Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Dr. Who Saved His Life

It aggravated us to no end, but Dr. Who saved his life or at least his quality of life.  His refusal to use his own private bathroom was somehow linked to a Dr. Who episode he had watched. Not a fan myself, I'm unsure why the ventilation duct in the ceiling had become a horror, but he insisted on using our bathroom off of the master bedroom.  Either an alien creature or a portal to a distant world resided in his.

Not knowing anything was amiss, we groggily issued commands from the bed, "Use your own bathroom!" But then we began to notice that he was using our bathroom in the middle of the night, and with increasing frequency.  My husband asked me if I'd noticed.  The thought hadn't really coalesced until dh said something.  Likely UTI, I thought.  I promised to schedule an appointment with the pediatrician soon, but I was off to celebrate my birthday that day with my dad an hour away.

Away from daily routines, I noticed that day the trips to the bathroom, the number of drink refills, the repeated "I'm still thirsty".  And, I knew.  I knew and pushed in way down inside me.  Since, in reading many stories of diagnosis, most parents remember in blinding detail and emotion, the date, the hour, what they did that day, many were on vacation or away from home.  Perhaps just being away from routine focused us on what was happening. Sometimes, parents and doctors dismiss symptoms which mimic the flu, strep throat, or other illnesses.  A missed diagnosis can be catastrophic, deadly.  The truth lurks, like the fear in the bathroom ceiling, but closing the door and refusing to go in the room won't make it go away.  


This photo will always entitled "Before".  Before needles, before insulin, before counting every bite he eats, before worrying while he runs around like a normal kid, before watching him sleep and looking for the rise and fall of his chest, before wondering if I just made a mistake that will kill him.  We had stopped the day "before" at a state park, Big Bone Lick, and there he visited the bathroom and declared again his thirst.  Yet, that day, that day we were blissfully ignorant of what was to come.

We were lucky.  Because of Dr. Who, we caught it fairly early.  Not everyone is so lucky.  Please, if your child is sick, as a precaution, just take their blood glucose level or ask a doctor to.  The meters and strips can be purchased at any retail store.  And yes, it is overkill.  And worth it.   

Here are the other symptoms besides a confirmed high BG level:
  • Extreme thirst
  • Frequent urination
  • Drowsiness and lethargy
  • Sugar in urine
  • Sudden vision changes
  • Increased appetite
  • Fruity, sweet, or wine-like odor on breath
  • Heavy, labored breathing
  • Stupor or unconsciousness
We are all afraid to confront the monster in the ceiling but it is only in knowing that it can be tamed. We are not so afraid anymore, but life has changed.  As I heard Scott Benner say, "It won't get any easier; you'll just get better at handling it."  Someday, maybe someday, it can be cured. (And yes, now he has conquered some of his fears and uses his own bathroom.)

shown with another Dr. Who fan

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