'm told that this sort of thing happens to alot of type 1's who are having an extremely low blood sugar attack)  While I was yelling and screaming at John, I became only semi aware that something was wrong.  But, in my confused and disoriented state, I was still unsure as to what to do about it. I could hear John yelling my name and telling me to "EAT!  EAT!  YOU HAVE TO EAT SYLVIA!"
I again yelled at him and asked him where he was.
He quickly told me he was camping.  He then instructed me to go to the refrigerator and get the jar of jelly out.
"You need to eat jelly.  Get a spoon, and eat some jelly!"
I don't remember most of that (to me) very confusing conversation.  He later told me everything he was saying to me.
He also said that I argued about the amount of sugar in jelly and that I didn't want my blood sugar to go high....
I was so confused and had no idea as to what I should have been doing.

*The first thing I need to do if my blood sugar is too low is to do exactly that.  Eat lots of sugar - in any form, but some things raise it faster than others.*   But, like I said, I was suffering from a very low blood sugar attack.  So, my mind was not making any sense at the time.  And I had no idea as to what to do.

Something in the back of my mind told me to get the spoon and to start eating lots of jelly.
So, with the phone lying next to me on the couch, and with a spoon in my hand, that is precisely what I did. I started to eat lots of jelly.
During my feast of eating  jelly, I had passed out for a second time.  I know I did,  because when I reawakened, the phone was no longer connected with John and there was jelly all over the place.  There were things all over my living room floor as well.  All of the remote controllers had been knocked over and I had at one point tried to give myself glucose tablets, because there were several of those on the floor.  I even, in my confused and altered state,  had taken the glucagon emergency kit out and had opened it up.
Although I don't remember doing some of these things, the only one in the house at that time was me.
So, I must have done all of this stuff without even realizing it.

So, after awhile, I did eventually wake up.  I was covered in sweat, from head to toe.  My head was pounding so hard and it hurt so unbelievably bad.  John was again calling me.  I answered and was very confused.
He told me that I needed to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.  I asked him why.  He explained that I had suffered from a diabetic coma.  That my blood sugar was really low.  I don't  know if I didn't believe him or if I was just being sure, so I told him I was going to check my blood sugar.  It was at that time up to a 42.  Still very low, but I was at least "with it" enough to know that what John was saying was right.
So, I went to check my past numbers from that night, and sure enough, there was a 31 and even a 28 in there!
I still have no idea as to when I had taken the 28 reading.
But, finally, there I was.  Semi alert and only semi with it.  But, enough to know that I should eat, and eat very quickly.
So, while John was still on the phone with me, that's exactly what I did.  I ate a PB&J and drank some massive amounts of sweet tea.
All the while, John kept talking to me, to make sure I was ok and to make sure I was eating.
After the binge eating was through, he asked me who my blood sugar had gotten so low.  I told him that I had no idea.  I mean, I hadn't eaten dinner yet, because I had eaten a late lunch.  But, even skipping a meal does NOT make me crash to that extent.  Never, in the 15 years of having type 1 diabetes have I ever gone that low from not having dinner.  And besides, I had eaten a late lunch and had planned on eating dinner, just not at 7.  I had planned on eating about 8 or so.
Anyway, John and I had stayed on the phone with one another for about an hour after that.  I had slowly became aware - fully aware - of what had happened that night.  And John had started to tell me some stories from his short trip thus far.
After that, I told John that I wanted to straighten up the mess in the living room.   I had thanked him for trying so hard to help me, even from far away.  And he told me he loved me and that he would be calling me every hour on the hour to make sure I was still alive.
He did call the next hour, but after that he had stopped calling.  And out of curiosity, I decided to check my blood sugar for the umpteenth time again.
My sugars were doing the opposite as to what they should have been doing.  They were going down (again) instead of going up.
I immediately dialed John's number and he told me again to eat what I could.
That was the last I had heard from him.

I took care of my sugars with glucose tablets and some more food.  By that time, it was very late.  About 1 or so in the morning.
I ended up in bed, exhausted from the night's happenings.
I awoke to John standing next to me at our bed.
I thought I was dreaming!  John was supposed to be on the river, camping!
But, there he was, jelly in one hand and the glucagon kit in the other.
"Sylvia!"  He was yelling for me to get up.
I looked at him and asked him what the heck he was doing home....
He helped me out of bed, and out to the living room.  I checked my blood sugar and it was at 67.  He sighed a sigh of relief and handed me some more glucose tablets.
He then said that he was so worried about me and my situation that he had paddled down stream, in the dark, five miles, got in his van, and raced home.  He told me that he wasn't sleeping anyway, due to his worry for me and that he didn't feel comfortable leaving me alone all weekend.

I know that man loves me.

I knew it before he had paddled down stream - in the bloody dark, mind you - to come home and make sure I was ok.
But, I know that man loves me...
We had stayed up that entire night.  Talking about the weird things that happened to him and his friend on the river.  And we, of course, talked about my low blood sugar attack, times two.  Neither of us got much sleep that night - or morning, I guess you could call it... .
The next day, I had looked at my pump and realized that it had reset itself.  It had shut off and reset itself with completely different settings.  I was so astonished!  That is why my blood sugar had crashed.  That is why I had no idea as to what happened.  Scary, yes.  Unfixable, no.

My endocrinologist had told me (after I called them to alert them of what had happened)  that I needed to order a new pump.  Which I did.

So, now that John was home with me, and all was well withing the world of type 1 diabetes again, we set ourselves up to watch TV, movies, and Netflix the rest of the weekend.

Or so I thought.

It turns out that my body had other plans.
I had started to fight a pretty bad viral infection (although I didn't know I was fighting a viral infection till later)  early Saturday morning.  Like, 4 am Saturday morning.  I had started to throw up and my stomach didn't stop at that either.  I had also been going #2 alot, and not in the way that you're supposed to go number 2... Like, I think you get the picture... vomiting and diarrhea.  BIG TIME.
All day Saturday and all day Sunday, about once an hour (and at times more than that) I was visiting the bathroom to do both puking and sitting on the toilet.  I was in so much pain and I became so drained of any and all energy, and this all happened so quickly....
By Monday morning, I had started to feel just a tad better.  Just a tad.  But, well enough to go to my pain management doctor's appointment.  I had run out of my pain meds on Monday morning and I needed to get those meds.  The medicine I take for my small fiber neuropathy pain cannot be called in.  The prescriptions need to be picked up.
I got to my appointment and realized that my "stomach" issues were starting to show it's ugly head again while in the office.
I was called into a room, where they took my blood pressure.  It was extremely high.  When I say my blood pressure was high, believe me, it was high!  They had told me it was 200 over 102.  That's like stroke or heart attack victim high!  I couldn't believe it!
And apparently, neither could they.
They told me that I needed to go immediately to the hospital.
I looked at them for a few seconds, dumbfounded.
How could my blood pressure be that high?
I had been taking high blood pressure medication for years!  Two different types of blood pressure medication to be exact... and I take these two pills every single day.

So, I took my script from them for my pain meds and sat in my car for a minute or two after I left my doctor's office - all the way up in Allentown, about an hour away from home.
I called John.
I told him what was going on.
He told me that if I felt I should go in to the ER, that I should go in to the ER.
So, I did.
I asked him if I should just go to Lehigh Valley Hospital (which was right across the street) or if I should chance it and head to my local hospital, who has all of my information and knows me really well...
John said to go where I felt more comfortable.
I headed to my own local hospital.  After all, I had just gone to the ER about two weeks prior to that with pneumonia.
After registering at the front desk and getting a hospital bracelet, I was taken to triage right away.
They quickly determined that yes, my blood pressure was dangerously high.  And yes, my blood sugars were also very dangerously high.  And that yes, vomiting and diarrhea for the last few days was serious enough to have me be admitted to spend a few days in the hospital.
The last place I wanted to be was back in the hospital again.
The best place I should have been was back in the hospital again.
So, I was admitted to the hospital.
After loads of tests and examinations, I was told by day 2 that I was fighting a severe viral infection and that I had gone sepsis for the second time in two weeks.  All of the doctor's that I saw during my stay surmised that I had picked up something from my last hospital stay when I was in with pneumonia.
They had put me into isolation while they were running all of these tests.  And for the most part, all I did there (besides vomit and have diarrhea) was sleep.  I slept almost the entire time I stayed there...
I had run some pretty high fevers and my blood sugars were so out of whack and my stomach ailments were all enough to leave me feeling as though I was hit by 5 or 6 tractor trailers....

I had again responded well to the drugs given me in the hospital.  I was severely dehydrated, but as soon as they started to pump fluids into me, I had started to see a light at the end of the tunnel.  I had started to eat more than liquid and by day 3, I had felt as if I was a new woman.
So, another hospital stay under my belt... And all of it started with extremely low blood sugar on Friday night...
I am hoping that my days of being inside of a hospital room are long over.  And I hope that my pain meds can be changed at my next appointment which is coming up in a week or so...

So, I guess that's it...
For now...
My life has been - well  - exciting lately, to say the least.
I am happy to be home and recovering here.  And I'm happy to be able to see John and Olivia every day.  I am blessed to have such good insurance, that I will never see a bill for either stay.  And I am happy that the nurses and docs at my local hospital are so good to me...

Thanks for reading and take good care!!!

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