Three years ago today I ended up in hospital and was diagnosed with Diabetes, Type 1 insulin dependant. Here is my story (taken from an old version of my website):
Tuesday 30th January 2007
At the weekend mum had sent me a text message to see if I would come and take a look at my sisters laptop that wouldn’t load up. I am the technical support for anything computer related, although can’t always fix the problem. I had felt ill for about two weeks feeling tired and drinking more than I normally would. I told my mum that I would nip down on Tuesday as I had a “study” day from Uni where I am studying to become a Children’s Nurse.
Whilst at mums I was needed a drink every 5 minuets feeling desperately thirsty – like I was in a desert and had not drank for a week. Mum noticed the amount I was drinking and urinating as said that I urgently needed to get it checked it out. I said I would if it continued for a few days.
Dean (step dad) and Mum drove me home as buses are irregular by the time I had got the laptop working. I knew that the local Walk-In-Centre closed in an hour and it was only a 5 minuet walk away, so I decided to go and get it checked out. I thought they would just test me and say that there was nothing wrong. I even said to the nurse that there was probably nothing wrong, but that I just wanted to be checked to be on the safe side.
The Nurse tested my BM which was 22 mmol/l, and told me I needed to go to Accident and Emergency (A&E). I was reluctant to do so as A&E is some distance away from me and because of the disruption to my life it would cause. The Nurse informed me that if my BM was 26 mmol/l I would be in a coma. She insisted I call my mum to take me to A&E, which I did. While mum headed back to pick me up I packed an over night bag (as advised by the Nurse) and rang Uni to let them know.
The day before Kate and I had been to the cinemas and afterwards this desperate thirst had driven me to take the hour walk (there and back) to ASDA to get as much fluids to drink as possible including a 6 pint milk jug and several litres of fruit juices. Thinking back, if I hadn’t decided on a whim to go and get myself checked out I would have gone home and drank those fruit juices, which would of put me in to a coma. I believe I’m very lucky, however my mum believes “it was meant to be.”
Once at A & E:
I am seen by a young, kind looking SHO broke the news that I was likely to have Type 1 Diabetes and that If it was I would need life long insulin. I will always remember his face. He brought me some written information about diabetes. My reaction was a desire for him to be wrong, for it not to be true. I do not want to be a diabetic. However being a student nurse, I knew that it was likely that it was.
I was seen by a Registrar and started on Intravenous Insulin on a Sliding Scale. This caused me to go hypo. My BM was 2 mmol/l, 0 mmol/l and I would have been dead. It felt like I was dieing, like my life was being drained out of me and there was nothing I could do. It started with stomach ache and the shakes and progressed to me going clammy and not being able to move. Thankfully the nurse discontinued the Intravenous Insulin and went to get me a cup of tea with a sugar.
I was moved to a ward at about 02:30am and greeted by a male nurse (just nice to see a fellow male nurse). As you can imagine I didn’t sleep one bit with the noises and unfamiliarity of the environment. The nurse had to come in every 2 hours to do my BM and I was constantly up at the toilet what seemed like every 5 minuets.
BM (Blood Measure) is a measurement of gluecose (sugar) levels in the blood. Before eating it should be 4-7 mmol/l. Two hours after eating it should be below 9 mmol/l.
Hypo / Hypoglycaemia is low glucose (sugar) in the blood, on a BM anything below 4 mmol/l is classed as Hypoglycaemia.
Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas which allows cells in the body to absorb the glucose.
Intravenous a route of giving drugs/fluids straight in to the vein.
SHO (Senior House Officer) is a middle grade doctor.
Sliding Scale is when a drug is started on a dose and depending upon your bodies reaction the drug is increased or decreased. E.g. if your BM had gone from 14 mmol/l to 20 mmol/l the insulin would be increased.
Registrar is high grade doctor.
I remember when I finally got discharged from hospital, I went home and started running a bath. While the bath was running, I sat on the floor with my knees up to my chest and cried. It was the first time I was really able to express how I felt about my diagnosis. I am of course three years on much more tolerant of my diabetes. So why share the story?
I felt alone when I was diagnosed and that there was no psychological support. So I guess I’ve shared the story to let others who are newly diagnosed this message:
You are not alone. Others have experienced how you currently feel. It gets better with time. You adjust and adapt.