Monday, July 16, 2012

IVs and Vampires

Flashback Continued...

That night in the emergency room was the first time I had been in the hospital since I was born. It was a strange, chaotic place that bore no similarities to my favorite hospital TV dramas (no hot doctors battling outrageous personal issues while heroically saving my life). My phone died almost immediately after I arrived, which severely limited my ability to communicate with my now panicking family and friends. While I was down in the ER in a tiny closet of a room being strapped up to all matter of machine, my brother and his girlfriend would take turns coming in to talk to me, but it wasn't long before it got late and became painfully clear I wasn't going anywhere.

After they left, it was just me, my Diabetes for Dummies book, and a swarm of doctors and nurses buzzing into my room then out every few minutes. I quickly got used to telling my complicated story.

"You're a diabetic but you don't have insulin?"

"Well, I just got diagnosed this morning, and my doctor didn't give me any..."

By midnight, it was clear I was going to stay the night. Thanks to IV insulin, my blood sugar was starting to fall, but even after two hours I was still hovering around 400. They wheeled me out of the ER and through a long corridor and up to ICU.

I spent the next couple hours reading my diabetes book. There was no way I could get to sleep, and even if I did, I had nurses coming in to take vitals on me every half hour. And beyond that, it was all just a little bit exciting. I had my first IV, my first insulin shot (they were hitting me with insulin from all angles), and my first blood draw. (By the end of my third year with diabetes, I have had over 25 IVs [mostly thanks to a clinical trail I was in], over 15 blood draws and about 4,380 insulin shots.)

By 3:00am my head was pounding as my brain began to expand back to normal size thanks to a never ending supply of IV fluids and I was finally willing to get some sleep. It wasn't easy. Aside from the constant barrage of nurses, I had an unusually young looking lab tech in a wife beater try to steal my blood in the darkest hours of the night (lab tech or vampire? I'm still not certain).

I finally fell asleep around five in the morning. Not much later, as the first rays of sun broke the black of night, I rolled over to find my mom sitting quietly next to my bed. I wasn't sure where she had come from or how on earth she had crept so quietly into my room, but I was certainly glad to see her and to this day, the sight of her sitting there is one of my fondest memories.

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