Friday, April 10, 2009

Eat, Drink, Pee

Christian is enjoying his breakfast of cornflakes, milk, and apple juice. He has twice as much liquid as solid. He has to pee into this plastic tub in the bathroom, and they keep track of everything going in and out.

Last night after he fell asleep, the nurse showed me the shower room, the nutrition room (from which I took a milk in the futile hopes that it would help me sleep), and told me about the Ronald McDonald room. I guess they might have a tad better sleeping arrangements there than this foldout chair that I have.

I called maintenance to have the room temperature lowered just two degrees. It makes a difference.

After thrashing around on the chair, I spied a Mommy-sized space on Christian's bed, so I climbed in with him and was finally able to sleep. Until they woke him up to pee at 5:30 and gave him an insulin shot. And then woke him at 6:00 for breakfast. He asked where my breakfast was, and I laughed and told him that I'm on my own. I'll find something later. Right now, sleep is so much more important. So, I'm chatting with him and writing to you.

I asked him finally this morning if he knew what diabetes was. He didn't, of course, so I gave him a rudimentary explanation:

You have an organ called a pancreas. It makes insulin that tells your body what to do with the sugar it eats, tells it to send the sugar to your cells. They told us yesterday that they think sometimes a virus attacks the pancreas, reducing and slowly killing off insulin production. So, when your body doesn't produce insulin, your sugar stays in your blood. When the levels rise to the degree that they had in Christian, sometimes it can ruin your kidneys and lead to all kinds of bad things.

So, he will learn to eat foods that don't put more sugar into his blood than his insulin shots can tell it where to go. And if he were to do something like eat three really sugary doughnuts, he'd learn that he has to take more insulin to make up for that.

I hope I have it right and haven't confused him too much.

I realized two things last night:

1) Nobody on Lost or Battlestar Galactica had diabetes. It colors how I view those shows now, just a bit. Diabetes would have been a genuine tragedy. But it also seems somehow unfair that patients with diabetes don't get to share in the fun.

2) I need to ask about getting Christian a medic alert bracelet.

Christian just spilled a little juice. Got to go.


  1. Glad to hear you finally got some sleep.

    As for the causes of diabetes, I've heard that families who have autoimmune-type thryoid disease also have a tendency to have type 1 diabetes. My half-sister-in-laws daughter (technically, my half-niece?) has celiac disease, type 1 diabetes and hypothyroidism. Oh, and bipolar (kid can't catch a break!).

    Just remembered you had all of that fun thyroid stuff and thought it could be connected somehow...

    Good luck!

    Missy Leone

  2. That's very interesting! We are definitely going to test the other two kids.

    I am probably a good candidate for Type II, actually. My thyroid was normal in January, but that doesn't mean squat-- who knows what it will be this summer!

    Without my family history, it's hard to know!

  3. I think the standard procedure for a celiac diagnosis is to test for type 1 and thyroid problems, because a statistically significant portion of the kids who present with celiac will have one of the other two.

    I am definitely very happy that Christian is doing much better. Things could have been so much worse!

  4. Wheat is something he might want to avoid anyway, with is Asperger's. I'll mention to my doc about celiac's. I know a lot of adults who suddenly develop it!

  5. Just found out that they are testing for celiac. But only 5% of people with diabetes also have celiac.

  6. Wow, that's really interesting. I hope you guys get stuff figured out soon!