Sunday, January 30, 2011

A sobering reminder of what we are dealing with

6 people with T1D lost their lives this week.  None of them were old, decrepit, or ready to go.  One was only 18 months old, and died because the health care system failed and did not properly diagnose the disease until it was too late.

Two were only 16.  One passed away while taking a nap.  One was only 24, and the mother of two children.  I think the one that tugs at me most, however, was the 9 year old girl from France who had come to the end of her rope with diabetes, and took her own life.  One of the biggest "side effects" of a life long illness is depression, and yes, even children can become clinically, desperately depressed.

This week has been cold-central in our house, starting with Youngest who brought his virulent germs home and infected the rest of us.  Luckily, it was just a cold and not something more serious like the violent stomach bug that has been going around the country.  I say that not only because "violent stomach bug" is something of which nightmares are made, but because that simple cold, you know the one, with the sniffles and slight cough?  That one has had Middle's numbers hovering around 300 for days, despite the volume of insulin we pump into him.  We have doubled the amount he normally gets, and were delighted when he finally came down under 200.  (he is back at 247 this morning, so we are not out of the woods yet).  It gives my germaphobe self some reassurance that I need to be over protective, and not let Middle do things like sleep over at the zoo when the stomach flu is going around. (Remember my debate with myself from last spring? Glad I chose the way I chose!)

We were warned that illness can cause havoc with blood sugars, and holy moly, were they right.  The deaths this week snap me back from any complacency I may have been in, to realize that it could happen to us.  I hope, and I pray, that it will not, and it is easy to say "Oh, it's just diabetes" and brush it off because we hear the word so often, and we know so many people have it. 

But it is deadly.  Type 1 Diabetes can strike anyone, at any age, and the results can be fatal.  Parents reading this, KNOW THE SIGNS.  Diabetes can be 'brushed off' as any other bug, such as the flu, when a simple blood test will give you the answers you need before it is too late.  If you, or your child, experiences any of these symptoms, have a doctor do a blood-glucose reading.  It takes only a moment, and can mean the difference between life and death.  Matt had only 4 of the symptoms, so you do not need to have ALL of them. If you have more than one, please get checked.

Warning signs of type 1 diabetes (these may occur suddenly):
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Sugar in urine
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Increased appetite
  • Sudden weight loss
  • Drowsiness, lethargy
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor, unconsciousness

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