blood sugar

The “D” Word

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