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Liquid Gold

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

A few weeks ago, my Dad had surgery to replace his aortic valve.  You might have read about it HERE.

I want to say a BIG thank you to everyone who sent prayers and well wishes and kind thoughts our way!

Less than a month after the surgery and he is doing very well!  If you didn't KNOW he'd had such major surgery you'd never be able to tell just by looking.  I am simply AMAZED at his recovery - at how fast he was communicating with us, how quickly he was on his feet, and how fast he was home! 

Sweets was rather nervous about this surgery.  As I wrote in the earlier post, she and her Gaga are like two peas in a pod.  They are very close.  And she was really worried about it.  After surgery, he was in the cardio thoracic ICU for a few days.  Children under 14 were not permitted in the ICU.  The day after surgery Sweets and I went to one of our JDRF Promise to Remember Me meetings and then I planned on taking her to a friends house while I ran over the the hospital for a bit.  Unfortunately, my friend's son got sick.  So.... I ended up taking Sweets with me to the hospital.  I thought she could visit with Mimi in the waiting room while I went in see Dad for a little bit.  We stopped at the gift store and she bought him a balloon.  When we got up to the ICU, I called Mom to come let us in.  But when she opened the door a nurse came out with her.  The nurse oohed and ahhed over Sweetpea's pretty dress and her balloon and then she said, "Oh... she can go on in.  He's doing well and sitting up... just go on in and give him the balloon."  So she did.  (Funny how things always seem to work like that for her...)

In she went.  I was a little worried that she would be scared.


"Hi Gaga!  Oh.... I had a bed like that when I was in the hospital.  I had one of those light up things on my finger.  I had those tubes in my arm, too.  Hey!  I had a bucket like that to puke in!  Did you puke, Gaga?" 

On it went... she recognized things that were like she has seen before.  And she was no longer scared.  It all made sense to her. 

Most five year old would have been totally freaked out by seeing all those things... but OUR kids are used to it.  It was very sweet - in a sad kind of way.  She knows too much.  That's why she was so nervous.  But once she saw him and recognized things - it helped her feel so much better!

Do you know what she thought the best part was?

He was hooked up to an insulin drip!

The first night I heard the nurse say that... And I said, "What?  Did you just say INSULIN?" 

She said that it's standard procedure to give their patients insulin after surgery.  Even people without diabetes have very high blood sugar after major surgery.  And the insulin helps keep the blood sugar down which helps promote healing. 


I did not know that they did that.... but it makes total sense.  I KNEW that blood sugar raises in all people when they are under stress.  I just never really thought about it out of the world of diabetes before.

Dad was on insulin for a few days.  One day when I walked in she said that he'd had some juice because his blood sugar was a little low.  "What's low?" I wondered.  She said it was in the 60's. 

He was getting about 3.2 units an hour of regular insulin at first.  After a day or so it was down to about 1.5 units an hour.  Finally, after he was unhooked from all the machines and moved out of the ICU, he was given an SHOT!

He said they gave him a choice and he chose tummy.  He told Sweets all about it and told her that the needle looked just like hers.  And that he wasn't scared because he knows how brave she is and how he's seen her (and helped her) get shots before.

She thought that was super cool!

I thought it was super cool, too!

I LOVE that insulin is being used not just to keep people alive - but to promote faster healing and all around wellness after surgery.  I love that it's being used out of the world of diabetes. 

It just goes to show... Insulin really is a wonder drug!  It will always be my liquid gold!



  1. Wow, that's awesome. I never knew insulin was used like that either! The dosage surprised me - 3.2u/hr initially....Bob's highest basal setting is only 1.5u/hr and he's a big guy. So impressed with Sweetpea's reaction and how cool she was about it all. She's such a great kid! Give my very best wishes to your Dad and I hope he is out of hospital very soon and on the road to a full recovery :) xxx

  2. Very interesting! Glad to hear everything went well with the surgery.

  3. I am SO glad your dad is OK! Big hugs and lots of prayers to you all :)
    I can also relate to your dad, because I had my pulmonary valve replaced with an aortic valve a few years ago (due to ToF, and because it's a stronger valve, or something...) - AND I had to have an extra insulin drip so my basals wouldn't have to change for just a few days. Insulin, while not a cure, is still pretty amazing stuff!
    Hope your Dad gets better, and luck with everything :)

  4. This post hits VERY close to home for me Hallie. When Joe was diagnosed, I was working in the Pediatric and Surgical Intensive Care Unit. EVERYONE...EVERYONE was on insulin drips. I could NOT escape checking blood sugars and titrating insulin. I did it at home. I did it at work. I HATED it.

    This movement for tighter control of post-op blood sugars really ramped up in these parts about 6 years ago...shows you how important good diabetes management is. Glad your dad is doing well. xo

  5. so glad to hear your Dad is doing well! Also wanted to say that this post warmed my heart to read about the bond between Sweets and her special...:o) I'm glad she has him!

  6. This is fascinating to me that they are using insulin in non-diabetics post surgery! I never knew and often wonder what would happen if I injected myself with insulin. Okay, that just made me sound crazy...I would NEVER do that! That really is amazing and makes sense since stress/sickness causes blood sugar to go up. I just figured our pancreas took care of it. I get how that is sad that Sweets wasn't freaked out. They shouldn't be so comfortable with all this medical stuff! Thanks for sharing.

  7. So glad that your Dad is doing well and SweetPea was able to help. I think it does our kids good to see they can help others and are not always the one being helped.

  8. wow Hallie I never knew...that is pretty incredible and a sweet moment for two people you love to connect over liquid gold :)

  9. I'm so happy that your dad's recovery is going well. What a bitter-sweet connection that Sweets got to share with Gaga!

  10. I've been away too long, I'm just learning about your dad now and I am so glad that he is doing well. Insulin truly is our liquid gold! I just love that and couldn't agree more.


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