A Type 1 Diabetic’s Perspective of Surgery.

I want to say that I have proof things are getting better. I had so much anxiety regarding my surgery. I read about horror stories of other diabetics in the hospital and in the OR, and I was not feeling the love on the day of my surgery. I had visions of a tug-o-war with the admitting nurse over my insulin pump in the operating room, I had visions of the anesthesiologist removing my pump when I was unconscious… and other things of this nature.

I was scheduled for minor same day surgery, removal of a gross little cyst from my shoulder, but it involved many doctors, the hospital, and general anesthetic.

My Surgeon is a very cool guy, all he wanted to know is what my endocrinologist wanted regarding the pump and surgery… you have to fast for a “general”, otherwise you could puke and die while you’re out – and no one wants you to be hypo during surgery.

I am a very stubborn guy, and I also have a bit of anxiety regarding regular doctor visits so I was excited about my surgery… but not in a good way.

They make you state your name and birth date at least 7 times before they knock you out, and I was asked about allergies all 7 times. I was also asked about my “blood sugar” 1 or 2 times, but no one wanted to know when I took it. The prep nurse laughed when I said I already checked my blood sugar 6 times today – 5 AM, 8AM , 9 AM, 10 AM, 11 AM, and 12 PM, I was 200 early on, corrected, and then I wanted to be above 120 for the surgery, I leveled out at 140 at 9 AM and was steady as a rock (I love you minimed).

I guess the nurse was more accustomed to Type 2 and maybe 1 blood sugar test a week or something… who am I to complain? Maybe to her 6 tests before 2 PM is ludicrous! ;-)

Wheeling down the corridor watching the fluorescent lights you imagine yourself as an airplane coming in for a landing. I passed the chapel there was a painting of Jesus, well that’s a better mental image that what was in my head at the time. I hoped that the stress would make my sugar rise, if anything. I joked with the doctors and looked at all the lights and machines in the OR. Scooted from the gurney to the operating table and sat up to show everyone where my pump was, and they hardly seemed to care. The doctor came in and said “It’s medication time”!, which reminded me of that scene from “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and I felt the air bubbles in my IV. I hate air bubbles, I was told as a kid that air in your veins would kill you instantly, part of me still believes…….. I woke up, alert, 1-1/2 hours later all done.

The recovery nurse took a sugar at 3:30 PM… “You’re 117, good work”. I do love you, minimed.

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Comment by Suzanne on July 31, 2009 at 10:36am
Gotta love the pump when getting knocked out for surgery! I got an outpatient procedure done in January that was smooth sailing thanks to the pump. The anesthesiologist got a kick out of how it worked and how I was able to decrease my basal for the procedure. He felt much better about putting me under knowing that I had a plan from my endo.
Comment by Kristin on July 31, 2009 at 2:43pm
Glad to hear that it went so well!!
Comment by Kathy on July 31, 2009 at 5:57pm
Gosh, glad you're ok.
Maybe my story is a bit different because I do not pump. I had day surgery with general anesthetic too. They are really afraid of someone going hypo, but, what better place? You're in a hospital, most likely laying down, etc.
Anyway, When I was done, I tested my bg and it was close to 400. I asked the nurse to hand me my sachel so I could take a corrective dose and she said "oh no you don't -
no outside drugs allowed". Pfffffft..........I asked to speak with a dr but they were all in surgery. I asked them to call my primary, but no one did.
When I was finally released I injected in the elevator and then had to set my alarm for every hour to be sure I hadn't crashed.
I wrote a letter and cc'd it to the nurse manager, the surgeon, my primary and the head of endocrinology (all in the same clinic system) plus patient relations. Never heard a word back. On my follow-up visit I mentioned it to the surgeon and he said, "oh yeah, they've got their own rules about things".
Comment by AUDREY on August 2, 2009 at 8:55am
Joe,
Glad your surgery went well it is scary having surgery with diabetes basically in 2006 when I had major surgery they kept my pump on the whole time and my doctor who was not affiliated with the hospital I had the surgery in wrote down her instructions for my insulin I really did everything myself one doctor came in he said you seem to have things in control you don't need me and unfortunately you really do need to be in control I found alot of nurses were not even familiar with the pump etc Glad things worked out well for you..

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