Insulin or Death by Stephen Lehmann - Read Online
Insulin or Death
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This is my story of LADA Diabetes. In 2009, I was diagnosed with diabetes, but misdiagnosed as Type II. It is estimated the 20% of patients face the same misinformation.

If you, a family member, or a friend have diabetes, this story is important to you. Don't miss the opportunity to learn the lessons that almost took my life.

Published: Stephen Lehmann on
ISBN: 9781301812844
List price: $2.99
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Insulin or Death - Stephen Lehmann

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Page 1 of 1


Steve, are you okay?

I heard Brenda, the waitress at IHOP. I saw concern on her face. I felt her touch on my shoulder. The only thing that I could not do was tell her that I was sick.

Steve, are you okay? You’re shaking like a leaf!

Activity was picking up around me. The other customers were staring. I was the center of attention, but it was not the attention that I wanted. All I wanted was breakfast. I had to make the decision I faced every morning, should I get the Simple and Fit 2x2x2 or the Simple and Fit Blueberry Harvest Grain ‘N Nut® Combo?

Steve. Steve! Is it your diabetes?

The Blueberry Harvest Combo has 560 calories, and the 2x2x2 has 400 calories. I’ve lost another 25 pounds in the last two months. I can afford the extra calories.

I need some help back here! Brenda was yelling. Steve, should I call 911?

Order breakfast and then do the crossword puzzle and the Sudoku. That’s my routine. I’m sticking to my routine.

Oh my God, I think he’s going into diabetic shock.

The activity grew to a crescendo around me. In the background, I heard someone say, My uncle has diabetes. That man needs sugar or orange juice, now! Within seconds, someone was feeding me sugar, and then I felt a glass of orange juice pressed to my lips.

Instantly, the effects of sugar and orange juice vibrated through my body. My body trembled like a can of paint in a paint shaker, and I could not control it. I stared at my hands, willing the shaking to stop to no avail. Why can’t I control my body? I can always control my body. This is bad!

Steve, Brenda was saying, we’ve called 911. Do you need more orange juice?

I tried to wave my hand, but because of the shaking I did not know if anyone could understand that I was sure the orange juice was not helping. My ears began ringing, and my head felt as if it were about to explode. A lucid thought finally penetrated into the depths of my mind. I’m having a stroke!

When first diagnosed as being diabetic, I researched my disease. I remembered reading that one of the potential effects was heart attacks and strokes. I had never experienced a stroke but knew that the pressure in my head felt like a balloon about to burst.

I have no idea whether the paramedics arrived in two or twenty minutes. In my present condition time had no relevance. Am I going to die in IHOP? Will my kids miss me? These stupid questions flashed in my mind as I realized that I could be facing death.

They were tugging on my arm and trying to move me to a stretcher. I can’t leave yet. I drank orange juice, and I have to pay my bill. I struggled to express myself, but they could not understand what was coming out of my mouth. As they got me to my feet, I wrestled my left hand free and reached into my pocket for money.

Don’t worry about that! Brenda said. You need to go with them.

The paramedics performed the standard test: blood pressure and heart rate. Brenda told them that I was diabetic, and they pricked my finger for a blood glucose (BG) test. Within seconds of the BG, I felt the stretcher beginning to move. In the back of the ambulance, questions came at me fast and furious from the lady EMT.

What’s your last name, Steve? the EMT said.

I quickly gave up trying to answer because they did not understand my mumbles. How can I tell them? My wallet and license!

Steve, we’re going to take you to the hospital. Would you rather go to Community South or Saint Vincent?

You don’t understand that I don’t care!

She asked again, and I pointed when she said, Saint Vincent.

Suddenly, I felt a needle inserted into my arm and fluids began pumping into my system. As the ambulance started moving I heard her talking on the radio, giving my vitals to the hospital.

I’m safe. They’re going to take care of me. I can relax again.

Steve, wake up! You can’t go to sleep yet!

I struggled to remain awake.

I could hear her on the radio, Male, age 53. BP 128 over 78. Diabetic. Probable DKA. Be ready when we get there. ETA six minutes.

Did she just say DOA? She thinks I’m going to be Dead on Arrival in six minutes!

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Chapter 2


Steve, what’s wrong? the EMT was saying.

D O A? I managed to get her understand, finally.

What? What are you talking about?

I labored, again, to form words that she could understand. You said DOA on the radio.

No, I was just giving them your vitals. I told them that you were probably suffering from Diabetic Ketoacidosis, DKA.

Her eyes gave away her thoughts, and I could almost see a light bulb shine as she understood the miscommunication.

You mistook DKA for DOA. We’re going to get you to the hospital, and they’ll take care of you. DKA is serious, even critical, but they’ll take care of you.

As I digested the words, the anxiety drained from my soul. I noticed that she had not said that I was going to die.

The marvels of modern medicine pulsated throughout the room; IV tubes in the wrist, blood pressure cuff on the arm, EKG tabs on the chest. Nurses came, most introduced themselves, but the names went in one ear and out the other.

I avoid doctors as a rule; too many seem arrogant. During my professional life, arrogant people are normal. We enjoyed telling doctors and lawyers what to do and where to go. Our job was to keep them safe. My life was in their hands now. I was in their home field and depended on them.

Every 15 minutes, a nurse stood at my bedside, asking for a finger to prick. For the first couple of hours in the emergency, I was rarely alone.

We’re going to keep you here in the emergency room for a couple of hours, the nurse was saying. After we make sure that you’re stabilized you’ll be going to ICU.

Any idea how long I’m going to be in the hospital? I was able to ask.

You’re going to be with us for a while. It’s hard to say exactly, but this weekend you might be going home.

Weekend! Today’s Monday. Thanksgiving is coming in three weeks. It’s been a long journey the past two years. I thought. Guess I’m going to have a lot of time to think and watch TV.

Can I call anyone for you?

My cell phone is with my clothes, right?

Holding up the plastic bag, the nurse said, It’s right here.

I think I’m going to live. I’ll call later. Give me some time; I need to figure out how I ended up here.

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Chapter 3

I Can’t Read That

Dad, want to go out for lunch? asked my daughter, Marlaina, on the phone.

Absolutely! I answered. Any time I spend with my kids is an excellent time. The only problem is that I need you to pick me up.


Well, I’m getting new glasses, and they won’t be ready for 2 more days. I don’t feel comfortable driving.

Are you ok, Dad?

I’m fine, not a big deal. I lied.

It was the week after Thanksgiving, 2009. I had tried to make the Thanksgiving feast different and memorable for my three children. The annual meal had been difficult for me every year since my divorce. By law, my ex-wife and I rotated having the kids. My ex refused, and the kids had two meals.

This year I had tried something different. Instead of the traditional turkey, I had made Cornish Game Hens. We had our own personal bird. It was a brilliant idea, but didn’t go over to well. My son and youngest daughter did not like the taste and ate mostly rolls and mac and cheese.

During Thanksgiving, I was physically fine. The week before, I had a minor flu virus. The following weekend, I noticed that something was wrong with my vision.

Monday brought a trip to the local Wal-Mart vision center. My vision was unchanged for 20 years; -1.75 in the right eye and -1.50 in the left eye.

The trip to the optometrist shocked me. In a single week, my vision had