I found out a former coworker from a software company here in Massachusetts recently spent four days in a coma. The only information I have so far is that he had been very sick and ended up in a coma due to ketoacidosis and, therefore, the cause is a delayed diabetes diagnosis.
He is about 50 years old and a tad hefty. He is a very intelligent technical person but apparently had no reason to suspect diabetes. I took from the person who told me that there is concern about the future of his technical adeptness due to the days he spent in a coma. He has not returned to work yet.
I have put out the word that if he wants help I will be there. It is the least I can do. It is the least any experienced healthy diabetic can do – to offer of their time, support, and knowledge.
I was very fortunate. I did not end up in a coma. My parents, though they had no clue what was wrong, took me to an emergency room before I passed out. There was no concern about my recovery once the doctors made the diagnosis. I never passed out and my alertness rose inordinately upon initiation of insulin and a saline IV. I was very, very fortunate and have always been appreciative.
In this day of diabetes consciousness, I am upset that such a delayed diabetes diagnosis occurred and resulted in four days in a coma. If this disease is such an epidemic, how does this happen? How is the writing not on the wall? How do the symptoms not stand out like a sore thumb?
When blood sugar is so high that it results in a coma, the symptoms are unmistakable. Although some of the symptoms are flu like, as my younger sister put it, my room smelled like death! That is NOT the flu. No doctor should miss it either – the “fruity” smell is gross. The white tongue is more than obvious. The weight loss is stunning. The urination frequency and dehydration are nothing less than blatant.
So apparently, diabetes symptom awareness is NOT getting out there. Where are the old commercials of the symptoms of diabetes? I knew what I had long before my parents did due to a simple commercial back in 1976.
The commercials should NOT just list type 2 symptoms either. Type 1 counts too. I do not care if type 2 accounts for 94% of the diagnoses and of the money spent. Type 1 is much more sudden and much more immediately deadly. As I mentioned, the symptoms stand out like a sore thumb IF people know what they are. Type 1 symptoms are much less subtle and can result in ketoacidosis in a matter of a few days. So … please writers of PSAs (public service announcements), remember type 1 exists too.
Doris J. Dickson