Zachary just turned seventeen months on the November 14th and was diagnosed with Type 1 on September 29, 1999. He was only 15 months old and by all means still a baby.
I knew something was wrong when the cold my whole family had disappeared on all of us, but seemed to stick with him. He had begun to throw up periodically, which he had never done prior. His personality was disappearing and he had no desire to play or do anything but sleep. The doctors said he had a throat and ear infection (he had cut his four molars all at once) and put him on a antibiotic. Three days after going on the medicine, he developed thrush (a yeast infection) in his mouth that literally got worse by the minute. He was drinking an excessive amount of liquids (anything he could get his hands on) and wetting his diapers like never before. I could normally put him in a night diaper and not change him until he woke the next morning. I was now changing him a minimum of three times a night, along with his clothes and bedding.
The doctors felt the excessive thirst was due to his not eating because of the teeth he was cutting. That was causing him to go to the bathroom more frequently. He was losing weight (from 29 pounds to 23) on account of not eating, also related to the teeth they said. I had questioned whether he may be a diabetic (I was tested for it about ten years ago), so I knew a little of what to look for, but the doctors didn't listen. Everything was related back to his having a cold and that building up his immunities to it caused it to linger longer.
I knew in my gut that something more serious was wrong and it took him being rushed to the emergency room to prove it. When we brought Zachary in, the doctor immediately questioned his coloring (he was white with pale blue lips) and breathing and when we explained, all we were told was that our son was critically ill.
Within moments of doing all sorts of tests on him, they came back and told us they were pretty positive he was a diabetic. We were actually relieved, because we thought we would be told worse news than that. They transferred him to another hospital that specialized in children's diabetes. Zach spent three days in ICU and three in pediatrics. His sugar level was only 465 (I say only because I've heard much higher numbers from other parents), but the Ketoacidosis was so severe that the first 24 hours were going to be the toughest. We couldn't believe how our lives changed in a split second. Overwhelming was the word everyone used in describing to us what was now going to become a normal part of our lives and especially Zachary's.
The anger is still present at times and I am very cautious of everything that takes place around Zachary. Fortunately, he has adjusted to the insulin shots (a minimum of two) and pokes (he should get four, but we've already experienced a severe low -- 26, so I do about 8 - 10) quite well. Zachary is a hero to his father and grandfather and the toughest person I've ever known. He has made this transition much easier on all of us by being so accepting of it. He'll give you his finger when asked and doesn't even pay attention to receiving his shots.
Published November 27, 1999
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