Wednesday, August 02, 2006

The day started at 4:45 a.m. with Francesca in a diabetic coma

Lena scooped her up and started a sub-q fluid drip. I drew blood, and had a glucose level reading of LO, this means less than 30, this means very serious. I mixed the powdered glucose, and began to drip it into her mouth. Mary arrived, grabbed a thermometer, Francesca's temperature was only 92°. Very serious.

Mary loaded the heating disks into the microwave (thank you Jan for having donated several, they have been lifesavers over and over again), grabbed the hair dryer, and began to warm Francesca's belly. Soon Francesca began to thrash and kick. By 6:30 a.m. she was fully responsive, with a blood glucose level of 100, and body temperature of 97°. Still low on the body temp, and the blood glucose level now a bit high, but we were out of the critical phase.

What happened to Francesca? Diabetics are so very fragile, it can take something very small to upset the blood glucose level. The central air-conditioning wasn't working yesterday evening, the coils had frozen up from too much use. After trying off and on to defrost it, watching the temperature rise in the 9th Life Retirement, Assisted Living and Psychiatric Center, I finally turned it off, and began to run window units in each room. Perhaps Francesca had gotten a little too hot.

Perhaps she’d felt a little too warm to eat a full evening meal. I only had celery and crackers for dinner, a cool meal, but probably not a good one to keep your blood glucose level regulated. Of course Francesca had refused to share my dinner, and nibbled on her Purina canned diabetic diet, which thankfully she loves. Usually animals who are supposed to be on a special diet, hate that special diet.

Francesca also has a number of health issues in addition to her diabetes. Any of which could have flared up, causing the low blood sugar incident. For now it looks like she'll be fine. Annoyed. But OK. Her blood glucose level will be checked every hour throughout the day. Which means getting stuck with needles, a lot of times, an ordeal which no cat enjoys, but one for which Francesca is always very good.

Her temperature will be taken every 30 minutes, until we know she's holding normal. The amount of insulin she receives will be based on her hourly glucose readings. Thankfully, Dr. Vargas of Culpepper Animal Hospital, has taught us all we need to know to take care of Francesca, right here in Rikki's Refuge’s own hospital. The emergency incident this morning that took Lena, Mary, and me and hour and a half to get under control, would have cost over $600, in the emergency hospital, if we could've gotten there in time even to save her life. Thank God for small favors.

No comments: