So yes, it’s been a while since I’ve last written. I wish I could say I was sick, but I was just being lazy.
SO, let me continue my diabetic journey
It was announced that I would be leaving the ICU! To me that meant I was going home, that I was done with all of these finger prickings and IVs and tubes and wires and all that jazz. I was done feeling sick, feeling that awful feeling of death by my side. Everything was ok!
Ha Ha Ha, how naïve was I!
Definition of “Leaving the ICU”: Being moved down to the third floor and being put into a regular hospital room with a curtain divider that separates you from your roommate who moans every three seconds in pain. Synonyms: disappointment, Hell, hoodwinked. Antonyms: Going home, hope, excitement. Used in a sentence: Kate was still sick, but not as sick as before, so she is leaving the ICU.
So there I was, hangin out in my new room. My roommate was in terrible pain (I think he was recovering from a car accident) and was, in my 15 year old head, annoying. I still had an IV, but only one! And all I had to have hooked up to me was one of those little “ET phone home” things they put on your finger to check your heart beat. It was much nicer. I even got to shower! But I still didn’t quite know what was going on.
My parents were there every now and then, but I was independent and didn’t need them! So I sent them home. I was scared, but so were they, and I didn’t want them to continue to see me like this. It’s weird, but that was my thought process. I would watch TV and my “annoying” roommate moved out and a new one moved in. She was a little girl, probably about 7 or 8 who had been shot in the neck by her 10 year old brother who had found a gun lying around his meth head parents house. It was so sad, but she gave me some company. We would color together and watch movies and talk. I loved that little girl and I hope she is doing well. It was nice to have someone around. I would sometimes get extremely sad because however much texting I did, it wasn’t the same as seeing friends in person. I remember to this day how completely crushed I was when I called my one “true” best friend and we talked for about two minutes before he was too busy and had to go. I had asked him to visit, but he never showed. But at least I had that cute little girl by my side.
I would, however, like to do a little shout out at this point. I had some wonderful family friends visit me in the ICU, they brought me carrots because they couldn’t bring candy or sugary stuff, or so they thought. It was so cute. And when I was in my regular room, two of my dear church leaders came and visited with balloons and magazines and funny stories. I love them both, still to this day. I’m even best friends with one of them. She’s amazing.
Back to the story —
Finally an endocrinologist (for me, a diabetes specialist) came in with another doctor and a nurse and a nutritionist. They began explaining to me what diabetes was. I had something called type one diabetes. They told me my pancreas was dead, didn’t work and would never work again. So to keep me healthy, I would use something called a glucometer to test how much sugar was in my blood before every meal, when I woke up, when I went to bed, and a few other times during the day. THAT’S what that finger poking was all about! I was a bit sad to hear I would have to continue using the device that hurt my fingers, but was reassured that I’d grow calluses and that I would get used to them. (And I have, but they are still so unbelievably annoying and it still does hurt every now and again).
I was then taught about counting carbs. I had to practice, which was really silly because I was actually good at math up to that point in my life and the nutritionist was acting like I was in third grade math. So annoying. I was taught that whenever I ate something, I would have to see how many carbohydrates were in the thing I was eating and then use my super advanced math skills to figure out how much insulin I had to give myself. So what number do I divide it by? It’s the amount of insulin I get for every somewhat carbs. So say I give myself 1 unit for every 10 carbs and I eat a meal worth 100 carbs (SO MANY CARBS!) I’d give myself 10 units of insulin. So my insulin ration would be 1:10
I hope that makes a bit of sense.
I then had to learn how to give myself insulin. I was dreading it! The nurses had been doing it for me, but before I could leave the hospital, I would have to do it myself, along with my parents (because I was an adolescent). I practice on the weird foam thing. I would fill the needle with the right amount of insulin, tap all the bubbles out, and then stick the needle into the weird foam thing and shoot the insulin in. It was so easy, but that was because I wasn’t doing it to myself.
The time had come. I now had to stick a needle into my own skin. They said you had to inject it into your fat, and I had PLENTY of that, so it wasn’t hard to find a spot. I decided to just use my dang arm and I just went for it. I slabbed some alcohol sawabage on the chosen fat surface and then boop, the needle made contact and I injected the insulin.
It was so easy. I have no idea why I was so nervous. I mean, I wasn’t nervous to do it myself, and I wasn’t nervous for my dad to inject me, but my mom…I don’t know why…and she still holds this against me…I was so scared to let her even come close with a needle. But after tons of prying and being threatened that I couldn’t leave until my mom knew how to inject me as well, I gave in and let her stick it to me. Get it? Stick it? Ha ha ha.
I was finally getting released from the hospital.
So that was sort of the short way of telling you what I think four days of “leaving the ICU” was, and learning all of this. But I just had to get to the best part:
The first meal I had after leaving the hospital was In ‘N Out. Dang that was good.
My final installment will be up soon.
It’s the dearest part to me. So if anything, just read the part to come.