Sunday, November 28, 2010

A Surgery, A Rice-ectomy & The Diabetes Transplant Summit

It went exceptionally well. Although my blood sugar was not well behaved in the least(the instant I rolled out of bed @4:30 am, it began to skyrocket) 165 at 5 am,and 265 2.5 hours later when the nurse took it.

I was the first patient of the as soon as they got me back there, changed,and an IV in, it was a whirlwind of anesthesiologist/nurse/surgeon & it seemed like no time at all that they were all ready. I really wasn't(as evidenced by my blood sugar-gave a several unit correction & cued the anesthesiologist that this sort of excursion was normal for someone who was nervous. I get like that prior to any sort of "nock out" procedure. And I know that sounds stupid,but that's how I am. The dude in the other unit(2nd patient of the day) was not anxious in the least.(I envied his nonchalance) I didn't like the blood sugar,but there's really not much you can do about something(hardcore correction) w/out flirting with hypoglycemia.(they were perfectly ok with it) My sole request,was for a hearty dose of anti-nausea meds,I wasn't worried that worried about the pain.(they did a nerve block & a pain med so I knew it wouldn't wear off for awhile)But I have learned that anytime I go under,there will always be nausea (waiting for me) when I wake up. The anesthesiologist (who caters to cowards) was very accommodating in that last request. Nothing was going to make me any less nervous,but at least the atmosphere was very upbeat.

And just like that,I was waking up from a dreamless dream (some 2 hours later),arm almost completely encased in white plaster at a 90 degree angle. There was no pain, or nausea(much to my surprise) just that fuzzy headed disorientation that takes some time to go away.

Blood Sugar: 276. Happy day in the morning. I corrected(one handed),& discovered just how hard it is to check your blood sugar with one hand.(I use the Multiclix,so I had to cock first,& attempt to hit my pinkie as I pushed down with the thumb) Sat up,getting acclimated to the thought of going home & got hit by a horrible wave of nausea & started dry retching. The nurse got me a smelling salt/nausea killer sort of thing, which smelled really horrible but did indeed knock that nausea into submission. Tried again 15 minutes later to sit up & was fine. The nurse also gave me some alcohol swabs(I never knew that those were nausea busters), RX's,and then the husband drove me home. Nerve block wore off about 5 hours later but I still was not in any great pain. More then anything, it itched.(the crazy,rip your skin to shreds itch) My mom helped out that first day.

The next morning, I dumped my glass of water into the cabinet drawer, flooding my iphone in the process. As soon as that registered,I grabbed it out, attempted to dry it off,& did an emergency Rice-ectomy (container,cover iphone with rice, leave for 24 hours) not knowing if it was truly the end for my phone or not.

That evening,I stuffed my arm in a sling & husband & I went to The Diabetes Transplant Summit. And there's not really much I can add to that(Kathy has said it all) but it was a very interesting experience. One of the participants made a statement that really stuck in my head,and that was "Good control doesn't do you any good if you're dead." Hypoglycemia is a very serious problem..& kills people every year.(how many,I'm not sure,but even if it were just 1 death that is a tragedy)
For these people, hypos were constant, severe, and life threatening. Every single day they dealt with that reality. They had the transplant(s) to fix that particular issue...not very many of them had secondary complications from diabetes. (although that can be another reason for having a transplant) One of them, Gary Kleiman, has been on immunosuppressents more then half his life(he had a kidney transplant in his 20's) For them,having to take immunosuppressents was an acceptable trade-off. None of them has to worry about severe hypoglycemia..even the ones who have to take small doses of supplemental insulin.(over time, the islet's die) And I must agree,if I were in such a situation I would take life w/immunosuppressents over no life at all. I think everyone who goes into those transplants is absolutely informed about the risks they're taking..but the bigger risk is not having the transplant. And I respect their choice,& the courage it takes to do that.

They are working on raising genetically "pure" pigs, for (future) large scale porcine islet harvesting. Of course,this is all stuff for the future...but it's a fascinating concept (pig islets & some sort of localized immunosuppression=possible cure?)

By the end of all that,I really wanted to go home,take painkillers, and not go to any more social events for the next week. It was exhausting,but events like this only come around once in a blue moon...& I'm glad I went.

(the next morning,my iphone powered right it all ended well)

1 comment:

meanderings said...

Glad it's done.
Glad you didn't puke all over the recovery room.
Hope your phone dries out.
Hope you feel better each day!