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Re: [IP] DKA experience (and humility)


Thank you so much for sharing your family's ordeal.  I'm forever falsely
making the assumption that when I've been dealing with diabetes for long
enough, that soon those feelings of guilt, apprehension etc etc. will vanish
in regards to my dealings with the medical team and ER personnel.

Your recount sends a clear message that when I get to the stage of dealing
with diabetes for as long as you have that I won't be any more solitarily
capable of managing my son's disease than I am right now after almost three
years into the whole stinkin deal.

Yet....the pump has made life much easier in so many ways.  You have,
however, given me a vivid reminder NOT to take the device for granted so
that I fail to carry out conventional checks for trouble during times of

Thank you so much for sharing.

Mom of 7 year old Brendan
-----Original Message-----
From: Doreen McGlade <email @ redacted>
To: email @ redacted
<email @ redacted>
Date: January 4, 2000 9:23 AM
Subject: [IP] DKA experience (and humility)

>Hi all--
>After 33 years of living with diabetes, and 15 years as the mom of a child
>with diabetes--I've just had my first experience with DKA.  I learned some
>hard lessons that I'd like to share.
>Josh (my 17 year old pumper who was diagnosed when he was 2) got a flu bug
>and started vomiting Sunday morning.  He'd spent the night at a friend's
>home--woke up ill and came home around 6 a.m.  I wasn't up yet, but he
>talked to his dad and was asleep when I got up.  I let him sleep most of
>the day, with periodic wake-up calls to check his bg.  Late that afternoon
>his blood sugar was 145, and I told my sister (via ICQ) how pleased I was
>that the pump was helping us manage this sickness so easily.
>Josh got up and ate a little bit of dinner--still pretty puny, but kept it
>down.  He seemed to be feeling a little better, but went back to bed around
>7:00.  School started up again Monday, and after the long break I was happy
>that he was getting caught up on his rest.  I'm fighting a cold, so I took
>a decongestent and went to bed early, too.  Later in the night, as we all
>slept, Josh started vomiting again.  He was thirsty, so he kept trying to
>drink large amounts of liquids, but they weren't staying down at all.  He
>woke me up at 2 a.m. (thank goodness!) and told me what had been happening.
> His blood sugar was over 300 and he was spilling ketones--but he told me
>he'd been chugging koolaid (ugh!).  I had him start sipping flat diet 7-up,
>figuring that slow steady fluid intake and corrective bolusing would get
>him back on track.
>Two hours later he'd managed to drink about 16 ounces of fluid--we'd
>bolused with a dual wave, trying to correct to 200 without making him
>crash.  Then he started vomiting again.  His blood sugar was still over
>300, and his ketones were high.  So I fought back all of my reservations
>about calling docs at 4 am (why does this kind of thing ALWAYS happen in
>the early morning hours and/or on the weekend?) and all of my reservations
>about hospitals and emergency rooms (all the stories I'd heard about
>ignorance regarding pumps) and took him into the ER.
>He was in serious DKA.  The ER personnel were very knowledgeable about
>diabetes and DKA (and fairly knowledgeable about pumping, too).  After 24
>hours of treatment, he is well on the road to recovery.  I am getting ready
>to go back to the hospital with a greater understanding of my own
>limitations and a heightened appreciation for doctors and nurses and
>emergency personnel. I had over-estimated my own knowledge and experience
>and ability to cope with the curves that diabetes can throw at us.
>(Diabetes sucks, as my son would say!)
>I'm not beating myself up--every medical person I've talked to throughout
>this ordeal has been gracious and non-judgemental and impressed with the 15
>years that my child has NOT been into the ER.  I am, however, feeling very
>humble and going back this morning to learn from this experience.
>So far I've learned two MAJOR lessons (and I hope some of you can learn
>from this email):
>1.  DKA can develop--and become life-threatening--VERY QUICKLY with
>vomiting and dehydration.  I thought DKA developed over the course of days
>and weeks--not mere hours.  I was wrong, wrong, wrong!
>2.  I need to remember my own limitations, no matter how many years I've
>dealt with diabetes and how much experience I have dealing with it one a
>day to day basis.  Doctors and nurses and emergency personnel have
>limitations and we do need to monitor the care we (and/or our loved ones)
>receive, but they have resources and knowledge that I don't have.  They
>probably saved my son's life yesterday, and I am extremely grateful.
>Thanks for the opportunity to get this all out of my head and to share it
>with others who will understand.
>:-)  Doreen in Wyoming
>for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
>send a DONATION http://www.Insulin-Pumpers.org/donate.shtml

for HELP or to subscribe/unsubscribe, contact: HELP@insulin-pumpers.org
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