Rory was diagnosed November 16th 2007, just one week before his first birthday. Rory was showing some classic signs of Type 1 Diabetes. I remember checking the internet one night for info on Type 1 diabetes and my husband thought it was crazy to think that was what Rory had. Yet everything I was reading was just like putting all the pieces to the puzzle together. His weight gain had leveled off, poor appetite, extreme thirst, excessive urination, (especially at night, soaking through his diapers and pjs, and crib sheets), irritability, and the yeast-like rash in groin area. I called to set-up an appointment the next day and I am glad that I decided to do that instead of waiting to discuss it at his 1 year check-up scheduled for the following week. We would have left for the weekend and been at my parents house celebrating his birthday with cake and ice cream! On the ride to the Dr's office I kept trying to rationalize that everything was due to something else. Rory was still breastfeeding and I thought my supply had decreased because the month before I had found out I was pregnant again, (little bit of a surprise) I thought maybe his increased thirst was due to that, but it still seemed excessive for a toddler. But he just wasn't himself and that was the bottom line. The pediatrician and I chatted casually about things thinking it was more a breastfeeding issue and how to start weaning, then we discussed the concern of possible Diabetes. I didn't think it was even diagnosed this young! She said they could check a BG before we left just to see how he was. The nurse came back in with the meter to check him and I was absolutely shocked when I saw the number, 531. I tried to think that I was just reading it upside down and it was really 135, but the nurse said "ohh, good think you caught that" and went to get the Dr. I just sat there in disbelief and started to freak. Even as a nurse I didn't have much experience with Diabetics in the hospital, and I had never seen a BG that high before. I could really understand then that he must have really felt sick. They sent us to the ER for stat bloodwork, which came back showing beginning of ketoacidosis. I called home crying to my husband that Rory was going to be sent to Geisinger Medical Center and admitted to the PICU. He had no clue what was going on and asked if it could wait a couple days. They didn't have a bed available right away so they had us go to the ER so they could get his IV started and get him ready for transfer. The poor little guy, who had never been seen in the Drs office other than well-child visits was now being poked all over for bloowork and IV sticks. They tried 2 times and couldn't get it and then made the decision to send him by Life Flight since the ambulance was taking too long. The Life Flight crew tried 2 more times and still couldn't get him so they decided to quickly load him up and get him there for the IV team to try. It was so heartbreaking to watch them load him up and I couldn't go with him. My husband and daughter had arrived at the ER just before Rory was sent and Mike was shocked to find out that the helicopter was waiting to take his little boy. I remember Alana, (4 years old at the time), being worried because she had never seen me so upset before. She had her arm around me as we watched Rory take off and she was patting my back saying "He will be ok mommy"
It took the IV team 2 more times before finally getting his IV started in his foot, (which became a challenge the next day when he wanted to be up walking around.) And we met the endo. doc and other residents and so began the overload of info and feeling of being overwhelmed and guilt of somehow causing this. He spent the one night in PICU, on all kinds of monitors, IVs, bloodwork every hour. I would have to stand and sway with him to get him to sleep. Everytime I tried to sit with him he would try to get in position to nurse and just cry more because I couldn't nurse him yet. Overnight his BG stabilized and his ketones cleared. By morning he was smiling and laughing again. It was so nice to see our little Rory's personality back. He then spent the next couple days in the regular Pediatric unit getting used to fingersticks and injections and for mommy and daddy to get used to all of it as well. I was lucky to have some background knowledge with being an RN, but it is still very different when it is your own child. And the beginning of feeling guilty for Alana not getting as much attention and missing special moments with her. We missed her preschool play that they had been preparing for all fall. Thankfully, my mom was able to come down to stay with Alana and she took the video camera to tape it for us. But Alana has always seemed very understanding of it all and knows it is very important for mommy and daddy to do the things we have to do for Rory.
And Rory became such a little trooper. It really is amazing how well kids adapt to change and it all just becomes routine. I guess the one blessing is he will always know this as part of his life and keeping it under control will hopefully be less challenging for him. Still as a mom and from experience as a nurse, I worry about the effects later in life. But the thought that in his life-time there may be a radical new development for controlling or even curing Diabetes provides some comfort.