"War" Stories

I was 11 years old, and was admitted to the hospital being treated for “breathing difficulties”, they were considering an Oxygen Tent to help me along, but had decided against it for the moment anyway.

I’d been diabetic for eight years I guess, and was doing my own shots, knew my exchanges, etc. I even “fell in love” with one of the young pretty nurses that visit, but that’s another story.

I was sitting in the room, laying in the bed… watching TV, waiting desperately for cartoons to come on… waiting an eternity, as the sun crept across the sheets… I felt ~pretty good~, even started wanting to be outside again… it smelled funny in the hospital and I missed my cat.

I was tired, exhausted having been on all kinds of weird meds, stuck in a room, not able to do anything so I moved around the last of my “dead” string beans from my broiled chicken lunch and laid down for a quick nap… mom was coming soon and bring me a surprise!

I woke, 4 nurses, (one of the pretty ones) and two doctors were screaming at the top of their lungs. “…STUART, CAN YOU HEAR ME… COME ON STUART, WAKE UP…”

The light in my eyes hurt but I opened them anyway, groggy as hell, wondering what the heck had happened ? “…I can hear you just fine W-H-Y are you yelling at me…???” the doctor talking to the nurse at the doorway “cancel the code… he’ll be fine…”

One of the nurses stayed wiped me down with a washcloth, my arm, gown covered in blood where they had jamned the IV in hard and fast. She helped me with a fresh gown, watching my eyes… “you back to us hon” and smiled relieved.

t was a stupid question, but she meant well. "Yeah… " I said pausing not wanting to be angry at her “I’m ok”.

“…NEXT TIME make sure you eat all your greenbeans so this won’t happen again”

Its been almost thirty years since that event, and hey the fact they gave me far too much Regular didn’t have anything to do with “it” right? Boiled to death greenbeans, world renown for their sugary goodness…

Anyone else have a war story from their recent or ancient past ?


Yup green beans… wish I could purge that one from the ole memory banks. But its one of many one of the funnier ones too (diabetic humor???) I think

Got any good ones for yourself Judith?!?!

When I was about 7 years old I got a horrible stomach virus and couldn’t keep any food down what-so-ever. This was around 1988 and my mother hadn’t gotten the best diabetes education when I was diagnosed in 1985. I hadn’t been seriously ill until this time. Well, due to lack of education, she assumed (and I don’t blame her, I would have assumed the same) that no food = no insulin. So she didn’t give me my insulin. Less than 2 days later I ended up in a diabetic coma in a hospital in Georgia (we were on vacation). I remember being carried into the first hospital wrapped in the yellow and white crocheted blanket made by my grandmother. I don’t remember anything else until I woke up several days later in the second hospital with this group of strange people in white coats standing at the end of my bed talking about “the subject” and writing on clip boards. As I got older I realized this was a University hospital and those people were medical students. But at the time it was scary and weird.

Mine happened just recently. My blood sugar was going low all day, no matter what I did I couldn’t keep it up, so my Dr. told me to call 911 which I did. The paramedics argued with me that I wasn’t as low as I said I was as I was to calm and coherent. About this time I am sweating and forgetting things. My neighbor was outside with me and told me that I grabbed the lancet from the paramedics shoved it into my finger and then promptly flipped them off. They took me to the e.r. after giving me D50. E.R. decided to admit me and failed to give me food after the first amp of D50 so I started to go low again, again I am sweating. I crawl over the bedrails to get my call button as they forgot to give it to me and buzz for the nurse. Tell her I am going low and she doesn’t listen and again I am sweating. She walks out of the room and I lay in the bed and finally buzz for the nurse again. My dr. told me the next part. He said I was fighting to stay conscious until the nurse got there and my eyes rolled in the back of my head and I slipped into a coma. I came to a few hours later and was wondering why everyone was in my room watching me so closely.

Stuart hitting his head against the computer moniter in “disbelief” (sic. not wanting to believe)…

Lets see.

My wife & I…out late one evening went to the local diner to get just a few extra moments of “adult” time, before returning home to the sitter & kids. The first and only food she and I shared in 48 hours was the one bite of cheesecake with whipped cream at the diner. Within 5 hours she & I were having a massive vomiting contest. We treated with the best electrolites, water, medications, nothing was staying down at all, and a drop or sip, nothing.

She & I were getting worse, far worse. The doctor was called after she lost it 15 times, I was only at 10 at that point. Standard treatments, completely worthless. Later that evening when she had reached 29 times in less that 12 hours, and I had gotten to 21-23 somewhere.

Called our family MD again (both see the same GP-Internist 3 minutes down the road) and wanted better drugs, both of us getting progressively weaker, becoming unable to stand easily pretty soon we had thought. He insisted we both get to the hospital NOW. Unable to drive, the terrified kids called the ambulance.

As they are taking us down the stairs in stretchers (hitting each and every freaking step on the way down literally each and every one). They finally manage to get us into the ambulance together and ask if I had any medical conditions.

The fifth time I’d explained it to them very clearly… they decided to test my sugar. They could not believe the number they got so they tested twice more and then pulled over onto the side fo the road (half way to the local vetrinary clinic aka hospital) and then WAITED for ambulance #2 with the paramedics in it, because “our crew” couldn’t do the IV without supervision.

I grabbed my bag and tested, proceeded to shoot, not about to wait for the idiots to ask the same imbecilic questions a 6th time before I lost consciousness due to either DKA/dehydration.

Sure enough when ambulance #2 got there they asked the identical questions top to bottom before doing the IV on either of us. They retested me a 4th time and finally used sirens because of my suger, presumedly.

Got to the hospital and they did not believe I had taken my insulin AND refused to accept my readings from my machine. They wanted to use a 5% DEXTROSE IV… to cure my obviously “low symptoms”


Hello Cara:

I broke my femur in two places. Had a rod & pins installed at a city teaching hospital. After the surgery the “dozen” people came into my room fairly frequently on rounds and pretended to be doctors.

When the second day while on enough morphene to dope an elephant easily. Two baby doctores (sic. interns) came into the room and checked my recent repairs. Checking the other leg looking for a comparison checking for swelling, redness etc.

Commented about the swelling, and firmness in both legs and left the room rapidly. Before they left I explained very clearly it was 30+ years of injection scar tissue they were being concerned about. Three, four more times in the process of my stay these imbeciles would probe the leg that was NOT broken, and in a panic explain that “…he/they did not think it would heve to be amputated…” or my personal favorite, “…not necessarily amputated…”

I got a look at my chart and read it carefully, in addition to criminal stupidity they were using insulins 70/30 that I had never utilized in my entire life. I taked to the head surgeon when he brought the pretend doctors through on rounds and explained they were not using the right insulin, and giving me 70-30 to combat my severe DKA from the surgery.

Apparently the pharmacy refused to accept the dosage that I had been taking for 4 years was correct. They refused to use my ratio, instead forcing me to utilize a regimene that literally was killing me. Long acting to combat DKA.

I eventually took matters into my own hands, and “accidentally” injected my own insulin during a night shift when a competant RN who had been caring for me for the last 3, 4 days explained that if I did so, I would be off their protocols. And be able to have the argument with normal sugar.

The pharmacy still refused the next morning so I called the CDE on staff and explained my nightmare. It was not the end of the 10 day fight, but the woman was relatively sane and I survived by my wits. When I removed the glass shards from my own chest AFTER the surgery I knew I was in serious trouble.

The PT idiots dropped me the day after my surgery…
Dead wrong insulin
A fatal protocol to treat DKA
Interns with a knife fetish… literally oblivious to “normal” scar tissue

I had no idea just how much danger until after the fact.


Here is the reason i like having the diabetes police by my side when i’m going to the hospital.

i was 600 miles from home starting a camping trip with friends. the friend i rode down with is also the daughter of a type 1 diabetic, so she’s very well educated. i wasn’t feeling well, but insited on going anyway. we got our tent set up and by that time i was having trouble breathing and wasn’t sure what was going on anymore. i don’t remember much after i got carried out to the front of the campgrounds and the EMTs came. but after i got out of the hospital my friend and i were talking about what happened. i had been going into DKA and apparently in the ER they’d first put me on fluids when had included a big bag of glucose for which she had to yell at people. and then they put me on an insulin drip…20 units per hour. turns out the nurse had forgotten to put in the decimal for 2.0 units. it’s a good thing i had someone who understood diabetes with me or i don’t know that i’d even be typing this.

Hello Bek:

Severe enough DKA to cause breathing problems you might maybe have taken those 20 units per hour IV drip with little consequence. Besides they had you on what a 5% glucose drip might have canceled each other out in the long run…



i’m not sure if they were trying to do the right thing or just messing up. it seems every time i go to a hospital in VA i end up worse for it…and now i live here. i once ended up so bad in a hospital in VA that when i got out my fiance and my mother met up half way between here and new york so i could get admitted to a hospital there instead. if i’m in the hospital here for more than a couple of days i end up looking like a puffer fish. no one knows why, but it’s never happened in another state.

i test at least four times a day. once when i wake up/before breakfast, before luch, before dinner, and before bed. it’s also good to test before and after exercise and any time you just feel “off.”

there are lots of reasons you can go low without the help of booze. exercise, not eating enough carbs for the amount of insulin you gave yourself or just not eating enough during the day. it takes time to find a good balance and even then we all have our rough days.

It just amazes me how stupid some of these hospitals can be…

A couple of years ago I was admitted for severe D.K.A. It was so bad, that I was told if I had waited 12 more hours, I would probably be dead. Anyways, I was in ICU for several days and was eventually moved to a regular room. The second I get settled, the nurse sets down my meal. A sandwich with white bread, chips, full sugar pudding, cookies and apple juice! I ask her if she knows that I am supposed to be on a diabetic diet, and she says “Your chart doesn’t say anything about diabetes.” WHAT??? That’s all it should say! The whole reason I’m here is because of diabetes. So she says,“Well just go ahead and eat that, and I will check with the doctor when he returns.” So I proceed to pick at it, only eating the turkey out of the sandwich. Then, to make things worse, she comes back an hour later with 10 units of humalog she says, “to cover your meal.” I point out to her that I didn’t eat it, and she replies, “well I’m just following my orders,” and gives me the insulin. Of course we know where this is going…about another hour later, I’m low and they are proceeding to put me on a glucose drip. Finally my hubby shows up and I tell him what’s been going on. Luckily he has no problem confronting the doctor, so finally we got someone who knew what they were doing. I was sent home a day later. It’s bad when it’s scarier to go to the hospital than to stay home and try to fix yourself.

Ironically, I just had an almost-war story. Stupid me took too much of the wrong insulin last Thursday night. I panicked, drank juice and sugar cereal, gave my husband the glucagon kit and the phone, and went to bed with my eyes wide open. Then my son got up at 1:30am, couldn’t breathe, and we were off to the hospital until 5am. He had pretty severe croop and they had to give him a steroid to relax his throat. I kept testing my blood the entire time I was there. I think the adrenaline with my son got my sugars up too. So, the irony is I was awake all night and already at a hospital in case something happened. Needless to say we got home as the sun came up… pooped but alive.

A few years ago I went to a day surgery center for a minor procedure. After it was done, I was in one of the recovery cubicles, proving that I could tolerate food and fluids before they would let me go home. I tested my bg and it was in the 400’s. I asked the nurse to hand me my bag so I could take a corrective dose of insulin. She patted my hand and said “oh no you don’t - no outside drugs allowed in here” and promptly walked out. I was tired from the high bg and the surgery and didn’t really feel like walking over to get the purse myself. I rang the bell and the same lady came and I asked to speak with the surgeon. He was already doing the next operation. I stressed that I needed to bring my bg down, starting immediately. I asked her to call my primary, who was in the building 1/2 block away and she said she’d have to get the nursing supervisor. Well, 45 minutes later they said I could go and I had to inject in the elevator as we went down to the car. I was soaring high for the remainder of the day and instead of relaxing, had to monitor my bg every half hour. I was furious. I wrote a letter to the surgery center, cc’ing the clinic system and endocrinology department. Heard nothing back. I had asked someone to call me with an explanation. A few months later I sent a certified letter to the patient relations department and got a response from some administrator person who really didn’t understand what I was talking about. When I went for my follow-up surgery visit, I mentioned it to the surgeon and he said, “oh yeah, they’ve got their own weird protocol about stuff like that and there’s nothing I can do about it…”. To this day it still makes me furious. I live by the needle. I make many decisions each day about my self-care and here they weren’t even going to let me take some insulin!!

A couple of years later I fell on the winter ice and broke my ankle. My first thought was, “oh geeze, they’re gonna take my insulin away”. So I took it out of my purse and stuffed it in the stock of my non-broken ankle. When I was in the ER on the guerney waiting to be seen, it rolled out onto the floor and I couldn’t reach it. A nursing assistant came in and thought somebody else had left it and threw it away, so, I was hosed. They wanted to whisk away my purse to the hospital safe and I said I wanted to keep my meter with me and I was told it wasn’t necessary…

Hi Dana, I’ve been there! Took 40 units of Humalog instead of Lantus. Should have called EMS but it was 3am and I lived a block away from the hospital. Sounds innocent enough, right? After the Police Officer/Guard at the ER and orderly drug me out of my truck and parked it for me they brought the glucagon shot right out to the waiting room for me. After I had the shot and check my blood sugar it was up to a skyward 27 so who knows how low it was. Lesson learned, call the damn EMS! lol

Hello Matthew:

Sigh… it is NOT a question of “testing every day”, in point of fact that is literally irrelevent to my stories at any rate. Our control is an illusion, pure smoke and mirrors, slight of hand of the worst kind.

Consider, if you, or I (any of us) simply make a bad guesstimate as to how much coverage to use whether for food, or by exercising strenously, or any number of additional scenarios… if, if we get that “wrong” the sugars do something often pretty dramatic, right?

As such, any tiny mess up on our part can cause problems. What happens to our sugars between the proverbial light house beacons (ie tests). Lots and lots happen between the tests. However, to answer your question directly, like Bek I test 4 times per day minimum, and have the scars to prove it. But even when we do test, and do so zealously, lots happens in between the “points” on this little connect a dot routine called “control”.

I offer is is VERY possible to make no “mistakes” have no problems on the ~sugar radar~ per se and to still loose, still get taken out despite our zealous vigilence.

No alcohol involved, have never drunk, and never will…

Standing back to back with Bek (as he has hunderds of other diabetics) sweat dripping from them both, their clothing shreaded, rent from their “rough days”, still fighting though barely able to move on those days…


When i was 13 I was at Children’s Hospital in Dallas,TX I have had Diabetes for 4 years and thar was my 5th time with pancreatitis. I was on TPN and the inpatient units had just started using Humalog Pens… I feel asleep around 9:30pm the next thing I know I am being wheeled down the hall I have someone sitting on the side me (later found out they had been doing CPR) and a lot of people yelling orders and commands “DID YOU GIVE THE WHOLE SYRINGE!!!” HAS SOMEONE CALLED A SECOND CODE? WHO CALLED THE ICU!?
My mom had woken up and saw that I was covered in sweat, and was not breathing (the nurse in her kicked in while she started CPR and yelling CODE BLUE CODE BLUE!) They had been running a code for over an hour with 30mintues of CPR and 2 shocks. When the lab called back my sugar was 11mg/dL!!! Apparenly that nurse had miss counted with the pen and gave me 30 units instead of 3!!! (how she did that I will never know!)

Reading these war stories,I can add many to fill a book,facing mismanagement of diabetes propted wide scale campaign in my country for all concerned with diabetes care including diabetics,GP,doctors and all health care providers.Workshops,DKA international protocols manuals in ER and ICU and updating and improving decressed the number of these war stories

My story would be funny if it wasn’t so sad. I was pregnant with my son and everything was going well. I went to my normal 20 week appointment and they told me it was time for my glucose tolerance test. I explained multiple time to the nurse that I was diabetic and i already know that i did not tolerate glucose. She kept insisting that I drink the sugar mixture. I kept refusing. She then got rather beligerant and told me that if I refused to follow the Dr.s orders they would no longer see me as a patient. Obviously, I left and changed OB’s the next day. When the new Dr. asked me why I changed so late in my pregnancy, she was appauled by my story and called the other medical office herself to expalin how ignorant the nurse had acted. The other Dr. claimed that he had NOT ordered the glucose tolerance test and that his nurse was just following their usual protocol. My new Dr. filed a complaint against the other Dr’s office with the medical board and the nurse was fired. I have been with my other OB ever since. She knows a lot about diabetic pregancy and has delivered 3 of my children. I don’t know what I would have done without her.