A diabetic coma

Natalie Community Member
  • My BGs started going up in January or thereabouts, and no matter how much insulin I took, they just kept going up. One day I took 150 units to try to bring my BG down and it didn't do much. I was ravenously hungry as well, and eating everything in sight, especially carbs -- it was almost like a new onset case of diabetes.


    Well, with all that insulin, I gained weight -- up to 168 from my usual 145-150.

    I went to see my endo a month before I went into the coma with an A1c of 10.1, which, as those who know me would recognize, is an ungodly high A1c for me -- I've never been out of the 6's except for a 7.1 when I was diagnosed. And this has been going on for 19 years.

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    So he changed my insulin to Apidra, which didn't work, and when I saw him a month later, on a Monday, my A1c was 10.7 -- headed in the wrong direction, no? My liver enzymes were in the hundreds (normal is less than 40), and my fasting BG was 302.


    Well, he didn't do anything except take me off of Simvastatin because of the liver enzymes. And to see him in a month.


    Over the time my BGs had been creeping up, I got loopier and started having blackouts -- accused my cats of taking my slippers out of the bedroom and putting them neatly paired up by the couch! I started not being able to do things I normally do quite well, such as read music, and pay my bills.


    Well, anyway, come Sunday (Aug.29), I was supposed to go to a picnic, and didn't show up. I had slept all day Saturday and all night and all day Sunday, but it wasn't sleep -- I was starting to go into a coma.


    Fortunately, my friends missed me and decided to come check up on me -- one of them had been over on Tuesday, and had thought I was "off".

    I remember them being outside the house and calling my name, and that's the last thing I remember.


    What they tell me is that they came into the house when I didn't answer (good thing I keep my door unlocked!) and found me trying to put on a slipper and not succeeding. They got me to the couch and tried to talk to me and I was apparently answering, but totally incoherently. They also said I looked terrible, with my face swollen and deathly pale.


    Anyway, they decided to take me to the emergency room -- didn't call an ambulance, but WALKED me down the driveway with one on each side holding me up, and one in back carrying the purses. They got me in the car and to the ER, where they could see that I was in bad shape and whisked me back into the treatment area.


    They did a bunch of tests on me -- EKG, MRI, etc. and questioned whether I had been drinking (I'm a teetotaler!) whether it was a drug overdose, a drug interaction, senile dementia (!) but when they got the results of my BG, which was over 600, they figured it was a diabetic coma and admitted me.


    I was out of it until Tuesday, when I finally woke up -- at first I thought I was in Canada, don't know why! I was pretty much out of it mentally -- gradually recovered my mental acuity, but it took a while. I couldn't figure out what the IV's were for -- one must have been an insulin drip -- and there was another one that might have been blood. Plus oxygen.


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    I made the mistake of having my meds brought from home to the hospital, so the nurse could see what I was on -- I couldn't remember -- and also my insulin pump. BIG mistake, as these were confiscated from me, and while I got the pump back when I left, I never got my meds back, and spent hundreds of dollars replacing them (the insurance wouldn't pay because it was too early).


    They put me on Lantus 20 units at night, and nothing to cover meals, but corrections before meals (Novolog) to bring down high BGs on a sliding scale. Talk about diabetes care from the dark ages!!


    On Friday, they sent me to a convalescent care/rehabilitation/Alzheimer's home to get my BGs in better control since I was no longer critical. Insulin was still on the same Lantus plus sliding scale corrections B*llsh*t, and they were only checking my BG before meals, which meant I sat for hours with BGs in the 300's at first, but after two days, I cornered the doctor and told him that 1) I had to have my BGs checked 2 hours after meals and corrected if need be, AND I needed them checked before meals, and 2) I needed coverage for meals. He agreed to do this and prescribed a fixed dose of 7 units of Novolog before meals.

    Some of the nurses were very upset with this plan -- they couldn't understand WHY I was doing it differently from their long-held routine.


    One morning, there was nothing on the breakfast menu but cereal -- I complained that I couldn't eat that, and they accommodated me by serving me an egg. Yay! :-S


    I ended up eating nothing but meat, eggs, cottage cheese, peanut butter and salad -- but at least that got my BGs to start coming down.


    I was in that place for 3 weeks and then they finally sent me home on the Lantus plus Novolog regimen. It was a nightmare -- I was still having highs, but I also had 2 lows in the week after I came home, because I'm not such a disciplined eater as I had to be in the hospital. I really wanted my pump!! But I was strictly instructed NOT to put it on until I saw a doctor.


    Well, to make a long story longer, I decided to find a new endo, and when I had my first appointment with him (He's a Type 1 on a pump) I told him I wanted to go back on the pump, and he asked if I had it with me, which I did, and he said, "Let's get it out and program it, and you can start up when you get home!" Glory hallelujah!!


    So here I am, with BGs back in my usual range, using a bit more insulin than I did before the coma (30-45 units a day, rather than the 20-30 I used before), my weight has come back down, and I'm feeling back to normal.


    Nice to be alive!!


    Natalie ._c-


Published On: November 12, 2010