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DKA on the high seas - not fun at all!


Anna's Blog
By: FatCatAnna

The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes! Whoo! Whoo!

I am a Type 1 diabetic diagnosed back in the early 60's as a child.  I am living in Montreal, Canada and enjoy scribbling about diabetes from time to time. I’ve had my ups / downs just like any person would experience with going through life - diabetic or not.  My motto in life?  Diabetes does not control me – I control it!! 

You can find more posts/discussions at my Facebook page called "The Roller Coaster Ride of Diabetes" and also on Twitter under the name of FatCatAnna.  Feel free to follow me at both places or send me a private message!


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 Blog Entries
The joys of having Bowie my CGMS – Chapter 1 - Sep 02
 Okay, for those of you who have never read my #dblogs before, I give names to all my little gizmos that I use for controlling my diabetes.  What we have today, ...
more
In a slump and scared - Jul 21
It’s rare for me to compose a #dblog that is not all “chirpy chirpy” … I think the last time I did one that was kind of down was at Diabetes1.org ...
more
Surviving the Holocaust with Type 1 diabetes - Mar 27
  " To the best of my knowledge, I am the only diabetic who survived years of imprisonment in German concentration camps. This is my story "   The above words ...
more
Sugar and Your Health - Mar 06
The other day I emptied out a 4 kg (about 10 lbs) of white sugar that I had dated a year ago when I opened it.  I use white sugar purely for cooking (I make my own ...
more
Eating from the ground - Yuca Fries - Feb 20
I am home now from a working holiday, in the Bahamas and Miami.  Despite the weather being abit cooler then normal (they only get 2 weeks of winter - we were there in ...
more
Posted: Aug 31, 2013 15:53
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  • DKA on the high seas - not fun at all!

    Thursday, August 8th, 2013 (excerpt from my diary)

    I’ve been on holidays, so not keeping record of my daily diabetes regime (what works / what doesn’t – the roller coaster ride of diabetes … right?).  I’m back home now – heading off on last bit of holidays for 1 more week after 2 weeks of sailing in the 1,000 Islands.  My next part of holidays – road trip (e.g. The Antidote in Northampton, MA – bit of a coastal break in a B&B). 

    I experienced on the 2nd last day of my sailing adventures – something I’ve not had happen since I was in 12 or 13 years old (my memory of when this exactly is kind of not the greatest – I guess it’s one memory I like to forget about – as I’m not proud of it).  I had my 2nd DKA experience in my almost 50 years of having Type 1 diabetes.  The last time – it was a slow forming DKA – I kept on getting sick with “flu” – or so we all thought – remember – this was the days before BG meters and various insulin formulas better suited to each individual.  You had what you had back than (this is in the 70’s) – depending on your economic situation.  I also had been given the “golden key” by my parents at what some parents today would consider very young – to handle my diabetes on my own.  My parents “trusted” me that I took my insulin, tested my urine, was honest …. Hmmm – yeah sure.

    So, all I know is, with that first DKA episode, I slammed myself into a coma. I have broken memories of being taken by car, whizzing along the highway, the lights blinking on/off (this was at night).  We all went, EVERYONE, to the ER.  After that, I don’t really remember too much, I was in/out of consciousness over the next few days – remembered the nurse trying to find a vein to hook me up to saline probably, and then there was the cute doctor.  How could a young teen not forget a cute doctor who was trying to figure out WTF this silly girl had done.  I’d actually been over almost a year – not been taking good care of my diabetes.  I wasn’t in denial – I’ll never really know what I was going thru’ –  I was just like any teen – just with a little health problem – that buggered things up. 

    Now fast forward to 2013 … after a rather hectic sail in the “Forty Acres”  (we jibed – things got abit crazy in high winds, chopping waters, I was ready to divorce my sweet DH, yadda, yadda, yadda – it’s a normal thing I’ve been told amongst other women wives who sail with their bespoken).  We decided at that point – to tuck our tails in between our legs – and motor back to safe anchorage.  Let’s just say, I needed a stiff drink once we got settled off of Endymion Island.

    Time to change infusion set just after dinner – and I was all set.   I’ve been using either the Inset II (preloaded plastic cannula unit – very easy to use) or during the silicone allergy I had with the Inset’s – the plain ol’ Contact Detach.   I chose the Inset II for a change of pace – and all went in well – until I tested just before bed time.  I was REALLY high – 18 mmol/l (324 mg/dl).   I’d not had anything unusual to eat, so wondered if perhaps stress from that day was causing it.  So, I did a correction bolus, and retested an hour later – and I was climbing up – I was now at 21 (378) – I felt around the area – it didn’t feel wet – which would have explained something was up.   Test for ketones – and of course – yuppers – beautiful deep purple!  My next step was to take a correction shot – with the fear of the previous correction bolus and the shot making me go low – into hypo fairy land.  I could see I was in for a long night.  Meanwhile, DH is snoring away at this point, oblivious to what I’m feeling (at that point – I was feeling abit sick, thirsty (drinking lots of water), just plain yucky).  Set alarm for 1 hour later to retest – tho’ of course – what diabetic can sleep when facing this?  Next BG test – reveals I’m creeping up to 25 (450).  At that point, I realise it’s got to be the infusion set, but before I can do anything – I started to have horrible cramps – so I rushed off to our head (very tiny little place – to do your business in – you can’t be too big living on a boat I’m telling you).  Then it’s woosh out the backside, and now I’m feeling REALLY bad, and memoires are starting to flood back from the 70’s.  Like WTF????  Then next second – I’m rapidly turning around in the head – knickers down at my knees (Knees up Mother Brown playing in my head).  

    Praying to the Porcelain Goddess I was – and it really hit me hard at that point – that things were not good.   I started to call for my DH (not hard to do – the boat is only 30’ long by about 10’ wide).  Though at this point he point was waking up – knowing something wasn’t right.   Later on, he was telling me he was ready to call out Mayday – to get a port nearby us – prepared with an ambulance or helicopter to airlift me.  Now, is that movie material or what?

    I can jest about it now, but as you can see in the picture below, the cannula NEVER entered the skin, it basically got trapped sideways into the adhesive tape.  What still gets to me this day – is why there was no occlusion alert from my pump – I would have thought it would have noticed a problem – and the other thing that still mystifies me – but not worth the bother anymore – why the areas wasn’t wet with insulin.

    Check my blog at Blogger - where I'll have more detailed pictures - due to inability to make them any larger!

    Many scenarios go thru’ a diabetics head when this happens – with high blood sugars – insulin gone bad – you name it.  There are a few scenarios that goes thru’ our head while we try to be calm and figure out what to do.  For some, you might have headed to ER, in my case, it was abit difficult.


    Long story short – in went the Contact Detach – and slowly over about 48 hours – my BG came down – tho’ it took almost a full week to get fully “normal” again – my system was that screwed up by this f-up with the infusion mishap.

    Last week when I got back home finally, I did call up Animas – to tell them of the experience – since I noticed when I decided to try the Inset again that there was a similar sound I remembered hearing when I was pulling back the Inset II that evening.  Part Two will reveal what this "sound" is - along with some tips from the Animas Technician – who is also on a pump like ourselves– and how to avoid this type of this type of ordeal – which hopefully will help others like yourselves if you’re ever in this situation.

    I don't want any of you feeling this way the next day after a fun ... NOT  ... night of DKA ... 

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    Animas (1) 1000 Islands (1) holidays (1) sailing (1) infusion (1) diabetic ketoacidosis (1) DKA (1)

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