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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Visiting a Loved One in Rehab

Last week, we visited a loved one in drug rehab.  For reasons other than the obvious, it was not as easy as I thought it would be.

We were told visitation was at 11:30.  When we rolled up we found out it was, in fact, at 12.  Okay, we’ll wait in the car – the car with broken air conditioning…awesome.  Hubs asked if I wanted to play Frisbee since we had time to kill, but I didn’t want my blood sugars to drop, plus it was almost 100 degrees outside and we were already panting.

I thought I was super smart leaving my insulin and meter at home since I didn’t want it sitting in the car with temps that rivaled Hades.  We were about fifteen minutes from home, and visitation was an hour (we thought) so I was sure we’d be home for lunch and my shot in no time.  My sugars were running low so I brought glucose tabs and a juice box.  Just before going in, I drank the juice.

They had no record of our loved one (!), so we sat waiting another twenty minutes.  When they brought him in, an employee told us we’d have to move tables for “the program”.  Um, what program???  Why the family education program that goes until 2:30 of course!  Visitation is then from 2:30 - 4:30.  You cannot arrive just for visitation.  You either stay for all or nothing.  We moved tables and I ended up in a broken chair with remnants of the residents’ lunch on the floor below me.  I begged Hubs not to let me pass out on that floor.  He’s a good D-Hub, he assured me he wouldn’t.

Our group project was to determine “who lived and who died” if six people were on a list for a heart transplant.  I found the project offensive for several reasons and became, let’s say – feisty.  Yep, I was feisty and ready to give the bird to the people that denied the heart transplant to the disabled nine-year-old, when the instructor called for break a little after 1:30.  Hubby said I was beginning to resemble a T-Rex (seems they are pretty feisty too) and that we had better get going. 

We explained to the instructor that with the “Nothing is to be brought in” policy – I had none of my medical supplies with me.  He responded that I could bring it in next time, but when I said – “So you’ll let me bring insulin and a syringe into the building?” he replied “Oh, you’ll have to keep it in the car and leave for your shot”.  I explained that insulin could not be left in a smoldering hot car.  He seemed puzzled.  Of course, I do see his point, medications – even prescription ones, can pose serious problems in a place like drug rehab.   

Feeling shaky, I chomped on glucose tabs most of the way home.  Generally my insulin, meter and tabs are on my person instead of banned from buildings.  I freak out not having my bag of medical tricks on me at all times.    

I felt bad leaving early.  We’d visited rehab before at another facility and it was always an hour.  I’m sure there are things I could learn from family education class, but with low blood sugar (and admittedly a smidge of PMS) I wouldn’t be learning anything.  It seemed likely they’d be learning about combative-low-blood-sugar-girl instead.  I’m glad we got to hug and talk to our loved one.  The visit was worth the inconvenience.   

I’m off to buy a car cooler. 


  1. Wow, eye opening. New experiences present us with challenges in taking care of "D" the way we are used to for sure. I am glad that you got to visit with your loved one and that you are getting a car cooler. I haven't had issues with the heat here...however, Joe is his insulin is usually "on him". I do wrap his pump and slap it in our cooler when we go to the pool (admittedly, a much different outing than to rehab).

    Hope the PMS is simmering down.

  2. Gosh, this is a perfect example of how diabetes involves so much more than just making sure you've had enough to eat or that your bg levels are balanced. Made me think; what a struggle it must be for people who are addicted to drugs AND are diabetic?! (I'm not sure about how common this would be, but I suppose it's possible!)

    Thankfully, England hardly ever gets so hot that I have to worry about the temperature of my insulin. Right now, the skies are gray and rain has been pouring all day.

    I'm glad you didn't let D get in the way of you seeing your family member :)

  3. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog today. :)

    I'm glad you were able to hug and chat for a bit.

    Would they allow you to bring your insulin, syringes and other supplies into the building and leave them with a staff member, so that you could have access to them at any time you needed them while inside the building, but also so that they posed no risk to patients?

  4. This story simply tells of how every single action we take cannot happen without a passing thought about who what where when why and how?
    Nope, we just can't hop in our cars and go visit loved ones in drug rehab. Every step you took needs to happen before any and all decisions we make to do anything.

    I had to call my personal trainer this morning and cancel our 9:30 appt cuz my BS was 355!! Grrrrr!!!! I was prepped and ready to go, actually felt great, but D gets in the way of everything.


  5. This seems like such a tough situation. I am so glad that you are OK, I just wish they knew more about diabetes! ugh.