Adventures in Diabetes Part 2

A few years ago, I woke up in the middle of the night, shaking and unable to stay warm, no matter what I did.

The first thought – check my blood sugar. You know you’re a diabetic when…

So, I did that. And it was extremely low. Like 2.0 low (for Americans…multiply by 18). Anyways, I guzzled juice and hoped for the best. No such luck. After a little bit, I tested again…and my sugar was dropping. Thea’s not good. AT this point, I also decided it might be a good idea to vomit. So, seeing as I couldn’t keep anything down, off to the emergency room we went. Luckily, I got in right away. They tested my sugar, gave me some glucagon (I don’t like the stuff…but it does work) and took me into a room almost right away. That’s almost unheard of in the emergency rooms here. Maybe it was because it was 2:00 am. I don’t know.

When they got me into the room, the nurses noticed on the monitor that my pulse rate was through the room, so they did an EKG. That came back normal…except for the faster than normal pulse, which we accounted to the insanity that was going on. My oxygen levels were good (which is a bonus…I’ve been on a nasal canula before and it isn’t much fun…though helpful when you need it). Eventually, after I had been poked and prodded and had an IV lock put in, the ER doctor came in. She was wearing a tiara. And no, it wasn’t a hallucination…my parents saw it too. I guess he had worked a long shift. She ordered some blood work and had a specialist come see me. I thought he was an endocrinologist…but he was actually an internist. Weird. So, he ordered more tests and told me I would probably be admitted…if they could find me a bed. What fun! After that, the nurses tried to get me to eat but I was still too sick and managed to yet again vomit…on myself. We did try to get an emisis basin…but that was a loosing cause. So, they got to change my hospital shirt. At least it wasn’t my clothing…I guess.

After a while, they came and said I had to be moved, because they needed the room. But I couldn’t be admitted yet, because they didn’t have a room. And in fact, I may not be admitted at all, and would instead spend my time in the ER. Joy. So, off I went to what they called the waiting ward. It was basically an area of the ER where you just…waited. They did eventually bring me lunch, and I was able to eat it. Victory.

After I had been in the emergency room from about 2 am – 2 pm, they eventually came and said there was a room for me. But instead of letting me walk up to the ward (I had walked from the room in the ER to the waiting ward), they said I had to travel by gurney. I was okay with that. It just meant a free ride. So, off we went to the ward. One of the LPN’s came, told me I was on a ward (which I thought was an odd thing to say) and gave me a brochure to read about my rights. I was in a private room, which was nice. And unexpected.

As the shifts came and went, I started to see the same people. There was a board up in the room that had a bunch of information on it, and one was “What you can expect”. I really wanted to put “Bad Food and Boredom”. I told one of my nurses that and she suggested I add “Beautiful Nurses” to my list of B’s I was to expect. I ended up staying in that room for a couple days, and then getting moved to another room because they needed the one I was in for someone else. I don’t actually know why I was on that ward…I think it was just somewhere they could find to put me.

I had a few friends come up and see me (and more sent texts because they had to work). I had a few books to read (and got through them way too fast). I actually had to ask to have my IV taken out, seeing as they had taken away the saline they were giving me and again, all I had in was the IV lock. By the time I got it taken out, I became an exam for an LPN student…so not only did I have the student taking out the IV, but her instructor was there as well. That was fun. I’d told one of my nurses (and the doctor) that I was going to take it out myself if they didn’t, so that may have sped thing up a bit.

When I finally got home, I was just glad to not be in a hospital anymore. A few days later I got a letter from the health region asking me to grade them. More or less, they did fine, However, I kind of wish I had thought to say that the doctor kept me in for extra days just because he was waiting for some test results that I didn’t need to be there for. He could have called me back had there been any problems. And by keeping me in, it was using up healthcare dollars. Yes, in Canada, we have “free” healthcare…but it still gets paid for somehow.

Adventures in Diabetes

This was written a while ago and was posted on my old blog…but I am reposting it here now

For some reason, I am always posting about my random trips to the ER. I’d really rather not be posting these stories…but, for now…I still am.

I had just been camping the weekend before this all happened, and was feeling fine (albeit tired) when I got back home on Sunday afternoon. Anways, I went to bed and on Monday morning got up feeling pretty crappy. By the end of the day, however, I was feeling better and had finally eaten something. I thought it was maybe just from being tired, so didn’t think much of it.

The next day, I woke up feeling pretty much the same. So, again I tested my blood sugar to see where I was. It was 6.3 (I’m in Canada…multiply by 18). That seemed good. And then…I started to feel nausea. So I had a gravol and tried to rest a little bit. That didn’t really work. Instead, I started to vomit. Oh great. I tested my sugar again and it was up to 22.4. Yikes. That was only in a few hours. Not good. My dad came home from work and we went to the hospital. When I got there, I vomited again, they told me I had to be wheeled to a room in a wheelchair and I may not see a nurse for a while (this was after they took my vitals and found that my heart rate and BP were way too high). I got to the room and a nurse actually came in right away, which is really weird for our hospitals since they are usually really overcapacity because of covering all of the southern half of the province and the one I went to being a Level 1 Trauma Centre. She put an IV lock in and then left. For some reason, even though I felt awful and was extremely dehydrated, I still managed to tell me dad that they were going to give me saline. I tend to remember weird things when I am sick. I actually saw a doctor pretty quickly, which again was odd, and he ordered a bunch of labs…but told me he was pretty sure it was DKA (although it had presented so quickly that it was baffling him as to why I had it). SO, a nurse came in and put a second IV in so that they could also give me insulin. The weirdest part was that my pH levels and potassium were all normal, which is a really weird presentation with DKA since usually when you give that much insulin, it will mess with potassium levels…and yet, in this case, it did not. As I have told people before, I am a medical mystery wrapped in a conundrum. As I waited down there, I watched my vitals on a monitor, sucked on ice chips, was taken for a chest x-ray (never told me why they did that one), and eventually saw another doctor for one of the ICU’s who decided she was going to test me for everything, and apparently could not find any reason for the DKA. I waited 8.5 hours in the ER (which is less time than the last time I was there, but still long enough). At almost midnight, they finally admitted me. I got to spend the night in Medical-Pediatric ICU (MPICU) because they wanted to test my blood sugar every hour throughout the night. Hello, no sleep. I also got to have a second ECG (had one in the ER as well), more blood tests than you can shake a stick at (I still maintain doctors must be vampires) and at one point someone from RT came to do blood gasses.

The next day, they did rounds and decided to let me out of MPICU and took me to a ward. I think that ward was the “We don’t know what to do with you, so we will put you here” ward, because there was a bit of everything there. I spent another day and night there. bored out of my mind. At least I had Netflix on my phone so I had something to do.

Every doctor I saw said they thought I was fine to go home. However, the ward doctor thought otherwise. I actually ended up almost having to leave AMA because he didn’t actually do anything other than walk in, spend 15 seconds to say you’re staying, and try to leave right away. I told one of my nurses he had the bedside manner of a tomato and the personalty to match, and she readily agreed. That’s never a good sign.

So, after I met with one of the CDE’s in the hospital, they let me out. I had the 2 IV locks taken out and I basically left as quickly as possible. When I got home, I was glad to have real food…because hospital food may have been real at one point in time, but I think that point of time may have been December 1965.

 

My thoughts about diabetes

First, watch the video from Diabetes Canada…because it will figure into this:

So, here is the thing….as you can probably guess…I have diabetes. In the letter I wrote below, along with the stuff on my page about diabetes, I spoke about being diagnosed and about the way that I have lived with it and some of the things that have come from it.

Although I try to put a funny spin on it, this video is often more the truth for pretty much everyone with diabetes – myself included.

Not that long ago, I had a friend question why I was not living in an apartment on my own and I tried to explain to him about the difficulties I see about that…many of them are things that I worry about because of my diabetes. Things like my blood sugar going so low or high that I am not able to treat that situation. Things like being so sick that I can’t move and need to be in the hospital but have no way of contacting people to tell them.

When trying to explain this, I get blank stares. People don’t understand. And I don’t expect them to see things through my eyes – after all, they don’t live with this each and every day. Sure, they may have experience with it in some form or another, but unless you have truly walked around as a diabetic, you will never understand the same way that we do…and as I told them when they said they did, I would not wish it on anyone.

But, at the same time, we need to get the information out there. It can be really scary when you have to go to the emergency room due to your diabetes and the medical staff don’t know anything about it. I have personally had times when I was in the hospital that a nurse on a ward didn’t want to give me my insulin because the doctor hadn’t ordered it. I or my family had to fight with the medical staff to give me a life-sustaining medication! I have even had to put up a fight with my provincial government to get one of my insulin’s declared a life-saving drug. It’s not like I take insulin for the fun of it – I’d much rather never have to see another needed again.

With all of the talk about the Canadian Diabetes Association re-branding itself as Diabetes Canada, the local TV stations have had people on to talk about the new brand. Take a look at the video here before continuing on in this post.

The person interviewed is talking about support systems and I honestly would love to see one started up here. I have mentioned in the past that there does not seem to be anything out there…and as it stands right now, I still have yet to see anything come about to change this. I was on the Diabetes Canada  – Saskatchewan Facebook page and from what I can tell, they had a party to launch the new brand (ok…that is fine) but should they not have tried to inform people that they were doing this? I only found out about it because the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) on Facebook and Twitter posted about it. Otherwise, I would have no idea what was going on. This is something that really amazes me because at one time they were really good at sharing information…I wonder what has happened since then?

As I have been writing this, I have realised that the last time I really even know of someone else with diabetes (specifically, type 1 diabetes) was when I was about 10 years old (over 20 years ago). They talk in the videos about how you often feel like you are the only one out there – well, that is true. Even though I know there are others, I can’t quantify it as true because I have never even had the opportunity to meet them. This seems troubling to me and it should to them as well.

In terms of other thoughts about living with diabetes, I would love to have a full nights sleep and yet I can’t remember the last time that happened. I’ve talked to my doctor about it and no one can figure it out. I personally think it has to do with the constant dealing with diabetes, because it doesn’t take a break and so neither does our mind.

I don’t completely know where I was going with this whole post but I felt like I needed to make it. Maybe it was just to get these thoughts out there? No matter what the reason, I hope somehow that it helps.

A Letter to the Canadian Diabetes Association

To whom it may concern,

Allow me to first introduce myself. My name is Tyler Parker and in March of 1990, I was five years old and had just been diagnosed with Type 1 Insulin Dependent Diabetes. At the time, I had no idea what diabetes was or how it would eventually affect my everyday live. As time went on, I was taught by the staff at one of the hospitals here how to manage diabetes, how to deal with high and low blood sugars, and how to figure out nutritional values regarding everything that I ate. This was not something that most five-year-old children ever have to go through and something I hope that one day will simply be a memory. As I went through school, I would try to live my life as normally as all the other children. However, I was always aware in the back of my mind that there was something different about me – after all, I had to test my blood sugar levels, have insulin multiple times daily, and ensure I had things like juice with me always to be able to treat fluctuations in my blood sugar levels. The one thing each year which helped me to live a normal childhood was the diabetes camp that was put on each year by the Canadian Diabetes Association (CDA). It was here that I could see that there were others in the province like me and that we were all living the same type of life. It was also here that I first gave myself a solo insulin injection, thus paving the way for me to live a more independent live. When I reached my teenage years, the camp was no longer an option for me to attend as it was for children. I entered high school and hoped I would be able to find something where I could continue spending time with others who had also been diagnosed with diabetes. This, however, was not the case. While I did look for something that would allow me to continue the type of support system I had found at diabetes camp, there was nothing to be found in Saskatchewan. What I did find was a plethora of supports for those with insulin resistant (type 2) diabetes. Even within the last few years, I have continued to find that the same is true. I have attempted to volunteer with the CDA in Regina, and after two attempts to get in touch with someone, I was eventually contacted. However, the first thing I was told was that they do not focus on type 1 diabetes and would be focusing on type 2 instead. This meant that they wanted me to learn how to do the CANRISK questionnaire. While not what I was hoping for, I decided to see how it would work out. Instead of what I had thought I would be doing, I was asked to go to a family camp and speak to parents of children diagnosed with diabetes. This was okay as I felt I would at least be talking to people about something I had lived through. This was a good experience and I hope I could help those parents out. However, after that, I was simply asked to help with a BBQ and did not hear from the CDA office again. I find this quite interesting as I still see constant requests for help from the association, and yet when you try to help, they are extremely difficult to get in touch with.

All of this is to say, I have yet to find any sort of support system provided by the Canadian Diabetes Association for people such as myself. I am 32 years old and can say that I have not met another person with diabetes beyond the Diabetes Online Community (DOC) since I was 12 years old. The support systems that you can find on Facebook and Twitter are fantastic, but I feel that there needs to be something done that establishes something that is more personal. As previously stated, I have look but have not found anything yet. If it is out there, then I would like to request that it be made more prominent and easier to access. If not, then I would implore you to do something to rectify this. While there is only approximately 300,000 Canadians living with Type 1 Diabetes[1] as opposed to the approximately 9 million living with Type 2 diabetes[2], type 1 diabetes is current six times as likely to cause heart disease and stroke in patients ages 35-65 with this diagnosis. [3] In a case such as this, established support systems could help to ensure that the millions affected by this (either directly or indirectly) could have accountability to be able to manage their diabetes successfully. When diabetes is managed properly, the person with diabetes can live out a full life and do anything anyone without the diagnosis can do. When mismanaged, there is a large multitude of complications that can arise answerer from loss of vision to loss of life. I feel that this is something that the Canadian Diabetes Association does not seem to be taking seriously enough with their apparent focus mainly on type 2 diabetes while they seem to ignore type 1 diabetes. Both conditions should be given equal considerations instead of the apparent slant that is currently in place.

At the beginning of this letter, I started out by introducing myself to you and giving a small example of my history with type 1 diabetes. This is by no means a complete look at the everyday struggle of living with type 1 diabetes – the struggle of spending a large portion of your life in doctor’s waiting rooms (often surrounded by seniors and you being the youngest there by 40-50 years), spending nights not eating to be able to do a fasting blood test and then having the lab be so behind that you wait an additional hour or more as your blood sugar continues to plummet dangerously low, the nights where you can’t sleep because you are worried about what is going on with your life, trying to decide what kind of medication you can afford because much of the medication used to treat diabetes is either not covered or requires a fight with the provincial government to get it declared life-saving, or trying to explain to others why you do things the way you do and knowing that they can’t understand, and never will unless they are diagnosed with diabetes, something you would not wish on even your worst enemy.

I can only hope that someone will listen and something will be done to help in providing the support needed. Although I do not know if Canada yet considers diabetes an epidemic, I do. As someone living daily with the struggle of managing diabetes, I cannot think of a better word to describe what is going on. While we have made such huge strides in treatment in the past 100 years, there is so much further to go and I hope and pray that we can get there sooner rather than later.

Thank you for your time and I hope to hear from you with a response or any follow-up questions.

[1] http://www.jdrf.ca/news-and-media/fact-sheets/about-type-1-and-type-2-diabetes/?gclid=CjwKEAiAq8bEBRDuuOuyspf5oyMSJAAcsEyW6_aNzP0R5oHFZIwv48kaSpeEr6qUKL8JvYDrrtSK_RoCCO_w_wcB

[2] Ibid

[3] https://www.med.uottawa.ca/sim/data/Diabetes_e.htm

Hamilton – An American Musical

This has been my latest obsession in musical theatre – it is a cast recording that I can listen to over and over again and not get tired of it. This video is from the Tony Awards where Hamilton won 12 awards including Best Musical, Best Score, Best Book, Best Actor in a Musical for Leslie Odom Jr. and Best Featured Actor in a Musical for Daveed Diggs

Enjoy your new obsession 🙂

The Battle of Yorktown – TonyAwards

The Schuyler Sisters – Tony Awards

One Last Time- White House

Alexander Hamilton – White House

The Schuyler Sisters = White House

I just can’t even…

I know, this is kind of old news….but it still makes me shake my head…

Oh my God! Don’t talk to me like I’m some kind of normal person! (Lindsay Lohan, 7th Ave & 9th St, New York City)

For someone who usually has a lot to say, I just don’t even know where to begin with this one. Its just so…so..I don’t even know. Like really..don’t talk to me like I’m some kind of a normal person? What the heck is she thinking? Okay, granted, she might be a member of ACTRA/Equity, she may have a CD of her own, and she may have had starring roles in films since she was about 10 (including playing her own identical twin) but that does not make her non-normal. I suppose that if having done something not everyone has done makes you a non-normal person, than I could say that because I have, oh I don’t know, been to..Russell, Manitoba that makes me a non-standard, therefore more important person that everyone else. Nothing against Russell. They have a very nice community center. And a..Saan store. There was also a large pile of snow there when I was there and we climbed it.

But still, I cant even begin to figure out what made Lindsay Lohan think that she had the right to claim that she is superior to others just because of a little fame. In context, her own production assistant was telling her that she was needed on set. Wow. An actor being needed on set. Man. That’s unthinkable. Totally unthinkable. As an actor myself, I wish I had my own PA who would tell me when I was needed somewhere. It would make life so much easier.

Magic Boobs? Maybe….

Katy Perry has a body to die for and a few years back she commissioned a plaster cast of her ample assets. But rather than mount her moulded mounds above her mantelpiece, Katy had them auctioned off for a breast cancer charity. Before seemingly shooting cancer-curing lighting out of her jugs in the video for Firework. – Source

Well, that is just…different. Sure, it goes to a charity, and kudos for that. But….what was going on in Firework? That’s a little…bizarre.