Blog Entries With Tag: DKA


Posted: Jul 5, 2014

Craig Idlebrook who is the editor at Insulin Nation has been asking on their Facebook page for stories from children/parents about their diabetic camping experiences.  I gave Craig a brief description of my Camp Banting experience (and I actually had blogged abit here at Diabetes1.org a few years ago).   

Though boy oh boy could I tell him a lot more – e.g. sleeping with my first “boyfriend” on a sandy mosquito infested beach at the young age of 10.  Oppsie – my parents will now know I was being a naughty girl then.  He’s also asked for pictures but cameras weren’t cheap in those days like they are today.   I said I’d look Monday when I was off work for the pictures just incase but of course, what did I do?!?

I opened up Pandora’s box (aka my memory box) on my afternoon break (I work from home). I have yet to come across any camp pictures (cameras like today weren’t readily available – and not cheap for destructive kids like me  to own).  I did though come across disintegrating scrap books, pictures of friends that I could use as blackmail … KIDDING … sort of.  I haven’t gone thru’ this stuff in 30+ years.  Memory floods are hitting me – but luckily – not many revolve around diabetes – but I did come across something in my careful rummaging around.  

I came across a letter I that might interest a few of those parents – worried about their kids and DKA.  I survived it luckily without any ill effects (sometimes brain loss can occur).   I was 13 years old when I wrote this back in the 1974, and had been diabetic for 7 years already.  

What you will find below is EXACTLY how I wrote it out … in pencil (fast fading – and reason for my typing this out here) … obviously the word “unconscious” was something I didn’t know how to spell

 ***********

May 30th

I’m in the hospital because I had a very bad coma. I came to the hospital at about 3:00.  During Monday I had been very sick and vomiting.  I had a plastic tube stuck up my left hand for about three days. Luckily, when I came to Emergency I was uncon while they were putting the wires into me. It really hurts getting them into you because last night a nurse had to put it in my hand, but right this time. She jabbed me with a 3 or 4 inch plastic needle but it did’nt work. After two other attempts she put it in the same spot as in the other hand. But it did’nt stay in that long. My left hand is all swollen. It am staying here til I don’t know when. But I thought I was leaving on Friday, but I think I may stay Saturday and Sunday because the dietician made my diet up for those days. The food is out of this world. My hair was in a mess this morning but a nurse helped get them out for me. The doctor said I just came in time. He said I’ve been having a coma, (really) for about 3 months

May 31st

Yesterday was DIASTER day, “this was a rehearsal” a woman said on the intercom. Their were lots of ambulances and it was interesting. It’s all because of the bridge they were building near Vincent Massey Park, a lot of workmen were killed or injured for the rest of there lives’. So if something happens like this again all the people in the Maternity ward go over to the Nurses’ Apartments, and the injured go to Maternity. I’m going home today, that’s what Needle Nurse says. I can’t wait. I’m going to miss Mrs. Lachance a lot though. I really like her a lot.

-----------------------------

Note from Anna of today – The doctor who took care of me?  I feel in love with him – sadly my regular endo at the time … WAS NOT AMUSED by my going DKA.  Mrs. Lachance was the lady next to me in my hospital room.  Back in those days – we T1D youngsters were put into the ward for what I am now called … an Old Fart. 

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Posted: Nov 1, 2013

Last week I had gone to my local clinic (CLSC) for my blood work for my endo appointment I had on Tuesday. Two hour wait – fasting – wanting to pee like a horse – but I held fast – and wished I lived in Cornwall, Ontario – where you can make an appointment for a diabetic blood work – no waiting.  Welcome to my province of Quebec – where we diabetics get NO RESPECT !!  It's like lining up for a loaf of bread in Russia in 1915 !

Fast forward to this week – and I’m waiting in anticipation for what my results are.  Don’t we all go thru’ this (well – maybe not for you folks that can get your results the next day).  Here in my province in Canada – unless you go private - $$$ - or have private insurance coverage - you out of luck - you wait).  For some reason, I lucked in on only waiting 10 minutes (usually it’s much longer) – and my endo called my name. 

The first thing he said to me as I entered into his office …. “You’ve put on weight – what’s happened?”

I wasn’t really shocked by that statement – since I know I’ve been gaining weight (thryoid tests are normal - I'm just perimenopausal).  It's not from over eating – my habits haven’t changed - I actually am eating less due to work load – but my emotional state of being over the past year has been abit fragile plus … I’m a lazy cow (the job I do requires a lot of sitting on my behind).

Of course, as I explained this to him, he nodded, saying “Good excuses Anna”.  Onto the scale I went – since my last visit to him in July – I’ve blossomed.  I’ve never ever been the weight that I am – even after I’d had my DKA experience as a teenager – where I’d put on weight (memories of my Mum buying Hefty Boys corduroy pants for me always makes me cringe).  My Mum was often picking on me about my weight, and made me feel guilty about eating – sigh.  Writing these blogs sometimes brings back memories I don’t like to remember.

Promptly he took my blood pressure (BP) and this is sometimes the worst part for me – as I have the well-known ‘white coat syndrome” – my BP is never as good as what I have at home.  His first reading out of the corner of my eye was something like 185 over … at that point he said something that wasn’t good.  Meanwhile, in my brain I’m going WTF???  He retakes it on another machine – the regular wall version (before he was using one of the home versions we can buy) – and this time – it’s abit better – but still higher than my normal readings – 135/120.  Of course, at home, mine are in usually in the 115/70 area – sometimes lower.  I’ve never had a problem with high BP.

Of course, he says this is all to do with my increased weight (jab, jab, JAB) – and then asks – “do you eat a lot of processed foods?”  I tell him no, that I rarely eat processed foods;  when I have time/money I try to do all my own cooking without adding extra salt, etc.  Hmm, but inside my head I think … I DO LOVE CHEESE - which is high in salt!!! 

So, the jist of the whole visit was that I’ve REALLY got to lose weight - especially with his concern over my BP.  He stressed that I become active (he still insists that sailing is a lazy man’s sport – which in away – as a cruiser – it is – you don’t do much – not like he does with his golfing – where you have a goal – to find the hole).

And yes, my A1C despite my DKA episode over my holidays this summer – was pretty good (he says normally A1C will rise due to DKA) – it was abit higher – but still excellent.  And he admitted, if I’d been on multiple dosage injections (MDI) – that probably the DKA would never have occurred – which I totally agree with him.  Pumps do have their benefit - but not when they don't alarm for an occlusion, etc. like George Michael apparently didn't do in my case.  

So, now I’m off to test my BG, hopefully accomplish a 30 minute walk, then test my BG again, and post my results for the Big Blue Test that I partake in every year.  I’m hoping unlike the other day when I did it, I don’t drop in BG to the point of hypo land, and will be reducing my basal rate on my insulin pump abit (thank you Petronella Peach for that suggestion).

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Posted: Aug 31, 2013

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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Posted: Oct 5, 2012

circa 70's - can you figure out where I am?

I am not sure if my memories of being a diabetic in grade school are wiped clean due to DKA that I had in my teens - but all I know is - my memories of growing up with diabetes under the age of 12 - sadly are pretty vague - only pictures and the few journals I keep jog my memory abit more.  I remember things from time to time, like summer time at the park across my street, where we had activities that kept us kids out of trouble (e.g. a ride from the west end of Ottawa to the Parliament Hills).  Did I have problems with hypos on that ride?  I have no idea.  I'm sure my Mum packed extra goodies for that day trip, but all I know is, that I had fun (or at least the little snippets I remember - were fun - except for cycling up hills ).

This blog has come to light after reading Steve's blog about being a father of not just one, but two Type 1 diabetic children.  Reading how their lives have been affected has made me wonder ... how it was for my own parents.  They've never really talked much to me about it, I just know that in those days (I was diagnosed in the 60's) - most of the child rearing went to the Mum who generally stayed at home while the Dad worked.  I'm not sure what age I was when my Mum started working again, but I just remember going to hospital visits for my diabetes by myself (being dropped off by my Dad as it was abit of a bus ride and very early in the morning - then I'd bus back later in the afternoon).  I guess my parents made me very independent at a younger age then most kids are these days (e.g. Mum's taxi service). l I sometimes think that they had too much trust in me, which ultimately lead to my having DKA in the end. 

One thing that came to my noggin' the other day as I was driving back from the boat (mast is now down - sigh - sailing over for this year) - I don't recall going to many birthday parties.  Was it because of my Mum being worried about the foods or an overnight sleep over going out of control because of my diabetes?  I know sometimes I used to feel abit left out that friends around me would be going to parties - because I'd hear about them at school on the following Monday about their goody bags, etc.  I'm not even sure if I felt abit envious - that I - the diabetic child wasn't invited.  We're those parents holding the parties scared of having a diabetic child at a birthday party or sleep over?


I know one of the best parties that I still have vague memories of, perhaps when I was 8 or 9 - was going to an Italian restaurant ... that served all of us "ladies”.... Shirley Temples (made from ginger ale / grenadine / garnished with SWEET marishino cherries).  Ehgads, these are sugar loaded - and I remembered sucking back on a few of those, along with munching on those cherries.  I felt like such an adult - drinking something from the bar!!    There was no going back at that point - as I was introduced to foods that I'd never had before at home - though again - no recollection of what I chomped down on - but for myself - it is something that stays in my mind as a good memory.

Remember, I was only on 1 shot of insulin a day of NPH  (an intermediate insulin that takes 3 to 4 hours to work - maximum effect is between 4 and 8 hours, and stops working after about 18 to 28 hours).  My one day a shot (in the morning before heading off to school) was based on an a diet set up by the dietician at my local hospital based on my needs and insulin dosage.

All I can say is, thinking back, my blood sugars if there was home testing available in those days would have probably been sky rocket with all the sugar / carbs consumed in that birthday meal - yum! yum!  I don't even recall if perhaps my Mum had at least had me do a urine test to see where I stood, but then, would a correciton dosage been done if a faster insulin was available then?  You just made do with that 1 shot of what I lovingly call "juice of life" a day and tested your urine for level of sugar and / or ketones (all of which are now done with convenient strips rather than my test tube days).

So, with today's parents - I'm not sure how it would be handled going to a party like this.  I'd like to think that if I had all the technology at hand like I do now, I would just do what I do with testing my blood sugar, adjust my insulin dosage, and LIVE! I mean having diabetes doesn't have to stop you from enjoying life to the fullest - or does it?


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Posted: May 4, 2011

I’ve been joining up to more Facebook pages that are aimed at parents with diabetic children and I have had to hold my true comments back due to not wanting to upset the parents.  Well, I’ve decided to roll the dice and bare it all.  I have written about this subject in the past as well as in various forums within the D-OC (diabetic online community) as I was diagnosed just as I entered Grade 1 – so bear with me if I repeat myself (remember – I’m now ½ a century old ).

What has lead me today to write this post is seeing a parent say they are battling a horrible disease.  It hit me like a brick in the face reading that.  I wrote on my Facebook page that parents with that children are likes sponges and to be careful with what they said or thought.  I was once one young like your own son/daughter – and could sometimes hear the whispers (I have Super Power hearing – remember I wear a cape ) of my parents behind closed doors as they tried to fathom what they were up against –if they were bad things – luckily I had shoved those words into the deep recesses of my brain.  Back in the 60’s when I was diagnosed, we had much less knowledge about diabetes in young children (sometimes I think it was hit or miss), we were only 1% of the population compared to the now almost 10%.  I was a cute novelty in the hospital I went to in Ottawa, where mainly Type 2’s were being taken care of.  I darn well took advantage of that as well – I knew where the bread was buttered.

Other than that diabetes was just something that was part of my life and I didn’t really think much about it.  Injections then were just once a day.  Testing of urine a few times a day (I can’t really recall – it just was something I did – just like tying up your shoe laces – wait – now kids use Velcro).  I was a kid just like any other kid.  I wanted to explore, play with my friends!  Luckily my parents pretty well let me do anything I wanted to do.  I was I guess what you would call a wanderer – a parent’s worst nightmare.  I was always off exploring in the woods, going on organized bicycle trips in the summer time with the youth camp that was at the park across my street.  I was just plain active.  Do I remember much about having hypos, etc.?  Nope, all I knew I was a kid having fun, playing with my friends.

I think my parents giving me this independence probably is what made me stronger with coping with life with diabetes.  They did not make a big thing out of it.  Perhaps now-a-days due to all the medical advancements – parents perhaps know too much – and it worries them with trying to keep their child’s A1C at that “perfect” number along with blood sugar readings.  I don’t really recall too many hypo episodes – when they did – it was jelly bean time – yippee!!!  I really don't remember many bad episodes (well - one of my Mum chasing around the house when I had a hypo and my vivid imagination thought she was a giant chasing after me and she's only 5' 2" (1.6 metres).

Of course, in my teen years, life became abit more difficult with peer pressure, etc.  I mean, what parent doesn’t experience problems with their teenager, diabetic or not?  Our hormones are way out of control – we want to be adults NOW – we don’t want to do what our parents tell us to do.  With diabetes, it’s abit more complicated, but I managed alright and was holding down 2 part time jobs along with school.  Again, maybe due to my parents letting me take control of my diabetes much earlier than many parents do today helped?  Was it a good thing?  I don’t know.  I’m to blame I know for going into DKA and coma at the age of 14.  Again, this memory is vague, probably not a pleasant experience for me to remember (or for my parents as well plus as my Mum says - it's too long ago to remember for her).  I survived though; it was a learning lesson, and luckily no devastating results except for what they say a few brain cells lost for earlier memories and my knotted hair got cut short (I was always ahead of time with fashion ).

So, the point of my writing this to all you parents out there.  Please be careful with what you think/say around your children.  After almost ½ a century of being a diabetic – I can attest that I think having diabetes for most of my life has made me a much better person and hopefully the same will apply to your children with having a positive attitude to the ups/downs of what diabetes can bring.  There are also so many great discoveries being made in the 21st century that astound me sometimes, that it makes me excited to keep on living/mentoring/educating about diabetes and I want to be able to try new products and make my life which I already consider is really good, even better!!!   




Picture taken in 1968 when my Nan came for a visit us in Canada
(she thought I was a terribly spoiled child and bought my Mum
a paddle to keep me in place)

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