Having diabetes is an everyday struggle. Anything can happen at any time if not managed properly, and can result in serious consequences. This is what happened in Thailand and I must say it wasn’t a whole lot of fun.
After a long night out, my family and I decided to go back to the hotel we were staying at. That night we had enjoyed a great meal at an Australian themed Steak House (yeah I know, not really that culturally exciting but we had been eating Thai food for weeks!) The moment I arrived at the hotel, I suddenly felt my stomach ache. I automatically thought that I ate a bit too much and that my body needed more time to digest, so I had a glass of water to help. An hour or two later I went to go check my blood sugar, and saw that it was going low quickly from 78 mg. I clearly remember at the restaurant, that my blood sugar was at 258 mg and was going up quickly, so as any diabetic might do, I took some insulin. I made sure that I calculated everything correctly for the insulin I was given, so seeing 78 mg going down quickly freaked me out quite a bit. I immediately felt annoyed, because if I was going low I would need to eat something, but I was too full! I ended up having some glucose tabs and a regular coke. At this point my stomach was still feeling a bit queasy, so I slowly took tiny sips of coke. Every fifteen minutes I was checking my blood (I was also pricking my finger just in case) and still no change, I was actually going lower! Mum told me I should start taking bigger sips of coke, and as I was doing so, the sicker I felt. It was currently 11:00 pm and that’s when I felt like I was going to be sick, so I raced up to the sink and all my dinner was thrown up. I immediately felt better and blamed the steak house for the bad chicken they gave me, however my blood sugar was still not going up at all! Not long after, my stomach started to ache and I was going to be sick again. After several incidents of this, and my blood sugar still plummeting, I was now not even able to hold down sips of water. So Mum and Dad, realising that this was more serious than just a bad meal, decided to take me to the closest hospital! By this time it was about 1.30am.
We asked the hotel for the closest hospital and drove there as fast as possible. We were all super tired. We arrived at emergency section in Bangkok Hospital in Samui and waited for someone to assist us. As it is Thailand, they didn’t really understand fully of what was happening but they did the best they could and put me on a drip that wouldn’t make me feel sick anymore. Even though the drip was helping get my blood sugar up and the antibiotics were being feed into me I still threw up another two times. At this point they transported me into the ICU. All I can say is that night in the ICU was worst night I ever had in my whole life. My body ached every time I moved, I was having weird dreams, and just the feeling of not being 100%. Even my Mum said I was sleep talking, saying stuff such as; “Taylor Swift is coming to see me? I better act normal”!!
At 7am ‘I woke up’, even though I didn’t even have a proper rest. The doctors said that I would have to eat something, but I didn’t feel like anything because I had the feeling it would make me sick again. The food they brought me didn’t look appetising either! Mash potato, more like dry white sand and some kind of mystery meat!
Later on, the doctors informed us that they were going to move me to the normal wards in the hospital and that I was going to go there as soon as possible. When arriving to the room I already felt 100 times better! I definitely knew that I slept way better than the night before. It was funny that none of the doctors or nurses had ever seen the glucose monitor scanner that I have on my arm and they were fascinated that they could check my blood sugar without having to prick my finger. However, they were unsure how to use the reader to scan me (even though it is just waving it over the area) so every hour overnight they would wake me and say “what is your number?”.
By the time it was morning on the second day there I knew that the sickness was starting to wear off slowly, and as soon as I could keep some food down and control my blood sugar the doctors officially announced that I could leave. They dropped off any necessary medication that I might need and let me go! Although it was a tragic two nights, I’m glad that it turned out alright in the end, and that now I know how to handle myself in situations like this one. Not many people in Asia have type 1 diabetes so I felt like the hospital didn’t know much about it and my Mum had to direct them a bit with stopping the glucose drip when my sugars went high and getting them to start it again when they dropped. I think the doctors had to keep calling through to Bangkok for advice on what to do. But ultimately they managed to get me through this horrible gastro incident and I appreciated their efforts. Everyone was really nice and the hospital room on the second night was great. It is frustrating that just a fairly minor illness can end with me being admitted to hospital just because of my diabetes.
Make sure you always take care, especially when travelling!