Wednesday, October 24, 2012

CHAPTER 2 ( Learning about Diabetes )

Chapter 2

"Don't you worry, don't you worry child, see heaven's got a plan for you."*Quote from the song "Don't you worry child - Swedish House Mafia (ft. John Martin)" 

Upon arriving to the hospital we went through emergency it took about five minutes for them to put me through, I didn't really think about why they put me through before the other people that were there before me. In the emergency room the nurse put an IV on my left arm. I was also low on potassium and my cholesterol was higher than normal. They took blood samples and in about an hour or so one of the emergency doctors came into the room and told me without thinking it twice " I'm sorry but you have diabetes".

What is Diabetes?

Diabetes is a condition of elevated blood sugar where the part of the body called the pancreas does not produce enough insulin or your body does not use properly the insulin it makes (type 2) to meet the body's needs or the pancreas does not produce any insulin  (Type 1). This is usually caused by (what I have researched)  sometime when you get sick your immune system doesn't recognize the beta cells (the cells that store and release "deliver" the insulin the pancreas makes for your body sugar so its not too high or low) and therefore they get destroyed by your antibodies. Then the pancreas stops making the insulin your body needs. Insulin is important because it moves glucose (sugar) into the body's cells from the blood. If you have either glucose builds up in your blood instead of being used as energy.

* Part of the definition from

Diabetes? I thought, HOW CAN I HAVE DIABETES!!?? The doctor told me my sugar levels were between 28 and 30 mmol/L (or 504 mg/dL and 540 mg/dL)  in the past three months. Normal blood sugar levels in both women and men without diabetes, are between 3.9 mmol/L and 6.1 mmol/L (or 70 and 110 mg/dL). They asked me other symptoms like if I ever had gotten headaches, felt without energy... etc, and all  I said was no only thirst and peeing a lot, I was after all running for 2 hours after coming home from an 8 sometimes 9 hour shifts. I had lots of energy.

The days after I got Diagnosed.

Finding out I had diabetes really shocked me, since no one in my family had it I was never worried about getting it. It was really hard, I cried right after the doctor had told me, not afraid to admit it. I remember the first thought that came into my mind was why me God? I felt angry and in denial. I guess I felt angry because it happened to me, someone that was born "normal", and angry because the doctor that told me I had this condition said it to me without caring. I felt they just told me straight up without considering how I was going to feel, and with no other family member by my side, (they let my mom come in after 30 minutes they had told me) it really is hard news to take in by your self.

I grieved my diabetes for the next 3 or 4 days. The next day I got transferred to a room where I met people that had it worse than I did. The first patient I met was in for surgery on his foot. We talked and he told me about his nephew and the different things he did not to let diabetes interfere with his day to day life. I also met some nice and helpful nurses which gave me various print outs and helpful information on the subject. Later that afternoon I met a doctor who apparently was going to look through my case up until I left the hospital. I was also expecting the nutritionist the following day.

That Friday, she came in the morning with her "student" doctor and asked me how I was doing and kept asking me if I had any questions. How can I have any questions? I thought. They haven't really explained what is going on or what diabetes means, how can I ask questions on something they haven't really explained. I was just angry and frustrated and didn't really care about asking anything so I would always said no. After they left I waited the whole day in my room for the nutritionist that was supposed to come and see me to teach me about how I should eat with my new condition. She finally showed up at 3:30 pm to only say " it's too much to learn under one day so ill come in on Monday and I will teach you most of it". She handed me some print outs with information and explained a bit.

On my 4th day my doctor never came to check on me all though I did see her doing her check-ins with other of her patients, the only person that came by was the student doctor accompanied by another student doctor. On Sunday they both came in again and told me I was going to see another doctor the next day. The day was going okay up until one of the nurses came in and said "Oh the doctor said you were low on potassium so we are putting 4 bags through the IV".  Having potassium put in me was the worst feeling, they were putting it through with no serum. I felt fine for the first 5 minutes then my whole arm started to feel as it was burning from the inside and it started to hurt a lot. I called the nurse and told her to stop the potassium because it felt like it was burning my arm. She said "That's the way the doctor told us to put it through" Me "Yeah it's really painful you should check and see if it can get mixed with serum or something because my arm hurts" she checked came back and said it was fine.

How it all works

Monday came along and my readings were still between 15 and 17mmol/L (270 and 306 mg/dL ) I felt impatient because I wanted to leave. Finally at about 2:30pm my nutrisionist came and showed me how to read the lables, told me how to adjust my insuline to my carbs (1 unit of humalog per every 15g of carbs) my new doctor (the diabetes doctor) finally came the next day and she explained how a functional pancreas works.

A person's pancreas makes insulin, the insulin then gets "delivered" through your body when we eat. Making the glucose (sugar) levels not go up or down and it keeps the blood sugar at normal.
For a person with type one diabetes the pancreas stops making insulin. This is due to the fact that when your immune system attacked your beta cells most or all get destroyed so if there are no "deliveries" for all this insulin to be put through your body there is no insulin coming from the pancreas.

I got started with two different kinds of insulin that Tuesday, there was a fast acting one called Humalog and long lasting one called Lantus. The Humalog the short acting, was the insulin I would have to inject every time I would have to eat so that meant breakfast lunch and dinner. The equation was simple. I would have to inject 1 unit per every 15g of a carb. Males are supposed to have 4 - 6 carbs per meal where females only need 2-4 so that meant I needed to poke my self with 4 or 5 units for 4 or 5. The Lantus the longer acting lasts about 24 hours and it acts as a "background" insulin. Also since my blood was still above the 10ths I had to lower it. Let's say if my sugar reading was 14 that afternoon I would then have to divide that by two so 7 (extra units) plus the 3 carbs totaling 10 units of Humalog before each meal. We were trying to get my numbers down to at least a 6-8mmol/L before I was able to go home.

The next day my doctor gave me permit to leave the hospital for a couple of hours. It felt good being out of the hospital for a couple hours I got to see my dogs. The nurses were really pleased I grieved finding out I had diabetes really quick and of how I showed signs of wanting to learn how to treat it and still go on with my life.

On Thursday I got my first blood tester it was a OneTouch Ultra 2. "Seems simple" I thought. All you have to do is put the test strip in the tester and wait for it to turn on and ask you for your blood. I think pricking my finger with the lancet is the worse, sure it doesn't hurt but you know your finger is going to get pricked so it makes it even worse. My "kit" came with a little pouch 10 lancets and 25 test strips. I also remember I got my first set of pens, one for my Humalog and another for my Lantus. I learned it all pretty quick I think once you find out you have this condition the best thing a person can do is learn and pick up stuff on the subject and try and move on. Sure diabetes might be part of your life now, but it doesn't mean you can't have a fun and normal life.


Friday came along, and the nurse informed me I would be going home.

-Thanks for taking time to read my blog.

Camilo Calderon

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