On New Year’s Eve, a night traditionally reserved for revelry, reflection and resolutions, I sat in the emergency room, feeling utterly helpless, watching my daughter slowly lose consciousness while struggling to breathe. Puzzled because she wasn’t running a fever, the nurses ran a battery of tests on her after asking a slew of questions to which we (I) responded “no”. Their initial assessment was a massive infection, but blood work wasn’t backing that up. They were just about to check for a pulmonary embolism when I mentioned her weight loss.
If, dear reader, you remember a post from a year back, I mentioned that I was losing weight, which I have, and all that entailed. My daughter took the opportunity to lose weight with me. She lost weight by cutting back on her sugars, carbs and portions and seemed to be doing fine, except the last month or so, she was looking too skinny. Everyone was asking if she was eating enough and she assured all and sundry she was – multiple times. In fact, her answers were getting harsh and snippy because she was starting to feel badgered. As part of her dietary effort, she’d increased her water intake some time back, so no one was alarmed by the gallon of water, sometimes more, she was drinking every day. If I had written all these signs on paper and looked at it, I would have insisted she see a doctor. As it was, and happens so often when you’re too close to a situation, we had no idea.
I’m sure most of you have guessed by now the diagnosis the nurses and doctors came up with: diabetic ketoacidosis as a result of uncontrolled diabetes. Type I or II is yet to be determined. For her sake, I’m keeping my fingers crossed for Type II because I’ve heard it’s more easy to control. What really freaked me out was the how? Diabetes doesn’t run in our family. It doesn’t fit in with the information I’ve received all my life. This was totally unexpected. I thought it was possibly asthma exacerbated by allergies or a collapsed lung, but diabetes?
Several days have passed since I first started this post. She was released Friday, whereupon we proceeded to a restaurant that we knew would have acceptable food, and the onerous maintenance and forethought that is part and parcel of her condition kicked in. I’ve been on diets before, and I actually worked at Jenny Craig in the mid ’90s, so I understand portion control and exchanges, but instead of being focused on caloric intake, she has to carefully monitor her sugar levels and understand the relationship between carbs and metabolism. Since she’s my daughter, she already knew about this because her mother is a quasi hypochondriac wannabe nurse/doctor who was raised by a medical transcriptionist who listened to doctors dictating patients’ case histories all day long. *pauses, takes a deep breath* In other words, I know just enough to be dangerous.
Life goes on, but for my daughter, it almost didn’t. Do I have a new appreciation for her? for life in general? I would like to think so.
How was your New Year’s?