A couple of you may have missed the posting of my blog entry last Thursday. Oh, I don’t mean you overlooked it; I mean maybe (I hope) one or two of you realized that there wasn’t anything available from me on the day of the week that, like clockwork, my blog shows up. (The rest of you probably just wait for the e-newsletter, right?)
Not that it’d really leave your day lacking to suffer a week sans me. Last Thursday, though, I e-mailed in a sick-day request to Diabetes Self-Management Web Editor Diane Fennell. She granted my request.
The illness seemed straightforward, and if pressed, I’d go with stomach flu, the 24-hour variety. Some kind of bug. Maybe. I don’t know. It also may have been food poisoning; we’d been out with friends the night before and I ordered something that contained egg, turkey, lettuce, and a bit too much grease.
At any rate, late into that Wednesday night (pre-illness) I stayed up playing a videogame I’d rented, and then around two I turned in. But I couldn’t get comfortable, and it wasn’t just the typical attempt to share the same my bed space with the dog in a king bed (Ellie, our labradoodle, sometimes prefers to hang out on my side of the bed — in my sleep divot on my side of the bed — and while I love that warm beast beside me on cold winter nights, sometimes it’s a bit awkward when trying to get comfy).
I tossed, turned, and was fitful for a good hour. And then at one point I went downstairs, drank some water, checked my blood glucose, took some ibuprofen, and went back to bed.
Before I fell asleep, I told myself that Thursday would be a sick day, no matter how I felt when I woke up. Not just because of the late night with the videogame (most nights I’m in bed by 10:30), but because the way I felt at that point coupled with the upcoming holidays; I decided that my body was telling me something: Slow it down for a day.
Thursday morning arrived. While my wife ate breakfast at the dining room table, I woke and realized my sick day was legitimate. I was cold. Really cold. My body ached, and any movement brought on muscle soreness and fatigue as if someone, or ten someones, taught me a lesson in a bar fight. I was also dizzy. And nauseous.
I made down to the bathroom, sat on the edge of the tub, put my head in my hands, and tried to make sense of what was next. Was I overreacting? Was I going to vomit? That kind of sick didn’t feel imminent, but I wasn’t sure what was going on.
Then I dry heaved. Then I lost the previous night’s meal. Then the chills, the sweaty chills.
All this time I was trying to figure it out. Illness isn’t simply illness any longer. It’s not just the flu and I don’t ever think just a cold. I may be destined to always wonder if it’s something more.
Was the way I was feeling — which was unlike stomach flu I’ve had prior — somehow related to my having no thyroid? This much sweating, and this level of feeling chilled (teeth chattering? I mean, come on!): Is that normal for a stomach bug?
(Last year at this time I had thyroid cancer and had my thyroid removed. Since then I’ve noticed bodily temperature fluctuations, and sweating, to a much greater degree than before the thyroid removal.)
Not only did I worry about thyroid issues while in the throes of reverse peristaltic agony and immediately after, I also ran through a laundry list of concerns for person with diabetes. I worried about my blood glucose, how if I couldn’t keep anything down what I’d do if I had a low blood glucose. I worried about whether or not I’d be aware of a low, because I knew I was going to be in bed most of the day, asleep. At that moment I wanted nothing but to go back upstairs and go to sleep. Sleep is responsible. Sleep’s good when you’re sick. But you can’t only do what’s good for the immediate illness, whatever it may be.
I had to be a responsible person with diabetes.
I checked my blood glucose and it was in the mid 150 mg/dl range. Acceptable on a sick day. I made my way back upstairs, put a sports drink on the nightstand, set my test kit nearby, had my alarm set to go off in two hours so I could check again, maybe try to eat something, and then crawled into bed and fell asleep.
At one point I made toast. Another time I ate some granola. I drank a lot of water. And that was it. For the entire day.
I went to bed Thursday night certain I’d be staying home from work on Friday, as well. However, I felt 95% better Friday morning and made it into work. When people asked me how I was feeling and what was it I had, I said “much better” and “stomach flu.”
I didn’t think they needed to hear in detail what it is a person with diabetes can go through when a simple stomach virus takes hold. (If that’s really what it was. I think that’s what it was. I’m going to say that’s what it was.)