Cactus521

Sharing a personal cautionary tale

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I wanted to share what happened to me since I know some are real pilots here and for members in general, since many here are close to my age.  On Sunday I was going home from the market, when I collapsed in the parking lot while walking home.  I had become disoriented and my legs just quit on me, I fell face first onto the concrete, spraining my arm and receiving multiple lacerations on my legs, arms, and face.  Some people leaving a nearby lounge where they were having a concert came to my aid, three good Samaritans.  They made me stay where I was on the ground (I could no longer walk anyway) and they called 911.  When 911 arrived they asked me if I was diabetic and when I told them yes, they tested my blood sugar.  It was over 1000.  Crept up on me, just like that.  I was taken by ambulance to the hospital and put in the Intensive Care Unit.  The hospital said they had never seen anyone with blood sugar that high and they immediately put me on insulin and morphine for the pain.  I almost died from not monitoring my blood sugar like a diabetic should.

With their expert treatment they got me under control and walking again, and I was released today although still on morphine as of this morning.  I do tend to recover quickly from trauma.

I say this now, embarrassing as it is, to reiterate that diabetes is "the silent killer".  My guardian angels, both in the parking lot that day and up above, saved my life.  I have been hospitalized once before when my blood sugar was only 300 but this was something altogether more serious.  I know most pilots have to take a physical but light sport pilots, as I once was, don't have to.  Had I been in the air, I could have hurt someone by my carelessness with my own health.  All the warning signs were there for me.  I lost 40 pounds since June, I had excessive thirst since I came home from Europe, and after meals with heavy carbs I felt off kilter.  I just had such a large meal last week and I think that's what put me on the spiral down to Sunday's crisis.  The hospital staff was extremely worried, so they ultrasounded my heart and neck arteries, gave me a cranial CAT scan and Xrayed my lungs.  After all that I went unconcious for about twelve hours, on the verge of a coma.

The hospital did not want to release me, in part because of the morphine, but I told them to skip a dose so I could get home.

My diabetes, once controlled by Metformin, will now require insulin shots in my stomach for the rest of my life.  Better than being dead.

The good news is my heart is healthy, no blockages, my lungs are good, no concussion in spite of hitting my head, and my blood pressure is very low for a 56 year old man, about 125/75.

So for those who fly out there, please take care of yourselves.  Same holds true for those of you who just sim.  Anyway, I was treated well in a very good hospital, and I was at least able to make the nurses laugh before the stomach injections.  There were people there sicker than I was, if that is possible, and I had them in my prayers.

With what happened in Vegas on the same day I was in critical condition, I have to commend the civilians who came to my aid and those who came to aid those in Vegas.  They could have written me off as some drunk or transient.  I have to commend the first responders who rushed me by ambulance to the hospital and who knew right away I was in diabetic shock, and I have to commend Abrazo Central hospital in Phoenix for the care they gave me--I felt like I was in a luxury hotel rather than a hospital.  I was saddened when I heard what happened in Las Vegas, and I had a terrible premonition that day that something bad was going to happen.  I've had those all my life--the morning Mt. St. Helens exploded I told my parents I had a dream that it had exploded.  Two hours later it did.  When my aunt passed away, the night before I dreamt I had to escort my father to Chicago.  I was on a plane with him to her funeral the next day.  It's as if she somehow told me he needed me.

My condition is minor compared to those still recovering in Vegas and I wanted to close this by saying my thoughts and prayers are with those in Vegas recovering from that horrible tragedy.

John

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Very glad someone noticed you and that medical help was able to stabilize you. Hard way to learn or be reminded of a valuable lesson but fortunately It ended well. Wish you the best with your recovery.

 

 

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Glad to hear you have recovered and are doing well, John. Health issues are usually brought violently to the forefront when something like this happens to us and that is when we really start paying attention to ourselves, which should not be the case. Our health is primarily our responsibility and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to always be vigilant and aware.

I too, learned about this the hard way (not diabetes but a different issue). All is good now but it certainly made me aware of our fragility and how transient we are on this earth.

Stay well. 

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Glad you are on the mend, sounds like a scary episode.

Funnily enough I only found out for sure about whether I was at risk of diabetes when I did a first aid course earlier this year and the woman presenting it was a diabetic, so she offered to test everyone attending and did so. That's when I found out I was okay, but it really would not have occurred to me to get that checked had it not for me doing that first aid course.

Ironically, within the space of five days after doing that first aid course (which was a renewal of the certification after having done it three years previously) I had cause to use the skills from it twice, I fixed someone up who'd cut their arm badly whilst changing a light fitting, and then two days after that I gave someone CPR and artificial respiration after they'd had an electric shock, who fortunately came back, which I was amazed at, so I must have been doing something right lol.

If anyone gets the chance to do a first aid course, I'd recommend it, you could literally save someone's life, like I did, which is cool.

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Thanks for sharing, John. Take care of yourself so we can continue to enjoy your posts and screenshots.

John

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33 minutes ago, speedyTC said:

Glad to hear you have recovered and are doing well, John. Health issues are usually brought violently to the forefront when something like this happens to us and that is when we really start paying attention to ourselves, which should not be the case. Our health is primarily our responsibility and we owe it to ourselves and our loved ones to always be vigilant and aware.

I too, learned about this the hard way (not diabetes but a different issue). All is good now but it certainly made me aware of our fragility and how transient we are on this earth.

Stay well. 

Thank you,

It's funny I've only been seriously hospitalized twice before, once for appendicitis and once for measles encephalitis (where I was put in quarantine, yikes!).  But that was over 40 years ago.  I was closer to death this time than I ever was but I did not feel fear--why?

From the moment the first responders took me into their hands I just knew I was going to recover quickly, I felt like I was in the arms of angels.  Part of it is also age, you tend to have less fear.  But I just felt I was in extremely professional hands that the Phoenix Fire Dept. is.  So as I lapsed in and out of consciousness I felt this warm contentment come over me, that I was in a very safe place.

Then it became surreal as reports started coming in to the hospital about Las Vegas which happened about eight hours after I was admitted, being a hospital the staff went into shock.  I felt like I myself had been shot, I would feel multiple waves of pain hitting my body around that time, and I've always been empathetic towards those things.  I wanted to give blood but I obviously was in no condition to do so, but I know other Phoenicians (as we call ourselves) were helping.

In the following days after the ICU I just could not watch the TV anymore.  I was originally a hotelier before becoming a computer engineer and I was just in shock.  So many of my former colleagues worked the strip in Vegas and in Reno.  I installed the computer network at the Rio Suites there, and at the Best Western Hotel just off of McCarran airport. So on top of being very ill in the hospital I was thunderstruck with the news of what had happened.  I'll leave it there.

John

 

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Scary! Glad that you're ok now. Be sure to pay more attention to your diabetic condition from now on!

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9 minutes ago, Murmur said:

Scary! Glad that you're ok now. Be sure to pay more attention to your diabetic condition from now on!

Yes, I will.

And sadly I will never be able to take the controls of a real aircraft again, too much risk, as I said, my collapse was so sudden.  My ex-wife commended me for not driving that day, we spoke over the phone yesterday when I told her what happened, I still stay on good terms with her, she's my health consultant.  I however will sim AGAIN!         lol

I should add, this last month, I lost my old computer.   Bought a completely new one, was able to throw XPlane and P3d on it and fly in a state of what I call sim nirvana.  It was a real lucky choice, my new system, as some people with something almost exactly similar have negative results.  I have never understood why although I care.  So at least I have something to keep me occupied during my recovery, and my passion for simming has really increased, it is just wonderful entertainment and camaraderie here in the forums.

John

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It's always heartwarming to hear that there are good people out there who will come to our aid, particularly in what seems like a very troubled and hardened world these days. Great to hear you're making a good recovery and also good to hear you have a nice new computer with a fresh install of your sims to keep you busy as you recouperate! 

Bill

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There are many good Samaritans here and around the world and it was good that there were three near you to provide assistance for your health issue.  Hope this is a lesson learned and it won't happen again. 

You are right about the attack on innocent civilians in Las Vegas.  There were a lot of heros that night and we are now finding that it could have been worse if an unarmed security guard at the hotel had not found the room soon after the shootings began and informed authorities. 

Stay well!

Best regards,

Jim

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My mom was diabetic with a similar story.  Glad you are recovering well.

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Above all, you're back in shape !  Keep it that way - nowadays medications are extremely effective for diabetes.

Gardian Angels are always around, but most of the time we don't notice them...

Simming will also help - I recur to simming or RL flying whenever I have to recover from some stressful period / episode in my life.

All of the Best John !

 

 

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Thanks John,

As you say, a lot of us about the same age and activity need to keep an eye on ourselves.

Glad you made it back from the brink as it were.

 

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I'm glad to read of your ongoing recovery. As a severe diabetic myself I am very much aware of the dangers of hyperglycemia!  For that matter, learn the symptoms of hypoglycemia as well. Both extremes are equally dangerous. It was only seven years ago that I found out that I was diabetic and since then have really educated myself.

I drove myself to the VA Clinic in Crown Point, Indiana, which is about a thirty mile trip, and when I was finally seen, reported to my assigned nurse practitioner that I was feeling increasingly lethargic, my mouth felt as though a herd of camels had camped out overnight, and my breath was "fruity smelling."

She immediately ordered blood work from the lab STAT and when it was reported my blood sugar level was over six-hundred she immediately asked how I'd gotten to the clinic. When I told her I drove myself, she told be point-blank that I would not be driving myself home! I had to call a friend to come there and drive me home.

Over the next few months she managed to get my diabetes under control through both drugs and diet. I now take 3x850mg Metformin, 2x10mg Glyburide throughout the day, and 42 units of NPH insulin every evening just after dinner. This form of insulin is "slow release" which is why I take it after dinner. The only thing I truly don't care for is having to check my sugar levels three times each day (just now at noon it's 137). Now though my thumbs have become pretty much numb to the pin-pricks, so it's not so bad any longer.

Part of my ongoing regimen includes walking as much as possible. Where she suggested walking around the block, since I live alone and would have no one to accompany me, I've settled on going to the grocery stores and home improvement centers for my walks. At least there I have a buggy to hold onto, and plenty of other folks around to help me should I stumble or fall. My knees have a bad habit of deciding to 'fail' on me at unpredictable times.

You mentioned that you will have to take insulin injections now. Just as a tip, if you have even a slight "roll of fat" use that as an injection sight as it will have the fewest nerve endings to cause pain. I rarely find a nerve there, so seldom ever feel the needle. :biggrin:

Once again, I'm delighted to learn you are recovering. Take care of yourself my friend; after all, there's only one of you!

EDIT: Just for the record, I'll be sixty-nine next January, so I've got a few more miles on my odometer...

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John, take care of your self for the rest of us. You're a great resource to our community as well as to you're family I'm sure.  

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