by Helen Wilde
I didn’t get my blogpost written for the group blog this week. Nor last week. In fact, I haven’t had my head up out of the sheets much since dinnertime on April 1st, when I went out to dinner to celebrate my son in laws’ 50th. With frog cakes..
That’s because I’m sick. I don’t mean with a metabolic disorder (Type 2 diabetes); nor an auto immune disease-my asthma; nor chronic pain; nor reflux; nor blood pressure; nor cholesterol; nor neuralgia; nor neuropathy; nor arthritis. I have a virus. A drag me down, unrelenting, constantly mutating virus. First it was probably the odd sneeze, next the extreme sore throat + a crushing, debilitating headache. Sweating of course, a cough. I slept. For 3 days. Because I take panadol constantly anyway, some symptoms were dealt with. What was I to do about my diabetes? I knew I should eat some carbs, I should try to exercise. On two days I staggered around the block, feeling dizzy & unsafe. On the other days I briefly wandered in my back yard, in my nightie. Eating was of no interest. Nor was checking my blood glucose levels. But I did keep taking all of my oral medications as prescribed, at the usual times. I cancelled all appointments. I stopped reading & working. I couldn’t scroll on my mobile, as that was dizzying, so no Facebooking either. I couldn’t care for my grandchildren. I couldn’t visit my poor, demented elderly mother.
On the 8th day, the mutation was sudden. By now my sore throat had eased, the sneezing was still intermittent, & I’d developed what medicos call ‘a productive cough’. I’m a grandma, I know the lingo. But on this day, I actually felt a little better. I did 2 hours of paperwork. Then I stood up. The world swam around me. I felt nauseous, faint. I nearly passed out. I had other symptoms too. The worst was the severe vertigo. I tested my bgl. Steady at 6.2. So it wasn’t low blood glucose. I tested my BP. That was pretty ‘normal’. I rang the Dr’s rooms for advice, the Dr said come here straightaway, or go to Hospital.
Now I have never been to an Emergency Department for myself. But I have been many times with Family members. I know you do not want to be in a ‘walk in’ situation in Emergency. I couldn’t drive, I couldn’t even open my eyes for the vertigo, I could barely walk. So my husband drove me. I carried a blue bucket, & a green towel. I was in old ‘trackie dacks’, my hair was a mess. The journey was quick, the Dr terrific. I threw up in my bucket, conveniently, she could test it for blood. She gave me an injection, a prescription, instructions to my husband about blood pressure, & a letter for the Hospital, should certain indications occur. Instructions to “Come back to see me on Thursday”. We set off home. The injection helped very quickly. Although I kept my eyes closed in the car, I was able to walk with eyes open to get to the car, & to have a rational discussion about filling the prescription.
I now had a new regime. 2 hourly Blood pressure checks, to particularly note if the pulse rate climbed & the BP dropped. A new medication, 8 hourly, so unfortunately, to start with, alarms & early morning wakings. My vertigo eased, I slept some more, & suddenly it was Thursday. My husband rang to book me in, of course it had to be a ‘double booking’. My husband said I needed to find something ‘decent’ to wear, as he wasn’t going to take me in as ‘disheveled’ as I’d been on Tuesday. That made me laugh. When the Dr saw me, I was neat, tidy, walking steadily, I was wearing earrings. But when the Dr. examined me, she found another ‘mutation’. Now I have a chest infection, I need an antibiotic. Sigh. My chest does hurt. But apparently it’s not asthma. 🙁
Now it’s the next day. The antibiotics are making me nauseous. The metformin is affecting my gut. The stemetil is helping with the vertigo & nausea, but apparently is only ‘masking’ those symptoms, I still have the virus. The family’s long made plans for the School Holidays are ‘on hold’.
Last night my daughter flew from Sydney to Adelaide. Her plane, like most of the traffic to & from the Eastern seaboard yesterday, was delayed by the massive Category 5 cyclone Ita, which is currently approaching North Queensland.
During the delay, she was texting, & suddenly about 40 minutes before boarding, she texted, “I’m low.” A message like that puts my virus into perspective. Managing my type 2 diabetes when I’m sick is not hard, & it’s not life threatening. I might go high, or low. I might have work to do when the virus passes. But when you are insulin dependent, day by day, hour by hour, minute by minute, intensive mathematical calculations have to be worked through, instant decisions made, not always with a fully functioning brain. In either case, systems & plans are crucial in getting through the situation. Knowing that I’d be worried, my daughter texted, “I’m eating lots of glucose, back up to 10 now. Have longer acting carbs on board. Will make sure I’m steady before boarding”. What a lovely clear, reassuring plan.
Mine is to take the medication as prescribed, rest as prescribed, watch for changes as prescribed. Eat when I can, exercise if I can. I have had somewhat of a ‘bonus’. Not eating much other than my obligatory bananas (for the leg & foot cramps, to get the potassium), I have lost around 4kg. So maybe my T2diabetes is cured? Or maybe the chicken soup will cure me. LOL….
Last night I made Chicken soup.
And today, as cyclone Ita bears down upon North Queensland, I am hoping that no lives are lost.
Helen was a long term Senior Counsellor with Diabetes Counselling Online. She is the parent of someone who has been living with Type 1 diabetes since 1979, & has had Type 2 diabetes herself since 2001.