In April of 2008, I was at my boyfriend’s house one night when I started throwing up uncontrollably. About four hours later, I had thrown up almost 20 times and I knew exactly what was going on. I could tell that my body was in diabetic ketoacidosis and I needed to go to the hospital. I sat on the bathroom floor and had the thought of “I think I might die. And I am okay with that.”
I woke my boyfriend up and told him that he needed to take me to the emergency room. We went to the hospital and I explained to the triage nurse that I was diabetic and was in ketoacidosis. I had a bed in the ER within minutes. My blood glucose was 960, the highest it had ever registered. My pH was close to a 7.0, I was severely dehydrated and had to have several IVs simultaneously with insulin, antibiotics, saline and potassium. The nurse later told me that she was surprised I was conscious, and had I been unconscious, she would have been even more surprised if I woke up. I spent four days in the ICU and while it wasn’t my first experience with DKA, but it hopefully will be my last.
In July, my mom called me to tell me that my cousin had died. I have 80+ first cousins and out of my whole HUGE family, she and I were the only ones that had diabetes. We were not close at all, but we did share this curse. According to my mom, my cousin had been in and out of the hospital several times over the previous 12 months or so and the last time she went to the ER, they wanted to admit her but she refused. A couple of days later, my aunt found my cousin on the floor of her room and could not wake her up. The official cause of death was diabetic ketoacidosis.
I had been so close to death in April and then just a few months later, the only other diabetic in my family was dead because of it. That could have SO EASILY been me.
So like I said, I have had several hospitalizations due to DKA, but I am doing my best to make sure that I have had my last one.
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