On February 3, 2003 (10 days before my 22nd birthday), I was at a friend’s house with one of my other friends. She had just broken up with her boyfriend and was not doing well so we went there to support her. I felt really weird that night. I could not catch my breath and my heart felt like it was skipping beats.
I went to see my doctor the next day. Only he wasn’t available so I saw his PA. I have nothing against PAs – it is actually what I wanted to be when I started college – but this woman almost killed me.
I had a piece of paper in my hand with a few weeks of meter results on it. There was not a number on there under 200 and the past few weeks were all 500 or above. She left the room with my log to presumably speak with the doctor. She returned a few minutes later with a Post-It note. She told me I needed to call this number (an endocrinologist) because I needed to be put on insulin. With that, my appointment was over.
As I left the office, I waved to my doctor and he waved back. Everything must have been okay.
I called the endocrinologist’s office that afternoon and got an appointment for that Friday. With that, I drove back up to campus to resume classes the next day. I was also interviewing students for leadership positions Tuesday night.
I had to leave part-way through the interviews because I felt awful. I could not be around other people. Later that night I was on the computer – on AIM with my best friend. I was telling her what had happened at the doctor the day before. Little did I know, she was also on the phone with her parents, telling them my symptoms and what the doctors had said. Her parents were very upset and told her to get off the phone with them and call someone at the school right away. All I knew was that suddenly she was not responding to my IMs.
Around 11 o’clock, there was a knock at my door, and there stood my best friend, my Resident Director, the Resident Director on duty (dorm parent for the older readers), and a Campus Security officer.
Would you believe that the RD on duty was a Type 1 diabetic pumper? I think his presence and knowledgeable convincing that night was the only reason I agreed to go to the hospital and not wait for my appointment that Friday.
We got to the ER and triage asked me why I was there – I told them that my friends made me. I was not doing well convincing them that I was really sick. They eventually took me back to a room and tested my blood sugar. 713.
I was informed that I would be spending the night and they started an IV. Correction – they tried to start an IV but missed the vein and saline started building up under the skin of my right elbow. The ER was deserted and I could not find anyone to come fix it. Finally a nurse walked by. “Is it supposed to look like this?” and she quickly pulled it out and started a new one in my hand – much better!
Saline, insulin, and potassium and I was on my way upstairs!
It was about 1 am at that point, and I seriously debated calling my parents. I didn’t want to wake them up. I was convinced to call my mom, but I was so out of it, I have no idea if she came up that night or not.
The next day, a doctor came by to visit. He said they were reviewing my labs to see if I needed insulin or pills. He came back about 10 minutes later and said he changed his mind. My A1C came back at 12.6 and that mixed with my history convinced him I was Type 1. He also told my mom that the other doctor’s office never should have let me go. I should have been admitted straight from their office. My mom was pissed!
She called the doctor’s office ready to chew him out! He said that he had no idea I had been there two days before. Get this – the physician’s assistant never consulted with him on my case! She didn’t get fired but I wish she had! Then when I saw him on the way out, he did not recognize me. I was about 20 pounds under weight and my blond hair had been dyed deep red. Heck – I didn’t recognize me. He felt really bad and was really apologetic, but I have never stepped foot in his office again!
Wow! This story is really long as I actually type it all out. I think I can fit the rest of it in one more day.