I almost died a few weeks ago.

Yep. This bulletproof 38-year-old husband and father of three just about kicked the bucket.

I didn't see the flash of light.

I didn't see my grandparents or other friends and family waving me to come join them.

I didn't even see myself lying on the bed in the ER or the ICU writhing with pain.

But I almost died.

I've had diabetes for 23 years now. Diagnosed with Type I (which used to be called Juvenile Diabetes) when I was 15 years old, I've known the ins and outs of daily insulin shots, blood sugars, two eye surgeries, good foot care and making sure you take care of your self when you get "normal" illnesses like colds, influenza and the stomach flu. I get my flu shot every year just because I don't want the latest version of the influenza virus racking my body.

Two weeks before Christmas, my wife Dana came down with the stomach flu. Nothing extra-ordinary - it took its turn making her feel pretty crappy for about 36 hours and it was gone. Dana didn't have any vomiting, everything came out the "other" end. Enough said about that. On Monday (Dec. 17) afternoon, I started to feel like she had given me the gift that keeps on giving. Felt kind of "squishy", tired, etc. On Tuesday morning, Dana and Jackson headed off to school, while Gracie and I stayed home and I started vomiting.

Just about every 2 hours.

Couldn't keep anything down. Not even water or hot spearmint tea or 7UP. Nothing.

Bless Dana's heart and soul, she took Gracie to work with her at lunch time so I could be in misery by myself. If you've ever tried to entertain an almost-four-year-old while you are lying on the couch hoping you don't puke in the next five minutes, you know my agony.

By 5 p.m. when Dana came home, I was very dehydrated and was starting to have some horrible body aches. By 8 p.m., I had puked more than I could imagine and was starting to feel like I was going to crawl out of my skin - everything hurt. Dana make a quick phone call to a coworker to come watch the kids and took me to the ER. Once we got to the hospital, I realized I was so out of balance and disoriented that I couldn't walk into the hospital on my own.

Our first idea that it was more than "just the flu" was when the ER nurses and doctors tried to get my blood sugar reading on the glucometer. All it would say was "HIGH." That isn't good. In the next 20 minutes, I started having UNBEARABLE abdominal and back pains. That wasn't good either.

Well, to make an already long post a bit shorter, from the time we arrived at the ER at about 9 p.m. on Tuesday night to the time they got me settled down at 2 a.m. in the ICU, I had three IV lines in me (one in each arm and one surgically inserted in my neck), abdominal and chest X-rays, an abdominal CT scan, a catheter, a rectal examination, lots of morphine (which didn't touch the pain), quite a bit of Loratab (similar to Vicodin and is my new pain medication of choice) I finally got rid of the pain and got to sleep.

The culprit of my pain, misery and near death experience?

A high blood sugar of over 700 and a body temperature of 94. Yep, the dehydration knocked my diabetes completely out of control and my body started shutting down. For those of you who don't know, a normal blood sugar is anywhere from 70 to 120.

After two nights in the ICU and two more nights in the "regular" floor of the hospital, I got to go home. I was tired, weak as a newborn kitten, but was glad to be home with my loving wife and kids. At church the Sunday morning before Christmas, life took on a new meaning. I reflected on the past week and realized just how many people were praying for me, who came to visit in the hospital, and how important I am to those close to me (especially a seven-year old and a three-year old).

I'm going to appreciate the gifts that God has given me more.

I'm going to give my wife and kids (and anyone else who will bear it) an extra hugs and kisses.

God has given me an extra chance at life. And I'm going to do my best to make Him proud!

And I'm also going to take extra care of my body and a closer watch on my blood sugars.

Views: 7

Comment by Marcus Lamparty on January 6, 2008 at 2:30pm
wow thats really remarkable story, glad to hear you are feeling much better. How did your BS climb so quickly, were you not checking while you were sick or they just gotta out of hand too quick?
Comment by Andy Stanton on January 6, 2008 at 3:30pm
Marc:

I was not checking blood sugars. I hadn't been checking for quite a long time - pretty much had fallen off the wagon. All it takes is a hospitalization to get you back on the straight and narrow. We got the bill from the hospital (before insurance coverage) on Friday. This little adventure was almost $24,000!
Comment by Mollie on January 7, 2008 at 6:06am
Andy---i get my doctor to write me a prescription for phenegren---it is an anti-nausea medication---used for exactly the type of illness you had. It is often used when given anestethic for surgery to curb the nausea that goes along with it... it may not stop vomiting 100% (but usually does)---at the very least it will help you keep liquids down.
Also, i get the suppository form my kids from their pediatrician...it has saved me several times for emergency room runs for iv fluids to re-hydrate. I dont think alot of people know about this wonder drug.

This is a prescription...not the over the counter stuff. and it is great to have on hand.
Comment by Kelly on January 8, 2008 at 7:24am
First off, Hello from a fellow Kansan! Glad to see you recovered from your scary bout with the flu! I've been hospitalized twice from the flu over my lifetime and I know
that it's very scary and traumatic!

Please watch those blood sugars and take care of you!
Nice to meet you, Andy. :)

~Kelly
Comment by FatCatAnna on January 11, 2009 at 9:52pm
OMG Andy 24K but I am so glad you made it thru' alive as I am sure your family is as well!!! I have yet to experience a flu like you've had. In all my 40 years of diabetes (have been on Animas 2020 for a year now - and loving the freedom) - the only time I went thru' what you went thru' was self induced stupidity. Trying to act like I was a normal teen - over a year of having "flu" - I ended up in a coma for 3 days at the age of 13. My poor Mum got the brunt of it - since the doctors blamed her for my condition - but I had been lying with urine tests (yuppers - the good old days). Get this tho' - a few weeks afterwards - a roll of Lifesavers - boom - back into ER. Duhhh. Let's just say - it woke me up to how serious this disease can be if you don't take care of yourself!!!
Comment by Linda G on June 10, 2010 at 3:11pm
Wow....how frightening is THAT!!! So happy you made it out OK. Has that ever happen to you before....starting out with the flu and ending up begging for mercy?
Praise God indeed!

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