The New Dirty Word – Diabetes (The Dr’s Office)

I am going to have to write the diagnosis story in a few posts as it’s all still very fresh and emotional for me.  So here’s Part I:

Angelina, who is 9, woke up Monday morning and started complaining about her vision being blurry.  She had a bad cold and I just assumed she had eye crusties that were causing problems.  So I set her up with a warm, wet washcloth and hoped that would do the trick.  Except it didn’t.  She didn’t complain so much so I didn’t think a lot about it.  When we ventured out to the store on Wednesday I picked her up some eye drops and hoped maybe THAT would work.  We just didn’t have the money right then to take her to the eye doctor, and I was pretty sure the level of nearsightedness she was reporting wouldn’t have happened overnight anyway.  I mean, I’ve worn glasses for 15 years and it took as long for my vision to get as bad as it is.  From what she was telling me her vision was as bad as mine.

Well, later on Wednesday I realized she was making a lot of trips to the bathroom and I asked her if she was feeling okay.  I suspected a UTI since she has a history of them.  But she said everything was fine, although she had been drinking more water so it seemed like a normal thing that she would also be using the toilet more, right?  Then I talked to my husband on his lunch break around 4pm and he was telling me that he was glad I wasn’t obese while I was pregnant with Angelina because he was listening to a program on NPR about women who are obese or consume a lot of sugar or high fructose corn syrup during pregnancy are at a greater risk of having a child with Type 1 Diabetes.

And then all of her symptoms clicked.  So, I did what any responsible mom would do and I logged into the WebMD Symptom Checker just to get a second opinion and this is what came up:

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I had pretty much ruled out nearsightedness just because of the degree of blurred vision. So I tried to convince myself that it had to be a UTI, or maybe dehydration (although that wasn’t likely with the amount of fluids she had been taking in).  I decided to give it a couple of days and see what happened.

Thursday morning she woke up and felt terrible and was coughing like crazy and it was all wet sounding.  I asked her if she wanted to go to the doctor and she said yes.  Just for background purposes I have to say that my kid is no stranger to the doctor’s office.  She has several other medical issues and on average sees the dr at least once a month for one reason or another so if she doesn’t HAVE to go she’d prefer not to.  So when she willingly agreed to go to the dr that day I knew she was in pretty bad shape.

I called when the office opened at 9am and they said to come in at 10am.  So I woke her up and we got dressed and stopped at McDonald’s to grab some breakfast.  I had told them that we were coming in for her cough and because she had “other” symptoms.  I was firmly in denial and kept trying to convince myself it was just a UTI.  I mean, I don’t know anyone with Type 1 Diabetes.  No one in either mine or my husband’s immediate family have it, she can’t have diabetes, right?

Of course, they had her pee in a cup (which took a while).  She had actually lost about 4 lbs since we were there 3 weeks prior, which of course was concerning.  So, the dr came in to see her and said they were going to check her urine, but in the meantime they hooked her up to the nebulizer because the dr said she heard some wheezing.  So we sat for the 15 mins or so while her breathing treatment finished.  Then the dr came in with this serious look on her face and said “We need to do a finger poke to check your blood sugar.  If it’s high I’m going to have to send you to the ER because there is sugar and ketones in her urine and it looks like it’s probably Diabetes.”  (and yes, the capital D was on purpose)  Her blood sugar was 570 mg/dl.  In case you’re not familiar what “normal” blood glucose levels are – Between 70-100 is considered “normal”, 101-126 is considered “pre-diabetes” (generally referring to the development of Type 2 diabetes, which is a completely different disease), so a reading of 570 is pretty obviously not normal.

To be continued…