Hyperglycemia: The Disease Called Diabetes; My Story

Diabetes is Big Business Today

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For the little pricks!What can happenYour blood sugar recordMore pricks! Common sites around navel to inject insulinSome of the injector pens available
For the little pricks!
For the little pricks!
What can happen
What can happen
Your blood sugar record
Your blood sugar record
More pricks! Common sites around navel to inject insulin
More pricks! Common sites around navel to inject insulin
Some of the injector pens available
Some of the injector pens available

Diabetes: Let the Battle Begin!!


It can't happen to you until it does. I have no idea why my body after 74 years of hard living with no apparent effect, decided to let me down this June past; nearly finish me all together and, as the street walker said, "Condemn me to a life of little pricks!" Well, she might have said it.

I had been ill for a month, or perhaps much longer. As I always know best, I had been eating more and more fruit; drinking more and more fluids containing sugar. I couldn't understand why I felt so bad; was vomiting regularly and couldn't stand without feeling dizzy and on the edge of collapse. I was vomiting black fluid and for a while brainstrust thought it had cholera!

After about 10 days of this I did partially collapse and called an ambulance. The paramedics took one look at me, listened to my galloping heart and made my lie down with oxygen, eventually racing me off with full bells and whistles to the emergency at Princess Alexander Hospital. My blood sugar was 43! Normal is around 5. My pulse was over 200!

You have a different system in the USA. (We, and most of the world, use "millimoles per litre, the USA use "milligrams per 100 milliliters" but the US is coming round to the general system, slightly more simple). For example 4 in the UK, a low reading, is 72 in the US and my horrendous level of 43 is 774 in the US!). I should have been dead! Very sweet, but very dead!

By then I was in a sorry state, everyone thought I had had a heart attack and I may have done, although the evidence for that turned out to be controversial, with the medics who would benefit from a positive result (by stenting, etc) in conflict with two who said my heart showed no damage. I do suffer with arrythmia and the PVC's had run together into one awful irregularity which was mimicking shutdown possibly. (I have seen cardiac specialists since who gave me the green light).

A bed was soon found for me and I was soon on all sorts of fluids dripping into my body night and day...In all I had more than 20 antibiotics to cure infections of one organ and another that were suspected. I could not eat for nearly the whole time I was in hospital - over two weeks, and was drip fed nutrition some of the time and on a catheter to pee (awful things!). Eventually, I managed to force down some "ReddiBrek Porridge" which became my life line and all I could eat for a month.

Nurses came and took blood day and night and I was checked by doctors specializing in all the organs which suffer from poisonous elevated blood sugar. They thought I had been diabetic for some time, perhaps as much as 2 years or more before my emergency. Slight people do OK in hospital: fatties do not! So uncomfortable, you feel like you're in the Gulag! I won't go on about it; our beleagured NHS does its best, but it's socialized medicine, and a more exquisite form of torture could not be devised: some of the nurses (most were angels) could have come straight from Belsen-Belsen. One bitch, who always woke me by vigorously shaking me and shouting, "Mr. C., Mr C!". She was lucky, as I had intended to pretend to be having a nightmare and back-hand her hard the next time she did it! I think she had a premonition and quit!

In time, I was shown how to inject myself with a "Flex Pen," somewhat easier than a normal syringe, containing insulin- 30% insulin aspart, and a mix of aspart and Protamine SC...this provides slow and fast acting insulin. I was set a dose of 19 in the AM and 11 in the PM on the dial of the Pen. Since being home in late June, I have reset this to three injections daily of just 8 each...you are allowed to tinker with your dosage as you realise what's going on, and there are quite a few insulin types and combinations available to your doctor and you. I am diabetic 2, the one also known as "Adult Onset Diabetes." Type 1, one, is that which you usually have all your life, or which starts before age 40, where the body's pancreas does not produce insulin at all. With 2, the body usually produces insulin, but the body loses the ability to use it properly, (although some may still be effective along with the insulin you inject).

I hardly modified my diet (the one before the idiocy of earlier in the year), just cut out most sugar and ate less all round. The insulin worked well, injected 15 minutes before eating, it takes care of the huge spikes of elevated blood sugar common with all diabetics after eating and which are so dangerous to the body if they stay high. This poisonous sugar, which on the one hand we cannot live without, on the other, can also kill us by degrees as it attacks heart, kidneys, eyes and circulation, etc. The object is to keep the blood sugar between safe levels, some where between 4 and 7 millimoles; you have to keep records of amounts before and after meals, etc; also starvation levels first thing in the morning. An associated danger is the blood sugar going too low and causing Hypoglycemia, (known as "Hypos" by sufferers) below 4 - which can cause collapse and earlier unpleasant symptoms...as is going too high - over, say, 15, can cause unpleasant symptoms as well, it's worth the effort to keep the beast within safe levels - still somethingt of a juggling act with food intake and insulin amounts.

It's important to exercise, I walk a lot when the weather is kind, or use a stationary bike when confined by the British rain and blasts. As exercise can cause the blood sugar to drop, it's best to cover this by having a little food before you exercise and checking the level before and afterwards.

In the UK, you also have to notify your vehicle insurers of your illness; if you don't, and you have to claim, they might refuse to pay in the case of an accident...embarrasing if you have hurt a third party and might involve jail. You also have to notify the DMV Driving License governent department who write to your doctor to ask if there is any impediment to your ability to drive. What they look for is if you have had emergency Hypoglycemic Events - hypos where you have needed help...so careful, Brits, when you fill the forms out! Maybe it's the same in the USA?

Probably, checking the level of your blood sugar is the most unpleasant chore associated with this malaise. You have a little device which is spring- loaded with a lancet and is fired into the finger tip, (ouch!); the drop of blood which ensues is added to a test strip already loaded into a blood-glucose (sugar) meter and a reading is quickly obtained. This is done from about 4, to a high of 10 times a day, while the patient is trying to adjust insulin, diet, exercise to keep to appropriate levels of blood sugar. Between 5 and 7 mmo1/L (millimoles), or so is ideal, so there's not much room for mistakes!

It's important to keep a daily record of your blood sugar results to show your doctor who should do a three-monthly check to ascertain your average levels and other things.(all chemists and diabetes-care helplines supply printed record books as well as other supplies). I don't know how people without the NHS umbrella pay for all the insulin injections (up to 4 a day), these are the Pens and Needles; the pricking device and the Lancets, as well as the test strips and device to check sugar levels; the visits to the clinic and hospitals, etc., etc

Diabetes is becoming a serious, world-wide problem, with the UK alone having more than 3 million registered sufferers, as well as a multi-billion dollar business supplying all the stuff diabetics need. Drinking alcohol, smoking, bad diet, stress, a sedentary lifestyle - all are linked to genetic makeup and other factors causing the epidemic.

This nasty poisonous elevated sugar can also cause neuropathy and pain in places all around the body, especially in the feet and legs where circulation can become compromised sometimes leading to amputation, so it is in your interests to face the problem head-on and slow down or even negate the symptoms....as I write, I have an ache in my left shoulder which is related I'm sure. If you are older, as I am, you will often confuse symptoms of other woes, such as artheritis, etc., with pain caused by elevated sugar...it's a bit of a challenge to say the least! But I actually feel much better than before I was diagnosed.

I am still learning about this incurable, but eminently treatable brute menacing my comfortable old age: many type 1 people have been suffering all their lives, or contact type 2 much earlier in life. There is lots of research being done at present, especially with the types of, and provision of, insulin. Cell stem research is opening interesting possibilities of repairing the damaged pancreas. Many patients are now getting their insulin from "pumps" attached to the body which regulate better the insulin and require much less puncturing of our poor bods.

As this article is getting too long, I will wrap it up for now: I would like to hear from diabetics in the US, etc., with information I have missed or any enquire I will attempt to answer. Screeds on the Internet, of course, which will fill in any info I have missed.

"Don't let all those little pricks get you down!"

Diogenes...

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Comments 24 comments

Au fait profile image

Au fait 23 months ago from North Texas

So glad you returned to you usual unsweetened self and are feeling much better. Yes exercise is the magic bullet. With sufficient exercise, if one isn't imbibing too many tons of sugar on a regular basis, one can actually stave off the development of diabetes for a while. Maybe indefinitely if one is vigilante with the exercise and diet.

Insulin resistance often leads to Type 2. IR is usually a result of a sedentary lifestyle combined with obesity. It's a vicious circle.

Glad you are now feeling much better and taking care of yourself. Good of you to share your experience so that others may take heed . . .


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Well, thank you liddle gurl. You aren't diabetic by any chance? Hope not. It does take some regulating I must say. So much info on line, too, I sometimes wonder if it's worth writing anything any more!

Love ya Bob xo


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 23 months ago from Rural Arizona

Bob, it sounds to me like you are guaranteed a place in heaven because you have already served your time in hell. I'm happy that you have this beast under control and are back with us and writing again. I hope the worst is behind you now.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hiya Opie: Served my time in Hell? I only lived in Texas for a coupla years!

Sure hope you're right mate

Bob


Old Poolman profile image

Old Poolman 23 months ago from Rural Arizona

Bob, that comment made me choke on my coffee I was laughing so hard. I'm sure there are some Texan's who would argue with you as they firmly believe they are already in heaven.


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 23 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

'The mind is its own place/And can make a heaven of Hell/A Hell of Heaven" (Satan in "Paradise Lost"). I mean, au fait and Poolman--Bob lives in England's weather VOLUNTARILY! I have never challenged his intelligence, but he's marginal on judgment and common sense, can we all agree? Well-balanced people live where I do-- minus 35 and 6' of snow half the year. But thru it all, the lad CAN write. Damn fine story, Bob. Chin up! "Once more into the breech, dear friends: we'll plug up that hole with our English dead" and other such quotes bespeaking British pluck etc. etc. etc. We have no diabetes in Canada y'know. Sufferers just go outside naked in January, which scares the shit out of the disease, which promptly turns South and flees to Texas.


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Never really thought of you as a sweet guy, but I guess now you are.

This nasty disease also runs in my family, but only one cousin in my generation suffered from it. He refused to submit to diet and meds, and so he left us far too soon.

I'm happy to learn that you are recovering, Bob, because I look forward to reading anything you write.


moonfroth profile image

moonfroth 23 months ago from Rural BC (Canada) & N of Puerto Vallarta (Mexico)

Copy that, Will!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

OP, sorry I nearly choked ya. Actually, Texas has some good points...it must do somewhere!

Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi Clark...thanks, I think! I think England is worse than Texas, but the welfare state pays the bills and I couldn't make it any more in the places I'd like to live...unless I win the lottery.

That's mostly nonsense about the British pluck, etc., especially these days, it's a madhouse here...

Bob


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hi, Will...I don't think you ever recover, Will, just keep it at bay with insulin, diet and exercise. No one in my family had it, mostly died of lung cancer and drinking!

Good to hear from you Will Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

No, it's controlled but not curable.

Keep us informed, Bob. You have lots of friends pulling for you and interested in your progress.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 23 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers, Will, you are a gentleman as well as our best writer

Bob


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 23 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

Wow! That's a huge compliment, especially coming from an accomplished writer we all admire.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 22 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

I have fought insulin resistance & type 2 diabetes for over 20 years now. It's a progressive disease, so yes, you do have to monitor forever. It's controllable, and there is actually a cure. Gastric bypass has been shown to "cure" type 2 diabetes and they don't even know why. But gastric bypass is kind of like swapping one health problem for another, so I haven't done it.

We will just have to muddle through old age suffering all the little pricks! As if we didn't have to do that anyway. Especially in Texas. Here in Austin, we are a Democratic blue island surrounded by a sea of stupidity as the rest of the state continues to vote red. It's a nightmare. But we are keeping Austin Real!


diogenes profile image

diogenes 22 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Hiya dear: I worked for a female redneck down in Baja for 5 years, Carrie Duncan of the Gringo Gazette. She is far and away the most hateful and hate-filled person I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. (not a Texan). That mindless, prevalent attitude of hate and superiority found in much of Texas, and all over the country in honesty, reminds one of the emanations from a pack of rabid dogs...shame, because I have also met some wonderful people in that great state.

Bob


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 22 months ago from Somewhere in the universe

Yea, I don't even know where all the animosity comes from! Texans have always been outspoken, but currently, we are being invaded from both the north and south. Maybe even from the east and west. There are way too many people moving to Texas right now.


diogenes profile image

diogenes 22 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

It's the ones leaching upward from the Styx that really poison the place.

Now I have friggin Shingles! Life! How does one survive old age

Bob x


WillStarr profile image

WillStarr 22 months ago from Phoenix, Arizona

I'm so sorry to hear you have shingles, Bob. My mother had them and she really suffered. I hope your case is mild. Have you received any meds?


diogenes profile image

diogenes 22 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Yes...I have anti-virals. I don't know if it's mild or severe but I don't like it! Lots of pain and an extensive rash on left shoulder...I am 2 weeks into it so its drying up and on the way out.

Bob. Have the vaccination if you haven't already!


stricktlydating profile image

stricktlydating 22 months ago from Australia

Hi Bob, I can't add to this topic, but just wanted to say sorry to hear what you've been going through. I hope it gets easier for you. Best wishes for the silly season too :)


diogenes profile image

diogenes 22 months ago from UK and Mexico Author

Cheers Sheila!! Happy Christmas! Bob xoox


Diane Dodd 21 months ago

Goodness, Bawb. You know we don't allow diabetes in the South. What we do without sweet tea and pecan pie? That's where you messed up. Shouldn't remained over here in the swamps with the rest of us. XOX)


diogenes 21 months ago

Yeah...you all die of dead livers (I can't spell cirosis!)

xo

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