Wednesday 1 February 2012

Devastated by news 16 hours ago - but been given a reprieve

It wasn't so much being designated as diabetic yesterday morning. A nuisance, yes, but I can live with it as being one of those things about getting older. It was the telephone call at 6 p.m. from my doctor:-

"I'm afraid that on testing the (urine) specimen you brought in today, it's showing something I'd rather not have found. We've detected 'ketones', and if it's confirmed it'll mean you having to go into hospital. But it could be a one-off."

I was knocked backwards. I've never ever been in hospital once in my entire life, and it's been a lifelong dread. My worst nightmare. Speechless.
He wanted me to come in next day (today) as early as possible (it needed to be dealt with urgently) taking another specimen for examination.

I rang my sister with the news, the first and closest person in the world I can turn to immediately. Unfortunately, like my two surviving brothers, she lives 300 miles away. When I told her, it didn't help for me to have broken down straight away. She was as shocked as I was, offering comfort and consolation - as well as prayers (she's very Catholic-religious), even saying that she'd come down here if I really wanted. There's no way I can have that. She is now 74, her husband, 79, and they've got not only their own health issues but a very large extended family, each parent, child and grandchild having its own problems. (My brother-in-law is very supportive too, and far more level-headed in moments of family crisis than any of the rest of us).

What upset me at least as much as going into hospital was what was to happen to my dear pussy-cats. I don't know a single soul in the area who could take care of them, so the only thing would be the cattery - with those outside kennels (albeit 'heated', as they say) under the sharp frosts we are now getting every night. And for how long? Days? Weeks? Perhaps months? Would I ever even see them again?
My younger brother rang me after my sister had given him the news, generously offering all the money I needed for the cattery or anything else. I was quite overwhelmed by his offer, though I wasn't too surprised as generosity has always been his style.

Anyway, after a night which was largely given over to lying awake, I did get some comfort in a dream which saw me in Paris (of all places) having this second test done by a doctor (not my own) and who came out with a negative result, after which I found myself air-gulping deeply before I could get any words of relief out.

My appointment this morning was at 7.50. I'd got out of bed at 4.45, sitting silently, most of the time, just waiting for the hour to arrive.
I don't recall walking the 20 minutes to the surgery. Must have looked like a zombie - mind in another world.
When my name was called, I went in like an automoton, sat down - and burst into tears. Not a pretty sight.
He asked if I was upset at my being diagnosed as diabetic. I told him that it wasn't so much that, it was the thought of going into hospital for my first time ever - and that I have so much to sort out first. (I didn't mention the cats.) He tried to reassure me on the lines of "Let's not talk about that until we've checked this specimen." He took the bottle, went to the basin, put something into it and then a suspenseful minute (which seemed more like an hour) as we waited in silence, me still trying to stifle my sobs. Then he announced "Ah, you're okay. You don't have 'ketones'". I think he expected me to jump for joy as he repeated it. "That's what you wanted to hear, wasn't it? YOU DO NOT HAVE KETONES!". I suppose I ought to have expressed some gratitude but my emotions had been so much through the wringer, I couldn't turn them around just like that. At first I  couldn't absorb what he was saying, but the message gradually seeped in.
     He told me that, given that I'm negative on the test, the situation was now the same as it had been yesterday morning - start taking the new diabetes medication, see the diabetes nurse in 2 weeks and see him again in 4 weeks. I muttered a thanks, trying to smile through the drying tears, and walked back slowly - not with a spring in my step, but the relief at the news was getting through to my addled mind at last.

It's now 2 hours since I returned. I rang my sister and my brother, who were both appropriately relieved  - and my two pussy cats are sleeping just a few feet away from me now, entirely oblivious of the emotional shake-up I've just been through.

    So that's the position, my friends.

I'm feeling a bit too raw to do the promised film-review blog right now. I may come back to post it later today, but I think it's more likely to be tomorrow.

Btw: I found out from the internet that 'ketones' are produced when the body can't use energy from food-intake but has to use the body's own fats for its energy supply. It seems I'm not at that stage - yet.



  1. Hello Ray:
    We can absolutely understand all of this and we are so distressed that you are having to go to all these appointments alone. Not only is it rather good to have some immediate emotional support at these times, it is very useful for someone else to listen and to hear what is being said when one is in too much of a state to listen for oneself.

    But, on the positive side, Diabetes can be well controlled as long as you do EXACTLY what you are supposed to. A huge amount can be done by paying attention to your diet so please make sure that you are sensible in this regard. Your pussies and your readers need you around!!!!

    1. My dear J & L, reading your kind, supportive words has made me want to blub all over again. But I've done enough of that. Thank you so much for what you say.
      Your words of advice are sensible, I can see. It's now 36 hours since I started scrutinising everything I eat and must admit that physically I feel quite good. The twinges and slight pain I was feeling in my lumbar region when I moved around has largely gone, though that could be more to do with the relief in my mind manifesting in my body.
      But there's one oddity. Although I didn't have a sweet tooth, right now I've got a strong desire for something sweet and sugary. Very peculiar. The attraction of 'forbidden fruit', I suppose. But hope it's goes away soon. I've had more than enough of mental torments over the last few hours.
      Deep gratitude to you once more.

  2. Oh my lord, are you a bad news magnet? I'm really sorry you had to suffer a day of thinking the worst Talk about emotional distress!

    I've very relieved for you. It sounds like you have some terrific siblings to lean on.

    1. Sorry, Cubby. I've replied to your generous comment below, but not posted it in quite the right place.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks yet again, Tai. It makes me feel so much better when I see your frequent visits here, but sorry that you've had to read such negative postings recently. Hugs back to you - and more!

  4. Cubby, I love you (even more) for saying that. Thank you.
    Yes, 2012 has been one hell of a rollercoaster with only one month gone. Enough to last the rest of the year -
    first the exhilaration of having a turn with the Spo-shirt, and through it meeting a lovely blog-pal for the very first time, coupled with seeing some cracking good films, my cinema visits already numbering twice what they were this time last year, with still more probable goodies yet to be seen.
    Then it was like falling off a cliff, one upset after another - I shudder to think what's going to happen next.
    Yes, without my sister and at least one of my brothers I'd be lost. I could sense that there were others holding their arms out to me, for which I am so grateful, but nothing can improve on someone here in person when you need physical company. However, I did, and do, get considerable solace from the presence of my pets, bless their little furry presences.
    Growing old alone terrifies me increasingly. I know I do have the unfortunate ability to turn others off, usually through exasperation at holding myself at an emotional distance. So the presence of people like you, Cubby, in Blogland, is one of the most important lifelines around. Thank you just for being there, my good friend.

  5. I too am so sorry that you had to go through that and am profoundly relieved that it turned out alright! You poor dear! :(

    P.S. I'm not familiar with your complete history, Hon, but, might you want to consider moving closer to family? Just a thought...

    P.P.S. Sending prayers and good thoughts your way! ((HUGS)) :)

    1. I'm very grateful indeed for your kind thoughts, my dear T/C.
      Yes, I have considered moving closer to my surviving sister and brothers but it's just not on. Just over three years ago when another of my brothers died after several months in hospital following a diabetic(!) coma, my sister almost killed herself caring for him, exhausted by frequent hospital visits - and I know she'd do the same for me in those circumstances. When she goes, for whatever reason, being a great-grandmother she's got a lot of relatives who are going to miss her - and there's no need for me to bring that day forward.
      Another brother has four grown-up children, the youngest being a 30-year old daughter severely mentally handicapped. So he and his wife have enough on their plate already.
      My younger bro (nearly 64) also has his own health issues - so that's also a no-go.
      So I'm afraid it's going to be just poor little me here, with wheels falling off my wagon one by one. Sob sob! (No, I'm NOT really crying!). I'm just trying to count my blessings - while simultaneously looking for them! Thanks again for your generous wishes, T/C. I'm gonna be around for a while yet.

  6. Gosh Ray what an emotional few days for you really. I can understand the concern and worry you must have felt and gone through. All the aggravation you’ve had to think about, though thankfully it’s not a hospital visit.
    You’ll be fine, just make sure you follow the instructions given to by the diabetic nurse, that’s all you can do and by and large all you need to do.

    I'd have always nipped along the coast to feed your cats!

    1. Jase, your re-assuring words mean the world to me. I thank you from my heart.

      Yes, obviously the watchword is "Be sensible!" but I don't see the nurse for nearly a fortnight yet and I'm already having trouble in finding things to eat that do not contain, or have very little, sugar - even cheese spread has it, for crying out loud!
      I've cleared out a lot of my kitchen cupboards and going to offer tins and packets etc to the chappie downstairs - but (and I may be wrong) he looks as though he may have his own health problems - possibly drink, he may even be diabetic himself - but he does have his separated-from wife and a young daughter, both of whom visit regularly, so they should between them find some use for all that food - and there IS an awful lot of it. The alternative would have been to throw it all out, which would be a great pity.

      Yes, I've certainly been through the wringer on this one - and it still goes on in its own way. The new medication I have to take (yet ANOTHER one!) has, as one of its possible side-effects, diarrhoea. That really is all I need right now!

      I'm touched (and a little amused) by your
      offer to feed my pussies. I do thank you for that, but we aren't there yet - and if it really came to it I'd be asking the downstairs guy first. But I do wish I didn't now have this third cat who, like my present two, seems to prefer eating and sleeping in my flat rather than in his own home, wherever that is. AND to cap it all, unlike the others, he's not been doctored - and it's so prominently! I only wish he wasn't such a sweetie that I can't turn him away. Oh, problems problems!

      But thanks once more, Jase.

  7. sorry to hear your news but glad its not turned out as bad as it could have, esp cat wise

    (ps my verification word for this comment was hove no )

    1. David, I feel especially honoured to have you visiting here - and thank you so much for that thought. You are (up to now) the only one I can envisage sitting talking - just as though we were in the pub again.

      My health situation could indeed have been worse, but I fear that the episode may have just been a warning about what MAY happen - and maybe not too far into the future too. But if and when it does I think and hope I'll be able to take it better, as the unpreparedness of those emotions will have passed. At least that's what I hope will happen.
      If we can get out of the current cold snap and return to milder nights then some of my feline worries will have been alleviated - but only in that one respect.

      Btw: I'm amazed that there haven't been more comments on your 'luverly' Spo-shirt blog. In your case I'd feel rather disheartened. I think you have every right to feel that way, if you do. I wonder if I can be bold and draw your blog to more people's attention, if you don't mind -

      Everybody visit there and see what you might have missed! (I hope that opens people's eyes and gives you the new fans you deserve).
      Oh, and yes - I'm going to see 'W.E.' on Sunday. If it wasn't for you I'd have probably given it a miss as it's drawn so many raspberries. However I've decided to rely on your good judgment. Hope you're right, David. ;-)

      And one last thing - so far I've not had any unpleasant experiences with comments on my blog not being verified/modified, so there's no need for a 'password' in that respect - but please don't tell anybody else (another wink). However, after I post my first film blog later today I may be wanting to put up a barrier for the first time.

      Thanks again for your visit, Handsome.

  8. Ray: I'm sorry you had to go through this without someone there to hold your hand. How terrifying, even if it did turn out to be good news after all. Even though I've had to come to terms with all the hospital visits, stays and procedures and tests I have to go through, it never stops being scary or worrisome. You weathered this as best you could given your circumstances. I wish i could be there to support you and help out when you need it. *hug*

    1. What a beautifully consoling thought, S/b. Thank you exceedingly. Now I know that at the next crisis (and there WILL be one) our 'spirits' will be holding hands - and just thinking about it already makes me feel stronger.

      I'm quite aware of some of the storms you've been through - though I'd guess that there are even more that you haven't told us about. But you know more than many of us what it means to survive - and I'm determined to join those ranks and to hold on there as long as poss.

      I accept your 'hug' freely and with deep gratitude, and I give you one in return. In fact, let's you and I go on hugging and hugging for as long as we can.

      'See' you on the blogs, my very dear pal.

  9. anne marie in philly1 February 2012 at 16:48

    {{{{{hugs}}}}} if I lived closer, I would look after the pussies.

    can you please send me an e-mail?

    1. Oh, A.M. Thank you for that generous thought. It would have been such a change for my pussies to have had a 'proper' mummy - if they've ever known one of your 'kind' (no offence intended!), they've probably forgotten by now.

      Happy to send you an e-mail - it'll be winging it's way to you in a very few mins.

      'Ta ta' for now

  10. OMG, I've been away for a week and all the drama.

    I can't imagine what you felt, nobody can. If it were I, I don't know if I could handle it. The thing that is certain is that you and I share the same concerns. I'm so happy that at least your family is generous and caring and eliminated the worry of what would happen to the cats. There is so much truth to the statement that it could have been worse. Loved your statement at the near end that your two pussy cats are sleeping. How familiar and comforting is that?

    PS. Ketones, to some people, are a good thing if you are on the Dr. Atkins diet and want to loose weight.

  11. Those consoling words have high significance for me, Paul. I thank you for them profoundly.
    Yes, for a while it did feel like I was experiencing hell-on-earth and I just wanted to be out of it all, but as at now (Fri morning, 2/3 days later) things have subsided even if they are still rumbling in the background.

    I had been wondering why you hadn't made a comment, particularly as we certainly do have sympathies in common. It seemed untypical of you. Not that I expect something every time - I'd assumed that either you could think of nothing else to add to all those messages of sympathy with which I was awash, or you were having repeated computer problems about making a contribution. Now all is explained, and it's good to know that you are there.
    When you say that you don't know if you could handle it, well my reaction is an example of how I also failed to handle it. At least if and when it happens again (I fear this may just be a postponement), although there'll certainly be devastation felt again, there won't be the experience of unfamiliar emotions. It's a tiny consolation, I know - but every little helps.

    At the moment 'ketones' are my Number one enemy, so it's hard for me to see how some people see them as 'good'. But so be it. Also, I think that my doctor could have made that evening call a bit more diplomatic, instead of the alarmist "It would mean having to go into hospital." Anyway, it's over - at least for now.

    Paul, you have been so generous with your kind thoughts - yet I know hardly a thing about you. No doubt you have your own health issues. I'm assuming that you prefer to keep them to yourself. I do wish you had a blog to vent your own concerns - about both yourself and other subjects - like nearly all my other blogpals have. But I respect your decision (if that is what it is) to keep yourself private. I'll leave it to you whether you wish to open up our 'connection' by your suggesting an additional means of communication, or if you prefer to leave things the way they are.

    All I can do for now is to repeat my gratititude to you for being there to give me support at these times when I most need it. Thank you.