Type 1 Diabetes is not a ‘take your insulin and call me in the morning’ kind of disease. It is a follow the plan, change the plan, prepare for all and everything, check your BG, check it again and again,…and even when you do—life threatening consequences can happen in minutes or hours.
Frankie went to bed at 8:30pm last Sunday night whole & hearty—a BG of 152. All was right on target. At the midnight check he was 178—not too shabby. By 2am he was vomiting with large ketones and a BG level so high the meter could not read it. Two hours—and everything changed. We dosed with extra insulin. Took out the old syringes and gave by injection instead of the pump. Tried to make him drink, little sips, little sips…but they came right back up. We were following ‘the sick day’ plan and diabetes was following its own diabolical plan.
By daylight, Monday morning, we knew we were losing this battle and called the on-call line of the Joslin Diabetes Center. Frankie had 4 units on board, and we gave another 4 units of insulin as directed. By 7am—that BG was still so high the meter could not read it. By 8am Frankie was asking us why there were “tiny children climbing trees in the backyard” and we were calling into work, packing a bag, and heading to the hospital.
This is how type 1 diabetes tries to kill you. It sneaks up on you—with a severe low –hypoglycemia, or a severe high-hyperglycemia. Your own body—working against you –when you are awake and when you are asleep.
This is what diabetes is, for parents anyway- being on watch, and constant fear. We don’t really put it out there—but we should—because how can the world really understand unless we do? Most days, he’s healthy, active, an average 10 year old boy. Other days…not so much.
Frankie is resilient, courageous, and kind. Frankie rolls with diabetes. He told us he was “sorry we missed work” as he fought this disease in that hospital bed. He caught a stomach bug, like all kids do, and T1D didn’t like it. We are living life, and finding a place for diabetes in that life. We could not have prevented him getting this disease or the complications that come along with it. There is no cure—just a band aid called insulin that doesn’t always work right when up against illness.
But Frankie… is back on his feet and will be going back to school tomorrow. It is behind him now, and he got through it as he does with all he goes through every day–with confidence, humor, and an unstoppable spirit of determination. Us parents, we fake it–smile and go on like no big deal–because we don’t ever want to squash that spirit–but we will remain on watch-as we have been, since August 23, 2010.
What’s Your Type? Please be Type S—Supporter of people with diabetes. Spread the facts, fight the myths.
Fight with Frankie.