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The Spouse Thingy
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Diabetes Insipidus 101
I’ve spent the last couple of days surfing for information on Diabetes Insipidus. I know the basics from experience: you pee a lot, it dehydrates you, makes you incredibly thirsty, so you drink a lot, and then you pee a lot. Pretty simple.
And I know what caused it for me – the pituitary tumor. The mass was on the stalk of the pituitary, which inhibited its ability to produce Vasopressin, which is the body’s antidiuretic hormone. Without it, the kidneys don’t know when to hold water – so they just release it. A lot of it.
I learned quite a bit while surfing for DI info.
I thought that it was really only something people got who had pit tumors or brain injuries. Yet 25% of all DI cases are idiopathic – meaning there is no apparent cause. Some are genetic. DI appears in animals. And sadly, in small children who often go a very, very long time without being diagnosed.
Knowing how uncomfortable untreated DI is, this really breaks my heart. The thirst you get with this is like no other thirst there is. Nothing quenches it – you can drink until you throw up, and you still need to drink more. Little kids, who pee a lot and have accidents anyway, are often tormented by having liquids withheld – the idea being that if this kid doesn’t drink so much, he won’t pee so much.
That’s like torture. Some of these kids get so desperate for liquid they get caught drinking out of the toilet.
It’s been a sort of running joke that if my medication wears off I’ll stick my head in an aquarium in a store and suck all the water out, leaving only an inch for the fish. I never thought about a small child, frantic for something to drink, in those terms. Can you imagine? Being so completely desperate that you’d stick you head inside a toilet to drink? And you’d drink it dry, and still want more…
Frequent urination and increased thirst are signs of both diabetes mellitus (the more commonly known diabetes, sometimes called “sugar diabetes”) and diabetes insipidus (sometimes called “water diabetes” and “diabetes sip and piss.”) Both require medical attention. Both can kill you if left untreated.
If you have these symptoms, see a doc. The first thought will be diabetes mellitus, but if your blood sugars come back as normal, press for further testing. Find out the cause. And especially, most especially, if your child just can’t get enough to drink and pees like crazy, fight until you know why.
I know when my medication wears off, it becomes more than just a little uncomfortable. I can pee off 2-3 gallons a day and just can’t drink enough. I don’t sleep much because I get up every 30-45 minutes to use the restroom. The thirst hurts after a while. But I’m a grownup, I know why this happens and what I need to do to fix it. A child doesn’t.
I’ll be on the medication for the rest of my life. Every day. But at least it’s not as painful as not having it.
Damn. Poor kids.
November 8, 2002
Good Manners 101
By the time my son was two years old, he had learned some basic etiquette. Don’t pick your nose in front of Grandma. Don’t show us the chewed food in your mouth. Don’t take someone else’s toy without asking first. And don’t talk during a movie unless your hair is on fire.
It was easy enough to teach him this. We looked down at that little face, smiled nicely, and said “Don’t talk once the movie starts. If you need to, whisper, and we’ll take you to the lobby.” It was that easy. If he’d talked, we would have left the theater. Once or twice would have drilled the lesson in.
The Spouse Thingy and I went to see a movie today. Santa Clause 2. Fun movie, a good sequel… that would have been better if not for the chatter behind us.
Now, we knew going in there would be a lot of kids there. It started at 3:30, a perfect time to bring kids. Right after school and before dinner. Kids whispering and giggling and laughing out loud doesn’t really bother either one of us, especially when it’s an appropriate movie for kids and it’s just downright funny. And kids sometimes have questions, and don’t stop to think… they just ask.
Behind us sat two adults and two kids. The kids were pretty good. Laughed a lot, whispered a few times. Tolerable.
Their mother, however, would not shut up. She spoke loudly, commented on stupid little things in the movie – “oh, no, he’s going to run out of magic!” – and laughed far too loud than was appropriate – a “oh, kids, this is funny and I think you’re too stupid to figure that out on your own, so let me show you!” kind of laugh. She was verbal enough that I was starting to get pissed off, truly pissed off, and the Spouse Thingy was visibly annoyed. At one point he finally turned around and asked her to turn the volume down.
It worked for about 10 minutes.
This was not a child, this was a grown woman who had kids of her own. Kiddie matinee or not, there was no excuse for it, and the only thing she’s teaching her kids is that it’s perfectly all right to disrupt someone else’s good time, even when they ask you, fairly nicely, to stop.
In any case, the movie was good. I coulda bitch-slapped the lady, but… The holidays are coming, I don’t want to spend them in jail.
November 13, 2002
Small Butterfingers Blizzard.
November 14, 2002
Finally. I have a car. Wheels. Something to get me from point A to point B without having to wait for the Spouse Thingy to get off work.
We almost missed the ad for it; I’d read the comics and was casually going through the classifieds, looking for the big “New Today” icons. It was in a list of cars available at a local dealership, listed right after a 1985 Honda Civic for $495.
Heck, we had to go just to see what kind of car can be found at a dealership for under five hundred.
Think rust. And lots of it.
I thin they keep the Civic there to show people so that when they turn around and see the other cheap car, they feel much better about it. In our case, the other cheap car turned out to be a very nice looking ’95 Hyundai Accent. Only 78,000 miles. Ran very well, has a gas friendly 4 cylinder engine. And it’s purple.
Not just purple, but purple. Zooming down the interstate, it must look like a Concord Grape on wheels.
It’s not perfect; it runs like a 7 year old cheap-ass car, lots of noise, but it runs well. The brake pads probably need to be replaced. And it’s not a convertible, something I still covet. But it’ll get me to doctor appointments and dentist appointments (broke a tooth, dammit), and it’ll get me out of the house.
Look out Dayton.
Thumpa’s got wheels.
November 17, 2002
It’s Cold, and My Balls Are Blue
Ok, I only have one blue ball, but it weighs 16 pounds. And it was cold, very cold, when the Spouse Thingy and I decided to play with it today. I jammed two fingers and a thumb into that sucker, took a few steps, and let it fly.
Get your mind out of the gutter. I’m not equipped for those kind of balls…
We went bowling today. It’s fricking cold outside – there are even a few snow flurries in the air – and there was nothing playing at the theater we wanted to see (other than the new Harry Potter movie, but we’re not nuts enough to try to see in on the opening weekend), so we decided to pick up our balls and go bowling.
When we bowl frequently, we’re both decent bowlers. Not stellar, but we don’t suck either. I think we both have averages around 155-160. The problem is, because of my health problems, we haven’t bowled much over the last few years. We wanted to get into a league at the beginning of this fall, but I was still recovering from surgery and wasn’t sure I could safely fling a 16 pound ball around. I had visions of flinging the ball down the lane and having my brains squirt out my nose and ears.
Today was Family Day at the base bowling alley. For $6 each, we could bowl 3 games, and get a free soda and slice of pizza. That’s a decent deal, when you consider that other wise it would have been $2.40 a game. Yeah, that’s way too expensive for bowling, but I suppose the days of a dollar a line are long gone – and crud, I remember when that was considered too much.. We paid our $12, put our ugly-ass shoes on, grabbed the balls, and started to play.
When my hands are cold, they shrink. I think. All I know is that I can’t grip the ball well and it slips quite a bit – a few times in North Dakota I lost the grip on my ball on the back swing and sent people scurrying for cover. Today it just resulted in 2 sucky games, and one decent one.
Still, sucky games and all, it’s a fun way to spend an hour or two, even better when you get free pizza. Better still when the pizza doesn’t suck anywhere near as much as your game does.
With the cold weather – aside from not being able to grip my ball very well – we were both reminded that the holidays are zooming in on us. We started Christmas shopping, and have picked up a few gifts for the Boy that we’re pretty sure he’ll like. This is my favorite time of year, the smell of winter in the air, finding the perfect gifts for people, watching little kids get excited in the mall when they spot Santa sitting there, waiting to hear their wishes.
I wonder if Santa can bring me a decent bowling game…
November 20, 2002
But I Don't Do Anchovies...
Apparently, the inside of my nose smells good.
That’s the only conclusion I can come to, after being woken up the past three mornings by the cat trying to stuff his face up my nose, while sniffing as if a fish factory had opened up for business in my sinuses. The notion was just reinforced; the little furball was lying on the bed and I bent over to pet him, and =wham= his little nose was trying to jam its way into mine.
One of these days he’s going to do that and sneeze, I just know it…
November 21, 2002
The Tooth, The Whole Tooth, and Nothing But The Tooth
One of my biggest phobias is going to the dentist. Usually I have someone go with me, mostly to make sure that I actually go, that I don’t get to the parking lot and chicken out. And if I were to have a full blown panic attack, complete with passing out or curling into a tight, wimpering ball, it would be nice to have someone there to throw a glass of water on me.
I had to go today. Having an escort wasn’t an option. The Spouse Thingy had to work, and the Boy is clear across the country, so I had to suck it up and bravely venture out on my own. Chickening out wasn’t an option, either; I have a broken tooth that needs to be taken care of.
So, I went. I got in my little purple rolling grape and drove to a dentist I was assured was great with complete wusses. The entire appointment took only about 20 minutes, just long enough to be x-rayed and told “the tooth cannot be saved.”
Well, that’s just craptastic.
My options? Have it extracted, either at her office or by an oral surgeon, then get an implant onto which a crown can be placed. This not only means I have to go back, but I have to endure Really Painful Things. Being the World’s Biggest Dental Weenie, this is a problem. I’ll probably go catatonic two weeks before I have to have the tooth removed.
Tomorrow I have a MRI, just a peek inside my head to make sure there’s nothing growing there that shouldn’t be. I’m not worried about this one, mostly because the tumor they yanked out in June was a type that never (ever?) recurs.
But the dental thing…
November 22, 2002
Ok, I’m a wimp. A big one.
I had an MRI scheduled for today; I even went, all by myself, no problems. I sat there in the waiting room, calmly, watching CNN. The tech told me they were running a few minutes late; that was no problem. I had nowhere I had to be. When they were ready for me I handed her my Bare Naked Ladies CD, locked up my watch and other assorted crap in a locker, and went into the room, where I plopped my ass down on the table and laid back, let her slide me into the tube…
…where I promptly freaked out. I lasted a grand 15 seconds in that tube.
The nice med tech didn’t laugh at me, she just let me reschedule for mid-December, leaving me enough time to get a scrip for valium from my doc. The last MRI I had, I’d been given valium and did fine. I thought I could get through it by closing my eyes, but that didn’t work out at all.
November 25, 2002
Drip, Drip, Drip...
I’ve written a little bit about having diabetes insipidus; I don’t think I’ve touched on any of the details, other than it was a symptom of the pituitary tumor and it basically meant I peed a lot. An awful lot. The last week or so people googling for information on symptoms of thirst and frequent urination have emailed me, wanting to know what it was like. What it is like. How they can differentiate between those symptoms and just a bad stretch of dehydration or peeing a lot.
The truth is, I have it and I don’t know a whole lot about it, other than how it affects me. The frequent urination came first – I think. I’m sure the rate increased and I didn’t pay particular attention until I was getting up five or six times a night and searching for the nearest restroom every hour. Then came the thirst. We’re not talking “I’ve been working out and I need extra water” thirst. We’re talking extreme thirst.
Painful, painful thirst.
I’m not sure I can do justice to a description of what this type of thirst feels like. I can tell you that I would drink until my stomach could hold no more, and I’d be miserable until enough left my stomach that I could drink more. I can tell you that we’d be out driving and I’d have to stop at the first soda machine we could find and I’d buy 3 cans of cold tea and down them all in about 4 minutes, and want for more. I can tell you that we’d be in a fast food place and the Spouse Thingy would get in line while I sat down and fidgeted endlessly, like a junkie waiting for a fix, until he could pay for a drink cup – then I’d be able to get unlimited refills. I never got ice; ice took up precious beverage space.
Imagine the worst sunburn you’ve ever gotten. Your skin flaming red, searingly hot, blistering, peeling in drying, blackened layers. With untreated diabetes insipidus your mouth and throat feel like that, and no matter how much you drink, how often you try to sooth the pain, it doesn’t go away.
So you drink. And drink. And drink.
Then you have to get rid of what you had to drink. In copious amounts. Every 15 –30 minutes.
The average adult urinates 6 times a day and drinks 2 liters of fluid. If you’re going 20 times or more and drinking a couple of gallons a day, there’s an obvious problem that needs to be addressed. The first thought is probably diabetes mellitus (“sugar” diabetes) but if your blood sugar levels come back normal, investigating diabetes insipidus (“water” diabetes) might be worthwhile.
I wish I knew more and could be more helpful; mostly what I know is that I have it, I can manage it with a daily dose of DDAVP (Desmopressin), and I know what it feels like when the medication wears off. I know I have to monitor my weight for sudden fluctuations and pay attention to how much fluid I take in. I know what will happen if I stop taking the DDAVP and don’t keep hydrated (blood sodium levels will skyrocket, and if that doesn’t kill me, thickening blood might). I wear a medical alert bracelet in case I’m unconscious and can’t tell an ER doc I have it – something that would be important were the DDAVP to wear off while under emergency care.
A good place to start looking for information is The Diabetes Insipidus Foundation.
And if you have symptoms of extreme thirst and frequent urination, don’t take a “wait and see” stance. Get it checked out. Now.
November 30, 2002
Jack Frost Nipping At Your…
It’s cold. I mean really cold. It’s so cold that if I were to start sweating, I’d probably have icicles hanging from my nipples. It’s cold enough I remember the One Bad Thing about living in North Dakota – all that shivering. You’d think the more one shivered the warmer one would get, but no. I shiver and my goosebumps just grow more goosebumps.
If we were in North Dakota, I’m sure it would be even colder. Right now it’s 25 degrees Fahrenheit outside, that’s cold enough, dammit. It can warm up now. I’ll forgo a white Christmas (which sounds like it’s hit and miss here for that anyway) to be warm. We want to put up Christmas decorations tomorrow, but sheesh, it’s gonna be cold again!
The one nice thing was snow today. It was fluffy and white and pretty and it didn’t stick to the roads. Little kids were outside, running with their little arms flung wide and mouths open, trying to catch snowflakes on their tongues.
But, trust me… don’t try that in the mall parking lot. People look at you funny and the Ricky Rangers start watching you very closely.
Eh, think how closely they’ll be looking when I start pulling those icicles off my nips…
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