It’s clear still, the picture in my head of walking in and seeing our son laying on the lounge, pale and listless, thin and wasting away. It had been a month now of Drs appointments and we still came away with the same answer ‘he has the flu, take him home to rest.’
I had done the research that parents are told not to do on the Internet, trying to get to the bottom of why the hell our boy was consuming 4 – 6 litres of milk a day, starving hungry and still wasting away at a rapid rate.
Bundling our 15 year old boy in the car and heading to the doctors I could feel his frail arms and lack of muscle. It was alarming, our boy had played hockey for years and was usually fit with great muscle tone. I was angry and armed with information as we entered the Drs room that day. I insisted that I wanted our son weighed and tested for coeliac disease or type 1 diabetes. Jumping on the scales revealed the shocking discovery that he weighed 55kg, and was 179cm in height. For the first time I saw a look of real concern on the Drs face as he pulled out a testing strip to test Mr wings blood sugar levels and after conferring with Princess Margaret Hospital let us know that he needed us to head down there asap, and that there would be an endocrinologist on standby waiting to see us. Perth was a 3hr journey and I can honestly say I have no recollection of our journey or even packing before leaving.
Going through emergency and finally seeing a dr and endocrinologist,having blood drawn and sent off revealed that mr wings had type 1 diabetes. It’s funny how the element of shock is quickly followed by relief in the knowledge that there was treatment and medication to make our son get well. As parents the thoughts that go through our heads are hideous sometimes and also rather irrational when it comes to our kids being ill or injured.
Over the next few days the emotions flowed in and the journey became a little more real as I sat/slept by his bed in a recliner. Yes I could have gone and slept in a comfortable bed at a relatives house but I was fixed to that recliner come hell or high water. We were in hospital for a total of 2 weeks While Mr wings got his insulin levels correct, learnt about type 1 diabetes and he began his journey of managing it. As parents we also began our journey of helping support our son to manage his diabetes. During our stay more younger children came in and were diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. Mr wings just got on with it as is true to his personality.
It was the years that followed that were tougher as we navigated our way through hospital stays, getting the food/insulin balance right while letting go and trusting that he was testing himself when he said he was. Teaching people in the community we lived about his diabetes and family members was trying at times and can still be as so many people don’t understand the difference between type 2 and Type 1 Diabetes.
Although he is 20 now and is doing well, I feel so many changes in regard to supporting the journey from being under the child health system to the adult one need to happen for young adults with type 1 diabetes, but that is another whole post for next time.