In 2011 I was in an accident in Melbourne, Australia where I had to be taken under for a trauma surgery to my jaw. It may sound like blasphemy, but when I was in the OR bullpen (I am sure there is a more appropriate name!), the anesthesiologist was kindly telling me what they were going to do, and kept asking if I could remove my insulin pump and the entire site (a band-aid like adhesive where a hairlike need is inserted into my skin so insulin could flow into my body).
I obliged. I didn’t want to take it off because I knew for one, my backside is one of the best spots for my pump, and getting a good site that absorbs the insulin efficiently, for me then, was not a quick process. Above all, I was fasted for far too long, not thinking entirely clearly and was in severe pain despite the medication I was on and did not want to twist my body in the needed fashion to get a new site. Secondly, I assumed I had to manage to get a new site myself because this method of controlling my blood sugars was not common in Melbourne, a commonwealth country where the government funded the medical supplies. Thirdly, I didn’t see the need. He wanted to remove it to prevent a bed sore/bed wound, and I knew I was a healthy 20-something and the surgery was not anticipated to be an all-day event, or days event. So the anesthesiologist and I met in the middle. He took my pump, I left on my site.
While my blood sugars were tested throughout the 4-hour surgery, and I am guessing the range was flexible, I did not have insulin administered at all during that time. I have a vague memory post-op, which was late in the evening, of my Certified Diabetes Educator running into my room asking for my glucose reading because the pump removal was against her orders. Sure enough, I was loaded with ketones, which thankfully recovered, but I could easily say, I was scared for my life. How could this top-level trauma hospital in all of the country, let alone state, miss this? No doubt the doctor did call me after I was discharged acknowledging the mistake.
While this story has more details, and I will spare them, it is an example of a moment and not the only one in the decades I have had type 1 diabetes, that I felt alone, without a team that I fully trusted to care for me entirely.
As a newly diagnosed 8-year-old, a growing teen, a new college student transitioning to an insulin pump, a soon-to-be mom monitoring blood sugars throughout pregnancy (2x) like a hawk, I’ve met with many health care professionals shedding loads of advice on how to best manage my disease; and many tips are still with me, but also occasions when I thought, “I wish they knew how to do this 24/7, 365 and reconsider what they are asking of me.”
Where I am getting, and perhaps you can relate, I want to be your person, helping you on the journey of living with diabetes emotionally and therapeutically. It is far more than a game of counting carbs and drawing up a dose of insulin or medication or manipulating a diet to fit the need. If you are in need of building a team for your diabetes and the timing is right, let me be your coach.
Don’t hesitate to ask, and I wish you the best health, today and the many tomorrows.