I will never forget the day our lives changed forever.
It was Friday the 20th May 2011, such a short time ago, yet it feels like a lifetime. Cooper (2) had been ill over Easter but was on the mend, or so we thought. He started wetting more, drinking more and just generally didn’t seem himself. I took him into the Doctors and explained all that had been happening and stated that I believed Cooper had a UTI or worse Juvenile Diabetes. The Doctor tested his Blood Glucose Levels (BGLs) and they were dangerously high. He confirmed my worst thought and stated that I must take Cooper immediately to hospital.
He spent 5 nights and days there, with my partner Jack and I taking turns to stay with him and being educated on the illness, management, medication and administration. Before we were discharged I needed to collect his medical supplies. It was overwhelming. Boxes and boxes of insulin (3 different types), syringes, BGL tester kit, bgl strips, ketone strips, lancets, alcohol swabs, hypokit and of course jelly beans. Finally off to the council to collect a sharps container. Seriously if I thought I was scared taking him home as a newborn, now I was petrified.
The entire time Cooper had been amazingly brave with all aspects including the finger pricks and needles. When we returned home it was a whole new kettle of fish. He had left hospital and thought that was the end of it all and here I was bringing out all the gear at home. He was terrified, the real battle had only just begun and my heart broke all over again. Our daily routine now consisted of two injections, one in the morning and one in the evening and eight finger pricks to determine and monitor his BGLs, including one at 2am everyday.
We had to ensure that Cooper ate 15gm serves of carbs 6-8 times a day and in regular intervals. If he had a sudden drop we would need to raise those levels with sugar and fast. If he should become unconscious or begin fitting we would need to use his hypokit and call an ambulance, fortunately this has not happened although I’m told it’s inevitable and will occur and more than once. This was now our life, it was difficult, tiring and you are constantly questioning yourself. I am not a trained nurse but suddenly I was now drawing up 2 different types of insulin, twice daily and injecting my child. We had been thrown in the deep end and baely knew how to tread water let alone swim.
Day 2 of being at home and severe gastro hits us all for six. Now gastro through the house is challenging at anytime but we were soon to learn just how difficult it becomes when there is a diabetic in the house. In fact we’ve learned, since his diagnosis, that any illness affects diabetes negatively, increasing the difficulty of management and already unpredictable nature of the disease. Our once healthy child is now prone to and sought out by any and all little bugs doing the rounds. Which affects his BGLs alone but also affects his appetite and creates even more chaos with his BGLS, a D child without an appetite is a nightmare!