Surgery + having diabetes w/ Dad’s perspective

This last Tuesday I had to have surgery to fix a deviated septum, as well as having sinus reduction surgery. I had put it off for 2 years knowing that in the past I’ve had trouble with medical staff when I’ve gone under anesthesia. First off it’s always a scary thing to be put under, but then as a type-1 diabetic the fear comes in with the loss of control with blood sugars during surgery.

When I was in college I had to have surgery for my vocal chords and I went to a world renowned hospital for the operation. My mother had talked to the medical staff about me having diabetes and asking the questions of who would be monitoring me, etc. They seemed to know what they were doing and had the proper policies in place.

When I was rolled out of surgery and put into the recovery area I felt really off. I wasn’t able to speak because of the surgery (vocal chords) so I started signaling to the tips of my fingers to have them check my blood sugar. 10 minutes went by. They test my blood sugar and I’m 45. The nurse tells me they’re going to have to go and get approval from the doctor to get sugar into me. I cannot speak, literally. I’m baffled that this is happening. I feel helpless.

When I’m wheeled into the room where my Mom is waiting for me I tell her what happened. Needless to say she was very worried and upset at the hospital for not doing what they said they would do. They may have great policies, but what do their actions show? My Mom wrote a letter to the diabetes department of this hospital with the hopes of change for future diabetes patients.

Instead of dwelling on past negative stories I always try to think in a way of what did I learn from that? So my Dad, who was my companion at my surgery on Tuesday, is guest blogging to give the parent perspective tips:

1. Be very straightforward with the physician that your child has type-1 diabetes and that blood sugars can really be thrown off during surgery (stress, etc.). Make sure the anesthesiologist going in knows everything (type of insulin, what your blood sugar range is normally, pump or shots).

2. Have a feeling that they understand the severity of blood sugars and that someone is there during the surgery monitoring the blood sugar (make sure someone has been delegated to it).

3. Don’t assume because they’re a healthcare institution that they have up to date training with diabetes. Ask them a lot of questions with what are they looking for to monitor me? What are they concerned about with having a patient with diabetes go under? Engage them in a conversation and be a part of the planning. I knew that Quinn’s surgeon was familiar with diabetes because he made a comment on how he was not going to give her Prednisone because that elevates her blood sugar. I was relieved to know that it was at the forefront of his mind going into the surgery.

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It’s a complicate disease. Surgeons have a lot to think about during the surgery. As the patient (and consumer) make sure to be vocal and up front about your concerns so that they become at the front of their minds as well.

I’m happy to say that all went well at the surgery on Tuesday and I’ve been recovering up at my parent’s house in Brainerd the last couple of days.

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