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Thread: Diabetic Bro on Picc Line

  1. #1
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
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    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada

    Diabetic Bro on Picc Line

    I am reminded today of how hurtful it is to see those we love suffer. There are few people I love in this world, my brother nine years older than I would be one of them. He never came to see me but once in three months of my hospital stay when first paralyzed twenty-two years ago, but he probably saved my life when I came home. For it is he, that dragged me out to the movie theatre once a week. It was he who supported and cheered me on in wheelchair basketball and drove me an hour to practise one way, when my parents refused - even during winter storms! It was he who was so generous with his money when he could afford it. He who I tagged along with when I was younger and could walk. Hunting (I could never stop yapping), roller skating, swimming, fishing. He taught me how to draw. He'd play catch with a ball or frisbee when no one else was around. So many memories. It was he, on my first day back at school in a wheelchair, who took me aside and advised me to tell him if 'anyone gave me trouble.' lol

    David, the gentleman I live with, can't stand my brother Jeff. I once got my brother out of a financial jam, and David can't let it go.

    My brother was the most hurt when our mother died more than ten years ago. In fact, I don't think he ever, or will ever, get over it. He gained a lot of weight on an already obese frame. He was diagnosed with diabetes about five or six years ago. He would buy the medicine as he could afford it; it was truly sad. I tried to tell him to get on assistance, for jobs with benefits are hard to come by for unskilled factory workers anymore. Health care is easy to come by here, but not the expensive meds!

    Despite the adversity of what I would call near-poverty-level-living and a severe denied depression, he managed to lose well over one hundred pounds, perhaps more by now as I haven't seen him in a year. His motivation was the temporary loss of eyesight, a common complication of untreated diabetes. He said the diabetes went away with his weight loss, but I never believed him.

    Fast forward to a couple of months ago when he decided to buy his first house with his girlfriend - the first girlfriend he's had in my lifetime ... I was so excited for him! She's quite a friendly gal, if not a bit on the shy side.

    He's been complaining about a sore leg that's gone limp since winter. He said he had to drag it up stairs in his apartment building. Two weeks ago his toe was giving him trouble. Turns out a piece of steel got stuck in his toe, probably from work. As most diabetics, he couldn't feel it. He thought he removed it on his own. A week later he went to the doctor and he removed another small piece. It continued to pain his leg and get worse. A wound developed. On Tuesday, he was apparently sent to the emergency department of a hospital. It had become infected. He's now on a PICC line and oral antibiotics and bed rest. Suspected osteomyelitis.

    He sent me an email this morning saying, "Well Jennifer, I now know what it's like to be you," which made me sigh in that rolling eyes way with the knowledge that my brother should know better. But he means the problems I've had with pressure sores, which became all too clear as I read on.

    I see my mother's episode with her limb amputation, failing kidneys, poor eyesight, neuropathy and depression all over again. Complications of diabetes and they suck. I'm already picturing a funeral.

    My sister always thought he was jealous of the attention I received when I first became paralyzed and therefore, let himself become sicker and sicker. He was just off to Humber College in Toronto for Photography and then suddenly forgotten about. Trust me, it was severely unwanted attention. I'm often heard to joke that when I was born and the doctor went to slap me, I said, 'I'll take it from here thank you. Nothing to see here, move along people. I'll do for myself.' lol

    It's a sad day for me and I've cried for the first time in a very long time. Real wet tears because I know his short future. I'm trying to tell myself that diabetic foot ulcers have come a long way in ten years; antibiotics too; Metformin, etc ... but no matter what we do, it seems some of us are killed off before our time in some sort of population thinning law of nature.

    I've not had the chance to experience the 'worry' side that most of my family experienced for years with me. It's not a nice place to visit, that's for sure.
    Last edited by lynnifer; 08-09-2007 at 01:21 PM.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  2. #2
    Lynn, one of my best friends had a toe amputated this January. I felt as you stepmom says he is the brother I chose since I lost the lottery with the ones I got at birth. I was seeing a dreadful future of piece after piece, but so far all is well. He changed jobs, people that can't feel their feet don't belong in casting/machining. He got a job w/ better insurance and no steel-toed boots. He's lost a ton of weight, that is actually a symptom of diabetes gone insane. It's kind of self-healing that way, because less eight = less blood sugar I guess.

    Don't give up hope yet. Encourage him to exercise and eat well. If he would consider an insulin pump they do really well, and less expensive meds I'd think?

    My stepmom's mom takes 4 shots a day. 93 years old, 2 knee replacements, they make her sleep in the basement and walk up the stairs! (To be fair, she likes it that way.) This can be handled, it takes dedication.

    I just learned today my mom has MRSA in her skull plates, surgery next Thursday. She didn't want to worry me...sigh. I'm packing now, headed to Kansas.

  3. #3
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Somewhere in the Rocky Mountains
    I got a friend on an insulin pump. It provides much better control of his out of control diabetes. He doesnt watch what he eats either is often going to the ER for diabetes related problems.

    EEeeekkkks Betheny....MRSA?

    ((((((hugs to both of you))))))

    Be safe in your travels Betheny
    T12-L2; Burst fracture L1: Incomplete walking with AFO's and cane since 1989

    My goal in life is to be as good of a person my dog already thinks I am. ~Author Unknown

  4. #4
    Senior Member lynnifer's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Windsor ON Canada
    Quote Originally Posted by betheny
    I was seeing a dreadful future of piece after piece ... I just learned today my mom has MRSA in her skull plates, surgery next Thursday. She didn't want to worry me...sigh.
    This is what exactly happened with my mother. First it was a toe, a few weeks later more toes. Then half the foot. Then right under the knee.

    MRSA on skull plates? OMG ... you're both in my thoughts. Sorry Betheny.

    ETA: Just received an updated email from him. Scheduled bone scan. Swelling has gone down already, sugar a bit high and sounded like he was feeling a bit better. Back on Metformin, had to get a new diabetic monitor and they gave him some free strips with it. The line may be able to come out earlier. Pisses me off that Diabetic medical supplies cost so much that he just went without and lied that he was better .. his teeth are garbage after dealing with all this for so long and that will be the next thing to be replaced.
    Last edited by lynnifer; 08-10-2007 at 05:56 AM.
    Roses are red. Tacos are enjoyable. Don't blame immigrants, because you're unemployable.

    T-11 Flaccid Paraplegic due to TM July 1985 @ age 12

  5. #5
    Senior Member Timaru's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Hampshire, England.
    He sounds a nice guy Lynnifer, the up-date looks promising, I hope it's been caught in time.

    I can only reiterate what the others have said, the treatment for diabetes has come on in leaps and bounds in recent years.

    Stay strong,


  6. #6
    Senior Member
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    Jan 2003
    Madison,Wisconsin, USA
    Lynnifer, please don't despair! My brother, Jim has been type I (insulin dependent) diabetic x30 years, SCI C5 complete and TBI x7 years and he is doing well. His A1c is 6.5, which is really good considering the SCI. He did have laser treatments for retinopathy before the SCI and although checked yearly, no further problems. When he was in the acute hospital after his SCI for 7 months he was discharged with 3 bedsores, each foot and his bottom, a stage 3. We healed them ourselves within 3 months with no further recurrences. Needless to say we watch his feet like hawks and are pro-active with any problems like ingrown toenails. Diet, exercise, as able, and constant vigilance seems to make a difference. It would be good if your brother could get diabetic teaching and regular Endocrine follow-ups, now that he has had this experience it may be more helpful. My oldest brother lost his sight and later died from complications of diabetes, kidney failure. But nowdays there is better medical practice with diabetes and with vigilance it doesn't need to be the doomful diagnosis it once was. I'm sorry about your mother. Deb

  7. #7

    I want to echo Lil' sister. Your post is a deep expression of love for your brother. He clearly recognized his problem when he decided to lose weight. He is lucky to have you for a sister and vice-versa. The fact that he is settling down with a person, buying a house, and getting serious medical attention (a PICC lines is reasonably serious) are all good signs. You do need to see him more, however. My brother died several years ago and I continue to regret that I did not spend more time with him and tell him how much I loved him.


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