Hospital Stories Of A Diabetic

More Hospital Adventures

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. Anyways, 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 personality 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.

Extremely Low Blood Sugar

Back in 2012, 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. That’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 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 roof (their words), 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 level were good (which is a bonus…I’ve been on a nasal cannula 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 emesis basin…but that was a losing 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 broom 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.