Missed Diagnoses

Dad had been laying on the couch for several days earlier this month. He had been unwell since a family function where he had eaten what we suspected to be an off piece of fish.

A trip to Bunnings at the beginning of the week took its toll on him, quickly wearing him out. As the week progressed, he spent more and more time on the couch. His voice was so croaky, and I could tell that even the simple act of talking used up a great deal of his energy. Towards the end of the week, he could barely remain at the table for the duration of dinner. He was still eating very little, despite my Mum constantly reminding him that “you have to eat or you won’t get your strength back.” He could barely even get up off the couch without puffing.

He went to see his doctor at the beginning of the week, who told him it was nothing more than a simple virus. When he returned again later in the week, his doctor told him that this “virus” was simply taking time to pass, and that he needed to drink fluids, eat soft foods and rest.

We approached the one week mark, and Dad wasn’t improving. Mum broached the idea of testing his blood sugar levels when I woke up on the Sunday morning, and it took me by complete surprise. Diabetes didn’t even occur to me once throughout that whole week. Maybe it was the initial symptoms of food poisoning that had thrown me off. In fact, it’s only now that I am writing this, that I am realising how much these symptoms did mirror that of type 1 diabetes.

When Dad mentioned that his mouth was extremely dry and that he might need to be given a saline drip, the reality that he might have diabetes hit me. I could feel the knots in my stomach tightening, and I knew that I needed to check his blood sugar level. I grabbed my meter, placed a fresh Lancet into my Lancing device, and tested. His blood sugar level was 8.5 mmol. Slightly elevated. He told me he had eaten a biscuit when he woke up, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

We took Dad to the emergency room that day, well aware that a week had passed and he wasn’t getting any better. He ended up staying in hospital for a week and received treatment for something much more serious than a passing virus. Two weeks on, and he’s back home and on the road to recovery.

So I guess the morale of my story is that missed diagnosises aren’t exclusive to the diabetes world. They are very much a reality in the non-diabetes world, as well.

Dad visited his doctor twice in that week prior to going to hospital. While I don’t expect a General Practitioner to be an expert in every illness or ailment out there, I do expect that he would take a patient’s concerns more seriously. Offer referrals, or suggest medications. And I fully expect that he is not the only GP in the world today who is missing diagnosises.

So, that’s where I’ve been these past couple of weeks. I haven’t really had the time or the energy to blog lately. I haven’t really been able to find the right words, and diabetes hasn’t really felt very significant compared to what’s been going on.

But it is good to be back behind the wheel of my blog once again. Stay tuned.