Thursday, April 9, 2009

I don't yet have a title for this post. A night to remember? Too corny?

I could KICK myself for not seeing that Christian's symptoms pointed to Juvenile Diabetes. He drinks a lot and pees often. I know that this can mean diabetes. So, why did other explanations always seem plausible?

This actually started last night, with a discussion I had with Sam. I don't really want to get into that here right now, but it resulted in my deciding he could stay home today. Take a mental health day. Let's just say that in some ways, he really does take after his mother.

So, this morning when Christian told me he had an ear ache and had felt faint in the tub, I wasn't inclined to keep him home. I told him that if you stand up quickly after being in hot water, you will feel faint. This in spite of his saying he had felt faint when he got up to use the bathroom last weekend. I took his temperature. No fever. I told him to go see the school nurse, and if she said he looked like he had an ear infection, I'd take him to the doctor.

The phone started ringing as soon as I walked through the door after dropping them off. So, I went back to get Christian, whose ear hurt and who was also tired from being up with his sore ear. I called and got an appointment with the doctor for this afternoon. Their dad was to take the kids for the weekend, so I called and had him meet me at the dr. with Tommy.

When we got to the doctor, I mentioned that Christian has gotten really skinny lately, and I wanted them to see if maybe he was anemic, because he seemed... frail.

Weighing him revealed an 8 pound weight loss since February. That sounds like a Will Smith movie, doesn't it? Sorry, poor joke. Anyway, our dr. asked the student physician what is most likely to cause that kind of weight loss in a child. The student physician didn't know. The doc said they could test for diabetes immediately. I said, "Doesn't he have to fast and drink a disgusting liquid?" No, with the kind of weight loss he has had, if his blood sugar was above 300, this test would detect it.

My ex asked what normal blood sugars would be: 60-100. Christian's couldn't be counted by their office's machine, indicating that it was over 500.

I didn't know at the time, but this can lead to high PH levels and the breakdown of kidney function. Basically, he could have slid into coma or death. Just gone to sleep...

Fortunately, Christian's blood isn't the kind that becomes acidic. So, he probably would have simply continued to lose weight until we freaked out and took him in. Still, it was a fortuitous ear infection. As my ex wryly noted, that school nurse probably deserves a gift basket.

The doc sent us over to the ER. They gave him an IV and treated his ear infection and hydrated him. An arterial blood oxygen test showed us that his kidneys were fine. Big, huge relief. I mean, I could see it in our physician's eyes (bless the man, he had been planning to leave the office early and instead ended up with us in the hospital).

The whole time were were at the ER, poor Tommy and Sam were hanging out in the waiting room until Dereck came and brought me an emergency bag with knitting, laptop, and phone charger in it and took them home for dinner.

Then, once we figured out he was stable in the hospital, they contacted the children's floor down in Columbia and I drove him down here. They insisted that he come tonight. They have now started him on insulin with a snack: pb and j with two graham crackers and two things of 2% milk. I was surprised to see so many carbs, but the nurse told me that he will eventually be allowed to eat ANYTHING, as long as he makes up for it with the insulin.

The reason for the hospitalization is that they spend 4-5 days here with us training all of us in nutrition, diet, and insulin shots. We are going to get all of the tools we need here to go home with his diabetes. I know that this is going to mean a lot of changes for all of us. However, after first worrying whether or not he had something like leukemia causing his weight loss and THEN worrying about his kidneys and him slipping into a coma, the rest of it all seems pretty manageable.

Christian is also getting over his initial shock. He is greatly relieved that he can still have soda-- it just has to be Diet now and forever. I think the whole family will be healthier once we learn about how to manage Christian's diet. It's hard to justify eating a bunch of crap when your kid isn't allowed to.

I felt like a bad mother when they asked if anybody smoked. Yes, I do. The nurse (who is really very nice) told me primly that I'd have to leave the entire campus of the hospital to smoke. Grrrr. Well, Missy, what you don't know is that I'll be FINE while I'm here. So there.

Now that Christian has had his snack, I'm shutting off Harry Potter and the lights, and I'll unfold my chair and set it up so we can try to get some sleep. I doubt I'll get much while we are here, which sucks. But wow, things could be so much worse.


  1. I feel much better now. Hugs! Also celery with peanut butter and raisins.

  2. Wow.
    Wow., text or email me if you need anything. Even just someone to chat with. You sure have a lot to process right now.

    Hugs to you all.

  3. I am finally just catchng up. I have been thinking about you guys and sending mental love. How is it going?

    Lucky ear ache! A circumcision is how we discovered Devon's heart defect. Funny how it works sometimes. Please hug everybody and give yourself and extra one.


  4. Jesus, Jen.

    Christian sounds like and awesome do the others. And I know where they got it.

    You are, as always, in my thoughts. You are up to this.

    (I might be a little goopy, but some friends just lost a baby boy. I am grateful for fortuitous ear infections.)

    Good luck with the knitting. I'm a single-item knitter -- I can read patterns and stuff, but I started knitting socks and prefer those to pretty much anything else.