Yesterday morning I did something Ron and I had discussed, I believe during our first post-diagnosis supermarket visit – packaging snacks in portion sizes so he could “grab and go.” (The grams are the carb grams, not the serving size). Yes, he could certainly do this himself and I’m sure at some point he will. It’s also something we could do together. But for now, he pretty much does his diabetes care himself, while I long for some way to help/contribute/support/try in some way to “make it better.” This made me feel helpful and made me happy.
After we got to the room a nurse named Shelley came in. She reminded me a bit of Elaine from Seinfeld – she had a LOT of long, curly dark hair and a very dry yet over the top personality. She was the one who gave us a lot of facts and hands-on instruction about living with diabetes. She was a great help and encouragement to all three of us.
Not long after Ron got settled in, so to speak, it was time to pick up Ginny from school. I went to get her because I wanted to be the one to break the news to her about Ron’s diabetes. I also had the feeling I would be spending the night at the hospital so this would enable me both to spend some time with her and to grab anything I might need overnight. Ron also made a list of things he wanted from home (mainly his DS, iPad and laptop!).
When I picked Ginny up she got in the car and slammed the door and I could tell she was upset. Oh dear. “What’s wrong?” I asked. She was on the verge of tears. Great. First I needed to calm her down from whatever was upsetting her, then I’d get to deliver the news about her brother.
She was upset because her class Out of Uniform Day the next day had been cancelled (actually, not even cancelled – postponed a week). She ranted and wept about how it wasn’t fair while I was thinking, here you are crying about your Out of Uniform Day while your brother is in the hospital with diabetes. It seemed rather surreal.
That morning she had asked about going to the mall after school. At the time I pretty much had no intention of taking her but now it seemed the perfect distraction. I had already decided we’d go straight there when she sniffled, “Can we still go to the mall?”. “Of course, honey,” I answered benevolently.
Her mood immediately brightened so as we got on the highway, after a brief discussion of what she wanted to look for at the mall I launched right in to a replay of that morning’s doctor visit and her brother’s diagnosis. She became teary again and asked if he was going to be OK. I assured her that, once his levels were stabilized and he/we had learned how to care for himself, he’d be fine. She commented on how at least he had a condition that could be managed and that things could have turned out worse. I was proud of her matter-of-fact and positive attitude.
Soon we arrived at the mall and headed straight for the Starbucks kiosk for comfort. After a drink and snack we visited Delia’s (for the last time!) then tracked down a shoe store where she had seen some boots she wanted. They had the boots in her size but since the shoes were Buy One Pair Get Another Pair Half-Off of course we had to search for another pair. I tried to find some cute yet comfy black shoes for work but couldn’t find anything I just loved. I didn’t want to buy a pair just to buy a pair so finally I gave up and asked if she wanted another (she has them in black) pair of Chucks.
At this point a couple of hours had passed and it wasn’t going to be too long until dinner time. We went home and I got Ron’s things together and packed a toiletry bag for myself. We drove thru Wendy’s, I dropped her off at home then returned to the hospital. Muggle Man and I ate our Wendy’s while Ron ate his second baked chicken breast. I had missed his blood sugar check, which was 330 (down from whatever it had been before), his insulin shot, and the first part of his dinner.
Muggle Man lingered a while after we ate but we didn’t want Ginny home by herself too long so he headed home. While Ron played on his 3DS I settled into the recliner next to his bed, phone in hand, to see what the evening would bring.
Today is Thursday. Last week on Monday, my son Ron, 18, had an appointment for his 18-year “well visit” and ADHD med-check. Things started as usual but when Ron stepped on the scale, he said, “That can’t be right! That’s 20 pounds less than the last time I was here!” Ron, ever-skinny, had weighed 125 two visits ago and 122 the previous visit. Today the scale read 97 pounds!
Yes, I had noticed that he had lost weight – at the beginning of the school year, he did not need to wear a belt with his pants but after a few months he was wearing a belt, pulled as tightly as possible so that the pants were almost “cinched” around the waist. He had grown a little taller (not enough to account for a 20 pound weight loss, though!), and, never one to have a big appetite, he was eating like a horse, so I hadn’t been majorly concerned. The men on my Muggle Man’s side of the family are all very skinny so I figured he was just carrying on the family tradition. One thing Muggle Man and I *had* noticed and been concerned about was the amount of water Ron was drinking. He constantly carried around a water bottle and spent the evening filling and refilling (and refilling) it. We had both mentioned … diabetes … but since Ron didn’t seem to have any other symptoms we decided not to make a big deal about it. I did keep an eye on him, and had noticed that he spent a lot of time lying around (with his iPad or 3DS) – but what teenaged boy doesn’t!?
Back to the doctor’s appointment. The nurse said that the scale might not be accurate so she brought in another one. It also measured him at 97 pounds. As she made notes she asked if I had any concerns, other than the weight loss, I mentioned the large amount of water he had been drinking.
When the doctor came in, he talked to Ron then watched as he stepped on each scale (both still 97). He examined him and couldn’t find anything out-of-whack other than the rapid, unexplained weight loss. He said that they would run some blood work to try to figure out what was going on.
Ron was not at all happy about having the blood drawn. He got super-anxious but thankfully once it finally happened it wasn’t as bad as he had imagined. He was still quite relieved when it was over. He said, “The anticipation was worse than the actual event” and the nurse said, “That happens a lot in life!”
She said some of the results would be back quickly and after a short wait the doctor came back in. He said that Ron’s blood sugar level was high, which meant that he had diabetes. I can’t say that I was totally shocked, since the thought had crossed my mind. However, Muggle Man and I had said that we would not mention our concerns to Ron because we did not want him to worry. So, it was out of the clear blue to him and he was totally shocked. The doctor explained the two types of diabetes, Type 1 and Type 2. Type 1 is found in children, and, while Ron was on the older end of the age group, the fact that he weighed 97 pounds pretty much ruled out Type 2.
Because of the high blood sugar level (they never did say what it was, and I didn’t ask,I think part of me didn’t want to know! From what I have heard said since, I believe it was at least in the 400s) they wanted a urine sample to check for ketones, which turned out to be somewhat high. The doctor was amazed that Ron had been going to school as well as the other things he had been doing. He said that soon, possibly the next day, Ron could have collapsed. Thank heaven this was caught in time.
The next step was for Ron to be admitted to the hospital to confirm which type of diabetes he had, get his blood sugar under control and to receive diabetes education. He and I stopped for lunch then went to the hospital. Muggle Man met us there while Ron was being admitted then we all went to Ron’s room. Thankfully we live near a wonderful regional children’s hospital, which is where Ron received his treatment.
Next time … The Hospital Stay