Holyyy shit, y’all. My domain renewed last week and I realized it has been three months since I’ve posted a goddamned thing.
This post ended up being some heavy shit, but I have a story which emphasizes that literally anything can happen and there’s literally nothing you can do to prepare for any of it. Adult Overwhelming. Here’s what happened:
So no shit there I was near the end of July, drafting a rant in my head during my commute about motherfucking mosquitos. August rolled around and I realized it was decidedly not mosquitos plaguing me, but rather fleas. I had to start reworking the whole fucking rant (which I’ll come back to, eventually), and while that was in the works the BF’s pancreas stopped working and he was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes.
It was the weekend and J was feeling some flu-like symptoms. Nauseous, achy body, blah blah blah. He stayed home from work on Monday and threw up a few times throughout the day. By Monday night he had labored breathing and was feeling more nauseous. He was convinced the water from our Brita was bad, the filter was bad, all the water tasted like shit and he couldn’t get himself feeling hydrated.
Tuesday morning I woke up around 6a to get ready for work and found J in the living room, still breathing in fast, sharp, shallow breaths, dry heaving into a mixing bowl. I had a conversation with him about how long he’d been up, if he got any rest, what I could do to help. I got my ginger pills, which I keep in a plastic baggy in my purse because it takes up less space than the bottle; they help with nausea. He never took one. I had started getting ready and his breathing was really starting to freak me out. He made me think of a zombie whose lungs had been torn to shreds, still trying desperately to gasp air. Eventually he zombie-walked into the bedroom and sat on his phone for a while. I take my sweet-ass time in the morning, and it was about 8a when I was preparing to leave.
J was laying sideways on the bed, breathing in that awful way. I asked him if I should call his mom, an RN, to get her take on the situation. He didn’t respond, which concerned me because a call to his mom would have normally be considered a threat. After several more attempts at a reply, I resorted to smartly smacking his thigh to bring him to. His eyes snapped open and rolled for a moment, searching, unfinding, and closed again. I hit that bastard again with the same result. I then smacked him in the damned face and he came to a bit more than before and I asked, “ARE YOU OK??” He answered “Yes” in a tone than implied for the love of god woman can’t you just leave me alone? I retrieved the ginger pills from the living room and put them on the nightstand, letting him know he could still take one if he was feeling nauseous.
I had just received a huge fucking promotion at work (oh by the way, that happened!), and I was nervous about just not showing up to my one-person operation during my second week on the job. So on my way out the door, I told him I loved him, and I called his mother.
An hour later I’m on the cusp of arriving at work (I have a bitch of a commute, more to come later) and I receive a call from The Mother demanding my apartment number. No pleasantries whatsoever just fucking demanding that shit. I quickly tell her and she hangs up. I called her back about two dozen times before finally reaching her. I was parking outside my work building when she puts me on the phone with the paramedics.
She had tried calling J several times with no luck. She had started driving toward the apartment, detouring away from her work-type destination. She had eventually gotten him to answer but he couldn’t talk, all she could hear was that fucking breathing. She drove faster. She texted The Father to call 911. She arrived with the slightly wrong apartment number and woke up some very confused and tired college students down the hall from us, in a frenzy. She then accosted the maintenance man to gain access to the apartment once the correct number was obtained from me.
The paramedics are asking about what’s been going on with his symptoms, what has he eaten, is he on drugs, what has he had to drink, is there alcohol, but no really are there drugs? The ginger pills in the plastic baggy on the nightstand were under serious scrutiny for some time, and now we joke about buying street ginger. They put me back on the horn with The Mother and she tells me they are taking him to the hospital. I unparked my car and drove right the fuck back home.
Here’s what happened: his pancreas stopped working. How I understand it: when you eat and drink, the nutrients and sugars are transported through your blood to the body, and insulin is what allows the body to absorb those nutrients and sugars to power that shit up. Without insulin, those nutrients and sugars just hang out in the blood and do the rounds while the body starves. Eventually the organs start to shut down because they’re weak and also can’t handle how thick the blood has become. The heart can’t pump it, and everything is sad. The awful breathing was his body trying to expel the acid that had built up in his lungs from high blood sugar (they never fully explained that and I haven’t looked it up, I’m just praying to all the gods I don’t have to witness Diabetic Ketoacidosis ever again). Later we realized he had also lost quite a bit of weight; he had been trying to shed some pounds but not exerting the effort necessary to drop what he did (about 30 pounds in a month). Busy with work and life and everything, we didn’t even realize it was such a short time period until we thought back on it. It’s because his body was starving, regardless of how much he ate.
I don’t know exactly what unit they are using when they discuss blood sugar, but “normal” is 90-130 insert unit of measurement here (for J, at least). When diabetics get low blood sugar and get lightheaded and whatever else you hear about, that’s like 50-70ish or lower. If the sugar goes high…800 and that diabetic is in a coma. When J was admitted to the hospital he was at 779. His blood was so thick they couldn’t draw it for tests, it was like molasses.
He spent three days in the ICU (which resulted in a bill similar to the one I received as a reward for finishing 9 years of advanced education).
The adjustment was difficult at first. Things have gotten better. I won’t linger on that part of it. I mainly wanted to share the experience because here’s the fucking deal: this was 100% unpredictable. No family history, not overweight, healthy diet, moderate exercise, not an excessive drinker, not a smoker, not a fucking sugar junky. Literally no reason for this to happen, his pancreas just clocked out for duty after 26 years on the job.
Friends, take care of yourselves. You might think your body is on your side, playing for the same team, but that bitch is fickle and will take any opportunity it can to play you for a fool.
I didn’t intend for this post to be solely about this single event, but I think it’s important to share this experience because maybe it will help one of you in the future.
Or, mayhap, you’ll become like me and become concerned everything is diabetes. Oh, I’m feeling super thirsty today? Diabetes. Oh, I’m feeling a little lightheaded? Diabetes. Oh, my elbow won’t stop itching? Diabetes.
My life has been consumed by this and the promotion since August. I’m settling into a groove with both situations as we speak, hence my return. I hope everyone is well, and I’m looking forward to giving more attention to y’all as the days progress.