Our son Dermot was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes at 15 months of age. For the month prior to that, we had been getting up at night at approximately 2 am for at least 2-3 hours. He was very fussy, but at the time I kind of put it down to teething and ear infections, as he had been having chronic ear infections. For that last month prior to diagnosis, we were taking him in to see our local doctor sometimes 2-3 times weekly. Approximately 3 weeks prior to diagnosis, I had even mentioned to our doctor that I thought I had smelled ketones a couple of days prior to that specific visit, and I wondered if he may have had a throat infection. The doctor assessed his throat and said his throat was fine he also dismissed my concerns about the ketones and Dermot's increased drinking saying, "No, babies don't get diabetes."
This went on until finally I got my husband to bring him to the hospital where I was working (I'm a nurse) so I could have him checked out yet again. I was really thinking he was going to die. His breathing shallow and rapid, he was drinking like crazy, and he was sleeping 16-20 hours a day. Looking back, all the symptoms were there. I just kept plodding along on my own so when we finally brought him in that last time we got a urine sample very easily (we had been changing he at least 8 times a day for very wet diapers and he was very constipated). The ketones on the teststrip were off the charts. Then we did a bloodsugar--it was 21.9 mmol/l (394 mg/dl).
"Stunned" doesn't even begin to describe my feelings. The other nurse that I was working with just stared at me and all I could say was, "What does this mean? But what does this mean?" Then the doctor came in and finally contacted a pediatrician in Winnipeg who wanted us there right away.
We were flown out (we lived in a remote part of northern Manitoba where we were a 12-14 hour drive from Winnipeg, depending on the road) and Dermot spent the night in PICU and was then transferred to the ward while my husband and I got some serious education. We've done OK to this point but I am so sick of people saying "Oh well, lucky you're a nurse and you can deal with it." That didn't make it any easier for me. If anything, it made it worse because I have seen the damage that diabetes does when it is not looked after.
Right now, I am still angry that my baby has to have this and all I can do is hope and pray that there will be many more huge improvements in the diabetes field in the future. I would also like to say that this site was a huge comfort to me when Dermot was first diagnosed.Our e-mail address is bacloet AT mts.net if anyone would like to contact us.
Brad and Aileen Cloet
Published February 11, 2001
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