Ah the holidays -- food, family, vomit, hospital

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • I have always loved Thanksgiving and Christmas/News Year holidays. I can't say I'm traditional about it, but I love the sense of family that holidays can offer.


    My childhood holidays were not steeped in tradition. My father was an airline pilot and often he was "in route" from a global destination on Christmas Eve, so we had to be flexible about dinner and gift opening. Sometimes the holidays were spent elsewhere, like three weeks in the Caribbean, or New Years in Europe.


    Wherever we went the holidays were about being together, and the rest of it was teaching us about cultural differences. A palm tree can be quite a nice Christmas tree!

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    My family is scattered across the country now. We have the Arizona Bartletts, my brother Paul, a pilot for American Airlines, lives in San Clemente Ca., and my brother Dave, a software engineer, and mother live in Pennsylvania. We try every couple of years to have a group holiday, and this year it was at my brother Dave's house.


    A snag in the plans happened three weeks prior to Thanksgiving -- both my brother and his wife slipped discs in their backs. My mom asked if she could move the party to her place to help alleviate the disc people. Ultimately, it was easier for my brother and his wife to help themselves from their own home. This was the tip of the Thanksgiving iceberg!


    Thanksgiving day was fabulous! I watched my nephews play in the marching band and returned to their home for a fabulous feast put on by the traction couple. I spoke to my Arizona brother and his family, who had not been able to make it, and the day was relaxed and easy. Family at its best!


    But at 3 a.m. I woke up with a splitting headache and a blood glucose of 316. I bolused and went back to sleep, having this nagging feeling this was the flu. By 6 a.m. I was not myself, and my blood glucose had risen to 326. By 8:30 a.m. my blood glucose was 346. I couldn't keep anything down.


    DKA had set in fast, and I knew an IV would make things better faster than my trying to wait it out and creating a longer recovery! I was unable to sit up without throwing up. My husband called 911. By 9 a.m. I was getting a ride to the hospital in an ambulance.


    Once in the ER, I thought things would go pretty smoothly.


    After I got my drip, I started to feel better and the anti nausea drug allowed me to sit up! The ER doc came in and asked where I felt pain and then he poked and prodded and left. A nurse returned to replace the fluid bag and started injecting something into the line. I asked what it was and she told me it was to help. That comment is so annoying to me!


    They had added a pain medication, Dilaudid. Within minutes, I had burning in my chest and my legs started to feel restless and I needed to stand and walk. But I had oxygen, IV lines, and vital sign hook ups and all I could do was stand in place. My husband got the nurse, followed by the doctor, who realized I was having a reaction to the pain medication. In the end, a shot of simple Benadryl offered me relief from the effects of Dilaulid.


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    The pain I was feeling from being sick was the only way I could follow my own progress and I was never in enough pain to require something as strong (and addictive) as Dilaudid. I have one major complaint about hospital care these days: What's with the overuse of pain meds?


    I often have to beg for something less aggressive on the list of antibiotics, so that I'm not crippled by side effects and wacky blood glucose readings. I've been known to dip to 35 shortly after taking an antibiotic. And when it comes to homeopathic or allopathic, it's the same, so I just start slowly. I often wonder if I'm more tuned in, or just more reactive to medications. Recently, I had a conversation with someone who has had type 1 for 41 years and she is the same. We both lean on this wisdom: less is more!


    So just to recap: 2 Bartletts slipped discs, 1 Bartlett gobble and vomit. But I did get to talk to my family all weekend instead of the traditional Turkey day greeting! How was your Thanksgiving?

Published On: December 05, 2007