Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Learning old things

I got curious. You see, I've been putting off writing my book about diabetes. The irony being that my writing it was interrupted by the dramas produced by the complications of diabetes. It's time to focus and get back to work.

But there are things that I simply don't remember about my past, and one of those things is the interaction with friends in the outside world. Outside the hospital, that is. In a way, it's sad that I had friends inside the hospital. They should have been fleeting acquaintances, at best. Instead, I knew many of the chronically ill kids by face and name, some of whom have died from their illnesses, like my beloved friend Sandra.

So what of my friends outside the hospital? What did they think was going on? Did they have any understanding of what was happening? To find out, I wrote to the only guy I'm still in touch with from my teen years, Terence. His response was both amusing and frightening.

You see, he claimed that I was able to make such statements as, "I'll be going into the hospital next Tuesday." The way that sentence lies, without further information, makes is sound as though I was able to plan my hospitalizations at least a week in advance. Mind you, the process of entering diabetic ketoacidosis, DKA, can take only a few hours. Take no insulin and ingest some sugar, and I could be puking my guts out in short order, as was accidentally proven just days before I returned to AZ.

Not sure if I told this story, so I'll tell it now. I'd just received all of my back pay from Social Security, and was feeling wealthy. Thus, I decided to get a new pair of glasses. The only place that could do it in one day was next to the nearest mall, which was about two hours away by bus. I made an early start of it, had an eye exam, and the glasses were being put together while I wandered the mall.

While I wandered, I started to feel my blood glucose rising. I reached into my pocket to get my insulin out, and discovered that I'd brought everything I needed to take my meds...except syringes. Well, I figured I could make it home in time to take a proper dose before things went badly for me...but I was starting to experience polydipsia, or excessive thirst for you uneducated, non-diabetic types. =P

I got the glasses, then went to get a drink at a bar and grill near the bus stop. Since it was mid-day, they were slow. I approached the bar and asked for the largest diet soda they had, to go. I was served the drink, popped the straw into it, and took a HUGE swallow of it...and noticed that it tasted very wrong. I asked if it was diet, to which the bar tender said, "No. It's a Coke." In that moment, I had a sense that I was doomed, all because this idiot couldn't take my order correctly.

Two hours later, stumbling up to the boarding house where I lived, I knew I was beyond a simple dose of insulin. I needed a hospital. I tossed together a bag of clothes and toiletries and was taken to the ER, and was admitted for being in DKA. When asked how I came to be in such bad shape, I told the doctors of the tragic comedy of errors that brought me there. One of the doctors, who'd cared for me when I was there months before with osteomyelitis, simply shook his head in amazement, especially at being served the wrong drink and the consequent swallow that I took.

Back to my machinations of my youth...Terence wasn't as close to me back then as would eventually become. Most often, we would bump into one another at the comic book store, and then end up hanging out for a bit afterward. This was pretty much a weekly event, and my guess would be that it happened most on Friday, when the new comics were in each week. That was my regular day to head to the shop, and...

Wow. And that's not a good wow. I would be planning on Friday my hospitalization at least four days later. I was incredibly STUPID!

And that's all from me. Be well, and DFTBA. (That last of which I obviously forgot in my youth.)

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