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Thursday, March 29, 2012

Diabetes Update & a Darkened World Wide event.

Diabetes Update: 

The Little Brother and I had a "field trip" earlier this week. I chauffeured him to his first Endocrinology appointment.
We borrowed a wheel chair from the Transitional Care Facility, loaded the Little Brother and wheelchair into the "big" truck (not the well-loved little Izuzu), and drove a few blocks north to meet the new doctor. She was quite nice but couldn't tell us much yet. She's ordered some blood work to give her more clues and I'll be supplementing the meager paperwork supplied by the facility with photocopies of the paper work from the other 2 hospitals involved as well as the original pre-hospital blood work results.
She indicated that he must be on insulin shots for the time being - until everything heals and is stabilized. Perhaps later he can try the oral insulin (had no idea there was such a thing until all this diabetic stuff hit us. So much to learn. ).

My first time pushing a wheelchair went pretty well - except for turns & doorways.  {wry grin}
I must confess to thumping the new diabetic's feet on door jambs - gently - I was going slowly, trying to be careful. He took my doorway attempts with grace and took a turn at wheeling himself about some, although his efforts weren't that much better than mine, for all that he had a better view. {grin}

Several kind folks in the lobby jumped up to help us with the door on the way out. T'was greatly appreciated.
The Little Brother loaded himself in and out of the truck & wheelchair quite well.
My loading the wheelchair into the truck the 2nd time for the trip back to the recovery facility left me with wheelchair tread marks down the thighs of my jeans. {grin-er}

The new facility lets the little brother sleep through the night for the most part. This is a lovely thing.
If you've ever experienced the "You don't get to rest in a hospital" frustration, you know to what I'm referring.

Unfortunately, the new facility doesn't seem to get the concept of a diabetic diet. Their version of a diabetic meal is to replace the sugar packet on the tray with Splenda. (No, I'm not kidding.) And the dietician took nearly a week to come visit - even after nurse requests on top of ours. {disgusted snort from the Big Sister}

I can understand the perspective that diabetics can eat what everyone else eats - if they adjust their insulin accordingly (and if you're pretty good at the adjusting). But when they offer the new diabetic a static meal insulin and serve him oatmeal, toast, OJ and milk for breakfast....the blood sugars continue to be less than optimal. However, in praise of the Little Brother, he is doing an excellent job of figuring out how to edit and supplement his meals with the facility "snack" foods or by requesting additional protein. This morning he had them take away a piece of coffee cake and it was replaced with eggs.

To their credit, the new facility is doing a much better job at physical and occupational therapy than the last hospital. They come daily!
And the Little Brother is doing his own PT with laps around the 1-story facility several times a day.

AND....they're planning to release him early next week!!
He and I (with the DH's consent) decided that the Little Brother will come stay with us for a bit when he is released from the Transitional Care Facility.

World Wide Event: 
Earth Hour is this Saturday night! March 31st at 8:30 PM.

We can turn off our lights for just an hour and show our support for our over-burdened Earth.

For some people, participation in this event indicates a belief in Global Warming.
And some people are offended by that idea and will set every light in their home blazing.

I submit that even if someone doesn't subscribe to the "Global Warming" concept, most folks can agree we have a lot of people on this earth - and we also have very limited resources.

Earth Hour is an opportunity to acknowledge that lack of balance. To indicate that some change and improvement could occur.
We can relax the resource consumption for an hour.

Watch a movie in the dark.
Eat a late supper by candlelight.
Read a book under the covers with a flashlight like when you were a kid. ;-)
Enjoy the darkened evening visiting with family, friends or neighbors.
Do a little Stargazing.

There are LOTS of options.
(Yes, those options too. No, I'm not gonna type it.)

We can consider Earth Hour a dark-time challenge and an opportunity for some minor adventure.
We could also consider Earth Hour an opportunity to show support for the only planet that we have.

Save the earth - it's the only planet with chocolate!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Diabetes Update - Staff Challenges and a Move

My earlier comments that the Little Brother would be released from the Hospital in two weeks was a bit optimistic (ignorant) of me. {sigh}

His diabetes has not stabilized much. His blood sugar tests have been all over the place. I'm not sure if it was the diet, changes to or the timing of insulin, staff additions to his diet that may not have been accommodated in the insulin dose, glucose fallout from his glucose-saturated body, the rampant healing of his body, or if this is "normal" for this type of diabetes manifestation.

Too many variables. 

We got to learn first hand about the various levels of care in different facilities, different wards, and the effects of staff shortages. {gah}

We also found there are kind people with generous hearts that shine through these difficulties and do their jobs (along with other people's) with grace. Love them lots.

And we learned just because it is someone's job to help patients and their families doesn't mean that is what will happen.
I am still racking my brain about what I must have said that inspired some of the bizarre comments made to me during a couple of phone conversations. My best guess is that the person was having a REALLLLLLLY bad couple of days or I have achieved a new Master Level of Annoying that can, in 3 minutes or less, turn a presumably seasoned professional into a perfect example of what-not-to-say in the patient care industry.
I am pretty sure I wasn't annoyed or rude...I was just asking questions. Granted, I pointed out something that had happened in the facility that was not, uh, optimal. I was truly trying to be gentle about it.
But I was so shocked at the responses, I didn't even get emotional. It was surreal and bizarre.
I'm still stunned and shaking my head over it. You can tell, huh?

Moving On. 
The Little Brother was just transferred to a new facility for transitional recovery care.
I have some lovely friends in the medical industry that offered their experienced opinions on the preferred facility that we should move to for this next step in his healing.
And we achieved that choice! (It sounds simple, but trust me, t'weren't.)

We'll see what happens next and what routines and timings can be established in the new facility.
I'm hoping to see some stabilization in his glucose levels.
We still have a lot to learn.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Diabetes Update - Healing and Questions

The little brother is doing better. {Tired Happy Chair Dance}

He is healing at the pace dictated by care and nature.

Yep, that's the patient, wise, mature perspective.

But it's too slow....{sigh}.
I think we're both a'wish'n it was all better and we could move forward into the new healthy reality a little quicker.
Hmmmm. But even as I type that, it sounds wrong.
We still have a lot to learn and this is the path we have to take to learn it.  {sigh}

{Yes, I actually know how to be mature, but applying maturity to emotions and situations can be very challenging.}

K. So looking forward.
The Little Brother will likely be released from the Hospital in the next two weeks (that's my guess...haven't heard much from the Drs.).
  • We have plans to attend the Diabetes educational classes offered by the first hospital at which he stayed. 
  • There are a variety of doctor's appointments that will be scheduled when he's released. 
  • We're reading "Diabetes for Dummies" to cure some of our ignorance.
  • I'm peeking on the Internet for support groups that can assist us with additional education. 
  • Yep, there are a lot of questions...that the doctors and staff haven't yet addressed.
And I've cleared his apartment of all foods he decided would not support his diet going forward.  I took snapshots of the Nutritional info on the packages and we reviewed them together. He didn't even waiver...he banished all the stuff that would be bad for him.

I'm proud of him for that...I'm not sure I would do so well.
Ha - which I didn't.
Not wanting to waste the food, the DH and I have been working our way through his diabetic pantry rejects. (It is my plan to provide him with Gift Certificates from a variety of grocers so he can replace that food with healthier stuff.)
However, I must say, I'm REALLLLLLLY missing my usual diet.
(This sojourn through the Little Brother's pre-diabetic pantry has been educational for me as well.)

I'm for bed. Sleep is needed. Pleasant dreams, all!

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Diabetes Update - Cautiously Optimistic

Yep, that is my current perspective.
Cautiously Optimistic.

The Little Brother (and his loving fan club) had a bit of a scary weekend.
It does appear that he (with the help of even more antibiotics, numerous gallons of IV fluid, and a variety of pills, supplements, and round-the-clock medical care) has successfully fought off whatever infection was stalking him over last weekend.

His White Blood Cell count has lowered dramatically, his Glucose is generally pretty good, and he looks and feels much, much better.
{Wry/tired grin} The above pseudo-medical jargon are the bits and pieces of medical clues that have come to be my daily staple regarding the physical status of my little brother beyond my asking him "How you be today?"

I need to do a blog on the job status, but the upshot is: I didn't quite make it to unemployment. Someone bought our system and asked a few of us to accompany the sale.
Technically, I started the new job today.

Around the new job, I text the Little Brother and call him throughout the day, run errands, make calls, help him deal with bills-n-such, and visit in the evenings - usually until he kicks me out. I'm still not doing particularly well at getting sleep, but....well, it's on my mind a lot. {grin}

And we only embarked on this medical adventure about 2 1/2 weeks ago. Crimony. Life can definitely change in the blink of an eye.