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Thursday, May 6, 2010

Diagnosis Day

Note:  The following post is a recount of other people's testimony.  After Trey took me back to my apartment, I do not remember anything until I woke up in the hospital the next morning.  So, this is a 1.5-person testimony (story about me recounted by others but told by me, get it?  ahhh, nevermind!) of my diabetes diagnosis.  

After Trey took me back to my apartment, he and my roommate Jennifer attempted to take care of me and let me rest.  Trey fed me chicken noodle soup and Gatorade by the keg, because that's what the doc-in-box clinic doctors told him to do.  I was so out of it that Trey pretty much had to dress me for bed.

Once in bed, I never could get comfy.  I tossed and turned every 20-30 minutes waking up, wanting more Gatorade.  Meanwhile, Trey made a round of calls to my mom, his mom, the ER where I eventually ended up.  Trey's mom had once mentioned diabetes with all of my symptoms, but the clinic thought it was a stomach flu.

Monday, December 11, 2006:  Around 8:00 AM after I hadn't gotten any better or responsive, Trey and Jennifer dressed me and wheeled me out to my car in one of these wood-rolling chairs we had in our apartment.  Once I arrived in at the ER, the medical staff came out and tried to get a response out of me.  "Holly . . . Holly . . . Holly!"  All the while they were pounding on my chest to try and get me to wake up. After no response they took me away and admitted me.  I'm guessing at some point when they were doing all the vital tests, they checked my blood sugar.  My initial reading with a standard meter was so high that it couldn't register a number; the meter just said "HIGH".  They had to get out a higher precision meter when the striking number came back:  over 1400 (note:  I never got an exact number.  My guess is the medical staff look at the number and saw 1-4-#-# and said "Oh S&!T!")  I vaguely remember waking up at this point and seeing Jennifer's face and going back out again.  The nurse asked me where I was and for some reason I said "UAB"--the University of Alabama in Birmingham.  I suppose I thought I had gotten so sick they had to transport me to the UAB Hospital.

At some point during the night, my mom drove up.  The usual drive from south Alabama to north Alabama usually takes 5 hours.  My mother took about 3!  Around 11:00 AM, I woke up and my mom was sitting in the chair beside my bed.  Jennifer was still there, but she left soon after so she could shower and study for her final.  I vaguely remember things in the hospital that day.  I remember seeing an IV in my right arm.  I had this tube in my nose.  I was wearing one of those gowns without a back (I remember thinking, "Where am I and why am I naked?!")  A nurse came in and asked me if I needed anything, and I asked her to call my work to let them know I wouldn't be in today.  I also asked for another gown, to wear on my backside to be completely covered.  I remember telling my mom and nurse that I was thirsty (I was used to chugging Gatorade by the gallons).  They told me I wasn't allowed to eat or drink anything, but I could have some ice to chew on. 

Some time that afternoon, my dad arrived.  I was lying in bed, IVs and wires all coming out of me--his little girl.  I remember seeing his face then he immediately turned around, his hands covering his eyes and mouth.  I could tell he was starting to cry.  "Hey, Baby!" he mustered.  "Dad, I'm OK.  I'm OK, Dad" I tried reassuring him.  At some point, he and my mom left to meet my endocrinologist.  (Trey told me later that he tells them that I'm lucky to be alive, and they have a good cry together.  So glad I didn't see that!)

Then, he comes in.  White coat and white hair, he looked important.  I sat up straight in my hospital bed, as if I could muster up any dignity lying there without any clothes minus my two hospital gowns.  My parents surrounded me, Mom on my left, Dad on my right.  He looked me straight in the eye and said, "Holly, you have developed type 1 diabetes, but it was nothing you did.  You didn't do anything wrong.  We'll have you here a few days until we get your sugars down, but we don't want to do it too fast."  

At this point, I didn't realize the magnitude of his words.  I knew they were giving me insulin, but they didn't tell me I would have to take it for the rest of my life (probably a good thing).  I remember my mom saying "She's not good with shots.  I don't know how she's going to handle this."  All I knew at the time was I just wanted to rest, and sleep, and chew ice.

My parents left around 9:00 PM, and I was left alone in this room.  Nurses came in all hours to check my blood sugar.  I remember watching a lot of Spongebob, because that was the most entertaining show available on the hospital's cable network (plus, it was less serious than the atmosphere around me, a release).  I remember looking out the window from the 3rd floor.  It was December in Alabama, and I was supposed to be on Christmas break.  I remember looking outside my window and praying, "Lord, whatever this means, I want You with me."


  1. Hey Holly,

    Nice to "meet" you and welcome to the D-OC. I was dx'ed in 2003 and make my online home over at

    All the best,

  2. Oh, good story. I was 12 when I was diagnosed and I remember my sister got sooo mad at me because I was eating her World's Finest Chocolate Candy Bars. I lived mostly alone with my diabetes even through college. My husband is the only one who gets it with me, and really knows what it does to me. So, finally last year, I started looking for people online. I belonged to some really cool communities online and thought, well heck, maybe there are some diabetics out there, too. :D So, I started a blog.

    All of a sudden, I think I need a new blog design. PRETTY!!! Pretty, pretty, pretty! :D

  3. Nice to meet you!!! My daughter is a Type 1, diagnosed at age 5 (she is now 10).

  4. OMGsh...reading this brings back so many memories...

    Except they were of my daughter.

    She was dx at the age of 24 months almost 5 years ago. The 60 hours's exactly as you describe -- the stumbling, the's surreal to hear it from someone who has been through it. I'll never be able to hear her version of that day.

    She was also in DKA -- they told me that I would have put her to bed and she would have been gone by morning had we not gotten help that day.

    God bless you....and may God bless this journey.

  5. Wow, I can't believe it was so high. I dreamt a while back that my blood sugar was 1,000 and I thought that was ridiculous. I had no idea it could get so high. That is just nuts.

  6. Hey Holly
    I just read ur post on SUM.
    I am Nandita from India, currently working in Jakarta ...and as you write it
    ohh yeah a type 1 Diabetic :)
    IT was great to read ur blog
    :) keep writing...
    I am yet to meet a type1 and blogs like urs always remind me that I am not alone
    By the way ..really kewl glucometer bag (is that what it is called?)
    Mine looks quite messy ...maybe its time to buy a new one
    Keep writing :)

  7. @Anonymous: my meter is also a wallet that I purchased from They have all kinds of different wallet/meter combos, including a cute butterfly one! (If I wasn't an adult 25-year-old career girl, I might have gotten that one.)

    Nice to meet you, too! I'm finding there's real strength in this diabetic online community.

  8. Hi Holly-I also stumbled over from SUM. Thanks for sharing your story - that sounds really scary. I was diagnosed with type 1 in 2005 right around the same time in my life as you but not in nearly so dramatic a fashion. I'm looking forward to reading more of your posts!

  9. Well golly. That's just remarkable. Such a blessing to have Trey and Jennifer with you. Now on to read "the Aftermath"...


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DISCLAIMER: I am not a doctor, nurse, certified diabetes educator (CDE) or any medical professional of any kind. (But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express!) Therefore, please do not use any of my postings as medical fact. I am simply a blogger expressing my highs and lows (pun intended) with diabetes. For changes in your medication, exercise regiment, or diet please consult a qualified physician.

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My name is Holly and I live in north Alabama with my hubby, two cats, and a dog.