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be careful about hospital visits

Posted 02-23-2011 at 11:06 AM by PGHPatient
Updated 02-23-2011 at 11:07 AM by PGHPatient

I am a type 1 diabetic and have been so for almost 30 years without complications.
Unfortunately I had to go to a hospital with severe gastrointestinal distress. I thought it was food poisoning. Isn't that what we all think these days? When I got to the hospital, it was full of patients who had come in with an intestinal virus. When I told the emergency doctor that I now thought that I had the virus, he replied that he was accepting my self diagnosis of food poisoning and sending me to a small branch hospital.
I was taken to that hospital. The nurse on duty was monitoring my dehydration using the catheter method ( this shows how much fluid you are putting out). The assumption is that if you put out fluid, then you are not dehydrated.
This does not work with type 1 diabetics if their blood sugar is high. The body just keeps putting out fluid to try to get rid of the sugar. It will do that until you die.
There were no glucose readings done during the night, so no one knew what my blood sugar was doing.
By early morning, I was in diabetic ketoacidosis. I was transferred to the cardiac care unit of the main hospital by 1:00PM. Sometime during that afternoon I had a heart attack. And sometime during my stay either at the branch hospital or the main one, I also suffered lung damage.
How could this happen? I had told the ER doctor that I was type 1. Also while I was in the ER, the nurses woke me up because I was hyperventilating, and asked me for the name of my endochronologist. They called her and she told them I was type 1 and insulin sensitive.
However, on the ambulance ticket it stated that I had diabetes melliatus and was to be given "palliative care".
Apparently, the doctor did not believe that I was type 1. I was 71 at the time, but age does not determine the type of diabetes you have.
If you are very sick and go to a hospital, you need to have someone there that will make sure that people understand what you need to have in terms of medical care. This is a heavy burden to put on your loved ones, but it is necessary.
It is surprising how little the average doctor knows about diabetics, and how much they assume that they are expert in.
If I had not been so sick myself, I would have known what to say and what to insist on in the way of treatment.
So be very careful about going to the hospital and make sure you have someone who will speak for you.
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