Monday, February 18, 2008

CGMS, Pumps and surgery, part 1

Having appendicitis has been a fear of mine for a while. I realize that might sound strange. I have a long family history of it- including my brother and sister in law in the past 2 years. I know my sister in law doesn't factor into the genetics, but it does contribute to my anxiety. Up until now, I had never had surgery. The thought of having to have surgery with no time to prepare scared me silly. Add to it the fears that I would run across health care providers who were uneducated about diabetes and pumps, well, I just didn't ever want to deal with appendicitis.
However, it wanted to deal with me. Much like diabetes, it entered my life suddenly and without welcome.
Sunday afternoon my parents helped me move into my new house. I started to not feeling well, but figured it was something I ate. By the time we got everything inside, I couldn't hide it anymore, broke into tears, and told my mom that I didn't feel well and wanted to go home. I grabbed a sweatshirt, my meds and my pillow and went home. I spent the rest of the night on the couch dealing with epigastric pain and nausea. It was not fun. Finally, around 3am, the stomach pain resolved, but lower right quadrant pain appeared. I was so relieved, because I truly felt better. I could actually sleep. When I woke up that morning, my mom asked me how I was feeling, and I told her I was getting better. I didn't want to eat, but other than that, I started making plans to return home. I avoided her question on whether the pain had really gone away or moved. Eventually she realized I wasn't walking standing straight, and was not doing anything but sitting on the couch. After she convinced me to let her test my rebound tenderness, I finally agreed to go to the ER. I spent the whole ride there telling her we were going to feel stupid when it was nothing. I was playing the denial game. After an IV (which, miracle of miracles, was in the first try!), and a CAT scan (with no oral contrast- hurray!) I found myself waiting in pre-op. After I got the results that it was indeed appendicitis, the time from the ER to the OR was about half an hour. Before that, things moved slowly. There was very little doubt in the ER doc's mind that it was appendicitis, and after 4mg of Dilaudid with no pain relief, I had to agree. Entering the OR was a strange experience for me. I was numb. I would not let me mind wander to any of the "what ifs." I had just spent some time in the OR in my last clinical rotation, so the surroundings were familiar, and I knew what was going to happen, so that helped my uneasiness. I was still kind of freaking out about what they were going to do with my pump and the Guardian...until I met the anesthesiologist. He was admittedly a technology geek. He came in and said..."So I hear you’re diabetic, what are we going to do with you?" I showed him my pump and the CGMS. And he asked a bunch of questions about how they worked. I showed him how to do a temp basal, and how to check on my blood sugar. Another doctor came in to talk to me; the anesthesiologist said to him something to the effect of "look at all the cool stuff this girl has! I just press this button to look at her blood sugar, and then I can titrate her insulin if I have to! Isn't it cool?" I knew then that I would be OK. I went into the OR, and everyone was talking and being calm and casual, just like they always are. And even though I was the one on the table, instead of standing in the corner watching, I felt at ease. All the fears I had about having surgery were answered. In true fashion, when I woke up in the PACU (post anesthia care unit or post op), the first question I asked was- What's my blood sugar? I knew I would be OK when the nurse could answer me right away. I was 180.
The rest of the stay in the hospital was not as uneventful, but that is another post.


Penny said...


I'm glad to hear that everything turned out OK. You were blessed to get the anesthesiologist (I have no idea how to spell that) that you did.

One of my biggest fears is of something like that happening to Riley. If he has to go to emergency surgery there is more to deal with than just whatever they are operating on. Also, I worry that if he goes in for some other emergency (ie: broken bone) they will want to take over his insulin themselves and remove his pump.

Scott K. Johnson said...

Sounds like part 1 went Ok! That's great!

Christine-Megan said...

Sorry to hear you had appendicitis! Hope you're feeling better soon!

Felix Kasza said...

No relief from 4mg of Dilaudid? Oh dear. At least they had you on the table (and in bluissful anaesthesia) fairly soon!

Cheers, and get well soon --

Amylia said...

Hi Jen! I couldn't figure out how to email you, so I'm leaving a comment instead.

If you're willing to burn a CD for me of your favorite country songs, I would certainly love that!

Email me at and I will send you my address. Maybe I can burn one for you with my favorite songs, too. If you'd like that, let me know and give me YOUR address in an email! :)