The Truth Behind My Encounter With DKA
(A day like any other, can turn into a day you’ll never forget)
With diabetes comes the good and the bad. When it’s good, it can be REALLY good. But when it’s bad…it can be life-threatening.
I’ve certainly had my share of bad days. Trying to battle the high and the lows, and trying to stay as close to normal without losing my sanity.
With having diabetes I’ve experienced many symptoms. But one day came symptoms like no other…
chills - nausea - vomiting - back pain - weakness - blurred vision
… and lots of ketones
Yes, you’ve guessed it! I had DKA (Diabetic Ketoacidosis)
This was years ago, after a night of drinking with friends. Wanting to live a free, independent young adult life. Knowing, yet not knowing how destructive being the slightest bit careless could affect my diabetes.
I just felt terrible. To the point where I questioned where to take insulin or not. I thought to myself … Well I don’t really plan on eating today, and I don’t want to worry about dropping “low”. I thought I was saving myself from having to fix my blood sugar.
So I missed my morning dose…
(Boy, was that a mistake - NEVER - would I do this again)
I didn’t know at the time that insulin is needed (with or without food). Even on sick days! Without enough insulin in my body, my body can’t receive the glucose necessary for energy.
I kept close eyes on my blood sugar for a few hours that day, which was only in the mid 200’s. I thought that due to the fact I wasn’t eating, that my blood sugar would come down eventually anyways.
But the symptoms progressed. I couldn’t keep anything down … not even water. To be honest, DKA never came to mind. Never had it since being diagnosed, and was most recently been keeping my blood sugars in better control. I finally got to the point where I had to go to the emergency room. I knew something was off. I’ve never felt this sick in my entire life.
Upon getting there, the doctors ran several tests. My boyfriend met me there, very frantic and confused about what was going on. Test came back, that confirmed that I had DKA, showing that the chemistry in my body was thrown off.
I’ve never been admitted for DKA before. So I didn’t know what to expect. I was sent up to the ICU (Intensive Care Unit). This was serious. I was told that I was lucky I caught it early on.
This comes as such a surprise, because I had tighter control over my blood sugars and diabetes than years previous. At this time, I was averaging an A1C of a 6.5-7. This just goes to show you how quickly things can turn sour with diabetes. You’re never “out of the woods” with diabetes. Each day is different from the last.
Diabetes is so unpredictable, demanding, and can be life-threatening.
Upon being placed in the ICU, I received an IV and was on an insulin drip. My body was so weak, I needed help when using the restroom. DKA completely disabled my bodily functions.
While I could have avoided this, and have made better decisions. I did learn from this experience. How I could prevent this from happening in the future. Knowing my limits and being more cautious.
It’s unfortunate that I had to learn the hard way. I had to be reminded of the severity of this disease. While I can still live a normal life, there’s sacrifices to be made, and extra work to be done.
Like they say “what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger“. I’m just glad I’m here to share my insight and experience.
Diabetes tests your will power and your ability to rise above it all. I’ve learned that diabetes doesn’t take sick days. Diabetes doesn’t care about your plans, how your feeling, or what you’d rather be doing. It’s always going to be there, morning and night.
I am thankful and appreciative for St. Joseph’s Hospital, for donating and covering my hospital stay when I had no insurance. For that hospital, those doctors, and nurses helped me recover and return to full functioning health.
The truth is…while diabetes has opened my eyes to a world full of challenges…it’s made me the strong person I am today. So for that I’m grateful.